Now I guess you guys want to hear about the actual investigating of Mansfield Reformatory? Right? Good. ’cause here we go.
(Read here about Part 1: Paranormal Background + Meet & Greet)
Okay so at approximately 9PM the Meet & Greet and lectures concluded. I learned a lot of things. I learned that Adam Berry is literally the nicest person in the whole wide world. And I’ve learned from Josh Gates that there’s an ancient ghost story written by Pliny The Younger (A.D. 61 – 115). (Which you can read here: An Ancient Ghost Story)
And I got some confirmation on things that I already believed. Like John Zaffis saying that demons aren’t everywhere, that most times those cases tend to be the client freaking themselves out or just an angry spirit. (I had previously figured this out when reading Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson’s books on their experiences at The Atlantic Paranormal Society.)
At 9PM we started investigations (with a little break) I readied myself: putting on my jacket (considering it was in the 40s and there was no heat), my flashlight (no electricity), and my digital recorder (the greatest and most useful tool a paranormal investigator can ever have on him/her).
Let me just say here and now this building’s reputation is very accurate. It is creepy and very active. Within the first 30 minutes of investigating something happened to me that totally creeped me out.
Like literally I stood there in the East Cell block like this–
–trying to figure out a logical explanation. Thank God for Amy Bruni and Steve Gonsalves for attempting to give me a logical grasp on the situation BUT–just–it was weird. It’s still weird looking back on it. I can’t explain it. I’m not saying that it was 100% paranormal but it was a personal experience that I will be confused about for the rest of my life.
The night started with me, Allison, and the group over in the East Cell Block showers.
Amy Bruni demonstrated her flashlight technique which was absolutely AWESOME to watch. The flashlight technique is another way for a paranormal investigator to communicate with spirits. Amy stressed that using three flashlights (a “yes”, “no”, and “maybe”) works best and is more credible. Here’s an example of the technique (found it on YouTube, not mine!):
One day I would like to try this. Although it is a patience killer. Amy explained that contrary to what SyFy shows, it sometimes takes a very long time for the spirit to learn how to use the flashlights. But it is pretty cool to watch and wonder if it’s a spirit communicating. If it is: what is the spirit thinking? Do they see us? Or just the flashlights? Are they aware of the year, the time, the month, the day? Or is it just one continued existence that would be totally confusing for us to experience ourselves?
After the flashlight experiments Allison and I departed from the group and went to investigated by ourselves.
We had about an hour to explore the East Cell Block and we were excited to get going. It was creepy, I tell you, the first time turning off a flashlight in an abandoned prison. Even though you know there are people close by, just the thought of something jumping out at you, getting touched by something that’s not there (or someone) is unnerving.
I got my emotions and thoughts under control and started walking around the small room we were in. There was literally nothing but a small table in the center of the room. I wondered: what was the room used as? As a room for the guards? Probably not something for the prisoners because it wasn’t out in the open. I walked into the back right hand corner of the room… and then I got a headache.
Now I thought this was a little odd at first. I never have headaches to this extreme — it was approaching a migraine but stayed centered on the left side of my head. It reminded me of when I got hit by a ball in my high school gym class. Soon Allison and I made our way from the East Cell Block to Solitary and while Steve Gonsalves was instructing the group I say an “Our Father”. As soon as I say “Amen”… the headache vanishes on freaking cue.
Okay. The reason why this is so weird to me is that I have never, never, NEVER had a headache vanish on cue. NEVER. It always throbs until I go to sleep and wake up the next day. Medicine hardly ever takes it away.
But I chalked it up as very weird, talked to Steve about it, and even he said “wow” in response to my personal experience before suggesting to see if it comes back, and if it does, say a prayer again.
Well about fifteen minutes later it did come back. But not to me… to Allison. We went outside, tried to get some fresh air (which was a thing that Mansfield offered to do if things got too crazy), and went back inside. All the while the headache was still going for Allison. It lessened only slightly with the fresh air. Then what did Allison do? Say a prayer. And it went away. On freaking cue AGAIN.
The rest of the night we didn’t have any headaches but I swear that was one of the freakiest things that happened to me. I’m proud of myself and Allison though because we just laughed, brushed it off, and continued investigating.
The second weirdest thing that happened to Allison and I were in the West Cell Block. There we met up with Adam Berry and did a group investigation. As he encouraged shadows to lean out of the cells, I was avidly watching, soaking it all in. I really, really, really wanted to see a shadow. Or to see some kind of apparition. Allison and I had possibly seen a shadow cross in front of us at Hill View Manor a couple years ago, but I was still uncertain if it was a shadow, or a person just walking in the dark. It was so solid but so silent that it still makes me wonder. But I knew Mansfield was famous for shadows running around the Cell Blocks, I wanted to see one for myself.
