Even for a novice with a skeptical streak, the opportunity to go ghost hunting at the Mauch Chunk Museum proved to be just plain fun. The Paranormal Sightings of PA team gathered at the Mauch Chunk Museum and Ballroom for two nights of paranormal investigations and opened the event to the public. When I arrived on Saturday night, the group was friendly and informative, discussing their interest in exploring haunted places, explaining how to use paranormal equipment, and sharing their stories of past investigations. They even brought their mascot Misty, a truly terrifying porcelain doll who looked as if she might suddenly start talking and spin her head around in a circle at any moment. I eyed her cautiously.
With three enormous floors of the historic former church (plus a bell tower!) to explore, gear and flashlights were divided up and the teams set off. Our group had an electromagnetic field sensor (EMF) and a pair of divining rods to use for our paranormal detecting. I had heard that a communicative ghost named Charlie tended to spend his time in the area behind the ballroom stage, so we set off for the catwalk a story above the stage curtain, amidst the vintage clothing holdings of the museum. It was in this location that we saw the divining rods move and cross…something was going on. We stayed at the catwalk for awhile testing equipment and then headed down to the backstage area.
I had watched the divining rods moving upstairs, but when we traded off equipment and I actually held them in my hands, it was a whole different experience. The rods moved independently and I felt a tug toward the small kitchen left of the stage. Since divining rods are also used to seek out water, it seemed to make logical sense that they may be pulling there. I walked over to the sink, but they were still pulling, farther into the room. I walked over to the fridge. “What are you looking for?” I asked the rods. Atop the refrigerator I saw an unopened bottle of red wine and immediately felt the rods cross, which is ghost language for “yes.” Ah, Charlie was thirsty! There seemed to be a lot of activity in the back area of the stage, and at the time of this writing several hours of camera recordings and other evidence are still waiting review.
Besides the ghost hunting, exploring the enormous building in the dark was just plain fun. We investigated the dark recesses of the spooky basement, saw the lovely old church bell at the top of the tower, and the mannequins in the museum took on an eerie liveliness in the dancing flashlight. A perfect event for a glorious fall evening.
Well, maybe Charlie had told me something about himself in our paranormal adventure after all. Or, maybe the experience could be explained in some perfectly normal and not paranormal way. Either way, it was getting late, and we headed down the road to Marion Hose Company, to enjoy life’s simple pleasures of the company of friends and a fine glass of wine . -Jessica Clair