; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Haven For Lost Spirits

cbs2 - Rialto, Ca - On the corner of Riverside Avenue and Second Street there is a historic cornerstone of the Rialto community -- the First Christian Church of Rialto.

"It was built in 1906-07."

The original handcrafted pews line the chapel and the same stained glass windows shed light on some spooky stories.

"You're being watched."

Floating around…

"You could see objects behind her, they said, and no feet."

Parapsychologist Tom Hagman believes the kitchen of the church is the portal for the ghosts, where they come and go."

"I feel about three entities are here right now -- one man, two women."

Neighbors have had their own encounters.

"There's a girl with her hair down to her shoulder."

Perhaps the most popular reported paranormal sighting is the one about Kristina Hendrickson.

"We've had three séances to try to get her released."

Kristina's father bought the church so it wouldn't be torn down. In 1967 at age 12 Kristina died of Leukemia. The building is named after her.

"He brought her ashes here, displayed case in her memory."

Decades after her death, there have been reported sightings of a girl ghost fitting Kristina's description.

"A young girl about 11 or 12."

There is a photo of a staircase inside the church, next to Kristina's belongings.

"There was an image, some kind of ghostly shape or something on that picture that wasn't there when I took it."

A group of children touring the church saw something on the same stairs.

"Couple little girls started screaming and said they had seen a ghost."

But the kids had never seen the photo before the tour.

Those who visit the church religiously say Kristina's spirit hasn't been seen since her father passed. But some believe the church's eerie elegance will always attract ghostly gatherings.

"There is a long time energetic environment that has been built here from the years and years and years of people praying; people praying for souls. So they find their way here."

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This building is the home of the Rialto Historical Society and I am the historian of the Historical Society. The photographer, Rich McInnis, did not see anything on the stairway when he snapped the photo. He was shocked to see the image after taking the film to a one-hour photo development service. A few days after this photo was taken, I was leading a tour of elementary school students through the church. I had not told them about the image in the photo, but four girls began screaming that they had seen the ghost of a woman with black hair and a white dress standing in the exact same spot where the image on the photo appeared. The entire class panicked and the teacher had a fit after seeing her normally well-behaved class go completely out of control.

I have spent 20 years at the intensely haunted old church building that is now occupied by the Rialto Historical Society. I have a Ph.D. in soil science from the University of California at Riverside, did scientific research for years, always ridiculed any suggestions of the supernatural, and I was a life-long atheist until the foundations of my belief system were blasted to pieces by my experiences with ghosts. I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever believe in something that seemed so ridiculous to me as ghosts. The stories began with the discovery of a very appealing little girl ghost whose ashes had been kept in the church. She was sent on her way after three very emotional seances, but other ghosts remain to haunt the church. Two different pairs of Rialto policemen have told me of encountering the ghost of a woman in a Victorian dress on two different occasions after answering a burglar alarm after midnight. Both of these encounters occurred at the base of the same stairway that is shown in the attached photo. Dozens of other people have also convincingly told me of their ghostly experiences in the church.

I have written a book about my experiences in the church that is called "The Little Girl in the Window: A True Ghost Story." It was published in June 2008 and is available on Amazon.com. My ghost book tells of scores of extraordinary ghostly encounters that I experienced along with other witnesses. I have recorded minutely detailed notes of every incident and I have written the book with the greatest care to describe exactly what happened. Some of the incidents are similar to those commonly described in ghost stories, such as the sound of footsteps without a visible person to make them, but other bizarre things have happened that I have never seen mentioned elsewhere. One example is a drinking glass that disappeared from beside my dinner plate only to instantly reappear from thin air several minutes later at the same spot where I had last seen it. I am not crazy because there was another witness to this event. I was also dumbfounded to learn that genuine psychics truly exist. I invited many people to investigate the church, and two of them, a man and a woman, proved to have astounding agreement with what I knew about the ghosts and with each others' observations. They had certainly never met when I first learned each ones conclusions about the ghosts and realized that they agreed as closely as if they had both been describing living people rather than unseen spirits. The man, Tom Hagman, is a ghost investigator of more than 30 years experience who had made many visits to investigate the ghosts in the church and to attempt to send them on their way. The very psychic woman, Cathy Mancinci, became a close friend of mine and of Tom and has since helped him many times in his work in the old church and in other haunted buildings. The old church building is a very unusual haunted structure because of the discovery of a ghost portal in the kitchen area. This was reported in precisely the same location on three separate occasions by psychics who came to visit the old church without hearing what others had to say about it. They concluded that this allows ghosts to enter and leave the church and accounts for the large number of ghosts there.

The ghosts in the church have been discussed in large newspaper stories in three different inland Southern California newspapers and the haunted historical society building has become well known in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This has drawn many people to our museum.

John Anthony Adams, Historian of the Rialto Historical Society - www.arizonashaunted.net

NOTE: A reader sent me an account on the location a while back. She stated that the apparition on the stairway had been debunked by an investigative team though other groups have had witnessed paranormal activity on the same stairway. The reader pointed out that she had witnesses several apparitions and strange activity in the kitchen area...Lon

A Haven For Lost Spirits