The Party House-Iowa City, IA 9.17.2016

The Claims

  • The sound of music playing, day and night, sometimes so loud it wakes up the clients at night.
  • Fans and lamps being knocked over
  • Knocking sounds on doors, walls, and windows
  • Voices—primarily one male and one female, typically arguing

The Investigation

I hadn’t slept well on the Friday night before our Saturday night investigation. I’m not sure if it was due to excitement, nerves, or a cat who thinks he won’t survive the night without drinks from the faucet every few hours (but that’s a story for a different blog). I woke up Saturday morning excited for the investigation, but also seriously concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep myself awake during the quieter moments of the evening, or that I would make silly mistakes out of exhaustion.

My concerns evaporated as I arrived at the apartment of our client, Cindy. I was greeted with a surprisingly upbeat and energetic atmosphere for a suspected haunted location. I didn’t know it at the time, but that energy—that charge in the air—would remain prevalent through the night. The building was an interesting shape—made up of three separate apartments. Cindy’s apartment was the biggest of the three and was on the ground floor. There was also a back apartment that consisted of just 3 rooms that was vacant, and Cindy’s daughter Marissa’s apartment that sat above the vacant apartment and partially over Cindy’s.

Susan and Scott had arrived before me and were chatting with Cindy and her daughter Marissa. Cindy gave me a hug right off the bat as she ushered me inside and to a seat on the couch next to Marissa. “Come on in! We’re huggers. Make yourself at home!” I remember her saying, a wide and welcoming smile on her face.

I was expecting the order of operations to go down like they had at my first investigation with CRPI in Davenport, but Scott told me we’d be changing things up a bit for two reasons: 1. Susan had gone along with Scott for the initial interview, so she had already done a house walk, and 2. Cindy and Marissa’s main claim of activity had happened during Scott’s initial interview with them. So I would be finding out about the main claim first, then taking my house walk.

Cindy and Marissa explained that they hear music playing—day and night, sometimes only loud enough to pick up the baseline, but sometimes so loud they would be woken up at night. The strange part was, it seemed to come from the ceiling of Cindy’s bedroom, but there was no apartment or attic space over her room, or any way the sound was carrying from outside or from Marissa’s apartment.

As we were discussing this claim, Cindy stopped mid-sentence, pointed to her bedroom and said, “There! Do you hear it? I TOLD you I’m not crazy!”

We got up and clustered around the foot of her bed where, sure enough, we could distinctly hear the faint sound of a baseline emanating inexplicably out of the ceiling.

We immediately checked outside for any neighbors who may have been blasting music, but all was quiet. The sound was still audible upon coming back inside, ruling out a passing vehicle.

At that point, I did my walk-through while Scott, Susan, Cindy, and Marissa sat quietly in the living room. I started in the entry way and moved into the living room. From there, into Cindy’s bedroom where the sound of music had ceased. A wave of tingles (my sixth-sense feeling) kicked in a bit there, though I had to discount it, since I was already aware that activity took place there. I wandered down the short hallway and into a spare room that was used as a storage room. More tingles here. Lots of them. And…the sound of voices!

“Um…” I said to the recorder, half laughing, not wanting to believe my ears. “I can hear talking in here. But…” I listened hard, trying to make out the words. “ I think Marissa’s apartment is above this room, so I’m thinking there’s a TV on that’s bleeding through.”

A door at the back of the room drew my attention. It was blocked from use by some storage tubs and a vacuum, so I figured it was probably a closet…but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something…someone…back there.

Lastly, I ventured into the kitchen where a small prickle of tingles washed over me, but nothing strong enough to make me believe much activity took place there. I rejoined the others in the living room after that to discuss my walkthrough and the clients’ other claims.

It turned out that Marissa had, in fact, left the TV on in her upstairs apartment for her and her mom’s dogs. So the voices I had heard were officially debunked. It turned out that voices were sometimes heard from that spare room, though, when there was no way to debunk them—no one outside, no TV on, no explanation at all. Typically, the voices were that of a man and a woman, and frequently sounded like arguing, though the words could never be made out. Fans and lamps around the apartment had also been knocked over on a few occasions with no way for the dogs to have done it. And finally, but less frequently, the sound of knocking on doors and windows when nobody was around to knock.

The door that had drawn my attention in the spare room actually led to a very small back apartment.

The building itself had once been a bait shop that was converted into the trio of apartments sometime in the 70’s, hence it’s rather unusual outward appearance. The bait shop had been run and owned by a man named Buck, who had lived in the back apartment. Buck had actually died back there—the death ruled an accidental hanging or potential murder by hanging.

After Buck’s unfortunate passing, however it had actually happened, the bait shop was converted into apartments. For a while, the main apartment (Cindy’s), had been rented by people who primarily used it as a party house. There was still writing on some of the walls from those days. Eventually, the partiers moved out and Cindy and Marissa moved in. They had been there in the main apartment ever since (about 11 years), Marissa eventually moving into the upstairs apartment.

