Here on the Beach we have Supernatural Suspense Author, Kim Hornsby. Rumor has it she recently went Ghost Hunting!
Tell us all about it...
I like to adventure, challenge myself, cross things off an imaginary, ever-changing bucket list, so my birthday party last week had a ghost hunt theme. Which seemed appropriate seeing I write novels with ghosts. I convinced eight girlfriends to join me on a Seattle downtown Ghost Hunt Tour, enticing them with the promise of a cocktail before the hunt.
Seattle is full of ghost stories and what better place to look for an entity than the Seattle Underground? What’s that, you say? Seattle’s downtown core was originally built too close to sea level making the streets soggy and turning toilets into dangerous, spewing bidets when the tide was coming in. Eventually the whole downtown had to be built up one level, leaving behind a slowly disintegrating town beneath the streets of the Pioneer Square section of Seattle. One level below are the remnants of the original city and you can tour through with an organized group to hear the history of the olden days when they discovered they’d constructed banks, taverns, stores, too low to survive the onslaught of the nearby Pacific Ocean’s tides. What remains under the existing Seattle streets is a fascinating maize of boardwalks, twists, turns, ruins that hold so much history it makes your head spin. And death. Olden Days Seattle had its share of murders, lynching’s, tragic bar fights, and the Paranormal Tour is only too happy to tell you about the spirits left behind.
It was a Saturday night. Nine of us gathered in Seattle’s oldest restaurant, The Merchant Cafe for a pre-hunt drink. We gathered around a table in the Underground Bar, below the main level. I’d earlier watched a YouTube clip on an entity in the tavern’s men’s bathroom that people took with their phones. Once seated with my Stella Artois, I did not slip away to the Ladies’ Room, just in case. In case I saw a ghost, yes, but also I’d heard about those toilets not working properly on this level in the olden days. I’m a believer in ghosts and even though some of my birthday party friends said they are not convinced ghosts exist, everyone was excited about the prospect of heading into the dark underground late at night with electromagnetic recorders.
When we arrived at the tour headquarters, an old building in Pioneer Square, we were fitted for vests and shown how to use the devices that would measure electromagnetic spikes in the atmosphere, a good indication of paranormal activity. I’ve watched Ghost Hunters. I know. Strapped to our vests were flashlights and in one pocket was our audio recording device attached to headphones so we could listen carefully for bumps, scrapes, and voices saying “Help me” or “I’m here.” With the Ghost Buster theme song looping continually through my brain, the guides told stories of previously making contact in the Underground and showed us how to work all the equipment in our bulky vests.
As we left headquarters and walked along the street to cross the now deserted street to the stairs to go below, I questioned our leader about what she’d seen and heard in the years she’d been leading tours. Once, she saw a fluttering of what looked like grey material float by a dark doorway, once she’d felt a tapping on her sleeve, many times she’d had spikes on her Mel Meter, heard a voice on the audio recorder, and the other guides had experienced similar happenings.
It was pitch dark where we descended and started along what used to be a street. In some areas we navigated only by our Mel Meter tiny red lights as we walked along the planks, snaking through the part of the Underground that has been propped, supported, and inspected for safety. Stopping along a catwalk sidewalk, a guide leapt to the rubble below, set up a laser grid and tried to contact a spirit as we stared from above. Apparently if a ghost walks by, the grid will show it like a shadow. I was on the end of the line and waited for a tap on my shoulder, but nothing.
“You know me,” the guide said. “I’m here every week. We mean no harm. We want to know your story. Are you with us tonight?” Nothing. Then he knocked on a board by his feet and told any spirit listening to knock back. Nothing. The Ghost Adventure Hunters spend two to three nights in haunted areas waiting for signs, I reminded myself.
We arrived at an old saloon where we were told to split up and meet back in twenty minutes–don’t go beyond a certain point. My friends and I headed for the bank vault where the most paranormal activity has taken place, a teller having met his death during a fight for a girl.
I’m happy to say several of us walked through a patch of cold air and two of my friends got a spike on the Mel Meter. Anything past a 3.5 is good and one of us got a 4.2 which the guide said was interesting. She told us that patch of air has been felt before. When we walked through it again, the temp had gone back to normal. (We had thermometers on the meter.)
Because our group was so seriously searching for a sign from the other side, the guide recommended returning on a Monday night when the group would be small and more approachable for ghosts.
As an author who seems to have a ghost in almost everything I write (not sure how that happened?) I felt the whole night was hauntingly successful. That patch of cold air was real. Not sure if there was another reason for that but I’ll never know.
Working the Mel Meter, listening in headphones, setting up the laser grid, asking questions of possible spirits, and waiting for signs, was highly exciting, creepy and exhilarating having researched this for novels but never having done it myself.
And, I’m not sure I actually wanted someone to tap me on the shoulder while standing at the end of that long line of ghost hunters in the dark.