Under the Skin

Chicago’s Old Town Tatu occupies space that operated as Klemundt Funeral Parlor for 75 years. In 2003 Richie “Tapeworm” Herrea bought the place and opened as Odin Tatu named after his son. He lived in an apartment above the tattoo parlor. Sadly he died in that apartment in 2006 of congestive heart failure. Some of his friends and former employees banded together to reopen the shop.

It is commonly believed that although Richie died he never left his beloved shop and home. Throw in the fact of the buildings prior history and even before his death, Richie had paranormal experiences on the premises. In his upstairs apartment a wooden door that led off his living room had a habit of opening and closing over and over, by itself. Downstairs in the tattoo parlor Richie’s keys would move around on him.  The door leading to the kitchen was also in the habit of repeatedly opening and closing itself.

Once Richie had a run in with a previous occupant of the funeral home.  Richie was upstairs and saw an elderly man in a brown wool suit. The man proceeded to throw Richie down the stairs. Infuriated Richie bellowed, who do you think you are? The only response he got was the name Walter.

In life Richie worked from chair three in the tattoo parlor. After his death his friends would bring in new tattoo artists to work chair three, but none of the equipment would work. When the new management put in artists who had known and worked with Richie the equipment went back to functioning. This happened repeatedly. Richie seems to be picky about who uses his chair!

Chris is the current owner of Old Town Tatu and sees Richie about the premises on a regular basis. Sometimes he sees his old friend in mirrors, or the distinctive silhouette of Richie’s bald head. Richie has taken up moving Chris’s keys around the shop as well. Chris might put down his keys in the bathroom only to find them sitting up front a little later.

Brad and Barry started the Ghost Lab investigation with their customary electronic net of video and audio recording equipment, data loggers and establishing EMF baselines. They began down in the basement, Walter’s traditional territory. Brad took Walter to task for throwing Richie down the stairs in life, noting such behavior could end up killing someone. There was no recorded response.

From my perspective Walter was definitely in the basement with the Klinge brothers. When chastised for behavior that could kill someone, Walter simply shrugged and said, “They killed me.” When I asked who “they” were Walter told me the people behind the funeral home with whom he claimed to have been business partners.

A little later in the show Mike and Dick Klemundt were brought in to talk about what it was like growing up in a funeral home. This genial pair could only recall one Walter. There was a Great Uncle Walter on their mother’s side of the family who had been “waked” at the Klemundt funeral home. In other words his services were held there. When I asked my guides if the the Walter who once pushed Richie down the stairs was the Great Uncle Walter of the Klemundt boys childhood, I got a strong yes. I would love to know if Great Uncle Walter ever had any involvement in the family business? I found it intriguing that Walter claimed the people behind the funeral home had killed him. I am not accusing ANYONE in the Klemundt family past or present of anything, just trying to figure out what Walter was talking about in light of the fact he was a relative. He may not have been easiest guy to get along with since he was pushing Richie down the stairs a good 35 plus years after his own death! Also keep in mind, a ghost or a person with a grudge would be inclined to be a bit rhetorical and exaggerate how they had been wronged.

The team members staked out in Richie’s upstairs apartment were told to try asking Richie questions in Spanish, a language he would have been familiar with having been born in Cuba. I got the impression Richie was listening, but didn’t get any more of a response than the Ghost Lab folks did.

Attempting to make contact with Richie, Barry and Brad set up a thermal imaging camera at Richie’s chair, number three. Barry was holding the thermal camera and saying “Richie” to get the ghost’s attention. Immediately the thermal camera went from a baseline of about 80 degrees to 61.1 degrees while showing a thermal change from a soft pink to “ice cold blue” as Barry put it.  There was no window nor door open in the tattoo shop at the time. Only Richie’s chair dropped in temperature. I could feel Richie sitting in his own chair.

An EVP caught at the same time as the temperature dip said, “Turn me on.” However Richie’s friends said it didn’t sound like him. The Klinge brothers speculated that perhaps it was Walter speaking. I don’t think so. I think it was a third party ghost talking, but I had no idea whom.

Barry Klinge, always on the lookout to find a way to raise the energy in a paranormal investigation consulted with Anthropologist John Rush Ph.D. to discuss how energy would be raised in a tattoo parlor. Dr. Rush pointed out that tattoos hurt and that pain sustained over time would result in the brain dumping endorphins, thus raising the energy level in the room. Barry figured that kind of pain fueled energy surge would be familiar to Richie and might draw him out. Earlier use of tattoos by Shamans and even Pacific Islanders were referenced as protections against evil.

