The first weekend in November of 2018, my brother and I were off on another “Sibling Adventure” which would change my view of the paranormal field. We go on adventures together every three months or so – we trade choosing the adventure; this year we chose several paranormal events. This adventure had us on our way to Mokelumne Hill, California for the First Annual Motherlode ParaQuest. Our accommodations were at the very historic and reputedly haunted Hotel Leger. I am a lifelong fan of old west history and I love staying in old hotels from that period. It’s the architecture that calls me the most followed by the residual energy of the place. How many people touched this doorknob that is way too low on the door for a five-foot eleven-inch person. It’s those things I think about during my visit to historical locations.
We arrived almost on the dot for check-in and with only two room options for two separate beds; we received the key to room 11 in the courthouse side of the building. It was a cute little room – two beds, in-room bathroom, access to the balcony via the large window, and beautiful antiques to enrich the ambiance.
First things first: We started to unpack the new closed-circuit camera system I just picked up of off Amazon. This is my dream system; I can watch areas of an investigation, and not be in the room, allowing us to garner more evidence than ever before. I was extremely excited to get it set up and running. Less than an hour later, we had two out of the four cameras set up to cover the entire hotel room and we were watching the feed on the newly purchased monitor – thank goodness for that last-minute purchase – there wasn’t a television in the room. Like good investigators, we got to work by sitting down to wait for activity to show up on the monitor. Silly us! We’ve got partying to do! The Motherlode ParaQuest included a costume party nicknamed the “Monster Bash” to carry on the Halloween and All Saints Day celebrations. My brother and I haven’t “Halloweened” together since 1971 and we were going all out in our first adult Halloween. We purchased enough makeup, latex, and body paint to go as zombies. I chose the jailhouse uniform for my costume and Randy chose the engineer’s coveralls.
About half way through the makeup phase, as I was looking out the window putting green paint on, totally lost in the Zen of the room and the lovely end of fall air when the door to our room slammed shut – and slammed with some force. We both immediately went to the door to begin debunking the event. We looked at the door and while the door doesn’t latch (the door is secured with a dead bolt thumb turn lock), the door "naturally" fell open. We go back and review the footage – no wind coming through the window as evident with the lack of movement from the curtains like we saw earlier when we were watching the video. Then the video playback clearly shows door slam shut. This footage just validated the purchase of the camera system. We had evidence! Giddy as school kids, we finished our transformation into the walking dead, then headed off to Jackson for the party secure in the knowledge the cameras would catch additional activity.
After few hours of catching up with friends, we were anxious to go back to the hotel room to investigate more while waiting for the featured comedy show starting at 9:00 PM. We bid our friends ado until the next day and drove the few short miles back to Mokelumne Hill from Jackson. What does a paranormal investigator do when you have to wait for something else to happen? We sit and watch the monitor for any blip of activity – all the while enjoying the music streaming in the window from the bar down the street. We did a few EVP sessions and set up equipment for the next day. Nothing spectacular, just hanging out.
Randy goes out onto the balcony for a smoke and I fiddle with the endoscope camera for a mission under the adjoining door to the vacant room (room 12) next to us – just for testing and practice. Abruptly, I hear commotion in the hallway. Training my ear to the source of the sound, I hear two women talking fast and loud! But I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and then the event ended as fast as it began. As I begin to ponder what took place, I remind myself that there no way anyone could get to this part of the hotel without being heard walking over the creaky hallways. No sooner had that thought started blossoming, my brother quickly comes in from the balcony, "What?!" “What?” He said he heard me call him and it sounded as if it was right beside him. Oh, okay. Come to find out from the hotel staff, we may have experienced one of their new additions to the staff, the “French Maids” who’d shown up a few Mardi Gras before and apparently liked their accommodations enough to stay on. Uh, okay. This was a first for us – a loud and clear class A EVP. We checked to see if the recorder was still going – and high-5’d each other on the prospects of another piece of evidence.
