January 21, 2014 2 Comments
by Tony Harrington
A little over two years ago, I attended an investigation of a private residence in Mayflower, Arkansas. Little did I know at the time, that it would yield 2 significant personal experiences that would challenge my skepticism, but ultimately raise more questions than it answered.
You can review the archives for “The Mayflower Television Incident” for a full account of what transpired on that particular investigation. Basically, for those who prefer to just browse this article, the following things occurred:
- The television turned itself on in the middle of an EVP session while in the master bedroom.
- I, along with fellow investigator Christina South, witnessed a ball of light travel down a wall and across the floor of the attic room
- Christina and I saw a crouched shadow figure scurry across the floor of the attic.
- There was a sense of palpable dread and foreboding present in the house.
I am perhaps the most skeptical member of the team, constantly at odds with the director of investigations, Alan Lowe. And I can say with some authority that being at odds with the founder of the organization is not always the best place to be. But, I do so respectfully so I assume it is because I am so charming that he has not yet booted me from the team.
When these events occurred, they were equally terrifying and exhilarating. We were positive something paranormal was at play while it was happening. However, the skeptical side of me kept wondering if the television incident was not accidentally perpetrated by a member of our team accidentally hitting the remote.
As time passed and I reflected on this particular case I found myself better able to attribute logical explanations to the events as any good skeptic would.
- The television had a glitch.
- The television was turned on when an investigator accidentally depressed the power button on the remote.
- The television’s power was triggered by an external IR source such as our IR lamps on our video cameras.
- Another remote in the house triggered the power on the set.
- In the attic, perhaps static in the room discharged creating a light anomaly.
- It was near pitch dark in the attic room, our eyes played tricks on us allowing us to witness a shadow figure.
- Perhaps an EMF spike made us feel uneasy, hence the palpable dread and paranoia.
Over time I was able to explain away almost everything. I am, after all, a fan of Occam’s Razor Theory. Like most anything else in paranormal investigations, the rules of Occam’s Razor are purely theoretical and not scientific. So, even in adhering to this philosophy there is, admittedly, a margin of error.
But, if a more logical explanation exists over “it was a ghost” I am going to discount the possibility of paranormal activity altogether. I realize in doing so I am going to determine 99% of the time that what we experience is not paranormal but has a logical explanation, even if I can’t ascertain a logical explanation at the moment. This is the very reason Alan and I butt heads as much as we do. I also believe this is what makes us a great team…we are truly balanced.
Recently, Spirit Seekers returned to the scene of the “Mayflower Television Incident”. Kim, the homeowner was kind enough to allow us to re-investigate her home as it had been a case that stuck with most of the crew that was part of the initial investigation.
We entered the home at approximately 8:00 P.M. and set about our normal routine. We made introductions, took baseline readings of the temperature and EMF (Electromagnetic Field). The kitchen had a large spike due to the fact that it bumps up directly to a utility closet containing the HVAC unit. Additionally the range, refrigerator, and microwave give off elevated EMF readings. Aside from that, every room seemed well grounded with no recordable spikes or abnormalities. The temps in the home were a little on the warm side, coming in at 78-80 degrees.
After the baseline readings were conducted, we went from room to room snapping photographs. I entered the master bedroom where the infamous television was. Kim followed me into the room where she was showing me some stones she was given by a spiritual friend, I forget what they are called, and she was pointing out that the remote control to the tv was on the night stand.
I was snapping pictures of her at this time, not for any specific reason other than to ensure I was getting a good number of photos to include in my evidence docket for review. I took a few pictures that were clear. The moment the neared the night stand though and reached for the remote, a dark shape began to manifest in the viewfinder. I couldn’t see it with my naked eye and thought it was just artifacting in the LCD viewer. I snapped the following pictures and you can see the shape manifest and hover over her.
