January 13, 2006
Sometimes an investigation just does not go in accordance to plan. The SPIRITS experience at the CBH, the first investigation for the team in 2006, is a prime example of Murphy’s Law in full force. Everything that could go wrong, did. Sometimes, one wonders if it was the place, the group, synchronicity, or a combination of the above that creates such conditions.
For the investigation of CBH, an old historic building written about in several books containing local lore, the odds seemed stacked against the team. The trouble started with the initial set up. A local media channel was interested in coming with the SPIRITS for a public investigation. They later decided against the production, and backed out of the investigation. The SPIRITS had to start over with the hotel and try to reset the date.
On the night of the investigation, more troubles prevailed. The senior investigator was recovering from an illness and had taken prescription medications for a severe sinus infection in the days prior to, and the day of, the investigation. She also had a family member diagnosed with cancer and was told that day that exploratory surgery would be needed to determine the nature of the malady.
Though the SPIRITS has strict attendance protocol, two members cancelled on attending. One of the two was a senior member, and the primary team sensitive, who declined at the last minute due to personal issues. Of those attending, one had been involved in a car accident earlier in the day. Of the remainder, all were new to the SPIRITS with under 6 months experience at the time of the investigation.
The troubles did not stop there. The hotel owner and senior manager lost the original SPIRITS paperwork and it had to be done again right before the start of the investigation. The manager never returned the SPIRITS questionnaire to answer what, exactly, were the manifestations of the hauntings. He added time limitations to how long we could stay on the property, and then left the area abruptly during the investigation.
The standard protocol was not maintained. Due to the time limitations, the size of the building, and the illness of the senior investigator, the silent walk through had to be skipped. The property assistant manager accidentally told us some of the hot spot areas, negating any sensitive work in the area. Miniature teams more or less tried to note areas of activity by working together. Three members did the first floor and a half of the second, while three other members did the third floor and a half of the second, and we met in the middle to do note comparisons.
The nature of the building added even more challenges, as it was inhabited by a variety of tenants. Some were curious and friendly to the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg, while others treated the group with derision and mistrust. Some members noted people turning away from the investigation or closing doors as we went past, others just ignored us completely. Some wanted to tell us things that happened there but could not be located after the initial conversation.
The frustration for the team lay in the potential that the building held: the property was very old and historic. In its past, it hosted the actors who played the Three Stooges, Al Capone with family and Babe Ruth. According to a book by Kim Cool on haunted activity in St. Petersburg, there were a multitude of ghosts. On the first floor was the spirit of a young woman housekeeper in the dining room. This was the apparition most actively reported by people who stayed there. Other had seen an older man known as the “proprietor” who was noted for his thinning hair. The third floor had an angry man and the spirit of the deceased child of a former owner of the hotel. Al Capone’s wife, children and a henchman or two were also said to manifest as place memories throughout the building.
In addition to this information, the night manger told us that she used to be the maid there. She quit the job and transferred to management after several paranormal encounters. She told us about the TV in room 316, which changed nightly on its own to the Christian Channel. TVs all over the hotel, including her room, also turn off on their own. One night around midnight, when she was coming down to get some coffee, she heard a “party” in the dining room. No one was present, but the sounds were there.
As the SPIRITS sat conferring on this information in the dining room, one of the residents came and sat with us at the table. Unaware of what he was interrupting, but knowing we were ghost investigators, he started to talk about his experiences in the place. His conversations ranged from the great history of the hotel, its current state, the state of economics locally, his family, his situation, the state of public school systems (dealing with discipline), families who lived there who were too poor to move out, and the behavior of their children.
Though the SPIRITS had tried two question and answer sessions with the Trifield meter, we had no electromagnetic field response. Yet, the CBH responded to this sad older gentleman. The SPIRITS had an EMF meter sitting on the table, which began to spike nearly every time he spoke of the history of CBH, its current state, or any form of discipline related to children.
Though this investigation was left in an unsatisfactory state, the SPIRITS came in just before the property was to change ownership. In the two years since, the CBH has been refurbished. The new management has published articles on the ghosts in the building, granted new SPIRITS members an unofficial look of the area, but has been unwilling to grant permission for a full investigation.
Perhaps we will merit a second look at the property done under better circumstances, and we can finally complete our evaluation in future investigations. Until then, the thought remains: was it Murphy’s Law? Or was the old tenant who spoke to us correct: did the property attract and trap the downtrodden whose luck matched its own?