The comedians rocked the show in the “Great Room” and we went back up in the room happy and appreciative of the opportunity to be in the hotel, see friends, hear great music, and see an outstanding comedy show. Time to get some sleep. The night was quiet as all small towns are at night, and laying in my bed, drifting off, I heard what sounded like a door chain lock slapping against a door. Just as with any sound in the dead of night, I questioned whether I heard that sound or if it was a manifestation of hypnagogic. Quietly, I asked, “Did you hear that?” Yep, he heard it. I knew there were no door chair locks in our room; maybe someone checked into the room next to us, room 12. Little impossible as it was well after midnight and the front desk is unattended, but the only plausible explanation I could come up with to ease my racing thoughts. Nope, no sound from the room. We drifted off to sleep making note of the incident – too tired to investigate further.
SaturdayIt is the custom of the Hotel Leger staff to open the unoccupied rooms and encourage guests and visitors to wander the hotel to enjoy its history and architecture. This gave us the opportunity to look in the rooms around us to see what could explain the sounds we heard through the night. In room 12, there was a door chain lock – two as a matter of fact. When one would finger flip the chain up and let it drop, the resulting sound was exactly what we heard going to sleep. Nothing explained the two females I heard in the hallway, nor did we find an explanation for water running in the sink to room 10 (also unoccupied) which backs up to the bathroom in room 11. The staff was so gracious to allowed me to set up a camera in room 12.
We decide it is time to get something to eat and start heading down the hallway, I turn the corner and saw the light casting from the open doorway of room 8 to the opposite wall. As I focused, a female shadow form step quickly through the light. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and looked in room 8: Not a visible soul in the room. When we talked the hotel staff, they said when they unlocked the door to room 8 that morning, it looked as though someone had sat on the edge of the bed. Their conjecture: possibly someone sat on the bed prior to the door closing for the night. However, after spending a few minutes with the head of housekeeping, you’d notice her eye for detail, and know she wouldn’t have allowed a messed bed to remain; she is meticulous. She would have straightened the covers before locking up.
Chalk up this shadow up as another experience at the Leger, and we were off to breakfast. With enough activity within the hotel and around our room that we decided to hang out in “Moke Hill” for the day. We usually don't experience any activity worth mentioning on our paranormal “Sibling Adventures,” so this was exciting!
We found a great little place at the intersection of highways 49 and 26 called, “Frank’s Café”. Like the little diner we ate at on our way to Mokelumne Hill, this was our kind of place. Good food. Fair prices. Lots of friendly folk. While waiting for our meals, we admired the décor which, of course, centered on Frank. Turns out, Frank passed away recently; his daughters now ran the restaurant. The locals seemed to embrace this change and supported their efforts with a packed house. Not hard to do when the cooking is down to earth and yummy!
With our bellies full, we wandered off to walk the streets of Mokelumne Hill – all two of them – and to find the cemetery that we’d be investigating with the group later that night. We found a cemetery, but it wasn’t the right one. Nevertheless, who has a bad time exploring a cemetery? Right? It was good to get out and stretch our legs. We found a great “rock” shop where we found a piece of Tibetan Quartz and Mahogany obsidian for Randy’s new collection which he had set aside to consider, and a few locations, like what looked like an old gas station, we’d love to investigate one day.
After our wanderings, we headed back to the hotel to pack up our equipment for the investigation activities later that night, and to enjoy the last evening of daylight savings time on the balcony before heading down to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. We sat and talked to our floor mates from room 13 – we four were the only ones in the “courthouse section” of the hotel. I excused myself to take a shower. As I passed the partially open door of the room (same door that slams shut on its own), I experienced my first "paranormal whisper” – directly in my right ear. As if someone had put their lips right next to my ear and issued a hard, forceful whisper, I heard a deep male voice utter three words. Unfortunately, whether it was my lack of comprehending someone unseen was talking to me, or hearing garbled speech, all but one word was intelligible, “party.” It’s not like you can say, “What?” to an entity if you missed the message the first time. To add to my discombobulated state, the door to the room slams shut again. I discounted the last event as I may have bumped the door in spinning around trying to locate the source of the voice in my ear – I know I didn’t though. Shaken and a little paranoid about taking a shower, I thoroughly expected to open the shower curtain and see a big, gruff cowboy standing there expecting an answer from me – or a ghostly reenactment of the famous shower scene from Psycho.