It’s our understanding that Buck’s place had remained abandoned and completely locked up since his death. The landlord had ensured both that there was no way anyone could be accessing the back apartment and that the power had been cut to that apartment after Cindy’s initial complaints about the music and voices. The front door to the apartment was literally nailed/screwed shut. And no one had stepped foot back there in 5-7 years. But we would definitely be headed back there later in the evening.

Cindy and Marissa departed for Marissa’s apartment for the duration of our investigation, and we set about unpacking our gear and establishing our plan of attack. Though the majority of the claims in this particular location were audible and not visual, we would still be setting up our four infrared static cameras. You just never know what might be caught in the infrared or ultraviolet spectrum of light that the human eye can’t see.

One camera would sit facing the living room. One set up facing Cindy’s bed with a view of the majority of her bedroom. The third would sit in the spare room facing the door that connected Cindy’s apartment to Buck’s. And the fourth would go in the kitchen where we hoped to perform some trigger-object experiments later in the evening.

We also set up a full spectrum digital camera in Buck’s apartment (after prying open the door and applying face masks to keep from inhaling 5-7 years’ worth of untouched dust). In view of the camera was a REM pod, which would detect any interference within in its Electromagnetic field with a flash of lights and the sound of an alarm. I believe we also had an energy rod and a shadow detector in there as well, both in view of the camera. Last but not least, we set up a trail-cam (a camera that would take a series of photos if it detected movement in its field of view). It was a lot of equipment for a 3-room apartment. But we thought that Buck just might still be back there, responsible for some of the activity experienced by Cindy and Marissa, and might have something to tell us or show us.

We performed a Sit-And-Listen for about 45-50 minutes once we had all of our equipment up and running to acclimate to the normal house noises and see if our stillness/silence confused any entities that may be there enough to try to communicate with us. After that, we did a few solo EVP sessions in the bedroom (Susan and Scott) and in the spare room (me), but really didn’t have many experiences. We were hoping that our voice recorders and/or some of our cameras were at least able to pick up some activity though we, ourselves, weren’t experiencing anything yet.

As I’ve said before, timelines tend to run together when you’re running on little sleep, adrenaline, and a fair amount of caffeine. So I don’t remember in exactly what order we did our experiments. I will talk about the things we did room-by-room instead.

The Bedroom-

  • We performed few EVP sessions throughout the night where we attempted to make contact with Buck and/or any of the partiers that seemed to cause so much noise.
  • We set up Scooby (our EMF-sensing stuffed dog) to see if we could get anyone to interact with him. He looks pretty realistic, so the hope is always that an entity may think he’s a real dog and want to pet him. But we received no “hits” from Scooby.
  • My personal favorite experiment was when we set up a laser grid pen (think of a laser pointer, but with a few thousand dots instead of just the one). This device is used to see if, when space is mapped in a grid with the help of lasers, we are able to see an entity moving across the laser grid plane. The idea is that an entity may still bend the laser lights as it moves across the field, so an investigator would suddenly see an offset of lights in the form of a human. While THAT didn’t happen for us, what did is equally as interesting in my mind. All three of us were sitting in the living room running a separate experiment, when all of a sudden I noticed the laser lights dimming in the bedroom. I thought, “aw man, our pen is dying already,” but then they began getting brighter again. I immediately pointed this out, as all three of us watched as the lights again dimmed and brightened back up. I think this lasted 30 seconds to a minute before Scott finally got up to check on the pen. The interesting thing about this occurrence is that fading/brightening like it was doing is not a setting on the pen. It’s on, or it’s off. There’s no brightness adjuster or anything. And batteries dying would not cause this to happen either—the lights would simply fade into darkness and not come back on. This made me back to the time the house had been a party house. DJ lights are a big part of partying, right? So maybe an entity was manipulating the device to react the way party lights would. With so many pin-pricks of laser light, it did kind of feel like a party-like event taking place. Odd coincidence? You can call it that, if you’d like, but I personally don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the paranormal. We couldn’t come up with any logical explanation for why this would have happened or how it could have happened.

The Spare Room-

  • A few EVP sessions were performed in this room, too—attempting to contact Buck (who’s apartment had once upon a time been accessible through this room), or the male and female entities responsible for the conversation and argument sounds that had been heard by Cindy and Marissa in the past.
  • We also either had a K2 Meter or a Energy Rod in the room in view of the camera, as well, but we didn’t receive hits on either pieces of equipment during the night.

The Kitchen-

  • Though there were no real claims of activity in the kitchen, Susan was drawn to that room in particular by her sixth-sense feeling, so we decided to set up a trigger object experiment there. We set up an old beer can on our trigger pan (metal pan that connects to a device called a Trigger Object Proximity Sensor (T.O.P.S) that will sound an alarm and light up if anything with a static charge touches or comes close. We were hoping any spirit from the party-house days may be interested in a drink. Unfortunately, we did not have any hits on that device.

