signonsandiego - That’s the latest tally of ghostly electronic voice recordings paranormal investigators say they’ve been able to gather on the Del Mar Fairgrounds since last April.
Even to skeptics, the results can be somewhat stirring to the ear.
Fairgrounds employees for years had been talking informally among themselves about strange happenings on the fifth floor of the grandstand, now private suites above the Turf Club. Furniture would somehow be in a different place than before. Patio doors would open and slam shut. The elevator one night wouldn’t stop on that floor, and its hallways would get unseasonably cold.
The so-called phenomena stayed under wraps until Linda Zweig, who has worked as a spokeswoman for the fairgrounds since 2001, contacted South Coast Paranormal. The San Diego-based group of self-described ghost hunters volunteered to investigate using their electronic equipment. They tested for Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP. EVP are noises that sound like speech, but do not come from humans. They could be stray radio transmissions, static, or background noise.
Some, however, feel they are of a supernatural origin.
“We believe it’s voices from the disembodied,” said David Walters, an investigator with South Coast Paranormal.
In fact, the said-to-be haunted fifth floor of the Del Mar grandstand looks like it’s straight from “The Shining.” Its long, narrow hallways, antique furniture and rustic wood doors are reminiscent of the fictional Overlook Hotel that Jack Nicholson terrorized in the classic 1980 Stephen King horror movie.
The caveat? The fairgrounds grandstand was built in the early 1990s.
But Zweig said the fifth floor is in the same spot as a rooftop nightclub celebrities frequented in the original stadium, built in the 1930s.
“We were the hosts to Hollywood royalty,” she said. Jimmy Durante and Bing Crosby were two of the more well-known attendees.
The question is: Are the fairgrounds still hosting them?
To find out, Zweig, Walters and several other investigators spent five nights in the past year awake on the fifth floor of the grandstand.
“We’re not trying to convince anybody; this is fascinating to say the least,” Zweig said. “Either you believe it or not.”
Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and grandson of famed movie producer Cecil B. DeMille, isn’t convinced.
“I have never seen a ghost here, but I have seen quite a few people who I thought had died,” he said. “And, of course, a number of folks that looked as if they had died.”
But for those who think there’s a chance, the investigations go something like this: The crews set up video and audio equipment beginning at 7 p.m. They stay until about 4 a.m., remaining as silent as possible but throwing out questions, such as, “What is your name?” The answers wouldn’t be audible to a human ear, but Walters takes the raw audio to an editing program, pipes up the sound to the maximum decibel level, and listens intently for any sign of, well, life.
At one point during February’s investigaion, Zweig and another person were talking about how comfortable the couch they were sitting on was. Listening back to that time segment of the audio, behind the static, a scratchy voice clearly says, perfectly timed, “I like it too.”
“They’re very friendly ghosts,” Zweig said, jokingly.
But is it almost too good to be real? Walters said he doesn’t spruce up the recordings.
“To a skeptic, the only thing I can say is, ‘Come out with us,’” Walters said. “Every once in a while somebody will say, ‘That’s fake,’ and the only response I have is, ‘Ya know, if I was standing in your shoes, I would think that, too’… we don’t enhance the audio.”
|The hallway on the fifth floor of the Del Mar Fairgrounds grandstand is a known paranormal hotspot|
Do Hollywood ghosts still hang at their old haunt?
760kfmb - After months of secrecy; Del Mar Fairgrounds management is talking about several paranormal investigations held on site to try and find out what employees have known for years.
Thanks in part to the South Coast Paranormal investigating team; the investigation reveals that doors have opened and closed, voices have been heard and shadows discovered. The paranormal activity is believed to be at the hand of past Hollywood legends who helped establish the track back in 1936.
In the video report below two Del Mar track employees talk about their own personal experiences with what goes bump in the night as ghostly images are discovered in a track pub.
Click for video page
Investigation of the Del Mar Fairgrounds
The Del Mar fairgrounds located in the Inland Empire of Southern California, is investigating claims of the paranormal. It is well known that the horse races there attracted Hollywood’s most rich and famous names for ‘days at the races’ and stories have been told ever since then of disembodied voices of those visitors still haunting the stands and the buildings around them.
