Recently I was invited to attend a “Ghost Hunt Getaway” by a new local team here in Oklahoma. I was excited to review this event, mainly because the team had nothing to hide and seemed to be open to a public review.Knowing that I have an often short chain when it comes to supernatural claims and the “teams” that claim them. I was highly impressed that they even invited us to attend. I and co-author Tammy Wilson, of the <a href=”http://www.ghostlahoma.com” Ghostlahoma book series attended this event. We had a few goals, to sign Ghostlahoma books to their guests, hang out and get to know this new team and to review the event. To our surprise, all in all, we were pretty impressed by the organization, customer service and entertainment factor of the entire ghostly social event.
Friday evening, on June 5th we arrive at ESP event, titled “”Ghost Hunt Getaway” at the infamously haunted Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie, Oklahoma. ESP is short for “Exploring Spirit Phenomenon” and can be found at http://www.spiritphenomenon.com. I have not entered the Stone Lion for many years, for personal reasons, so it was nice to go back and enjoy the old house.I was greeting by Joe, also known as “Dawg” to the rest of his team and guests. He gave me a quick run down of how the event will be directed and a nice time frame of the evening so I could prepare my notes of the event. Soon after, we were encouraged to dive into the fantastic Oklahoma BBQ dinner set up they provided for their guests. They had ample amounts of food and had tables set up on the shaded porch for family style dining. Compared to many haunted events where they nickel and dime you to death and feed you chips and call it dinner, the team went above and beyond with dinner and displayed true Oklahoma hospitality! The dinner allowed people to mingle with each other and to get to know the team on a personal level. I sat at a table while eating and had a great conversation with a couple from Yukon. The importance of mingling is that it allows people to share their ghostly experiences in a non-judgmental environment. I enjoyed meeting and talking with many guests where all of them seemed to have a fun and memorable story to share when it comes to ghosts and personal haunting claims.
After dinner, the guests were invited inside for a quick lesson on “ghost hunting”. Now, I will be honest, I personally did not agree with everything that was said, but I will state that the lesson was open to discussion. When people attend these types of events, it’s pretty common practice that the “hosts” seemed to have all the answers. They preach, instead of educate and they are out to convince the world that “their way, is the right way. This was NOT the case with the ESP team. The beauty of the paranormal field is that we do not all have to agree, but the most important lesson is to allow the theories to be open for debate. ESP did a fantastic job with educating the public about paranormal claims. They even had hand outs of the true and accurate historical research behind the inn. Everyone sat attentive as they listened to team lead “Dawg” talk about the history of the house and the importance of common sense thinking while on a ghost hunt. Guests were encouraged to ask questions, which is also rare compared to other “haunted evenings” that are floating around out there.
After the Q&A session, it was time to hunt some ghosts. It was getting dark as guests headed outside to be divided into groups for the investigation of the inn. It was a very large crowd, 44 to be exact. I was concerned about noise levels knowing how that house has a tendency to carry sound that can be later mistaken for “ghostly phenomenon”. The guests were divided up with an ESP team member and they headed into the house. They tried to keep a floor in between each group, but it’s a very difficult task to control groups of excited and curious people. As the investigation continued, we sat and listened to how the group investigations were controlled. ESP team members conducted EVP sessions, in hopes to make contact with the ghostly inhabitants at the former funeral home. The guests seemed to be enjoying themselves at this point. Tammy and I went outside of the house to see what we could from the windows. One thing we did notice that it appeared to be a strobe light effect in one of the rooms. It was not paranormal; it was groups of people snapping photos one right after the other. This is a big no-no in the paranormal field. It is fine to take pictures, but with so many flashing away at unseen forces, I do have a feeling that it will create a lot of mysterious photos from this event. Will it be proof of paranormal activity? Not so much, more along the lines of a lot of light play, reflection and back lash from many excited digital flash photographers. People do want photos of their evenings, I just suggest they get second, even third opinions about “what” they captured.Later into the evening Tammy and I decided to participate on the “hunt” and we headed upstairs to the attic. In the past, we were able to stay the night alone in the bed and breakfast. We did have some unique experiences that still to this day; we are not able to explain away. We were also able to collect some pretty eerie EVP’s during our visit, so our curiosity pulled us upstairs with the group. After entering the attic, Lisa, ESP team member encouraged us to share some of our personal experiences at the inn. We obliged, and shared our tales. I did ask how many people were carrying audio recorders and more than half of them were wired up to collect EVP’s. In my years of research, when there are large groups of people, it’s very important to control the noise levels. In the dark, it’s impossible to see what everyone is doing and saying at the moment, so the goal is to eliminate false EVP from the audio that is collected. We asked everyone if they were willing to conduct a short EVP research experiment, everyone agreed. We got all the guests settled, sitting and audio recording devices ready. We sat in silence and encouraged people to focus on the room itself, not “who” they assumed to be haunting it. We asked them to clear their minds and speak out loud of any random word or phrasing that came to mind. No matter how odd it may be, they were encouraged to shout it out loud. After a couple minutes, people did start shouting out one word phrases, from “Coke bottle” to “bouncy balls”, they were truly random and the most important thing is that it allowed “whatever” was there to get a word in otherwise. The experiment lasted for about 15 min and was finished up with a bang, literally. Tammy and I pulled a drawer out of a table while sitting in the dark, yes, we were being nosy! We were pushing the drawer back in and to our surprise; it closed with a loud band that startled everyone! Everyone was awake now! We did not do it on purpose, it was really an accident.