Buck’s Apartment-

  • We went into Buck’s apartment on a few different occasions throughout the night, mainly performing EVP sessions since we couldn’t spend much time back there due to the dust and muck in the air making it difficult to breathe, even with face masks. As mentioned earlier, we had a whole host of equipment in there as well.
  • Early in the evening, we had set up a motion detector in the back apartment that fed to a receiver back in Cindy’s main apartment that would alarm if the detector sensed anything. When we turned the receiver on, the alarm began going off almost immediately in short bursts—as if something was pacing in and out of its view. We literally couldn’t believe our ears, so after a few minutes of discussing the best course of action, we decided to go back into the apartment and swap out the batteries on the device. Sure enough, once the batteries were swapped out with brand new ones, the alarm stopped. We debunked the alarming as a dying battery.
  • We also conducted a Paranormal Puck experiment. The Puck is a device that monitors EMF, temperature, humidity, light levels, barometric pressure, movement, and ionization/static levels in the vicinity and can also be used as a communication device when paired with a tablet, allowing for a sort of Paranormal Chat-room. Essentially, you type questions into the tablet on your end and the puck communicates this out in its area. It then measures any changes in the environment that may symbolize that something is trying to communicate back and sends out a few words in response based on these changes. The idea is that an entity can learn to manipulate the device to respond with intelligent answers. While we didn’t have an intelligent conversation with anything in the room, we were able to monitor real-time changes in the energy levels within Buck’s apartment. This was while all three of us were sitting in Cindy’s living room, so there was absolutely no reason for energy levels in Buck’s apartment to change. We were even able to get them to change on command on a couple occasions by asking any entity within the room to come closer to the device.

The Living Room-

  • This is where we chilled out for most of the night between experiments or while others were running solo or duo experiments in other areas of the apartment. We did a couple general EVP sessions in there, too, that included the use of one of the Ovilus devices we have.
  • At one point, Scott was in Buck’s apartment running a Solo EVP session while Susan and I were in the living room running our own EVP session. There was no way for Scott to hear us, or vice versa unless he was outside on his way back into Cindy’s apartment. We asked questions for about fifteen minutes with no audible responses, and then we both fell silent for a couple minutes. All of a sudden, I heard a male voice speak maybe four or five syllables out of the back of Cindy’s bedroom. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped, but I refrained from speaking, wondering if Susan had heard it and would say something. Sure enough a few seconds later, Susan turns to me and asks, “Did you hear that?” “Yeah,” I responded softly. “A…like a male voice?” “Yeah,” Susan confirmed. We thought maybe Scott was on his way back into the apartment, but it was another 5 or 10 minutes until he came back in. We decided that the tonality was too deep to be Scott—too gruff as well, but neither one of us had any idea what had been said. Though Susan and I had both clearly heard the voice with our own ears, my recorder was not able to pick it up. This is unusual—the recorders we use are sensitive enough to pick up sound from a good distance away and/or sensitive enough to make something as little as a stomach growl or throat-gurgle sound like some sort of weird demon voice (we always tag these moments so we know we, in fact, were not growled at by some unseen entity). So the fact that a voice we had both heard had gone unrecorded was highly unusual. This ends up being a personal experience, though, since we have no documented proof of the voice. A story, basically, but one we can’t ultimately prove to be paranormal.

The Evidence

Like the Davenport case, we ended up with several very interesting and relevant EVP responses over the course of the night—a few of which may have come from Buck himself. We also heard the sound of the music several times throughout the night with no explanation for it. Our reveal to Cindy and Marissa has not yet taken place, as we only just finished full audio/video review, so I don’t want to disclose too much here yet.

We did not experience any of the knocking sounds reported first hand or over evidence review. And unfortunately, we were not able to get any objects to move—not even an empty beer can. So as far as what those sounds and actions may be, we cannot say at this time.

I have some theories about some of the activity in this home that I will be sharing with Cindy and Marissa along with our evidence when we set up our reveal. For one, I think that the voices of a male and female arguing are residual—left over from maybe even before the party-house days. Personally, I feel that these conversations and arguments may be partially Buck. Though the official report of his death was accident or potential murder, I personally feel that it was a suicide, and I think the arguments replaying from the spare room (once connected to Buck’s actual apartment), may be some of Buck’s last days—some of the things that led to his end (whether his life was taken by himself or someone else). It’s a very sad thought. VERY sad. I can only hope that, whether or not Buck is still actually present in Cindy’s home or in his back apartment, he’s at more peace than he had while he was alive.

On a happier note, I think the music that the clients hear is residual from the point in time when the apartment was a party-house. Just trapped energy that is replayed over and over again, but nothing that is intelligent (can communicate and interact with the living). Cindy is so welcoming and warm—she herself states that her place is the place to be and that any guest should feel at home in her apartment. I think in a sense, the party-house atmosphere still kind of lives on through Cindy—no longer the booming music, drugs and alcohol, but instead just a lively, warm place for people to gather and have a good time with one another. I know I sure felt at home while I was there. Thank you, Cindy and Marissa!

When all is said and done, I think CRPI did our job well on this investigation. Cindy and Marissa want validation more than anything else—to know that it’s not just them alone who experience things in Cindy’s apartment, and to be able to say, “Look! Here is evidence that we are NOT crazy!” Us hearing the music with Cindy during her explanation of claims right off the bat was validation for her already. I’m hopeful that our full reveal to her and Marissa just builds on that, and that they can feel more sure of themselves and comfortable in their home.

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