Back out on the balcony, my brother and our floor mates were having a great discussion about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when my brother saw a very fleeting headless apparition of a woman in a dress from the mid-1800s. He said it was a split second and not enough time to fully grasp the entire image. Our maids are back? The hotel staff did say they liked the balcony even though you must climb through the windows for access. With our floor mates, we did an EVP session and attempted further contact with the dowsing rods and K2 meters. With this new activity, I messaged friends also attending the paraquest inviting them to come by the room later to investigate as there seemed be a lot of activity on the floor of the hotel.
Our dinner plans for the night were at the hotel as we’d heard nothing but good things about the food. We were joined by our floor mates as we sat down to enjoy a cocktail before dinner – I with my Jack and Diet Coke, and my brother with his 7 & 7. My brother took one small sip of the drink, pushed it away, and didn’t take another. I silently marked that as “odd” because he talked about having a 7 & 7 since the night before.
We all ordered dinner, but since we’d had a late lunch during our wanderings of the town, I ordered soup and my brother ordered tater tots – a specialty at the hotel. No sooner did dinner arrive, my brother stood up, said he felt ill and quickly excused himself from the table to go back upstairs. Now that was very strange; we were looking forward to the meal. I wrote it off and started in on the bowl of fabulous Tuscan soup in front of me.
A few minutes later, I look up from my soup and see my brother leaving out the front door of the hotel. Before completely exiting, he turned and looked directly at me. I politely excused myself to follow him to make sure he was alright, but also noted that if he was leaving the hotel to have a smoke outside, he could have done it on the balcony adjacent to the room. Why was he leaving the hotel?I get to the door of the hotel, push through to the other side, and find the person walking across the street was nowhere near like to my brother. Now I’m confused because I clearly saw MY brother walking out the hotel. Hurriedly, I close the check in the restaurant and bolted up to the room. Randy was laying on the bed in the same clothes I saw “him” leave the hotel in – but he hadn’t moved. He said he was feeling much worse, and his skin was grey.
The nice thing about “Instinct” is it kicks in and takes over when you encounter new situations. In a split second, my mind started adding up all the experiences we’d had in Mokelumne Hill over the last 30 hours. The most disconcerting was the possibility of a doppelgänger thrown into the mix of experiences. My intuition pointed me to a hypothesis that what was affecting my brother may be an entity that wasn’t out to have our kind of fun with the paranormal. I was officially in over my head and my team was at risk.Never in my right mind did I ever think I would experience anything malicious – oh sure, we have all seen television shows about the paranormal and “extreme” hauntings; that should have been considered it a possibility when I started investigating and researching the paranormal. I guess my background didn’t allow me to believe there was truth in the stories and experiences depicted. I never thought it would happen to me. Or to my brother – my baby brother! How dare they!
Two choices: 1) Pack up everything and leave the hotel; or 2) Call for help. As 911 gets a bit perturbed and offers you a chance to stay at the county “hotel” when you call for help with a ghost, I messaged a confidential source to find out if there was anything in her realm of knowledge that would help. “Do you have a candle?” “Nope.” And that ended that hopeful attempt to resolve the issue on my own. I had no protection – or weapons for that matter. She was on her way to us to help.
Upon the arrival of my friend, she felt a heavy, “evil” presence, and looked at me, “What did you do?!” Nothing – we were just investigating and hanging out! After seeing my brother, my friend confirmed my fears and immediate action was necessary to place this malevolent spirit in its place. But we needed more people to perform the ritual. There was a knock at the door… Five more of my friends showed up to investigate the room… Seriously, right at the moment we were trying to figure out who to call. Now we were nine and we could safely proceeded with the prescribed protection ritual in the tiny little space between the beds and by the time the last words were spoken, my brother’s skin color returned to normal and he was feeling much better. The air in the room felt lighter in atmosphere and brightness. None of us felt anything ominous remaining.
