The Haunted Home of Carlisle, PA
    People often ask how we approach the investigation of paranormal activity in an occupied home. The following describes a typical  investigation in a house that is really at the upper end of the scale as far as activity is concerned.

    Carlisle, PA may not hold the significance of Gettysburg or Philadelphia, but it is typical of the rich history found throughout Pennsylvania. Heroine Molly Pitcher is buried there, famed athlete Jim Thorpe honed his skills at the Carlisle Indian School and General Richard Ewell's Corps occupied the town until learning that R.E. Lee was engaged with the Federal Army only about 20 miles south. It's the home of Dickinson College & Law School, the Army Barricks & War College (Both of which have seen numerous reports of activity) and the fairgrounds plays host to several notable events for Auto Enthusiasts each year.  Naturally, in a town with this much history, one can expect to find numerous haunted sites, and Carlisle has its share. 

    One such place is a charming home on Hanover Street that dates to the 1700's.The owners of this home met two of our Capital Ghost Forum members at an antiques shop, and were pleased to discover there is a local paranormal interest group. They attended a meeting, and approached Kelly afterwards, requesting that we visit their very active house.  As often happens, the people are anxious to relate every detail of their experiences, but Kelly asks not to hear them, as she wants to approach the investigation without any preconceived notions.

    When we finally arrive at the home, she asks to be given a general tour, without any mention of "what happened where".  Kelly then asks that the residents either wait outside or all stay in the same room, and begins her "Walk-Through", recording first-impression observations on an audio recorder. Sometimes I accompany her, getting this initial procedure on video; in certain cases, she prefers to do this alone, while I discuss what we're doing with the residents.  On the ground floor of the Carlisle home, Kelly immediately got the impression of a young girl in pigtails who's dress and attitude was that of a "tomboy" - she showed dislike for the many dolls which decorated parts of the home! The spirit mentioned she liked to re-arrange things in a large doll house and also commented on Kelly's "Strange" (as in from 2001) hairdo! Though her given name is Emily, the little tomboy spirit prefers to be called "Em". Sadly, little "Em" died at 13 when struck by a sickle in a farming accident in what was once open fields behind the home.

    Upstairs, on the 3rd floor she felt the presence of 2 other children, both male - they didn't come through as clearly as the girl on the first floor,but were indeed playful!  Why are certain spirits more intense than others? A likely explanation is that one's personality traits are retained on the "other side".  "Em" is very opinionated and outgoing, moving all throughout the house, whereas those upstairs have their fun, but pretty much keep to themselves and their "space".

    The basement is a fascinating place - here, one can clearly see examples of construction which trace the home's modest 18th century origins through 2 later expansions which make it quite a large dwelling.  However, it is also a frightening place for Kelly - she did not stay long, as she feels a lot of negative energy there.  It's a place of refuge for the brooding spirit of "Em's" father -- after accidently causing the little girl's death, he often sought solace alone in the basement.  His wife may share this gloomy space. In situations like this she is very vulnerable and must "tune out", thus she is uncertain if it is actually a singular spirit entity, or just residual energy.  (Stone foundations, such as found in this home are virtual recording devices for what may be centuries of human emotion).

    Once all areas of the house have been covered, if she will then take me to areas where she felt the most activity. (Unless I have accompanied her on the initial "walk-through")  This is when I use the thermal scanner to first establish ambient temperature in the room or area, then check for substantial drops, always making certain a "natural" source (vent, draft from window, etc) is not the cause.  I will also use the EMF (Electro-Magnetic Field) Detector to check for any variations.  This can be tricky in occupied dwellings due to electrical sources, unless one has one of the more expensive, precise devices. Digital photos are also taken, and the video camera, using the Infa-Red "Night Shot" feature, will be set up on

    a tripod to record in certain "hot spots". (When video is finally reviewed, close attention is paid to the audio, as EVP can often be captured on the tape.)

    The next step is for Kelly to share her observations with the owners.  She will play her recorded comments, adding further interpretation, and let the living occupants share theirs.  In this house, this interchange was very lively! When she explained the major presence of the "tomboy" ghost hating

    the numerous dolls on display and the doll house itself, the female owner confirmed that her dolls were often re-arranged, as was the contents of the large doll house in the adjoining room.  A bit later, we hear a noise from this room and went to investigate - tiny dolls and miniature furniture had been knocked down throughout the doll house!  As we've been involved with this for several years now, it doesn't really surprise us -- nor the owners, who have had experiences just about daily since moving in a few months ago.

    After returning to the living room to hear further stories, something told me to return (yes, I'm learning to use my intuition - Kelly is a good teacher!) to the doll house to take more photos, and captured the vortex pic which accompanies this article.  Thank you, Em!

    Other "Evidence":  The camcorder had been setup on the tripod in the darkened stairway leading to the 3rd floor (results here later proved negligible) and Kelly suggested filing in the 3rd floor room where she felt the strong presence of the male children.  Often, when she is present, the

    spirits are more likely to interact, with still and video anomalies being captured.  In this case, a hazy yet extremely bright form was captured moving across the bed.  This anomaly, probably due to its proximity, disrupted the autofocus feature of the camcorder.  The electro-magnetic composition of spirit entities frequently causes this to happen.  Several weeks later, the owners asked us to again visit the house, this time, orbs were filmed -- in natural light -- moving about the living room where we were gathered discussing the latest events.  One in particular made a spectacular 360 degree turn around the outside of the chandelier before drifting artfully out of the frame -- dust particles do not do that!  (I had
    just turned the camera to the chandelier when the owners started explaining how it would slowly begin a swaying motion)  The owners too have captured several anomalies, using 35mm cameras and a camcorder. They also have photos of the home's exterior that show what (to some) appear to be images of faces in the windows.

    Interaction:  Along with "Em" re-arranging the dolls and doll house she detests greatly, there has been other interaction with the residents.  They have felt touched on numerous occasions, and many objects throughout the house, from small items, to pillows, to an entire dresser have been moved - some to different floors!  As is common in haunted homes, the animals -- in this case dogs -- are very aware of the spirits present: they are often barking at things unseen. (Kelly says "Em" likes the dogs a lot!)  Loud noises -- such as the ruckus of a group of children running about -- have been heard upstairs, as have voices.  The residents have also spoken with the prior owner, an older woman who admitted she constantly saw and heard strange things, but thought she "was going crazy"! I even had a personal encounter with whom I suspect was the playful "Em":  The night of our first visit, I had to relieve myself, and was directed to a small first-floor bathroom adjacent to the kitchen.  The door opened and shut easily without any hesitation when I went in.  However, when I tried to leave, I found it literally unmovable!  I carefully checked to see if I had inadvertently locked myself in, but found that was impossible.  Then, upon trying it again, it opened as easily as it did the first time!  Clearly, "Em" is the "Little Dickens" that Kelly describes!

    This is certainly one of the more active residences we've investigated; since the owners first moved in late in 2000, paranormal activity has been steady.  They are planning to research its long history; perhaps this can identify the family which, since the days when the house was surrounded by

    open fields, still calls it "home".

    | Photographs and above text: Copyright 2002, The Weavers, All Rights Reserved. |

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