Albert Lea High School Newspaper
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Ghost Hunting with Claire Jones

December 8, 2016

Part 1: Who You Gonna Call?

When I was a child, I experienced things that were hard for me to explain. To this day I still can’t say entirely what it is I saw. Part of me felt like it was my wild imagination turning stresses I had into apparitions. The other side of me felt like it could be something more.
I’ve never been an extremely superstitious person and at that age everything looked like something scary in the dark. My memory isn’t exactly clear when I try to recall, but the feelings of fear and dread never fails to bubble inside my chest.
The worst was this man I saw when I was half asleep. I would be in these weird states where I wasn’t fully awake, but I wasn’t fully asleep either. My home looked weird and it seemed like everything was out of proportion. My mom said I’d mumble about everything being too big or too small.
One figure seemed to show up every time I was in this state. As a kid I’d call him the gas mask man. He was in a jumpsuit and had on this gas mask. The thing that creeped me out the most was the fact that he always stayed in the shadows, except for one time. There was one night when he kept appearing and disappearing and every time he showed up, he’d be closer to me.
The other person I’d see was a woman, but I was never afraid of her. I remember her wearing a long dress and a bonnet and her hands always held in front of her. She would walk up and down my hallway at night, like she was visiting people in different rooms.
When I was older and moved out of that home, I found out that a woman had passed away there. She had died of cancer in the back bedroom on the main floor and for some reason that room was always cold. Again, the logical part of my brain is saying I imagined it up as a comforting figure to help me sleep at night. That what I saw was manifestation of childhood stress and anxiety.
I wasn’t the only person who felt odd in that house. My brother later confessed to me that he had seen figures in his room. He would also sleepwalk and mumble about odd things like not liking my mom’s pancakes or asking where the chips were. My mom told me that she always thought these things were our imagination and kind of wrote it off as weird little quirks. Looking back, she realized my brother and I had odd behavior. We’d sleep in the same room, long after we had gotten to the stage of “hating” each other. No matter how much we fought during the day, we’d always end up sleeping on each other’s floors.
When we finally moved out, everything stopped. I no longer had night terrors and my brother didn’t sleepwalk anymore. Neither of us saw anything. It was a clean start, not only for my brother and I, but our entire family. It seems that as soon as we moved, our family dynamic
became stronger and closer.
All of these things left my family and I curious, but we had no idea how to go about figuring out what it all might mean. Then this past August, my mom and I, along with a few friends, went on a haunted trolley tour in Rochester, MN. We figured it would be this fun little thing to do and see all the supposedly haunted places around Rochester.
At one point of the tour, we actually got to investigate the Plumber house. In a moment of courage, my mom and I decided to join the group investigating in the basement. The Plumber house is a mansion and the basement expanded into two separate hallways that ran the expanse of the house. We ended up in a room toward the end of the left hallway when the meter started going crazy. The guide we were with, Nick, instantly took out a spirit box and tried to communicate. I can’t explain how, but voices were coming through and having actual conversations with us. That moment alone made me want to take the tour again!
The tour guide was Nancy Horvath, but she preferred to go by Hawk. She’s a former minister and currently works as a psychic medium and paranormal investigator. During the tour she mentioned paranormal investigating classes she taught at Rochester Community Education. After the fun we had on the tour, my mother and I decided to try out the classes.
So far we’ve attended Ghost Hunting 101, the first of three classes. It mostly went over equipment, like digital recorders and ghost boxes. We also went over different kinds of hauntings. There’s things like residual hauntings that are just energies attached to objects. Then for the second part of the class she showed us footage and audios she’d taken while on investigations. My mom and I signed up for Ghost Hunting 201 as soon as we got home.
Even if you’re not interested in paranormal investigation, the stories Hawk tells in class are absolutely unbelievable. No regrets here. Look in future Ahlahasa’s for more as I progress through Hawk’s classes.
If you’re interested in haunted tours, I also suggest the ghost tours in Sleepy Eye, MN. You all hop on this overly decorated bus and travel to different locations while the guide gives background stories on the area. The tours in Sleepy Eye run year round and you can RSVP on their Facebook page. The Rochester Trolley tours aren’t year round so time is running out! Make sure to hop on one if you’re interested!

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Part 2: I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

I’ve attended Ghost Hunting 201 now and it put Ghost Hunting 101 to shame. GH201 left little to the imagination and threw all the terrifying details right in my face.
Even in the description, GH201 stated that the darker and dangerous side of investigating would be introduced. The honest truth is, my attention wasn’t lost for a second the whole time I was there. Nancy (Hawk) Horvath, a psychic medium and paranormal investigator, shared her personal experiences with us along with some audio clips and footage.
Hawk explained to us that she has been experiencing spirits, good and bad, since she was a little girl. She admitted that she also believed in angels and demons, telling us she had seen what she believes to be an angel when she was a child. She described it as a big ball of glowing light, almost ethereal. Hawk described the moment as not being long, but definitely touching.
Then she delved into the dark side of her job. Hawk has always been passive when it comes to investigating and never tries to provoke and anger spirits. So when she senses something dark in the area they’re in, and she quickly removes her team from the situation. She talked about a graveyard they went to, refusing to reveal the location, and after ten minutes, the team had to leave. She also refused to talk about the uneasiness she felt. Hawk said that several times she’s tried to go back there, but every single time they had to leave rather quickly.
The end of the night was spent watching video and reviewing audio taken during some investigations. The audio was the most chilling. Voices taken ranged from a small child saying “goodnight” to a deep gravelly voice saying “Nancy” menacingly. Some were sweet and playful, while others were hate-filled voices wanting them to leave.
Despite some of the more frightening things I witnessed secondhand during class, I’m excited to go on an overnight investigation. Catch an Ahlahasa in February to hear about GH301 when I investigate the Mantorville Opera house.

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