Ghosts of Ohio

Ghosts of Ohio Newsletter - August 2008

Volume 5 / Issue 6

As I’m writing this, I’m still in a bit of a haze. The Ghosts of Ohio has just returned from its overnight investigation of Prospect Place and sleep was not on the agenda. Still, the evening was an amazing experience and one that really got me to thinking. You see, the Prospect Place overnight was part of our Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio program, which didn’t even exist last year. But just one look at the excitement on the faces of our special guests and you could tell the program was a success. With that in mind, I have made it my goal to create more programs that enable you, our fans, to get closer to and have more contact with The Ghosts of Ohio organization. It doesn’t matter to me if someone wants to participate in an overnight investigation or simply has a question about ghost-hunting equipment. Either way, The Ghosts of Ohio will be here for you, now and for years to come. You can count on that.

James A. Willis

If you remember from the last newsletter, based on the success of his prototypes, one of our members, John, was working on building several infrared extenders for use on our investigations. Well, John created two: one with the lights set at a 20-degree angle and one with them at 50 degrees. We recently put both extenders to the test on our overnight at Prospect Place. We used them in the Prospect Place’s attic and basement, both of which had very long, dark areas. But with John’s extenders, we were able to see from one side of the room to the other in both locations. We even experimented by first putting the cameras into Super Nightshot for one session and then dropping them into simple Nightshot and adding one of John’s extenders. The comparison was startling. John’s extenders not only reached further into the darkness, but also created a cleaner image where such bothersome items like dust and bugs could be clearly identified, all without the annoying “doughnut hole” created with traditional infrared extenders.

Another item that’s new at The Ghosts of Ohio is one that comes with a great deal of controversy—Frank’s Box. To be honest, I had long since written off the idea that Frank’s Box allowed people to engage in two-way communication with the dead. But it seemed that no matter where I went, people were asking me about the Box. It was then that I realized, believing in its validity or not, the vast majority of people had not witnessed Frank’s Box in action. That’s when I decided the best way to find out how the Box worked was to go ahead and make one myself. Using the schematics for the original Frank’s Box (there are currently over 30 prototypes) as well as directions and schematics for several “hacks,” including the Radio Shack Hack, I built what some are now referring to as Jim’s Box. Needless to say, assembling one of the Boxes myself has pretty much convinced me the dead are not using it to communicate with me, although voices do indeed come through the device, courtesy of stray radio waves. Still, I am planning several controlled experiments using multiple Boxes to see what happens. But until then, I think it’s safe to assume The Ghosts of Ohio won’t be using Jim’s Box at any upcoming investigations. We will be bringing it to all our upcoming presentations this fall, though, so if you’d like to see it in action, just swing by one of our appearances and we’ll be more than happy to let you take a peek!

Just a reminder; please do not send any email responses to the newsletter. It is nothing more than an automated system that will banish your email to the depths of the Web until we manage to stumble across it.

It’s hard to believe by looking outside, but October is just around the corner. That can only mean one thing—The Ghosts of Ohio might be coming to a town near you! Just like in years past, The Ghosts of Ohio will be making appearances in towns and cities all over Ohio. And we’re bringing with us our latest bits of evidence collected on investigations as well as the newest pieces of equipment. If you’ve never seen The Ghosts of Ohio in person before, now’s your chance. Even if you have seen us before, come on out and see all the new stuff or just swap some ghostly stories with us!

The Calendar page of our website has all our confirmed presentation dates listed, with more being added all the time. So if you don’t see your city or town listed, hang in there! Or you could always walk into your local library and tell them to shoot us an email because you really want to see The Ghosts of Ohio!

So what is this Spend the Night program everybody is talking about? Well, it is a unique opportunity for some of our lucky fans to take part in an overnight investigation with us! As part of the Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio program, we will be renting out some of the most haunted buildings in Ohio for an entire night. Unlike traditional "ghost hunts," where you are often forced to share the location with total strangers, every building we rent out will be totally ours.

