We start each Ghost Walk with the same series of questions: Who here believes in ghosts? Do we have any non-believers? Who is a skeptic? At the beginning of the summer, when my internship at VBSRM began, I was firmly in the non-believer category.

Starting a tour

I visit historical sites quite frequently and have never experienced anything remotely paranormal. Nor have I every had any contact from deceased friends and relatives. Plus, I had major questions: Why are all the ghosts Victorian? Why aren’t there ghosts from the 1960s, or ancient Greece?

Throughout the summer, some of these questions were answered for me. It turns out people do claim to encounter mid-century ghosts! But, more than anything, some of my experiences in the building have pushed me firmly into the “skeptic” category, and right to the verge of being a “believer.”

Explaining the spirit box to visitors

There have been a lot of little things: being creeped out in certain areas, spikes in the Mel Meter, a feeling of resistance when pulling a closet door closed. And the experience with the most impact: a voice in the spirit box. The spirit box is actually my least favorite of the equipment because it’s exceptionally loud and cacophonous. It’s quite startling, therefore, when the white noise falls away and it gets quiet.

It was a rainy Saturday night, a few weeks after I’d started guiding Ghost Walks. During the ghost hunting period after the stories, a visitor was using the spirit box. The device was cycling through radio frequencies, like normal, as she asked the question “Is anyone here with us?”. The clicking and white noise stopped, and the words “we’re here” came through. I immediately felt chills down my spine. It happened in a corner I had felt eerie in before, and there was no way it could have been from a radio station.

That experience alone pushed me into the skeptic category. While I think it would take me an apparition experience to fully, one-hundred percent, without a doubt believe in the paranormal, that voice in the spirit opened me up the the possibility. In this building, I actually like the idea that the surfmen are still around, still on watch. I’d be happy to see one of them sometime.