As the evening rolled around, it was almost midnight. Ghost hunting guests seemed to have a great time and were walking outside speaking about experiences, photos and feelings they witnessed during the event. I do ask that those that attended, to please share their EVP’s and photos with me! Tammy and I stayed around afterwards to talk with the team and to munch on food they had set out in the kitchen. We had a great time talking with them and they are all great people. Honest people without a “lets make lots of cash” What I witnessed through my Paranormal Eyes was not ghosts, banshees or poltergeists. It was nothing more than a fun event at one of Oklahoma’s most infamously haunted places. The getaway was very well organized and guests got more for their money compared to other events hosted by teams. Everyone was treated as guests, not dollar signs.
The ESP team did a fantastic job with keeping the guests busy and entertained.Because I was invited to do so, I offer this review as my honest opinion. With praise there is always room for improvement. First, I will say that I did look for flaw and things for me to critique, both good and bad. With that said, on with the not so good news.Being ESP’s first event on a level such as this one, there were some issues with crowd placement. Having 44 people in even a large house, well that’s quite a bit. As I stated above, it’s very easy to hear someone sneeze in the basement and confuse it with a “ghostly whisper” in the parlor. There are holes in the floor of this establishment, why, I’m not sure, air flow I will assume? No matter what, it is important to keep crowd noise under control. As a consumer, it can be lot of fun to feel as if you are part of a team when you attend these events. It is also important that everyone has a “job” to do while attending. I do suggest to the ESP team that they create fun, interactive group experiments to make guests feel as if they are a part of the team, or they are helping with “paranormal research” of some kind. Ghost hunting is not research, it’s walking around waiting, looking and expecting something paranormal to happen. This protocol works well, but typically with very small groups of people. With large groups, developing interactive tools that a guest can participate in and feel as if their presence makes a difference when it comes to event of this caliber. Standing around watching team leaders communicate and suggest there is something in the room with the group can be repetitive and become pointless after a period of time. I encourage the team to have their guests assist in a research project of some sort and offer some kind of conclusion to the evening. People did seem to have a good time and walked out smiling and chatting about the experiences. People that have an interest in the paranormal would feel more accomplished and likely to return again if the event had some overall point in an applied research project. I do feel the ESP will accept this advice because they honestly want to provide a quality occasion for people that enjoy adventurous outings such as this one. Other than that, everything else ran very smooth and everyone was very friendly and helpful.
KUDOS-I highly recommend that if you enjoy adventurous evenings out, that you attend the next ESP event.The ESP team did not “go psychic” at this event. I commend them for not putting on a bogus and phony act for guests like a lot of teams do here in Oklahoma. They allowed people to experience the inn for themselves and did not have anyone pretending to be speaking with molesting demonic forces from the gates of hell. Kudos to them for not showcasing hysteria and ignorance with the general public! Please do not fall for spurious “ghost hunts” that are floating around out there. They want your money and consumer quality is not top their priority. If you want an opinion about a ghostly tour or event, as always, shoot me an email. I will give you a free unbiased opinion!
Quick note to my readers: If you are not being offered real refreshments and treated as a consumer at these “haunted evening” events, please spread the word or contact me. It is important that you get what you pay for at these types of paranormal events. Expect more, ask questions and be very weary to where you put your money. Many teams rake in a lot of money at these ghostly galas. They do not feed their guests, even offer free beverages, they preach at guests as if they are “right” and have answers about life after death. Not to mention, they fabricate historical facts, get “possessed” and pretend to talk to dead people, to make the event “exciting”. Why should consumers pay to be lied to and be swindled? If you are interested in attending one of the ESP events, please contact them on their website. Click on the link titled “events” and keep an eye out for the next haunted getaway.If you would like me to attend your ghostly event, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonya Hacker aka