After the photographs were collected, we all settled into the bedroom and set up our camcorders. We decided that this time, unlike two years ago, the focal point of the videos would be the tv, that way we would be prepared should we be graced with another experience like last time. So we set up our equipment. Alan has a camcorder that films in complete darkness via the use of an IR lamp. I have a full spectrum camera that records with the aid of an IR/UV lamp, though the lamp does not need to be on in order for the camera to pick up these wavelengths. It just allows the camera to see in darkness.
We settled in and conducted an EVP session. I placed my K-II meter in front of the TV, and this time we had the foresight to take the remote control and place it in the nightstand so as to not accidentally press the power button on it.
We started an EVP session. I asked some baseline questions to establish if any spirit that was present was aware of its own existence and if it is aware of the passage of time. The baseline questions range from:
- Is there someone here who wishes to communicate with us?
- What is your name?
- How old are you?
- What is your gender?
- What year is it?
- Who is the president of the United States?
- How did you die?
- Can you give us a sign of your presence?
About 7 minutes into the EVP session I asked anything present to give us a sign it was there. I instructed it to light up the lights on my K-II, speak into my digital voice recorder, or go as far as turning on the television.
I then asked if anyone in the group wanted to ask questions and while we were talking amongst ourselves, the TV flickered to life and lit up the room. Just like last time we were taken by surprise, because while we HOPED for a repeat performance, we actually did not expect it.
This experience is documented in abridged format here:
After that we ascended to the attic room where two years prior, Christina and I encountered the mysterious moving light and the crouching shadow figure. While there we conducted an EVP session where we had a K-II meter present. Several times there were EMF spikes that seemed to correspond to our yes/no questions and a few times the blips seemed asynchronous with our requests/questions.
However, more times than not the spikes seemed completely random and due to the fact that I was attempting to tweet from the investigation, my cell phone could have interfered with the device. Social media be damned, this is a good reason why cell phones should be turned off during an investigation. I possibly contaminated the evidence. Though I did hold the K-II meter to my phone which resulted in a minimal increase in EMF. But, since there was a marked increase I have to assume that I contaminated this portion of the investigation and discount the K-II responses altogether.
While in the attic there was a temperature drop of three degrees over the course of the EVP session while the thermometer was pointed at the K-II. The rest of the attic temperature remained unchanged.
During this EVP session, Alan Lowe, director of investigations, used dowsing rods in an attempt to determine what, if anyone/anything, we were in contact with. It was at this time that the line of questioning seemed to indicate that the presence with whom we were in contact actually knew the homeowners. We asked if it was a relative and it confirmed the question both with the rods and with the K-II meter. Kim, the homeowner, implied that she thought the presence might be a man by the name of “Bucky”, her deceased brother-in-law.
When asked, the dowsing rods indicated that we were indeed in touch with Bucky. I will add here, that I am not a fan of the dowsing rods because they rely on a human being in contact with them to make them work,the results are subject to human error. But, Alan is a fan, and as the director and founder of the group, it is his show and I respect that.
We asked some clarifying questions about Bucky. When we found out he had been married we asked how many times. The number 5 immediately popped into my head. I blurted out 5. Alan asked if this was indeed the number of times and the rods confirmed. Kim was able to verify that this was indeed the number of marriages Bucky had been through.
We were able to confirm a few more pieces of information. Again, this is not scientific and the entire experience is completely subjective as you, the reader of this entry, were not there to experience it yourself.
After about 30 minutes in the attic, being subjected to random knocks, pops, and other assorted noises we decided to return to the master bedroom.
Alan decided to stay in the attic to see if he could connect with anything that might be there. Christina, Cayley–our newest investigator, and I settled in to the master bedroom and talked amongst ourselves. I had positioned my camera at the TV, again, just in case. We sat around discussing the investigation so far, the things we thought were interesting, our personal opinions on various equipment and tactics and how we hoped the TV would turn on again, though we doubted it would.
Color us surprised when after a few minutes of discussion, the television came to life.
