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All of the photos in the Investigation Album are captured from the video we taped during the actual investigation. They aren't of as high a quality as the images taken with our film and digital cameras and larger versions of them are not available, but they give a good feel for what it was like to be there.

While seeking permission to investigate the northland farmhouse, we learned the house was being demolished within a week. We were able to get permission to investigate from the demolition company, and we pulled together this investigation just a few days before the scheduled demolition.

Mike Cross, Chris Stevens, and I went to the house on 12-2-2005. We taped 43 minutes of audio tape, over an hour of video, took around 20 photos with a traditional film camera, and took around 30 digital photos.
Our first task upon arriving at the farmhouse was to do a safety walk-through and make sure we were aware of any dangers in the house. Our first priority should always be safety, and with the farmhouse slated for demolition we weren't sure of how solid the floors would be, etc.

Before we went in, Mike and I checked over our gear and loaded ourselves down with cameras, flashlights, extra batteries, and our video camera. Due to the pending demolition, we had not had time to secure an electromagnetic field detector.
I think Mike and I were both surprised at just how filthy and wrecked the interior of the farmhouse was. We knew it was to be torn down, I just think neither of us expected it to be as bad as it was inside. There was ruined furniture, dirty clothing, papers, and garbage of every type all over the floors.

Our first time through we video-taped as we went, checking floors for weak spots and looking for any hazards we might run into during our investigation. We also talked about the various rooms, and the reports of paranormal activity we had for some of them.
The kitchen was so ruined and dirty that we spent very little time there. We did not have reports of paranormal activity in the kitchen...and it just wasn't worth spending time in that environment.

It was a little frustrating knowing we had one shot at the house, and then it would be gone. We had around four hours to gather some evidence and document the farmhouse...and then our window of opportunity would be closed by a wrecking ball. We were well aware that it is difficult to gather hard evidence of a haunting in just four hours, but we were resolved o use the time we did have.
The entire ceiling in the SW bedroom had been removed, and a crude but stable set of stairs had been built up to the unusable and unfinished attic space. The lack of a ceiling in the room allowed bright light to spill in from the small attic window.

Our investigation was during the afternoon. It would have been interesting to be there at night, but that was not covered in the permission we had received to be there. Its important to your credibility and reputation as an investigator that you keep your word and follow agreements you've made with property owners and property trustees.
Mike comes at investigations as an open-minded skeptic, examining every report and piece of potential evidence with an objective eye. Our goal is to follow protocols and a methodology that ensures that any evidence we gather is credible and untainted.

If there is a natural explanation for an event or happening, then we presume the natural explanation is the most likely one. For an event or happening to be considered paranormal...all natural explanations must be examined and excluded first. That's a proper approach to paranormal research.
The painted wooden steps leading to the basement were extremely steep. I think its fair to say that most people have some level of anxiety about basements, and the age and dampness of the farmhouse's basement gave it a particularly oppressive atmosphere when I was a kid living in the house. For me, that atmosphere was still there.

In the basement laundry room of the farmhouse, there were three-closets-full of clothing piled on the floor, damp and filthy from being on the cement floor. The walls were painted roughly with zebra stripes.
For me, opening this door into the main basement area was a difficult thing on an emotional level. Though I never experienced anything paranormal in the basement while living in the farmhouse, the basement always inspired terror in me.

Interestingly enough, once through the door and into the main basement area, that fear went completely away. Something about being there to investigate really takes a lot of the anxiety away. Its as if you are in complete control and focused on the task at hand, and there's really no room for fear.
In the picture, I'm pointing to the crawlspace in the basement under the bathroom.

I found it unbelievable the number of "orbs" I caught on video throughout the investigation...and in almost every part of the house. This room of the basement was one of those locations. After examining the video thoroughly, its clear that the "orbs" are dust orbs. They are simply particles of dust floating in the air within a foot or so of the lens, brightly lit by either the camera-mounted light or the night-scope IR beam. Check out the Orb Photos and Orb Video sections of this investigation.
After checking every area of the house, Mike and I concluded that the house was safe to continue the investigation. The biggest danger of injury was falling over trash or pieces of furniture, as the building itself appeared structurally sound.

With our safety check done, it was time to begin the investigation itself. Without an electromagnetic field detector, we decided to focus our efforts on areas of the house where the most paranormal activity had been reported by past residents of the farmhouse. So we turned our attention to the SW bedroom, the NW bedroom, and the living room.
In the SW bedroom I used an analog audio tape recorder in an attempt to collect electronic voice phenomenon (EVPs). The idea is to ask questions of any unseen spirits that may be present, and give them the opportunity to answer. Any paranormal answers are not heard at the time of taping, but become apparent upon listening to the tape.

