Sunday, January 22, 2012


It all started as a challenge from my beloved brother-in-law Ken Ernenwein, who balked at a picture I posted on Facebook showing what was said to be an orb. Taken at the Spirit Fair in Morrisville, N.Y. last October, the pic became the hit of the event as host Madis Senner saw it and called everyone in attendance over to take a look.

But then Ken posted that in reality it wasn't an orb at all.

I admit I don't know an orb from a knob; I just enjoyed Sammy and I suddenly becoming the highlight of the show, as well as Madis' own blog, also found at But Ken -- the head of Verona Paranormal Investigations -- intrigued me with an invitation to come out and see first-hand a live search for something otherworldly.

We met last November at Rutger Park in Utica to inspect two unoccupied and dilapidated buildings, one of which was formerly a nursing home. Joined by Marcus Zwierecki and Cano Davy, co-founders of New York State Paranormal Research, plus a handful of other volunteers, Sammy and I tagged along to watch as they set up video and sound recording equipment. Once the apparatus was in place, we all went silent as questions were posed to the attention of any ethereal presence that might be with us.

Ken checks the computerized audio and video recording equipment as he prepares for a question and answer session in one of the rooms at Rutger Park

Ken would introduce himself, then ask questions like, "Do you know today's date?" and "Who is the president of the United States? Do you know her name?" (That, he later explained, is asked purposely to arouse a response in any paranormal who might not be aware of the year it was.) I even got to ask a few questions myself. Although we constantly tried to maintain our quiet, occasionally we made a noise that was then explained aloud on the recording. Voices would come over the walkie-talkies every now and then and someone would announce, "radio chatter." Sam's shoe squeaked at one point, and she said, "That was my shoe squeaking." My stomach growled; I had to preserve for posterity the confession to that fact on the recording.

At the scene, the only real evidence we heard was captured by Cano's group in the nursing home building; when someone asked, "Do you need help?" a weak female voice could be faintly heard on the recording saying, "Help me."

Sammy inspects one of the old telephones in the building that used to be a nursing home.

Recording of video and audio went on in various rooms throughout the home for several hours, and then it was time for what Ken called his favorite part -- listening to all of that audio and watching all of the video at home looking for things that seemed out of place. Sammy and I got the chance to hear some of the results of that recording this past Saturday night, as Ken invited us over to hear some of the unexplainable instances they had captured that evening.

Several times in the videos we saw strange, small yet bright lights that were out of place given the location of their own lighting. At one point there was a weird triangular object that fluttered through the frame and then out, much like a fishing lure as it is cast. The audio was a bit more revealing, as at one point Ken asked, "Have you lived here long?" and a subtle murmur seemed to respond, "A long time." At another spot there seemed to be a chant, although we all heard different words. And then there was the response to Sammy's squeaking shoe -- we heard the squeak, heard her announce it was her shoe, and then suddenly a voice with the same character as before sounded like it said, "What the frick?" (Yes, frick.)

Ken, left, shows me and Sammy's friend Alisha some of the video he collected from our Rutger Park visit. Something is definitely going on over there!

I think that Sammy was a little disappointed that there wasn't a concrete, on-your-face ghost that came right out and said, "Hey, I'm here!" But I tried to explain that no matter what kind of high technological and high price equipment people have and whatever level of ability and experience they boast, contact with the paranormal is a fleeting experience at best. Those quick shadows passing by that disappear when you look for them could be a presence, and I will still always believe that the huge crash I heard one night as I drifted off to sleep -- which yielded no fallen object other than the wallet I had tried to find -- was a friend who passed away the day before helping me locate it.

I do believe in what Ken discovered. But the thing paramount on my mind after joining them is what to do with the information -- mainly as I think of a lost soul calling from the nether asking for help. How can I help? What possible use can I be to a spirit in need? And how does any of this information benefit either one of us?

There are definitely unexplained phenomenon in our world and beyond. If the day comes when Ken or someone like him discovers a link to it a world of new information will be opened for us. That in itself is reason for these guys to keep up their work. There is more to existence than simply what we see on our world with our eyes, and hopefully some day I'll live to see it.

Or maybe I'll die to see it. Whatever -- it's got to happen some day.