Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Investigators Reexamine Campus Ghost Legend

ljworld - Set against a backdrop of dark sky and lightning flashes, the Sigma Nu fraternity house on the Kansas University campus looked ominous early Sunday morning.

The wood floors inside creaked and groaned with the slightest shift in weight.

For the second time in as many years, members of Elite Paranormal of Kansas City searched the house’s various levels for the best place to set up their investigation.

At this time last year, the team was making its first rounds through the building, searching for clues as to why the house was rumored to be haunted.

This weekend, they wanted to search for more evidence that could be researched and possibly verified.

So about midnight Saturday, 12 people sat around a wooden table in Room 201, the same room the team had conducted its main investigation in a year earlier. After cutting the lights, the 12 members sat in near silence — speaking only in hushed tones and whispers — listening to what an untrained ear might perceive as static.

But to the trained ear, the static holds clues — and possibly conversations with those on the other side.

Saturday night into early Sunday morning, that conversation was with a woman named Stella, the wife of former Gov. Walter Stubbs, who lived in the house before the fraternity moved in. Stubbs was governor from 1909 to 1913.

After about 30 minutes spent gathered in the second-floor room, the investigators emerged with what they believed to be solid ideas about what may have happened in the house.

“When we left the first time, it didn’t feel like we had finished the story,” Elite Paranormal case manager Bill Joeckel said. “We kind of left it in limbo.”

The story the investigators arrived at one year ago was that of Virginia, a mistress of the former governor, hanged herself in the house in 1911. Joeckel said his team had believed the former governor’s wife, Stella, had something to do with the incident.

Nearing the completion of the second investigation, however, Joeckel said he wasn’t so sure the former governor’s wife was responsible.

“We came in here hoping to find information we can back up with facts, like names, reasons and motives,” Joeckel said.

The investigators Sunday morning believed they had found some of that information.

Sally Nixon, the fraternity’s house mom for the past year, took the investigation in stride. Nixon tagged along with the investigators throughout the day Saturday and on into the night, interested to see what might be discovered. When the activity in the house ended in the early-morning hours, Nixon said she had become less interested in going to sleep.

“I’m not going to be too happy when they all leave,” she said.

Nixon, a 15-year Lawrence resident, said she’d often heard things going bump in the night in the old house. She said she could never be quite sure exactly what was responsible for the noise, though.

So what’s next in the process for Joeckel and his investigative team?

Each member will spend the next five days reviewing the data before sending the information to Joeckel and Elite Paranormal founding member Rob Garcia. Those two will review and research the information and develop a theory for what might have happened.

“When we go out we want to learn something,” Joeckel said of the investigation process. “We also want to try to solve whatever mystery we’re investigating.”

Elite Paranormal of Kansas City operates free of charge to its clients.

Garcia said he’d had several people through the years ask if his affinity for the paranormal was drug-induced, though he said many times it seemed to be the other way around based on some of the people who’d called them for an investigation.

Garcia, an IT professional and father of two by day, said paranormal investigation was a hobby like any other, and one he enjoyed.

Garcia said the results from the weekend’s investigation will most likely not be available for a couple of weeks.

Originally posted 7/26/2009

Haunting Legend Explored at University of Kansas Frat House

www2.ljworld.com - Starting Saturday night at a Kansas University fraternity house, Bill Joeckel will attempt to solve a mystery that has haunted his curiosity for five years.

The Osawatomie man knows the legend behind Virginia — a ghost rumored to haunt the Sigma Nu house — has been the focus of speculation and chilling accounts from fraternity brothers for decades.

Joeckel and a team of paranormal investigators will work throughout the night searching for clues in the house at 1501 Sigma Nu Place, which is northwest of the KU campus.

“We try to figure out: How can we explain it on a scientific basis?” said the information technology recruiter, who searches for ghosts and paranormal activity as a hobby.

According to a legend that has never been documented, the house has long been rumored to be home to Virginia, the mistress and a servant of Gov. Walter Stubbs, who lived in the house. Stubbs was governor from 1909 to 1913.

According to the story, when Mrs. Stubbs found out about the affair, she became jealous, and the mistress hanged herself at the house in 1911. Virginia is rumored to haunt the fraternity.

International ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the Sigma Nu house in 1999, and Lorraine Warren had said “there’s a good chance” the building was haunted.

Fraternity brothers have passed down stories throughout the years, and chapter members invited Joeckel’s group — which includes members of Kansas City Paranormal Studies and Elite Paranormal of Kansas City — in to investigate.

“I’m just more curious than anything. I’d like to see if there is anything actually going on,” said Piper sophomore James Asherman, the Sigma Nu chapter’s historian.

The investigators have searched various buildings in the Kansas City and northeast Kansas area. Joeckel said the team includes a psychic and a quantum physicist.

They use scientific equipment to take measurements and readings in the house. Team members will take physiological readings of the psychic as she moves through the house to see if her heart rate jumps, for instance, when she claims to be interacting with something spiritual or supernatural.

In about 90 percent of the cases, the team is able to find a logical explanation on why someone was spooked. Air leaking through a vent, for example, could cause a creepy noise in a house, Joeckel said. But a few times, he said, they picked up stuff they couldn’t explain.

So that keeps them going — even though people might refer to them as “whack jobs,” he said.

“That’s why we don’t do stuff the way people used to do it,” and try to gather as much scientific data as possible, Joeckel said.

The group also includes people of different religious backgrounds, he said, who will meet for several days after their investigation, examine the data and try to reach a conclusion.

“If we can expose or bring the truth to life after death,” Joeckel said, “it might make people who are dying not as scared if they know there’s something on the other side for sure.”

Investigators Reexamine Campus Ghost Legend
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