This time Tech Manager Steve Hock was the bait.  He agreed to have the Ghost Lab ghost logo tattooed into his upper arm. The inking was done with Steve sitting in Richie’s old chair, number three and the artist was an old friend of Richie. Steve spent three hours in pain to get his new tattoo. Thermal monitoring of his skin temp shot up to 110.5 during the process. I would say endorphins were being dumped. Come night time Steve was set up alone in Richie’s chair with both video and thermal cameras on him.

I definitely felt Richie present. He was watching Steve psych himself out, highly amused, laughing and purposely holding himself back. Then Richie switched tactics and I saw him stand behind Steve. I got the impression Richie was about to put his hands on Steve’s shoulders, but Steve didn’t have any experience along those lines. What Steve did notice was that an item moved by itself on a shelf in the work room. Steve asked Richie to move it again, but instead a door opened by itself. Richie was definitely playing with Steve at this point.

Back in the Ghost Lab trailer Brad thought he saw movement on channel seven and rushed into the building only to find it was Brian the camera guy who had accidentally moved into the area being monitored. Brad went up in my opinion for admitting the mistake openly.

Around the time Steve was telling his solo camera that he was “feeling edgy” a cold spot was picked up along with an EVP saying, “Well.. damn you.”. It was a class B EVP, but still fairly easy to hear. Richie’s old friends Ken, Chango and Nick were brought back in to hear the EVP. All three agreed that was something Richie would say.

Miss Molly’s Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas was located right next to the Fort Worth Stock Yard. It started life as a brothel catering to cowboys on their way through town. During prohibition in the 1920’s it functioned as a speakeasy. Today it bills itself as a haunted B&B and Hotel.  

Looking at the tight quarters, the modest architecture and the proximity of the stock yards, which is where their cowboy clientele were delivering their cattle for slaughter, Miss Molly’s was not what you would call a high class joint. It isn’t any less haunted for that.

Innkeeper Paula lives on site and shared a few past haunting events. Room one, also named Miss Josies’s room, commonly elicits feelings of heaviness and has a reputation for objects moving around  on their own. Bathroom number one has a long history of creeping out female guests bathing in the claw foot tub. Paula refuses to bathe there because of past experiences of feeling watched.

Ghost Labs did their baselines, including saturation photos to be able to document any movement of objects that might take place during the investigation. They found some uncommonly high EMF readings while taking their baselines. The infamous haunted tub had the highest baseline EMF reading of 25 mG (milligauss) with other bedrooms also having high EMF numbers.

Brad checked in with yet another expert asking about possible natural causes that could explain the high EMF baseline readings. A series of recent small earthquakes in the Ft. Worth area were suggested as possible causes of higher EMF readings, as were reported luminosities (or orbs) in the last six months. EMF levels as high as 25 mG were considered an indication of circumstances that often lead to mystical or paranormal experiences, especially if someone is alone or sleeping nearby.

Katie was thrown back into the breach as bait, or in this case as a bathing beauty. She was decently covered in a bathing suit, but went as far as filling up the tub and climbing in. She did start to feel uneasy. I could feel male eyes staring into the back of her head, but never got a good look at who was doing the staring. Tension mounting, Katie heard what she described as someone picking up and then dropping a coin in the rooms nearby. Brad and Barry went barreling into Room four and found that the lamps had been unplugged. Katie confirmed the sound she heard would have been consistent with the metal prongs of the plugs hitting the floor. Saturation photos proved the lamps had been plugged in prior to the tub provocation.

An interview with a housekeeping staff member earlier in this segment had brought up the fact that when the maids periodically change out the bedrooms that every lamp in the place unplugs itself from the wall. It seems to be a ghostly form of protest about the maintenance changes that need to happen.

There was some question if the clock radio in the bedroom had been on or off before the investigation began. The Klinge brothers took some additional photos of the clock face and concluded the earlier saturation photos and the second set didn’t prove anything because the camera flash lit up the red digital numbers on the clock face, making it look like it was on when it wasn’t.

The final EVP of the show was of a possibly female voice recorded outside the Rodeo bedroom about the time Katie was in the tub. It was somewhat garbled, but the word “dance” came through clearly. A past investigation EVP had the voice of a little girl near the same location say clearly, “I don’t like to dance.” This garbled EVP said something about dancing. I think it was the same imprint haunting recorded in an earlier investigation. Imprint hauntings are a bit like a record player with a scratched record in it. It plays the same section of a song repeatedly. Imprint hauntings play out the same scenarios, feelings or words, over and over again regardless if anyone is around listening to it or not.



Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at:  angelzhands@yahoo.com

(C) 2010 Lynne Olson. All rights reserved.

About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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