Now comes the best part—we want you to come along with us! We'll bring all the equipment, so all you need to bring is your courage.

How do you get in on all this spooky fun? It's simple, really. All you need to do is sign up for The Ghosts of Ohio newsletter—which is free!

For each investigation, we'll be picking several names from our list of newsletter subscribers and giving them the first shot at spending the night with us. All they need to do is pay the same registration fee that the members of The Ghosts of Ohio have to pay in order to rent out the building (dollar amount subject to change based on individual venue).  

In addition, we'll be drawing at least one lucky Grand Prize winner who will get to come along for FREE!

That's all there is to it! Of course, we might want to take a few pictures of you on the investigation and post them on our site so you'll be the envy of all your friends. But hey, that's a small price to pay for the chance to spend the night with The Ghosts!

If for some reason you don't have your own subscription, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, October 11, 2008                        Dennison Train Museum, Dennison, Ohio
Winners announced below!

After that, we'll be taking a break to get ready for the holidays. But don't worry, we've already started making plans for 2009 and are currently in the process of scheduling locations including a theater, a manufacturing plant, a B&B, and maybe, just maybe, an infamous tuberculosis hospital named Waverly.

Michelle Mason, Stephen Rogers, Peter Johnson, and Regina Mast, that's who!They are the lucky people we pulled from our newsletter subscriber list. As such, they will have the chance to spend the night with The Ghosts of Ohio locked inside the Dennison Train Museum on an overnight investigation…provided, of course, they pay the entrance fee like the rest of us have to. You should be receiving all the pertinent information via email shortly. But for now, congratulations!

Also, congratulations go out to Allison McIntyre, who was our grand prize winner and will be spending the night with us for FREE!

See you all on October 11th. As with our past Spend the Night excursions, we'll be sure to post pictures of the investigation on our website so you can be the envy of all your friends!

On Friday night, August 22nd, the second Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio event occurred at Prospect Place in Trinway, Ohio. Arrival time was set for 7:30 and after everyone took some time to walk around the house and barn and take some photos, we began to unload the stacks of equipment that are brought on every investigation. The DVR system, the Vernier Labpro, handheld cameras, IR extenders, close to 1000 feet of extension cords, and boxes of EMF detectors and temperature gauges found their way to stations throughout the property for initial setup.

At slightly past 8:00, we broke for a group photo and historical tour with George Adams, the great-great grandson of George Wilson Adams, the builder of Prospect Place. While drinking water to counteract the heat and swatting at mosquitoes, we learned not only about the history of the home (the insides were gutted by fire the night before the family was to originally move in during the summer of 1856), but the history of the Underground Railroad, and the Adams family's work bringing slaves through Ohio to escape to freedom in Canada. We also received some very interesting tidbits on how the families of that era decorated their homes according to station and gender. It is very clear that George takes great pride in his family's history and their home, and he loves to share all the information he has gleaned from his research into his roots.

It was close to 10:30 when we broke into our assigned teams and headed out to our first stations for the 45-minute investigation blocks. After each block, we met in the dining room—command central for this investigation—for a 10 to 15 minute break before heading out to our next station. This setup seems to work perfectly for large groups (we had 20 people that evening) because it enables everyone to spend a nice chunk of time in each reputedly haunted area. We had five stations set up: the attic/ballroom where animal sacrifice took place and a child apparently likes to play with the balls you leave; the second floor where the ghost of a young girl is seen and a bed will shake; the basement, where the body of Constance—who died of consumption—was kept in a ice cellar until it was warm enough to break ground outside and bury her; the barn where there may have been a hanging of a bounty hunter after a standoff over escaped slaves; and the dining room, where we monitored our cameras.

The most popular question that evening was, “Did you get anything?” We did have some repeat phenomenon. During my team’s time in the basement, I picked up the sound of footsteps walking on the dirt floor, and my teammate Sam heard odd sounds coming from one of the rooms where the slaves hid on their way North. Later, another team also heard those same sandy-type footsteps. Footsteps and noises were also heard out in the barn and in the attic ballroom. Some people heard them live, while I heard them via the headset I had connected to my analog recorder.

