Let’s address the ghost in the room

Patrick Koster, Reporter

It was like stepping down into another world.  My legs began to tremble involuntarily with each descending step I took into the shadows. One of my friends asked if I wanted to keep the light on.

“Surprise me,” I said, trying to hide the fear in my voice.

It was my first time investigating a room by myself, and of all places, it had to be the basement of Iron Island Museum.

The paranormal has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. Folklore of monsters and endless ghost stories haunted my childhood. Sure, I was scared of it back then, and I still am a little bit. But my desire to learn more about the unknown always seems to outweigh my fears.

My friend decided to leave the light on. It gave me some comfort, but it wasn’t nearly as much as I’d hoped for. Now, if any spirits wanted to manifest themselves, I’d certainly be able to see them. Lucky me, I thought.

Ever since the television show Ghost Hunters did an episode on Iron Island back in 2008, the museum has gained popularity amongst paranormal enthusiasts and experts in the field. And there I was, an amateur, in the basement of what is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New York State.

I tried not to think about the over 30 boxes of unclaimed human remains that had once been left where I was standing. I began to walk around like a crazed person, talking out loud and asking questions to seemingly no one.  The occasional old pipe clanked and the furnace roared on and off every few minutes.

Sitting down, my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room. To my left and right were openings to the black abysses of other areas in the basement. I volunteered to interact with whatever was down there, talking to the walls again. I asked whoever was down there with me to touch my arm, say something, or make a noise.

Over the roaring furnace, I thought I heard something. I got up to investigate. Wandering off into one of the abyss, I stumbled into what looked like a lion’s den. I thought I was going to be the prey. A blanket of dirt covered the floor in a tiny area that was being renovated. Some pieces of scrap metal and cement decorated the sides.

“Is anybody here with me?”

No answer. I ventured out into the main area again. After talking to myself for a few more minutes, I headed back up the stairs.

It didn’t come as a surprise to me that almost nothing happened. While it would’ve been awesome to see a full body apparition, at least I didn’t have to change into a new pair of pants.

That’s ghost hunting in a nutshell. Most of the time, you won’t find anything – or at least you don’t think you do until you review recordings, but I’ll get to that later.

Ghost hunting has been around for a while now, but recent television shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have helped reserve a small spot for it in contemporary pop culture. What was once a hobby is now, very slowly, becoming an accepted discipline. More paranormal groups and investigators are sprouting up all around, and people are searching for answers.

But are there any answers? Do ghosts and supernatural occurrences really exist? While some skeptics may not think so, I beg to differ.

I’ve experienced some pretty strange things in my life. Mysterious mists that float from room to room, unexplained noises – at one point I thought I saw a shadow figure standing over my bed. While I chalk that last one up to lucid dreaming, the others are still very strange to me.

Through all of those experiences, I’ve never had a definitive one where I could say for certain that what I saw could not be explained. But so many others have had those definitive experiences. There are endless accounts of eyewitnesses reporting sightings of ghosts, hearing clear, disembodied voices, seeing shadow figures – the list goes on and on.

While some accounts might be fake, there have to be at least a few that are real, right? It’s not like the concepts of ghosts and the afterlife were just invented; they’ve been around since ancient times. There has to be some truth to something.

And ghosts don’t have to be limited to just the afterlife, either. What if a ghost isn’t a manifestation of someone in the afterlife, but rather a window to another reality? Another world? Of course, that gets a bit tricky and you’d probably need to get into quantum physics and all that.

With advancing technology, a growing number of paranormal enthusiasts and some pretty reputable evidence already, it wouldn’t make sense to me if the paranormal didn’t become a proven science in the future. Whether that will be tomorrow or 50 years down the road is anybody’s guess. But I think that someday it will happen.

I cannot believe that nothing happens to you after you die. Now, I’m not sure if Heaven and Hell exist, and I hope everyone turns out to be happy with whatever happens after death. In an ideal world, those who believe and want nothing to happen to them after they die would get that. However, I believe that human energy is too extraordinarily powerful to simply dissipate and decompose.

So, what were my findings at Iron Island? On top of hearing sounds in the attic that nobody was allowed to go into for safety reasons, some EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and seeing a series of strange lights, there was the following:

A few hours before I went down into the basement by myself, I went with a group of friends. When we were getting ready to leave, I set up my iPod (Really high tech, right?) to record what happened in the basement while we were gone. We left, and about a minute after we walked up the stairs, you can hear a door open, and footsteps coming down the stairs. Could there be a reasonable explanation? Sure. The only problem is, we left the door to the basement open, and nobody from my group went back downstairs during that time.


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