The Smell of Fear

In this episode Ghost Lab checked out the Liar’s Club tavern in Chicago, IL and a former funeral home called The Mortuary in New Orleans, Louisiana .

The Liar’s Club has gruesome history involving three murders, two of them axe murders. In 1958 an abused wife had had enough and planted an axe into her husband’s head 14 times. In 1968 two men, one younger, one elder fought and the younger man killed the older one.  In the 1980’s a man took an axe to a woman. The interesting thing about all three murders was they took place in the same corner of the Liar’s Club.

Brad Klinge of Everyday Paranormal wondered why all three murders happened in the same corner of  one room over a thirty year span.  Looking for answers to this question formed the structure of the rest of the episode.

I immediately sensed one of my least favorite types of entities. There was something dark in that corner, the kind of inhuman entity that feeds on fear, murder and blood. I couldn’t leave it there, so after the episode I had Archangel Michael detach and dissolve this entity in divine cleansing light. I then had him scour out any remaining negative energy in that corner and seal the site so nothing dark will be attracted there again. This situation is resolved, but it is my least favorite kind of work.

A personal experience was shared by Herb, current owner of the Liar’s Club. He had walked into an upstairs room and felt suddenly cold and terribly frightened. It spooked him so badly he ran out the door to escape the feelings that were not his own.

Former third floor tenant Dave had an unsettling experience when he lived above the bar. One evening he was talking on the phone to a buddy while staring out of his living room window. He turned from the window into the room and was faced with a vague vaporous shape. Dave walked through the shape and was so chillled he dropped the phone.

I saw the misty figure but all I got was the impression it was female and deeply unhappy.

Brad and Barry called in Parapsychologist Pamela Heath, Ph.D. to explain the idea of imprinting. She said that the theory behind imprinting is that traumatic or negative events imprint themself into the materials around them. The alternate term place memory was introduced with the same meaning.  The potential danger with energetic imprints of past negative events is a phenomenon called resonance. Some people are vulnerable to picking up old imprinted emotions from a violent or murderous past event. If they take those feelings as their own they may lash out, such as in the cases of the Liar’s Club toxic corner that seems to help prompt periodic murders.  The infamous Amnityville, New York case was mentioned as a possible expample of an imprint haunting causing destructive resonance.

In an attempt to get some additional supporting evidence for the idea that paranormal hot spots can impact the emotional state of those who happen to be nearby Barry brought in James and his Bio Camera. The bio camera uses a lot of the same technology that lie detectors do. The subject being tested puts their hand on a “bio sensor box” and the bio camera measures their temperature, perspiration and the current biological electrical impulses on the skin. The electrical impulses on the skin is sometimes also called galvanic skin response. Allergist’s have been using galvanic skin response  for more than 20 years. This technology is not new except in it’s application to ghost hunting.

The bio camera takes these assorted data and interprets it into a coded color scheme of aura like energy around the subject being tested. Ghost Lab team members were taken to a local office building where baseline bio camera readings were recorded for Katie, Brad and Steve.

Back at the Liar’s Club the crew set up their equipment which included digital recorders and cameras for both video and still shots.  Katie and Steve took the second floor.  Katie asked for whatever haunts might have been there to stand by her. Her bio camera reading went from a calm blue to an agitated yellow.  She also asked if “Anyone with us tonight?” I heard a terse ghost answer, “many”. Katie’s colors on the bio camera shifted from a calm pink to a bright orange the camera’s coding system described as equal to “angst”. Katie was a touch nervous asking wasn’t orange the color of serial killers?

Steve tried to make contact by asking the ghosts if anyone was “Up here with us?” I heard a ghost reply, “Always!” Steve further asked any ghosts to please come stand next to the sound of his voice. The ghost was terribly frustrated and said it wanted “my voice” to be heard! The ghost wasn’t remotely interested in Steve talking but wanted to be heard in it’s own right.  None of this was picked on the EVP equipment. However the bio camera showed  that Steve’s energetic colors went from a calm, relaxed purple to an angry red. That was consistent with what I heard.

Meanwhile in the third floor Brad & Barry checked out the window former tenant Dave had been standing by the evening of the misty, chilling apparition. The brothers heard what sounded like a knock on the window. They asked for a second knock and one seemed to be forthcoming in response. However they debunked this experience by noting that a car had gone by on the street outside and rattled the manhole cover three stories below.

Brad decided to see if he could get the bio camera to record anger in him. So he pumped himself up yelling murderous comments and threats. He managed to shift his bio camera colors into orange and then black. In fact he seemed to leave a residual black energetic signature after he moved away. I didn’t catch what Brad’s baseline color was on the bio camera, but I did note that Barry’s baseline was orange. So I am not sure how much of a contrast orange was for Brad, but black was a definite shift in color as he amped up his angry energy. He was also trying to provoke any residual imprinted energy to present in a recordable way. It worked when an EVP caught a male voice saying “hate” in the infamous apartment. What I saw and heard at this point was a man screaming at a woman in the apartment. I think the woman was the chill, vague figure former tenant Dave had encountered previously. I also got that this ranting man killed her in the apartment. Nice people. Not.