Keep in mind when investigating to try and debunk any mystery noises you may be hearing. And...make sure you are not causing them! We had an instance in the basement where we kept hearing a thunk/creak sound. The team stationed at command central was watching and listening to us, and our fearless leader Jim realized that every time we said, “Did you hear that, where is it coming from?” it was in conjunction with him turning in his chair to look from the Labpro to the camera monitor! So, just that little motion on old wooden floor boards was creating a very noticeable sound to the people below him. He came down to enlighten us with the explanation, and it is now something we can discount as paranormal when we do a full review of the tapes.

All in all, it was another successful event and a great learning experience for both the investigators and the guests alike.

In this edition of tools of the trade, we will be taking a little departure from the usual. Instead of an article about a high-tech piece of equipment, I will be writing about low-tech items that have been used for a long time in paranormal research. They are things that can be bought rather inexpensively and don’t require a degree to use. I’ll discuss how each item works normally and then how it is used in the paranormal research field.

The first item is a simple compass. It is a magnetized needle that floats in liquid. Since the needle is magnetized, it aligns itself with the magnetic field of the Earth and points in a north/south direction. It can be used during an investigation in place of an EMF meter. An EMF meter detects fluctuations in the electric and magnetic fields. A compass can also detect these changes. A change in the electric or magnetic field around a compass will cause it to act strangely because it is no longer influenced by the Earth’s natural magnetic field. One advantage a compass has over an EMF meter is that most EMF meters are unidirectional pieces of equipment. It is designed to detect these fluctuations in the electromagnetic fields that are right in front of it. Theoretically changes in these fields anywhere around a compass should affect how the compass works. Another advantage is that it is not as sensitive as a tri-field meter so you can move around with it.

The next thing is used quite a bit but is a little more complicated to explain. It is a simple object that has been in use for possibly thousands of years but how it works is still a mystery. Dowsing rods have been used to help find water, minerals, and other things. No one really knows how they work, but it is believed that they are tools that help focus a person’s natural psychic energy. By concentrating on something, the dowsing rods help direct a person to that object. Over the years, dowsing has proven to be very accurate as a means to find water. In fact, even today, dowsers are often employed by well drilling companies to help find underground water. There are several types of dowsing: forked-stick dowsing, dowsing rods, and map dowsing. Paranormal investigators have predominately used dowsing rods. The rods are small L-shaped pieces of wire, either copper or steel, and can even be made out of coat hangers.

In the paranormal field, dowsing rods are used to help find everything from the energy of spirits to unmarked graves. They are used by loosely holding the rods away from your body so they are perpendicular to the ground and each other. Then, by concentrating on the spirit or unmarked grave, the rods are supposed to point in the direction you need to go. Once you reach the spot you were focusing on, the rods will cross or point away from each other to indicate you have reached what you were looking for.

Although it is believed that anyone can use dowsing rods, it might not always work. Some people seem to have a better ability to focus on what they are searching for than others. One way to test their accuracy is to have someone with an EMF meter follow around the dowser and see if they are really being guided to spots that have a higher reading than the rest of the area.

Either piece can be picked up for very little money and at the very least can prove to be quite interesting. Once again, just like with all the other equipment that has been in past articles, the person using these is just as important as the tools. Common sense needs to always be used and anything unusual that is produced with these two things needs to be looked at with all the other information that was gathered at that time and place.

Need a spooky friend? If you have a MySpace account, swing by and add The Ghosts of Ohio to your friends list:

The Ghosts of Ohio is continuing to schedule investigations for 2009. If you or someone you know is experiencing something unexplained in a home or place of business, contact us at or visit our website to fill out an investigation request. All investigations are offered free of charge, and confidentiality and discretion are assured.

Not sure if you want or need an investigation? The Ghosts of Ohio now offers consultations. Let us sit down with you to discuss your current situation and what help we may be able to offer. For more information, please visit

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