A representative for the fairgrounds says that employees there have experienced everything from phantom horses, faces in mirrors, doors opening and closing on their own, mysterious voices and laughter when no one else is around, the sounds of dishes and silverware clanking and more! A couple of reports were more interesting than others, however:
|Celebrities George Raft and Bing Crosby regularly played the ponies at Del Mar|
*An employee says in the 1960′s that he saw George Raft, a regular at the fairgrounds and a famous movie star, standing in line waiting to buy a ticket long after his death.
*Several employees witnessed what seemed to be a glowing ball of light slowly float down a hallway.
*An operations manager had heard toilets flushing and sinks with running water and would enter the restroom in question to find nothing going on that would explain the noises.
Fairgrounds spokeswoman Linda Zweig ---- who has had her own ghostly experiences there ---- said many employees have reported hearing hoofbeats on the track late at night, the clinking of silverware, voices talking and laughing, doors mysteriously slamming or locking on their own, lights turning off without a switch, unexplainable shadows or faces in a mirror, gusts of cold air, even a glowing ball that seemed to float down a hallway.
"I kept hearing all these stories, and one thing led to another," said Zweig, who this past spring decided to invite a couple of local paranormal investigators to take a look. Zweig said she decided on South Coast Paranormal because the investigators seemed the most scientific in their approach.
David Walters, founder and lead investigator of South Coast Paranormal, has conducted three investigations in the grandstand's fifth floor, which used to be a popular rooftop nightclub before the building was completely rebuilt in the early 1990s, and in the second-floor pub.
Walters and his team came out for the first time in July, armed with video and audio equipment, including something called a "ghost box" ---- a modified radio tuner programmed not to land on any particular frequency.
"Our ordinary cases are about helping families with their homes when they claim that it's haunted," Walters wrote in an e-mail. "We treated Del Mar the exact same, however, we went in and tried to disprove all the claims. We just happened to catch a lot of great evidence of paranormal activity in the process."
The team is sifting through hours of tape, the results of which will be revealed this month, Zweig said.
Mario Sandoval, an operations manager at the fairgrounds since 1995, said he has had a number of strange experiences in the grandstand building.
The first was late one night in 1996 when he was walking past the men's room on the second floor. He heard water running.
"I unlocked the door, went in, and all the sinks and faucets were totally dry," he said. "Later that night I heard a toilet flush, and it was the same thing ---- there was nothing to explain it."
David Richards owns a time share in Solana Beach overlooking the fairgrounds. He said he was skeptical ---- but open-minded ---- upon hearing news that the grandstand might be home to supernatural activity.
Richards, an engineer by trade, has visited several venues said to be haunted as a member of the Independent Investigations Group, part of an international science-based organization called the Center for Inquiry.
"They're usually places with fond memories, or a certain cultural nostalgia," said Richards, adding that he would be very interested in investigating the fairgrounds.
"So often in California, the haunting comes down to noise," he said. "For most phenomena, there are many potential explanations, usually rational ones. There may in fact be a phenomenon that's unexplainable, where the best explanation would be something paranormal, but we in the IIG haven't run into such a situation yet."
Sandoval said his experiences ---- a glimpse of darkened silhouettes in period clothing clinking glasses, a whiff of cigar smoke in the empty building, or someone ordering a martini ---- are not in the least bit frightening.
"The major stuff happens after midnight, and it all happens from west to east," Sandoval said. "You get kind of used to it after a while. I can walk all around here at night. It's just the usual spookiness."
Zweig said that she didn't want to release this information around Halloween and has chosen to do so now, not as a ploy to create media interest, but simply to share an intriguing part of the racetrack's rich history.
"We're just sharing our experiences, not trying to convince anyone," said Zweig, who said she has the complete approval of the fairgrounds management team to talk about her and others' brushes with the supernatural.
"We look at ourselves like the Hotel Del, the Star of India, the Whaley House, and other homes and venues around the world that have rich histories," she said. "It's intriguing. The way I see it, we're in very good company." - nctimes
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