I never did see one but I did experience another first. There were cells to my left as I stood in the group, actively learning from Adam and waiting to see a shadow. Suddenly I felt a hand brush across my right shoulder.
I flipped around, looking back at Allison, and said: “What?”
Me: “Did you just touch my shoulder?”
Allison: *brushes my shoulder and it feels similar, but different*
Me: “Yeah, did you do that right now?”
Allison: “*confused* No?”
I know people would debate that Allison could’ve just been pulling my leg (after all we both like to prank each other). But I stand by the fact that I flipped around so fast I would’ve seen Allison putting her hands down. There was no one else in proximity to me. So I believe I was touched.
But Allison had quite an experience when we went into one of the cells to do an EVP session. As the session progressed she was… very confused… and slightly weirded out to feel a pressure on her chest. Me? I started cracking up as Allison looked dumbfounded and started making jokes about being groped. “Wait until I tell my mom that you made a ghost grope me!” she exclaimed while I just bent over laughing. We had asked the ghost in the cell to touch one of us, and kept asking through the thirty minute session. The ghost must’ve liked Allison because she received a firm butt grab too, after we had switched places.
*wince* Sorry Allison for making a ghost grope you…
The night ended up wearing down, and Allison and I became physically exhausted as we shuffled through our last two locations: The Attic/Chapel with John Zaffis and The Warden’s Quarters with Chip Coffey. The last two locations almost literally ended in a blur. It seemed that the rest of the group felt along the same lines. When we got to the Warden’s Quarters everyone slumped to the ground while Chip commented on how different our group felt in dynamics, as well as how drained the activity of Mansfield was.
I think the only thing that got me through the last two locations was the hope of seeing Josh Gates and talking to him more (he had proclaimed at the lecture that he was going to drift around from group to group). I had had enough of the investigating, and had more than enough experiences to keep me going, but I was absolutely exhausted.
Allison and I ended our night at Mansfield driving home and flopping in our beds at 3AM. For the next day I analyzed my recordings and categorized them chronologically. I will say that I’m visiting Mansfield again. I’ve already purchased the tickets to next year’s event with Grant Wilson and I CAN’T WAIT!!
Purchase your tickets here before they sell out: 2015 OHIO STATE REFORMATORY (MANSFIELD)
Concerning the evidence: I don’t pretend to be an expert paranormal investigator. I’m still learning, and this is my hobby. I also don’t pretend to be making excuses. All I present to you are some audio recordings that definitely raised my eyebrow.
(Edit from the future (5.21.15): I’m converting these into a YouTube video – should be up the next couple weeks!)
East Cell Block:
01 – Me getting a headache.
02 – Some warping (?) of Allison’s voice (which didn’t happen again for the rest of the night)
03 – “My room!”
Basement (by The Hole):
04 – “Get out”?
05 – whispered “for you”
– my shoulder being pushed
– a groan/moan
– hammering (which we DID NOT hear live)
06 – “Hey!”
07 – Allison gets a headache
08 – moan
West Cell Block:
09 + 10 – Adam’s group investigation trying to draw shadows out of the cells.
*During this time I felt fingers brushing my right shoulder and Allison didn’t do it or see anyone doing it — FIRST TIME being touched by a ghost*
11 – walking the length of the block by myself. I hear whispered “who are you” and “what’s your name?”
12 – 3:11 “Quit it!” when I turn on my flashlight
– 4:40 “No”
– 4:50 Allison is groped
– 8:35 We hold our hands out and feel like we can’t keep them open – like we’re sticking them in Molasses.
– 12:53 Allison’s thigh is touched.
– 13:08 “Hello”
– 15:45 “No I don’t” when asking if he knew who caused our headaches.
– 17:30 Allison’s hair lifts.
– 18:35 “No”
– 19:30 My hair’s grabbed?
– 21:11 moan
– 21:39 moan
13 – 11sec Me: Can you say our names? “Too easy.”
– 14 sec Breath. (We audibly heard this)
14 – 50sec Allison’s groped again
– 1:28 “Oh-kay”
(We switch places in the cell – Allison at the door, me farther in. We want to know if he likes Allison or if it’s a proximity thing)
– 5:16 Breath
– 7:20 My left hand starts to get extremely cold while my right stays the same temperature. It gets colder when I ask him to squeeze tighter.
15 – John Zaffis spirit box session
16 – Chip Coffey’s session (at this point everyone is so physically drained, especially Allison and I, that we just sit on the floor and do a group investigation with Chip before departing the location)
Comment below what you guys think and thanks for checking this out! It was certainly an enormous adventure and I felt honored to [again] be ghost hunting with TAPS, John Zaffis, Chip Coffey, and Josh Gates.
…even though I never saw Josh again that night…
What about you guys? What paranormal experiences have you had? Have you gone to an Ideal Event? How was it?