The day I feared had arrived and I wasn’t prepared for it. How could I have poo-poo’d the subject of psychic protection when investigating the paranormal? How could I have endangered my team like that? As a team leader, I’m responsible for those in my team. Hunting ghosts can be fun and a great way to spend time with friends, but what happens when you encounter something you’re not prepared for? Have you thought about what you would do?
I've never experienced a weekend such as that EVER – I have 2.5 pages of quick notations of ESCALATING events that led up to the night’s final manifestation. In hindsight, we probably should have paid more attention to our safety as investigators. At this juncture, I would be happy walk into an investigation dressed as Charo, if required to keep the bad spirits away from my team. I’ll tell you one thing… From this point forward, I, and my team, will not investigating without psychic protection – no exceptions.
Log of Activity(Day Time Event)Friday 3:20 PM Door slams shut ~8:00 PM “French maids” ~8:00 PM Randy hears me call him while he’s on the balcony N/A Our hands are vibrating N/A Actual orbs (not dust) – many different varieties N/A Lights on suitcase – no sourceSaturday N/A Water sounds from the unoccupied room 10 – this sink backs up to room 11 N/A Dowsing rods kept taking Randy to a corner of the room ~1:15 AM Chain lock slapped against wood 8:00 AM Noticeable pressure and vibrational change in room 9:00 AM Shadow of woman in room 8 ~6:00 PM Whisper heard directly in my ear, “…party…” ~6:00 PM Room door is again open, and slams shut 6:09 PM Headless woman in a floral print dress on the balcony 6:34 PM Interaction with an entity on the balcony (possibly the headless woman in the floral print dress) ends 8:00 PM Randy becomes ill at dinner and goes to the room 8:00 PM Felt the presences and saw a dark shadow of what appeared to be a man behind me while in the restaurant/bar area 8:15 PM Doppelgänger spotted heading out the door of the hotelWhile researching psychic protection, I found there is a wide range of techniques and it’s best to find one that matches with your own belief system – make it your personal method of protection. Make it a habit just as necessary as charging your equipment for a hunt. The more you use your chosen protection, the stronger it will become. It’s also important to know yourself and your team; know what is and isn’t usual behavior for someone as it may be these subtle shifts that can give indication of a psychic attack or attachment. What do you do if you suspect an attack? Keep calm. Assess the situation. The next step would be to reinforce your own personal protection before addressing your teammate’s issues – you can’t help anyone if you are not protected. Reassure the entity that you mean no harm and ask that it communicate with you. If you truly are in a dangerous situation, experts tell us to banish the entity as a defensive measure. You may need to up the game by telling the entity to depart using the trusted phrase, “The power of God (insert the name of whatever god you draw upon) compels you…” (Now, I have my own banishment phrase which is reserved for extreme cases.)After the investigation, do you close out the investigation? This is just as important and often neglected. Our friend gave use protection oils to use while in the hotel. We wore the dark bottle while in the hotel and when we left for good, put on the clear bottle of oil to ward entities off the idea to follow us home. One can also strongly state out loud not to follow you home. Remember to remove your protection and recycle that energy back into the Earth for safekeeping.Simple Guidelines for Ghost Hunters DO be willing to set boundaries DO ground and center before and after each investigation DO develop and use your own personal protection ritual DO know and be watchful for the signs of spirit attack or attachment DO listen to your gut instinct during an investigation DO be prepared to take immediate action against potentially harmful spirits DO have fun but STAY ON GUARD DON’T take your safety or that of your team for granted DON’T go ghost hunting alone DON’T participate if you are feeling ill, over-tired, angry or stressed-out DON’T ever go hunting ghosts while under the influence of drugs or alcohol DON’T attempt to raise anything you don’t know how to get rid ofMost important: If you feel UNSAFE, leave the area. The best gauge of safety is how what your mind and body are telling you. Trust yourself and get out.There is one other report of a doppelganger at this hotel, but the report and sighting was not investigated.