(PLACEHOLDER FOR VIDEO TO BE INSERTED LATER)
I grabbed the remote from the drawer and turned the tv off. I did this for several reasons. One, I wanted to see if we could get the tv to turn itself back on, I wanted to ensure the power button on the remote was not stuck, and I knew that I was recording and I wanted to see if my full spectrum camcorder could pick up IR light emitted from the remote control.
The power button was not depressed or stuck in any way. That is not to say there was no other fault with the device that could cause the television to turn itself on. But I did rule out a stuck button. This coupled with the fact that the homeowner reported that the TV had not acted strangely since our last visit 2 years ago. Surely, if a button was stuck, the problem would have emerged sooner.
An interesting note: The full spectrum camera did indeed pick up what a remote control IR beam looks like. It shows up as a stutter-flash of white light. It is pretty bright. So I knew that if I was going to try to figure out what was happening, I would have to look for a stutter-flash in my evidence review to see if there was an outside source responsible for the televisions odd behavior.
As we worked to try to figure out how the television turned itself on, it suddenly turned itself off. Never before had this event occurred. It was escalation in the truest sense of the word. I looked around the room to see if anyone had a remote. We opened the door, looked into the hallway, Alan came down and walked the perimeter and checked on John, the male homeowner who wanted little or nothing to do with our investigation.
While we were scurrying about our business, the tv lit up again.
At some point we asked whatever was present to turn the tv off an on at our command. It took a minute or two, but slowly, our commands were satisfied. We asked it to do a few other things like change channels, manipulate the volume to certain levels, and when we asked the presence if it had anything to say, the volume died and the word “Mute” appeared on the screen.
This went on for about a half hour. We would command the tv to do certain things and it would obey for the most part. We learned that whatever was manipulating the tv was capable of doing only simple commands.
Herein lies the rub: In my review of the video footage, (It is being edited as of the writing of this entry, I will update this entry with the video footage once I get it posted), several times as the television cycles channels or powers off and on, off to my left, there is a faint stutter flash. Now, the remote to the television is on the bed to the right. To the left of the camera, and from where the light emits, is the door leading to the hallway. No one was in the hallway, yet from just left of the television there is the unmistakable stutter flash that accompanied the use of the remote control.
This really raises some red flags for me, personally. It implies that there is an outside source interfering with our investigation. That somehow, there was indeed an IR source causing what we were experiencing.
Now, things get a bit complicated with this theory, because we were all present in the room. The four investigators: Alan Lowe, Christina South, Cayley Shields, and Tony Harrington. Additionally, the female homeowner, Kim, was present. The only person unaccounted for was Kim’s husband, John. John was across the house in a room sound asleep. Alan and Kim checked on him as the tv was doing its thing. This means one of two things: 1) The source was coming from outside the house, hence it being so weak and not nearly as bright as the remote control beam, or 2) The tv was being controlled by someone in the room with us, which would mean either the homeowner or someone in our very group.
We use full spectrum cameras/video cameras on investigations because the theory accepted by paranormal investigators is that spirits tend to reside outside of the light spectrum visible to the human eye. What our eyes pick up and process is what is known as the “visible spectrum”. That would be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Just outside the visible spectrum is infrared to the left, and ultraviolet to the right.
The accepted theory is that spirits, if present, may reside in the invisible light fields; Infrared, ultraviolet, and beyond.
If that is indeed the case, and that is strictly theory and not a proven fact mind you, then perhaps the actual stutter of light captured on film is what a spirit looks like as it interacts with its environment. Perhaps what we are seeing on the video footage is not from a universal remote or other source of power, but in fact a spirit caught on film. As a skeptic, I find that hard to believe, but I do toss the notion out there for those inclined to believe so.
The bottom line is that in our search for outside sources, we did not find any. That is not to say they did not exist and that we were not being played. If we were indeed the victims of a hoax, it is an elaborate one and one in which I personally do not feel the homeowners were privy to or part of. I am not sure if anyone outside of those present inside the house knew of the investigation and had time to set up the hoax. That is a wildcard variable, but one we have to consider if we are going to consider supernatural forces as a viable option.
