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.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mike.

    Thanks for the outstanding article on our Rutger Mansions investigation. Cano, Marcus and his team also send you a big thumb up! For those who don’t know what Mike had photographed was what we call Environmental Contamination (EC). EC is a really cool word I invented to describe the junk that floats around in the environment totally invisible to our eyes, be it in a physical form or as audio noise. The most common examples of this would be dust, pollen, moisture, rain, snow, breath, bugs, hair, noise pollution etc. And unfortunately a huge ever growing “Urban Legend” is growing up around this common photographic effect.

    To understand exactly what I’m talking about some evening take a real bright flash light (million candle watt), or your digital camera, swish about your home and kick up the environs, the effect is much better with carpeting. Then switch off the lights and go around with the flashlight or “holding out” the camera away from your body and fire off some shots. Pay close attention to what appears for that brief instant within in the flash field or floats gently by the flashlight. EC! Watch some of the television shows that use extremely bright back lighting (especially the CSI shows) and what you will witness is EC floating about the actors!
    Now take your camera outside (all seasons) and conduct the same “hold out” experiments during the rain, snow, fog or on spring or summer evening. You will find that the environ we exist in is literally filled with tons of floating debris INVISBLE to our eye, but not to the split second flash of a camera. And this does not factor in the EC created from insects!

    I like to put it this way: If the orbs being photographed and posted to the internet by fellow paranormal investigators or by the public at large are true photographic evidence of ghosts or spirit energy, then there is no point in trying to prove or disprove their existence, plus it would render all the “ghost hunting” television shows and what VPI does as a complete waste of time and money

    Team VPI has taken literally thousands of photos during our 3 year existence and so far only one photograph actually “fits the description of a true orb”. And with those odds maybe I should start play Lotto?!

    For a more technical break down of what I’m talking about visit

    If you wish to contact us or visit our web pages -

    VPI:, e-mail us at or on Facebook

    NYSPR: or on Facebook.

    Ken E., Founder
    Verona Paranormal Investigations