Personal Note: I was recovering from an illness, taking 1 nasal spray, decongestant, and antibiotics as directed by the doctor. For the week and days prior to the investigation, I had bleeding sinuses and had taken several doses of Advil throughout the day prior to the investigation.
In addition, I was under a great deal of emotional stress due to a sick family member. I had found out the news of surgery needed for this particular individual that day, and had spent the larger part of the day in the clinic with him. In all respects, I would rather have had other senior investigators take charge and lead the investigation, but no other senior SPIRITS members were in attendance.
This investigation also had difficulties being set up, with the original intention (media presentation) having been part of the reason we originally set this up. The TV station backed out and the investigation had to be reset.
In addition to that, up until the investigation there were communication difficulties. The night of the investigation, 2 people didn’t show up, 1 cancelled that evening, and 1 other senior member declined the investigation two days before due to personal issues. 1 new member also had a car accident the day of the investigation, though she still attended. The person setting up the investigation was also under stress when, in addition to the above, the hotel manager lost the original SPIRITS paperwork and it had to be done again right before the start of the investigation. He never returned the questionnaire as to what, exactly, were the manifestations of the hauntings.
Time limitations were also put on the team by my own situation and also the management (who wanted us out in a relatively short amount of time). Though the management representative was supposed to stay for a while, he left abruptly during the investigation.
We broke with standard protocol. Manager accidentally told us some of the hotspot areas, and with the time limitations and the sheer size of the place, we had to skip the silent walk through. Miniature teams more or less tried to note areas of activity by working together. Three members did the first floor and a half, three did the top floor and a half, and we met in the middle to do note comparisons and try to check out the hotspots of the areas.
Tenants of the hotel were curious as to what we were doing and many pointed us out. We were met with excitement and friendliness by some, but also a bit of resentment (they did not ask us in) and some distrust from others. I noted people turning away from us or closing doors as we went past, others just ignored us completely. Some wanted to tell us things that happened there, but then vanished before we could speak with them. Others simply changed their minds about speaking with us.
We had no classified sensitives present with us on this investigation. This, I feel, hampered the investigation as we do attempt a three-fold process, relying heavily upon equipment and sensitives as part of the investigation.
All but one team member were new to the SPIRITS (under 6 months membership) though several have prior hunting experience.
We will probably be unable to attempt a recheck of the site due to change of management in the near future.
Start: 6:45 p.m.
Manger, friend, and a whole host of residents on property.
Trifield meter was on the 0 – 100 scale for much of this investigation. EMF readings ranged from 1.0 to 15 on the scale.
Note: Fish tank in room.
North side of first floor:
EMF very low; 0 – 3 scale used. Most EMF registered at 1.5.
Temperature registered at 70 – 74 degrees throughout the investigation of the North side of building. The only areas of fluctuation were the stairwell area and the doorway.
South side of first floor:
EMF CONSIDERABLY higher (and this remained consistent throughout the building).
South side had a “heavy” feeling to it, especially on the first floor.
EMF 10 – 15
Note: Large screen TV present in the room.
3.5 on 0 – 100 scale.
72 – 74 degrees.
Sweet smell of old dried flowers.
Felt dizzy in this room.
Note: Small water fountain in area (sets off EMF to 15 on 0 – 100 scale).
Asked any entities in room to push the needle to the right on Trifield – no response.
EMF dropped on second floor to 1. 5 – 1.0 on the 0 – 3 scale.
Smoky smell noted; all present also felt that the floor was not so oppressively heavy feeling as the first floor.
71 degrees for most of the floor.
EMF went higher as we rounded the corner to meet with the other group (between an 8 – 10 on the 0 – 100 scale).
Discussion: The group climbed the spiral stairwell and met on the third floor outdoor balcony. On the way up the stairwell, Michelle reported feeling an icy finger run up her neck.
Third floor: Michelle and Anthony: both felt that the spiral staircase felt oppressive.
3rd floor: heavy feeling in part of the area
A small amount of EMF was detected from an area that housed an old elevator shaft.
Second floor: South side; EMF was consistent, nothing to really report.
While the group was up there, we decided to check on the areas reported by the upstairs group.
3rd floor: Possible death
Our contact revealed that in the months prior someone had died upstairs and the body was discovered several days after the death. We are uncertain of the room number and need to find out where that happened. Later, the night manager confirmed this information but was also uncertain of the room number.
