Ghost Hunts offer a rare opportunity to see the supernatural.

Todd McKeone

JABA Paranormal Ghost Hunt

On Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th JABA Paranormal Investigations will be hunting ghosts from 11pm until 1am at the Railroaders Memorial Museum, and they are inviting you to join them.

The Railroaders Memorial Museum has a well-known history for being haunted, and one of the ghosts has even been named Frank by the staff. There is also a book about the museum’s ghosts entitled Ghosts in the Museum: Strange Tales of the Altoona Railroaders’ Museum. Thrills and chills will definitely welcome those brave enough try it.

A few years ago my best friend, Shawn, and I were lucky enough to be invited to take part in a couple of ghost hunts that were being conducted by a group doing research for a new book on the paranormal. We are both pretty open-minded about the possibility of ghosts, and the opportunity to experience an organized, professional ghost hunt definitely raised our excitement level as we prepared for our first evening of paranormal perceptions.

When we arrived, we were introduced to the other participants, given a brief history of their work and an idea of what they hoped to accomplish. We noticed that they had a number of audio and video recorders, cameras and other gadgets, and we both hoped we would be given the chance to see something unexplainable. To our surprise, they gave us a video camera and explained that certain types of light frequencies can be recorded, which meant we could possibly film a ghost! Our skepticism mixed with a little fear, bravado and anticipation. We are thrill-seekers, but ghosts threw a little uncertainty in our adrenaline rush.

After wandering through the building for a while, we decided to set up the camera in a long hallway that connected a few of the rooms that were rumored to be haunted. We stabilized the camera and opened the display monitor, so we could both see what was being recorded. After a few long minutes of trying to startle each other and watching nothing much happen, Shawn said to me, “Did you feel that?” I told him that I hadn’t felt anything, but Shawn described feeling a cold sensation to me.

We laughed it off and continued watching the display screen, which was recording the hallway through an infrared lens. Our guides told us this was how you could see what they called “orbs.” They explained to us that an orb is the residual energy of a spirit that is condensed into a ball to conserve its energy. I’ve seen pictures with little balls of light in them, and I’m sure many of you have seen pictures with them as well.

I’ve wondered about what orbs might be, and I was hoping to see one and maybe learn a little more about them. But what I learned that night was totally unexpected, totally undisputable, and absolutely awe-inspiring. It would have left me speechless if I had been alone, but my best friend was right next to me. Our narration of the incident was hilarious when we played back the video in the safety of a well-lit room. It also provided a huge contrast to the potentially terrifying situation we stumbled into.

Within a few minutes of Shawn getting a chill, we witnessed an orb float into the hallway from one of the side rooms. It floated away from us, and we watched it until it reached the end of the hallway and turned right – continuing down the next hallway and out of sight. We were taken off guard, and from our banter, you could tell that we were having a hard time believing what we had just seen. It looked like a glowing ping pong ball, and its movements were very fluid as it floated away.

We were stunned. We wanted to find a realistic explanation for what we saw, and we tried to downplay it, but we had both seen the same thing. When we looked away from the display screen and down the hallway, it was totally dark. Pitch black. There was no light coming from anywhere. It was so dark that even though we were standing next to each other, I could barely see his outline. We looked back into the display monitor and waited… and hoped for another sighting.

What happened next left us shocked and truly shaken. The ball of light returned from where it had travelled, and it was floating directly toward us! The hallway was at least 30 feet long, and the orb was moving slowly, but it was very definitely coming toward us.

When it was about 15-20 feet away, it stopped coming our direction and began to move side to side in the same slow, smooth and deliberate movement with which it had come down hallway. It moved back and forth for what seemed like forever and an instant at the same time. I’m sure it was attempting to send us a message.

Our tension was still building, but it was about to go into hyper-drive. The orb stopped pacing and began moving toward us again. Our skepticism was long gone, and you could tell from our voices that we were both in a mixed state of fear and excitement. I had no idea of what to expect. Something was coming closer, and we couldn’t see it unless we looked down at the display monitor, which made it even more frightening.

The orb was only a few feet away when it suddenly exploded into something that resembled a fireworks display – hundreds of orbs whirling around like a swarm of bees. Shawn and I were frozen as we watched the swarm of orbs gather speed and then collectively smash into each other in what appeared to be an attempt to form a larger and more recognizable form.

I can’t fully describe what I saw in a way that makes sense. I felt as though it was trying to show itself to us but was not able to muster the needed energy. Shawn reflects on the experience in much the same way, and although we were definitely freaked out, I don’t believe either of us ever felt threatened by whatever was there.

I can’t guarantee every ghost hunt will end the way mine did, but come to the Railroaders Memorial Museum on October 5th, and maybe you will take away a story of your own to share.

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