At one point during the event, I was ripped from my awe by a decidedly “human” twist. As the TV went about responding to us, it suddenly turned to channel 666. This of course caused quite a stir with those present in the room. To me it was the exact moment that I felt we were being played for fools. It seemed like a high-schoolers version of what they think would be scary. It was so out of the moment and cliché that I, along with Christina wondered, and she actually said it out loud: “What is with this 6-6-6 crap?”
Until that moment I was comfortable with thinking something paranormal could finally be happening. Something that wasn’t as easily explained away. I felt cheated and manipulated.
In reviewing the evidence though, it doesn’t make sense that 6-6-6 would even come up on the TV. No one asked the presence to identify itself. We did ask for it to go to a random channel that was not incrementally up or down the dial. At one point it selected channel 7. Logically, it could have been an overzealous attempt to load channel 6. The number 6-6-6 could be inconsequential, it could have easily been 000, 888, 333, or any other number entered more than once. We as people automatically assumed it was someone implying it was satanic. We may be over-analyzing the appearance of the number when there was nothing implicit about it other than it was a random channel a presence was trying to load.
For example: on U-verse, channel 666 is a multiview channel option while on Direct TV it is a channel guide. So, channel 666 does exist and in neither of these cases does going to the channel open a portal to hell or load FOX News as one would suspect.
In reviewing and editing the video footage though, I did come across one very freaky coincidence…or is it a coincidence at all?
At one point the channel jumped back and forth between a cooking show and a show on AETN public television. For about 10 seconds, while on AETN, there was a female narrating a program. She said something about a town and then mentioned a “character” by the name of…Bucky. Right after the name Bucky was mentioned, the channel changed.
While this was happening none of us picked up on what the TV program was saying as we were too occupied with how the set was functioning. As I listened to the name “Bucky” be spoken from the tv, it gave me a chill. It was either one freaky coincidence that could only happen once in a lifetime, or the presence was somehow validating that Bucky is still in the house or that it is at least “aware” of our discussion of him just an hour prior while in the attic which would lend credence to the idea of an intelligent haunting.
We closed up shop as the television began to simmer down, eventually turning off and failing to respond to us anymore. Christina left the room and returned moments later claiming to have seen a full body apparition in the kitchen. It was a solid black mass about 6 feet tall that moved quickly and disappeared down the hall. She reported this as a personal experience knowing there is no evidence to support her claim.
As we wrapped up the investigation, giddy with excitement at the turn of events, perplexed by many facets of it, and having more questions than answers, Christina South felt the hair on her head move. Cayley Shield and Alan Lowe looked up to see a rather large portion of hair lift up and stick straight out. Christina went to smooth her hair back into place and only then realized that there was no way that much hair could lift off of her head without outside manipulation. Again, though we have two investigators who witnessed this event and one who it happened to, it is not supported by evidence and therefore is a personal experience but we can not enter it into the evidence category.
Individually, the events can easily be explained away as happenstance, coincidence, or easily debunked natural phenomena. Collectively, the events paint a picture of a rather haunted home.
I am still not sure what happened in the home in Mayflower, Arkansas on January 18, 2014. I can’t simply say it was 100 percent paranormal without considering natural explanations. But we all know what we experienced, we know what we did to attempt to debunk, and even as analytical and skeptical as we are toward the events, there is the lingering notion that twice now we have encountered something in the home.
The sad part is: with the video evidence, EVP, photographs and more, we are still unable to prove without a doubt that the house is haunted. Skeptics will never believe that a ghost was responsible for manipulating the television because as long as there is an alternate “logical” explanation, they will always go to that first.
Ultimately, what we are left with is the personal experiences, the weird coincidences, and the strong personal feelings that what we encountered that night and 2 years ago could very well be true paranormal phenomenon.