Moved down to the first floor to the dining room. On the way to the room, the night manger told us that she used to be the maid there, but wouldn’t do it any more. She also told us that in her room, between 7 and 7:30 the TV will automatically change channels to 61 (Comedy Central). She reported that different rooms have different phenomena. The TV in room 316 chances nightly to the Christian Channel on it’s own. TVs all over the hotel, including her room, also turn off on their own. (All are on the same cable TV provider).
Told us that Babe Ruth, Al Capone, and the Three Stooges had all stayed at the hotel in the past.
One night around midnight, when she was coming down to get some coffee, she heard a “party” in the dining room. No one was present, but the sounds were there.
Team proceeded into dining room. There Michelle reported feeling an energy up her arm. I felt areas of cooler temperature.
However, we tried for a good 15 – 20 minutes to communicate with any entities present. I took pictures on the 35 mm camera (attempting to see if I could manifest any of the party images; results are unknown until film is developed). EMF remained steadfast at a 3.5 or so on the meter.
Nothing really happened in the room. I attempted to play a “warm up” song on the piano to see if music affected the entity. No response there, either.
Our contact began to talk to us about where she found info on the book. She read about it in a book and mentioned that it was very historic. At that point, we had one spike on the EMF meter with the mention of the history of the hotel.
At this point, an elder resident of the inn showed up and sat down at the table with us. He knew we were there about the “spooks” but said that there were none present that he had seen. However, as he talked we noted that the EMF would spike during parts of his conversation.
The earliest he remembered the hotel was 1968, when he first came to the area. It was a big pick building, and it was similar to the Belleview Biltmore. Even now, both, he said, are similar because both will cost so much to fix up and repair. He feared both were too expensive to fix. (EMF spike, then spiked again).
He talked about the state of the people in the building, the state of the economy, and how people who were there, he felt, were trapped. They worked all day and left their kids alone to eat in the kitchen. He seemed to tap into a sense of futility, also mentioning that the reason he was here was by choice since he had marital issues at home. EMF spiked once during that conversation.
He was upset with the quality of the rooms. (EMF spike).
He also mentioned that kids today had no discipline. He talked of a fundamental school that was disciplined (EMF spike).
He also said “Society was very different when I was younger” and got an EMF spike.
I wrote down the following message:
Person who worked here in past – past manager?
Book by Kim Cool illustrated the following points, as per her investigation with sensitives:
*1st floor: Housekeeper ghost, young girl in dining room (which is recorded as being the most haunted place in CBH).
*Older man known as the “proprietor”, name, Victor (thinning hair).
*Angry man on third floor, child of a foerm owner
*Activity in room 221, 291,322, and 328.
*Ghost of Al Capone’s wife, kids, and henchmen.
What I found fascinating about this investigation is that we didn’t have any strong or trained sensitives on the team. With one senior member and equipment, we were able to communicated on a very limited level with the entity.
When we sat in the dining room using the EMF Trifield meter as a source of communication device, we asked several questions. We had no reaction from the meter except for one spike when we spoke to one another about the “great historic nature of the hotel”.
Nothing further happened until one of the residents came and sat with us at the table. Unaware of what he was interrupting, but knowing we were ghost investigators, he started to talk about his experiences in the hotel. His conversations ranged from the great history of the hotel, its current state, the state of economics locally, his family, his situation, the state of public school systems (dealing with discipline), and families who lived in the hotel who were too poor to move out, and the behavior of their children.
What I find very interesting is that the meter began to spike nearly every time he spoke of the history of CBH, its current state, or any form of discipline. Though the SPIRITS had tried two sessions of Q&A with the trifield meter, the second lasting for 20 minutes before this man arrived, we had no response. It was this gentleman who got any activity for us.
I turned to Michelle, who sat next to me with the meter. We both noticed the similarities in spikes. I mentioned to her that I thought the ghost may have been a former manager, or an entity that was attracted by this man’s obvious sense of anger over uncontrollable situations. (On two occasions, he came near tears as he talked about the futility he saw around him).
On 1/15, I was reading the account that originally spawned interest in the CBH (a chapter in a local ghost book), which reported the following ghosts:
A housekeeper on the first floor, and a ghost of a girl in the dining room.
An older man (possibly Victor) who was a former proprietor of the hotel, with bald or thinning hair.
An angry man, possibly related to a former owner, on the third floor.
Al Capone (or his family, and some of his henchmen)
The Three Stooges (no, I am not kidding).
I believe that our corporal guest, the angry man who sat at our table with us, roomed on the 3rd floor. Could it be that he attracted the spirit, or brought it with him? Or was the manager present and agreeing with him on the current state of the CBH?