Ghost Stories

Chasing things that go
‘bump’ in the night

Ghost hunters take their
paranormal research seriously

By Laura Hodges
Contributing Writer

June 2011 Edition Cover

June 2011
Edition Cover

MADISON, Ind. (June 2011) – Jason Earls said it all started three years ago when his wife, Kelli, moved into his 1950s-era, ranch-style home in Madison. He’d lived there for two years without noticing anything unusual.
After Kelli moved in, they started noticing things like a basement door standing open when they knew they had closed and locked it with a hook. This happened a few times before Jason witnessed the hook raise of its own accord.
“Sitting on the couch, I heard it and saw it happen,” he said.
Then there was a potato bin that would flip open. “We found it open a few times. We heard it too, in the kitchen,” said Jason.
“We got rid of that real quick,” added his wife.
Doors to bedrooms slammed without reason. They noticed eerily cold spots in the hallway. One Sunday morning, Kelli Earls watched in disbelief as the water faucet in her kitchen sink turned itself off with no human intervention. She dissolved in tears.
It was at that point that the couple decided they need to do something about the mysterious phenomena they were experiencing in their home at 1150 Debbie Lane. Like a growing number of Americans, the couple turned for help to a paranormal investigation team with sophisticated electronic equipment to help them understand what was happening.
With evidence from infrared videocameras and sensitive audio recorders, they have come to believe that they and their five children share their living space with five or more ghosts, including an old man in a sailor’s uniform, two other men, a little girl and a woman. They believe that the woman’s spirit became jealous of Kelli when she moved into the home, resulting in mischief such as the door-openings. The couple has captured audio recordings of what they believe to be that same spirit whispering Jason’s name.
The couple asked for help from Rusty Everage, whom Jason knew at his workplace in Seymour. Everage and his wife, Melissa, live in Madison.
“Jason was the skeptic,” said Everage. “But the stuff that was going on in his house – he couldn’t explain it.”
“When you have so much going on in your house, you start running out of excuses pretty fast,” said Earls.
About two and half years ago, Everage and his associates held a paranormal investigation at the Debbie Lane home, using cameras and digital voice recorders. The team shut off the lights and went from room to room asking questions such as, “Can you make yourself heard?” and “Can you make something move?”
“In this house you get a lot of EVPs,” said Everage, using the abbreviation for electrical voice phenomenon. “You catch a lot of muffled stuff. I throw that out because I’m looking for a Class A EVP – as clear as us talking now.”
As a result, Jason Earls has several EVPs stored on his laptop computer that he’ll play as evidence his ghosts really exist. The spoken messages were inaudible to people at the time they were recorded, he said. Among others, there is a recording of the jealous female spirit hissing a drawn-out “Jason” and the little girl singing softly, “I just want to be loved.”

Ghost Hunting
Groups in the Area

• Bluemoon Paranormal
• Green Light Paranormal Investigations
• Kentuckiana Paranormal Investigators
• Paranormal Consults
• Paranormal Researchers of Ohio Valley (P.R.O.O.V.)
• Real American Hauntings
• Soul Warriors Paranormal
• Society for Paranormal Occurrences of Kentuckiana (S.P.O.O.K.)
• The Friendly Ghost Hunter
• Valley Ghost Chasers
More information can be found at www.ParanormalSocieties.com.