I suppose it wouldn’t be October without investigating an old mortuary. So that is what the Ghost Lab crew did down in New Orleans, Louisiana. Built in 1872 by Mary Slattery as a family residence, The Mortuary started life as a Victorian mansion. Eventually the Slattery’s sold the house to another family. It was purchased in 1923 by PJ McMahon who converted the residence into a funeral home that operated for eight decades. It closed it’s doors in 2000. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August of 2005 The Mortuary became a shelter for many displaced and homeless people seeking higher ground. After the initial crisis had passed it continued to be a refuge for transients and drug users. In 2007 current owner Jeff Borne bought the crumbling building to turn it into a haunted destination.

Local ghost investigators shared their experiences at The Mortuary.  Alyce talked about being pushed and touched in the old embalming room. Another person spoke about feeling heavy and sad when investigating that room. I would certainly expect such imprints in a room used for embalming for eighty years! This wasn’t exactly earth shattering testimony.

Among assorted haunts two of Mary and John Slattery’s six children are supposed to roam the halls of The Mortuary. I only sensed two of them, a boy and a girl, both choosing to manifest as young school age children around seven or eight years old. During the upstairs briefing of the Ghost Lab team results from a past investigation were shared.  This former group had their camera batteries suddenly drained in an area the children are supposed to frequent. An investigator asked the children if they were playing tricks on the group. They captured an EVP saying, “I can”. I think it was the little boy speaking, his intent being that he and his sister were playing tricks because they could.

At this point in the briefing the door to the room closed by itself. All the doors in the building are on a magnetic strip system controlled by a central computer. Turned out that all the doors in the building shut at that particular moment. However, the computer didn’t record the doors closing by themselves. More inquiry turned up the fact that all the doors would only close if the fire alarm were tripped. No alarm was heard nor recorded by the computer. The doors had never closed in unison before without the fire alarm going off or the computer system noting the event. The Klinge brothers brushed the incident off as some sort of computer glitch. I don’t think so.

The little kids that been talked about when the doors closed themselves were behind this “computer glitch”. When the door to the meeting room first closed on it’s own Brad rushed a bunch of gear upstairs but got nothing definitive. I heard the children’s voices clearly responding to Barry when he asked, are you the little kids? I heard back, “yes”. Barry further told the ghost children, “Don’t be afraid.” The boy ghost was quite indigent at the idea, retorting, “I’m not!” I don’t think the door prank went off the way he had in mind. He was supposed to be frightening THEM, not be reassured!

Still trying to prove this theory that heightened fear energy can provoke measurable paranormal activity, the Klinge boys brought in Bradley Cooke Ph.D. to talk about the physical responses to fear in the human body. The fight or flight response was discussed along with a facial expression called “the fear grimace” that looked more like a rictus smile to me.

Cardiologist Bertrand Tillery, M.D. was brought in to take baseline readings of Ghost Lab team members Ashlee, Katie, Matthew and their shanghaied Marketing Director, Patrick. Each were hooked up with a telemetry band around their heads and lipstick cameras to record their facial expressions. Despite the scientific trappings this was just an exercise in scaring people silly and then noticing hey, their heart rate, blood pressure and respiration were up when they were frightened. Stop the presses!

A more recent haunt attributed to The Mortuary theatre room was that of a young woman named Sara who reportedly overdosed there not to long after Hurricane Katrina. Local investigator Hope had a possible interaction with Sara. Hope casually said, “Hey Sara” and heard back a faint “hey” in response.

Much more interesting to me was Brad aggressively provoking of Sara and getting three scratches on his neck in response. At first Brad asked if she was there and got a faint ” hm-mm” in response. None of the following was recorded by Ghost Lab equipment, but I heard it all.

Was Sara there, “Yes. What do you want?” Brad asked her to come sit with him at the table. She was afraid and asked, “Will you hurt me?”  As Brad got more abusive in his comments he did hear a tapping on the table. Sara was getting seriously pissed off. After Brad asked her if she remembered Hurricane Katrina she scratched him.

She remembered all right. Sara had a terribly hard time of it during Katrina. I think she sheltered elsewhere during the storm, but wherever she was the building shook and rocked. She was a druggie and thought she could hear voices in the hurricane winds. She thought her “world was coming to an end”. Unfortunately that was only the beginning. After the flood waters abated enough Sara went home and found her mother and a nice or nephew drowned inside the house. That was the final straw for her. She definitely intended to die at The Mortuary of a drug overdose. She wanted an easy way to fade to black. Sadly she didn’t get it. I think images of her drowned family and home were only amplified by her fatal dose. It was not an easy death. Like every single suicide I have ever talked to she is stuck here on Earth without a body. It is a wretched fate and Brad was being downright cruel from her perspective.

To be fair, Brad didn’t know any of this, he was just trying to get a response and he got four, table tapping, scratches on his neck, a spiked EMF reading in an “empty” chair and an EVP saying, “She didn’t like him.” The EVP backed up the sheer rage I felt building in Sara as Brad provoked.



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About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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