My wife and I recently moved to Fort Collins, Colorado from northern Indiana, where we had lived for the last fifteen years. In moving we had to leave behind many things, not the least of which were our friends and family, the jobs we worked, and the home that had previously sheltered no less than six generations of our family. But we also had to leave behind the local ghosts we had come to know and love over the years.
The Patton Cemetery in La Porte, Indiana Munchkinland in Eau Claire, Michigan were two of our favorites haunted locales to visit, with their restless spirits and ghost children, respectively. But now these haunted grounds and the ghosts that prowl them are over one thousand miles away from us and can only be revisited through photographs and memories. In many ways, leaving the ghosts of our past behind left a void in our lives as large as the void left by the absence of our friends and family. After only one short week in our new home we began wondering how long it would take us to encounter the ghosts of Colorado. At the time we had no way of knowing that the ghosts of the West would come looking for us.
My wife and fellow paranormal investigator, Becca, had just begun her new job as human resources manager for a company in Fort Collins when she started experiencing strange, unexplainable events occurring in and around her office. These were events that she immediately recognized as potentially being paranormal in origin. The door to her office started closing by itself with no rational explanation. In fact, upon inspection, she discovered that the door was weighted in such a way that caused the door to remain open until it was intentionally closed with a hefty push. She would also often hear the sounds of footfall in the hallway leading up to her office, but upon stepping into the hallway for a look, no one was there. When she mentioned these strange events to her coworkers they all got big smiles on their faces and told her, "Oh, that’s nothing to worry about. That’s just Otis coming to pay you a visit."
"Otis?" She asked, "Who the heck is Otis?"
As it turned out, according to her coworkers, "Otis" was the ghost of a custodian that had died in the building many years earlier while working the graveyard shift. Otis was believed to be a poltergeist due to his playful nature and the fact that he liked to move things around and make loud, jarring noises. The word poltergeist (German in origin) literally translates as "noisy ghost." Becca’s coworkers also informed her that all of the former female security guards that had been hired to watch over the building at night had quit their jobs mid-shift, vowing never to return due to the fact that the building was haunted. Becca was further informed that the company would no longer hire female security guards due to this very reason. Her boss later confirmed the information about the dead custodian and the female security guards as being accurate. Upon hearing news of this nearby haunting I asked my wife about the possibility of us being allowed inside the building after hours to perform a formal investigation. She replied that she had already made such an inquiry, and informed me that her supervisors were open to the idea. She also told me that her supervisors were intrigued by what evidence a team of professional ghost hunters might turn up. This was good news, but it also presented us with a serious problem—we were short half a team.
Another thing my wife and I had to leave behind when we moved from Indiana to the front range of Colorado were our good friends and fellow investigators Sam and Amber. Sam, Amber, Becca, and myself had formerly made up a team of paranormal investigators known as WISP (Witches in Search of the Paranormal). WISP had previously been involved in everything from investigating local hauntings in northern Indiana and Lower Michigan to the search for the ghost of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and pretty much everything in-between. We had even appeared in documentary films and on broadcast TV. The WISP team had spent many years together honing our metaphysical, scientific, and deductive skills as they pertain to ghost hunting and otherworldly entities. But now a great distance separated two of the four members of WISP and performing investigations on a regular basis would be all but impossible. So, for the time being at least, the dearly departed Otis has little to fear from us.
Sure, Becca and I could hunt for the ghost of Otis on our own, and in the end it may very well come down to us doing just that. But we learned a very long time ago that a group of ghost hunters consisting of four or more members stands a much better chance of conducting a thorough investigation that yields good and useful evidence than one or two individuals can muster on their own. But for WISP, finding new local members to fill the roster presents an entirely different set of problems than most ghost hunting teams typically face. WISP incorporates many scientific approaches to collect and examine evidence of paranormal activity, but we also incorporate various advanced metaphysical approaches in our investigative techniques. Finding new members that possess extensive experience in advanced metaphysics (i.e. Witchcraft) and modern scientific ghost hunting techniques could prove both exhaustive and time consuming. So for the meantime, at least, it appears that my wife and I will be spending a good deal of our free time and investigative skills hunting for new team members rather than ghosts. But this delay also opens up the opportunity for us to learn more about the restless spirits and haunted history of the town in which we now live. Halloween is fast approaching, and after doing an extensive Google search we discovered that Fort Collins has no shortage of local legends, ghost tours, and graveyard walks to study and participate in. Chances are your own city or town offers similar events. If you’re interested in ghosts and the paranormal, similar events happening in your neck of the woods might be an excellent opportunity for you to have a bit of fun and learn about local ghosts and hauntings. You might even meet some like-minded people and start up your own ghost-hunting group. You never know. Stranger things have happened. Just ask Otis!
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