Hands-on Paranormal Activity in Orlando
Okay, hands up if you’ve seen those Paranormal Activity movies. Keep ‘em up if you’ve ever wanted to investigate the paranormal.
Yeah, me too.
And even if you didn’t put your hand up, I hope you’ll find this entertaining.
Whenever I visit a city where there’s a haunted hike, ghost tour, or anything remotely spooky, I jump — to the front of the queue that is. So when I learned about the ghost investigation tour offered by American Ghost Adventures, up I signed.
I met Robert, my guide, and the other intrepid ghost hunters for the night outside The Dessert Lady (which gets points for its awesome desserts, and its equally awesome poster below) in the Bumby Block on Church Street in downtown Orlando.
Since the tour is divided into two parts – one part historical account of paranormal activity in the area, and one part hands-on ghost hunting — we strolled through the downtown Orlando core first to get acquainted with the spirits. And since it was also St. Patrick’s Day, we encountered plenty of folks who were getting acquainted with spirits of an entirely different sort.
Before we heard stories of spooks and anecdotes of apparitions, Robert – trying to determine our baseline knowledge of the supernatural – quizzed us on the three types of hauntings.
Only the 10-year old kid on the tour came anywhere close to getting them right.
They are, according to Robert:
- Residual Haunting – usually due to some sort of trauma, it only appears at the site of the original haunt and cannot be interacted with.
- Haunting of an Object – occurs when a spirit becomes bound to an object, usually when the object was extremely important in the person’s life.
- Intelligent Haunting – the only genuine haunt, this type of haunting can be interacted with.
At the moment of death, the human body instantly loses 21 grams. Some believe that this is the weight of the soul. Some believe that those 21 grams also carry intelligence along with the soul. And if the soul hasn’t moved on to the next world, it sticks around in this one. That’s the notion behind an intelligent haunting.
And that’s what we’re hunting for tonight.
Orlando’s Paranormal Activity History
Our first stop is outside the Rogers building on West Magnolia Avenue, site of an English Gentlemen’s Club back in its day, and said to be haunted by its namesake Gordon Rogers, and his wife as well. Gord favours making appearances from the second story window, while his wife – clad in white — wanders through art exhibits in the first floor gallery.
Across the street a building from the 1970s stands on the site of Orlando’s first cemetery. Workers in this and previous buildings on the site claim to have had ladders moved or even pulled out from under them.
In another, a spirit fond of practical jokes makes light bulbs vanish and appear in strange places – like an unopened case of beer.
This is all very well and good I think. And Robert weaves a captivating tale. But it’s the hands-on bit I’ve come for. So when we head back to Church Street Station and the site of our paranormal investigation – Ceviche Restaurant and Bar – I’m pumped.
The building next to the entrance to Ceviche was once the Strand Hotel – one of the seedier places to lay your head in old Orlando, and the city’s first unofficial brothel. Southern gentlemen could be found here doing very un-gentlemanly things. And when those things resulted in unwanted offspring, the same gentlemen would send their goons to “take care of” the ladies and their progeny.
It’s these spirits that haunt the building today.
The Paranormal Activity Investigation
We waltz past the diners digging into their paella, and head on upstairs to get a tutorial on how to use an EMF (electromagnetic field) meter. Originally designed to pinpoint faulty wiring inside walls, paranormal activity experts maintain the EMF meters detect the energy emitted by otherworldly entities as well.
After the briefing, Robert lays some Maglite flashlights around the room. Apparently the spirits here like to turn them on when they are in the mood to communicate. It seems a little hokey, but he maintains four of the lights were turned on just three nights before.
Tonight we would not be so lucky.
The room is spooky as a graveyard. There’s a chill in the air, and the minimal lighting coupled with the dancing shadows gives an electric feel to the whole experience.
Robert implores the spirits to give us a sign if they are present.
We wander around the room with EMF meters as dim as our hopes.
And still nothing.
After 20 minutes or so, Robert decides to pull the plug. The spirits are not playful tonight. Or perhaps they’re out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Who knows.
We head across the street to the Bumby Block building to take one last stab at it.
Robert gives us the lowdown on the paranormal activity here – the spirits of children call this place home. He lays a Maglite on the stairs and we wait for a sign.
But it appears they’re not home tonight either.
One member of the group picks up what Robert calls an “orb” in a few of their photos. I think it’s the flash.
But then again, maybe it isn’t.
Have you seen any paranormal activity in your neck of the woods?
I was in Orlando as part of the Aeroplan Welcome Aboard Event – an exclusive flight for Aeroplan members/CIBC Aero cardholders. Aeroplan members can redeem their miles for a growing number of “experiential rewards” – check out what’s available in the Aeroplan online catalogue. The paranormal activity investigation tour was provided by the folks at American Ghost Adventures.