I did not think we could top the first open investigation at Strauss Mansion, especially since we advertised online just how active it was. No doubt, people showed up to this second one expecting a lot of activity. Once again, we cannot guarantee any of that, except to just hope that any ghosts present will make themselves known…and they did, quite profoundly at times. Below are some highlights from the investigation that took place this past Saturday:
- Out of the 13 participants who showed up, it appeared that more than half of them were self-assessed “psychics” and/or “sensitives”. While I still remain skeptical of these people, and had to limit my jokes during the pre-investigation lecture, it certainly makes things interesting, especially for people who have never been on a ghost hunt. Sometimes, things they said seemed to coincide with what was going on or with the past history of the house, and other times, came out of left field and we just have no answer for them.
- We tried the wine glass séance again, and one family in particular realized they were talking to a dead relative, of a younger brother who died fifteen years ago. The answers given to the questions asked by the family would have been unknown to everyone except the deceased who they believed they were communicating with. The glass was sliding around the table at speeds I had never witnessed before, and it was quite exciting, and sad, to watch. We continued the session, on and off, during the night, and everyone was stunned throughout.
- While we did not get many intelligent responses on the SB-7 worthy of note here, there was one disembodied sound that everyone in the house heard. I was up on the third floor with one of our guests, Brian, to check out his camera set-up, and the rest of the group was down on the first floor, in the parlor. While standing upstairs, in complete silence, we heard what the entire group downstairs said sounded like a scream. When I heard it, I thought it was a woman laughing loudly. In any event, everyone heard something. Brian and I did not pay any attention to it, figuring it was the group making noise, but then we just looked at each other, like it was too incredibly loud to come from two floors below. It sounded like it came from the bottom of the steps nearby. Still, we shrugged it off. When we arrived downstairs we were greeted by people asking, “Did you hear that scream? What was that?” We informed the group that we thought it was them. They told us it sounded like it came from the second floor. So what was it? Brian is going to check his recording equipment to see if it came up.
- Now we get to one of the most incredible pictures I have ever seen, below. It was taken by Lou, and it made everyone speechless upon our review. To explain what is going on in the picture, that white streak is coming out of Jake, who was sitting still at the time the picture was taken. At the top of that streak is a clearly defined head. At first, we thought it might be Jake’s own face projected upward, but if you look closely, you will see they have different facial expressions. There also was no flash when the picture was taken. The only light sources in the room would have been my cell phone, which I was using to try to find a cup of water I had on the table, and a light from a house outside. You can see me standing by the table, distorted, because I was in motion, so please disregard that.
- And now here is the closeup of the above picture:
- Is this a spirit of the past coming through in the present during this picture? We cannot confirm that 100%, but it appears to be so. We came up with every possible explanation to attempt to figure out what this is. We are certain that it is not Jake, because a previous picture shows him sitting down. Is it possible that a spirit was using his energy, as well, as the many electronics on the table to manifest? You be the judge.
EDIT (5/29): Okay: here is some news. Bad for ghost lovers, good for seekers of the truth. We have had a camera/light expert look at that picture of the “ghost face”, a close associate of Haunted Travels, photographer Carly Vena, and she has shown us that the face is actually a distortion caused by a slow shutter speed. Her explanation: “I deconstructed the picture and found the settings on the properties. It looks like Lou took this with a Nikon D90 at a focal length of 21mm, aperture of 3.8, ISO of 1600 and (here’s the important part) Shutter speed of 2 and a half seconds. That is a LONG time to have a shutter open. All of my night photography is done to ensure no camera shake. That means the camera is on a tripod and I use a wireless remote to hit the shutter. Even the act of pressing the shutter will shake your camera enough to do that. Now, Jake was sitting there for 2.5 seconds while this photo was happening. He blinked. I copied the ghost face and dragged it down in front of Jake and then processed the image. I desaturated, lightened, added contrast and changed the hue. I made it so that you can actually see YOUR face. Now, I figured since we know you are in the scene, that is an accurate “filter”. Your face is the gauge. Now if you look over at Jake and the ghost face, you can clearly see it’s Jake in a long exposure camera shake. Next time, we will do it with zero shake- wireless shutter release and tripod for stabilization. I am sure there are things there but in my opinion, this one is Jake…there’s the moving orbs that are still unexplained but you know, you have to have control over everything to ensure the data is accurate. Lou’s settings were key. Had it been a snapshot at 1/100th of a second or similar and you still got that effect- there would be something else in the frame. But since the shutter open that long, you get the movement of You, Jake and Lou’s hands.”
While it is disappointing, we thank Carly for her analysis. Our job as investigators is as much debunking as it is proving. Finding the truth is the ultimate goal.