There are many precautions that are necessary to ensure that any EVPs you gather are actually something paranormal, and not just distorted foot shuffling or someone's stomach growling. An external microphone is a must-have, for instance.
During EVP work, we frequently heard what sounded like tapped responses. We set about looking for a natural explanation...and we found there were trees in close proximity to the house tapping on the outside walls. There were times that the naturally-caused tapping even seemed to answer our questions...but this was not consistent and was due to coincidence.

There was enough natural tapping, that even if a ghost or spirit had been tapping entire messages to us, we would never have been able to distinguish between the natural and the paranormal.
We began doing EVP work in the NW bedroom, with Mike using the audio recorder while I was video taping in the dark using the night-shot setting. There were so many bright and glowing dust orbs, that I actually said outloud, "Man that's cool!" See the Orb Videos section of the investigation report for more details.

You can actually see the orb in this still picture. Its located in the area of his left elbow above the #2 in the date-stamp. I wish these orbs were something paranormal, but dust is dust...
Besides standing very still and asking questions in an attempt to capture EVPs on audio tape, we also walked through the house talking about each room while we recorded to audio tape. This is not as scientific a way to gather them, because its harder to exclude natural causes for odd sounds or voices. But, keeping that limitation in mind we decided to go ahead and see what would happen.

Having listened to all the audio tapes, nothing usual has been heard to so far. We intend to do further analysis on the audio to ensure we didn't miss anything.
We will also be up-grading our external microphone prior to our next investigation, to ensure we have the best equipment at work for us in the field. We plan on getting a digital camcorder in the next few months as well. We were happy with our analog camcorder on this investigation, but the conversion process to digital could be avoided by recording in digital in the first place.

During the entire investigation is was around 27 degrees within the farmhouse. Though we were shielded from the wind, it was a cold and difficult to operate all the little buttons on the equipment.
Chris and Mike were geared up and ready to head for the basement. Though we only had one paranormal experience reported in the basement, it has an interesting atmosphere or feeling to it. We felt we should take some more photos and video down there, and do some EVP work as well.

Throughout the investigation, nothing unusual occurred in the basement and none of the photos, video, or audio we gathered there showed anything of interest...showing that "interesting atmosphere" does not equal evidence of a haunting!
What do you see in the darkness of the crawlspace?

This is an excellent example of where you can go wrong on an investigation if you don't take note of your environment. When I was back at home reviewing the video tape, this looked like eyes staring out at me from the inky blackness of the basement crawlspace. But during the investigation I had made a note that there were holes in the back wall of the crawlspace letting in light. But, its funny how the human mind takes two spots of light, and turns them into something else altogether.
Please explore the rest of the sections of this investigation report. We have details on the background & history of the site, the rooms and a gallery of all the photos we took in each room, a description of all the equipment we used and our investigation methodology, and a thorough analysis of all the evidence we gathered at the farmhouse and anything strange that happened to us there.

Our goal at Ghost Vigil is to bring a professional mind-set to paranormal investigation, and a comprehensive approach to how we report our findings.
We all went back to the SW bedroom, and here Chris is trying to figure out why a prior owner or resident had torn the entire ceiling out and built a stairway up into the attic with a low ceiling. The whole thing was clearly an unfinished project and seemed pointless, as the attic was basically unusable for anything except perhaps a small loft. But its impossible to know what they were thinking.

It was intriguing enough that we probably spent 20 minutes of the investigation examining and talking about the state of this room, though it had nothing to do with the paranormal.
In the NW bedroom, Chris reported having his head touched by something unseen. When I responded to the room a few minutes later, I also felt something touch the crown of my head. For the full details and analysis on that incident, visit the Strange Events section of this investigation report.

This graffiti in that same bedroom was the only graffiti of this nature in the farmhouse. It was drawn on the wall with black permanent marker. Its an odd image, and I think all of us found it somewhat unsettling to look at.
As our investigation was wrapping up, I did a final walk through with the video camera. I said aloud that we were leaving, and that the next people to arrive would be there to tear it down. I then said I hoped any spirits that were present had given us something to prove their existence on the images or audio we had this was their last chance.

Upon reviewing the video tape later, I noticed something in the glass next to the reflection of my face that looks like a 2nd face being reflected. See the Face in the Glass section of this investigation report for more details.

Check out the sections of this investigation report listed under the category of "Analysis" for detailed discussions and analysis of the evidence we gathered during this investigation...

-Mark Stinson

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