The Earls first became aware of the young girl one day when they were home for lunch. While in the kitchen, they both heard a little girl’s voice say a whole sentence of 10 to 12 syllables, although it was too muffled to be understood. At the time, there were no real children in the house.
There have been visual phenomenon as well.
One evening Jason saw what he describes as “the most perfect shadow” of the top half of a man’s body, standing six feet up in an adjacent room.
“It got awfully cold in here. Sheer terror could have been part of it,” said Earls. He looked away, then back, and it was still there. “I saw the head actually spin and acknowledge me.”
Then it changed form to become a dark mass about the size of a soccer ball. The mass flew through the wall and apparently into the bedroom where Kelli had already retired for the night, moving a quilt hanging on the wall as it passed through. Kelli came out of the bedroom moments later asking Jason to come to her because “there’s something in here.”
Despite such experiences, the Earls don’t fear the spirits. “We know for sure they don’t want to hurt us,” said Jason.
“Because they haven’t hurt us,” added Kelli.
“We don’t mind living in the house. We’ve gotten used to it,” said Jason Earls.
They admit they have family members who won’t visit them because of the experiences, however.
One of their children is especially sensitive to the phenomenon. He refused to stay in his bedroom after repeated sightings of an old man with a pointy nose, scraggly beard and sailor’s uniform. He swapped bedrooms with the couple’s daughters, and that solved the problem for him.
Three other adults have seen the same old man, Jason Earls added. His presence was confirmed by a psychic who visited the house with the Indiana State Paranormal Research Society. She is the one who said she identified five distinct ghosts in the house. That research society visit also resulted in a ball flying across the room on command, a video of a body shadow and a tape recording of a growl.
Since that investigation, the Earls have joined with the Everages, Kaye Yocum of Hanover, Ind., and Debbie Jones of Madison to form a new group they call the Madtown Paranormal Research Society.
Among the six of them, they have invested about $4,000 to $5,000 in recording equipment to assist them. On a volunteer basis, they investigate paranormal phenomena in the region. They have five ongoing investigations. Their Facebook page has 133 followers and a website is coming soon.
“We don’t make any money for it,” said Rusty Everage. “Ninety percent of clients – all they’re looking for is validation. ‘Am I crazy?’ ”
He said people are afraid of being ridiculed if they talk about what they have experienced.
Jason Earls said, “It’s a lot more common than people think. I think there’s a lot more houses haunted than ain’t. I think most ghosts just don’t choose to be seen.”
He added, “We want people to know that they’re not crazy. Not everything’s paranormal, but there are things that can’t be explained otherwise.”
Although they claim not to be afraid of the ghosts, the Earls have had their home “cleansed” with the help of their psychic friend. This involved burning white sage (a custom they say is borrowed from Native American culture) and sprinkling a line of kosher salt in every doorway, window and other opening of the house. They also bathed in baking soda to cleanse themselves.

Libby Mann

Photo by Don Ward

Libby Mann says
her Broadway Hotel
& Tavern in downtown Madison, Ind., is haunted
by a spirit named
“Charlie.” Paranormal researchers recently
spent a weekend there
trying to record
his activity.

When they do investigations of other homes, they cleanse themselves with white sage before they leave to avoid bringing any spirits home with them.
The Earls are not the only Madison residents who have encountered paranormal activity. Libby Mann, who for 20 years has owned the Historic Broadway Hotel & Tavern at 313 Broadway St., has encountered unexplained activities there.
“When I first came here, I didn’t give ghosts a second thought. But after a few years, I realized there is some kind of something that is causing these things,” said Mann.
The “things” noticed at the Broadway are doors opening, scraping noises, rolling balls and actual sightings by some of the Broadway employees.
The business is the oldest continuously operated hotel and tavern in Indiana. Mann figures that after 177 years, there are bound to be some spirits associated with the building. “I’ve never felt threatened by it,” she added. “I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’m sure things happen.”
“After 20 years, I just say it is what it is,” she said.
Two paranormal investigation teams recently spent the night, seeking clues about the spirits there. They set up their equipment in the tavern after business hours and stayed until dawn.
After one such investigation, the group told her there was a male presence in the bar area and a female spirit in the back dining room.
Based on her own experiences, Mann told them, “That’s right.”
She believes the bar is inhabited by a Chicago gangster by the name of Charles Morgan who ran bootleg liquor to the Broadway during Prohibition. She thinks he fell in love with a Madison woman but wasn’t allowed to marry her, then was shot and killed in French Lick in the early 1930s. Mann has not tried to check out this information, and she didn’t want to say how she learned it.
As for the female ghost in the dining room, she was sighted by a woman who paints in the building after hours. Mann said this woman saw a woman in a white blouse and long, dark skirt, covered with an apron. She was carrying a silver tray. Smiling, the ghost walked across the room and to a stairway before disappearing. The painter’s son was working on the other side of the same room, and he didn’t see a thing.
One time a guest who had planned to dine at the Broadway Hotel & Tavern told Mann she just couldn’t stay. As Mann remembers it, the guest explained, “I’m psychic and there’s a bunch of people in the back room dressed in clothing from the 1800s, and they seem to be having a party. I’m looking for a quieter place to relax.”
Despite such incidents, Mann doesn’t think the ghostly reputation has either hurt or helped business at the Broadway. She’s currently renovating the second floor into a private bar area, which could turn into a prime ghost-hunting area.

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