Oct. 30, 2006

A haunting in Mayer

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

The house on the outskirts of Mayer seemed like a perfect fit when Deanne first looked at it in October 2005.

Recently divorced, she was starting a new life, and the two-story house had just enough space for Deanne, her teenaged son and daughter, and a small home office.

The rent was higher than she had hoped to pay though, and reluctantly, she told the owner she could not afford it.

It made Deanne very happy when the owner quickly dropped the price to a level that she could not pass up. This could be the fresh start she was looking for, she thought.

They moved into the house in October, and by Christmas, their lives had begun to change.

Soon after they moved in, Deanne began to feel that something was not quite right about the house.

One day, when they had been in the house about two weeks, Deanne was painting one of the rooms upstairs.

She heard the patio door open and close, and the sound of someone walking up the stairs. She assumed it was just her boyfriend coming over to help with the painting.

When he did not appear, she searched the whole house, and there was no one there.

Deanne had always been a sound sleeper, but after moving into the house in Mayer, something began waking her up at 3:30 a.m. every night.

She became more and more tired because she was unable to sleep through the night.

She began to notice other things, too. She would sometimes encounter cold spots as she walked through the house. Other times, she would find things that had been moved around, for which she could find no explanation.

Her 16-year-old daughter changed dramatically after moving into the house. She reported seeing a shadow in her room, and feeling someone touch her.

She had always had an outgoing personality, but she became withdrawn, and started spending most of her time in her room.

Deanne began hearing footsteps in the house, and seeing images. She would often hear the sound of two men talking when there was nobody there.

“By Christmas, she realized she had a ghost,” paranormal investigator Kathy Machowski of Minnesota’s Behind the Veil said.

“At first, they were having fun with it. She would say, ‘touch my hand,’ and her hand would get cold,” Machowski said.

Then, things started to get bad.

“They started seeing shadow people all of the time. Her daughter was becoming a total recluse, and her 14-year-old son’s personality was changing too,” Machowski said.

One day, Deanne was coming down the stairs, and something grabbed her by the arm and pulled her down the stairs.

This took place in February, and shortly after this incident, Deanne contacted Machowski, who she found through a web site.

“A human spirit will not grab you and pull you down the stairs. This was something else,” Machowski commented.

Deanne had tried to have a priest help, but this was unsuccessful.

Machowski made arrangements to visit Deanne and investigate the house.

“You could still see the fingerprints around her elbow from when she got pulled down the stairs. You don’t get marks like that from a human hand,” Machowski said.

She explained that one of the first things that she asks people when she starts an investigation is if they have ever had a ghost, or experienced paranormal events before. Deanne had not.

“It was a comfortable-looking house, but when we went in, I began perspiring and feeling uncomfortable. That is how I personally react when I am in a haunted house,” Machowski commented.

She said that she always brings a camera and a tape recorder when she is doing an investigation.

Nothing showed up in the photos from the first interview, but even though the house was quiet, there is music in the background on the tape during the time they walked from the basement to the parlor.

This, according to Machowski, is known as electrical voice phenomenon (EVP), a situation where sounds that were not heard at the time are audible on a tape that is played back later.

“It is piano music, not a popular tune. It sounds like someone practicing the piano,” Machowski said.

Beyond the Veil was not the first group to investigate the house. Machowski said that before she was called in, another group of paranormal investigators had investigated the house.

“They felt there was a demon in the house, and they did manage to get rid of it,” Machowski said.

Beyond the Veil investigated the house several times over a period of months.

Machowski said that she picked up several things in photos she took at the house, including “sprites,” which appear as threads of light, shadows, mists and orbs, which she said are balls of energy, and not necessarily spirits.

“We were experimenting with infra-red imaging. We saw a slight outline, like the head and torso of a figure walking by.

Machowski said that the best evidence of haunting that her group found in the house was EVP.

“We left the tape running, and at the point where we all went outside to have a cigarette, there is a man’s voice that says, ‘where you going?’ At another point, when Anton was setting up the infra-red, a voice says, ‘that’s useless,’” Machowski said.

At another point on the tape, a man’s voice says, “I want to see your sister,” according to Machowski.

She explained that Deanne’s sister was coming for a visit from out of town, but had refused to come to the house because of what she had heard about the mysterious events that had taken place there.

Deanne eventually felt that she could no longer stay in the house and expose her children to what was happening there. In August 2006, they left the house, and moved to another town 20 miles away.

Since that time, they have been happy, and have not experienced any type of paranormal phenomenon, Machowski said.

She added that prior to Deanne and her family moving into the house in Mayer, the owner of the property had lived in the house.

She, too, had been awakened at 3:30 every morning. Her children also saw shadow people in the house, and refused to sleep in their own rooms. This was why they moved out, according to Machowski.

She said that she could not reveal the exact location of the house in Mayer. She only identifies the places that she investigates if the property owner gives her permission to do so. She also did not reveal the name of the family involved because the children are minors.

The kind of events experienced to Deanne and her family may not happen to everyone that enters a house, even if it has been found to be haunted.

“People all have different energy,” she explained.

About the ghost hunters

“There is no charge for our services. We will accept donations, but no legitimate ghost hunter will charge for his services. And, if any group guarantees that they will get rid of a ghost, buyer beware; there is no guarantee,” Machowski said.

“There are crackpots out there, but there are a lot of good people too,” she commented, of the field of investigators.

She said that she has been investigating haunted places for about five years. She made her first experiment in investigation 15 years ago in Buffalo, N.Y. prior to moving to Minnesota.

Machowski lives in Jordan, but said that her group will investigate places anywhere in Minnesota.

“True hauntings are interactive, and they will respond to you,” Machowski said.

She said that churches and funeral homes are common places to find spirits.

“There is a lot of energy and emotion in those places,” she said.

Machowski stated that there are several ways of removing spirits.

“There is a reason why, when the Catholic Church goes into a house and does an exorcism or blessing, that the spirits will come back after a period of time. The spirits come in because there is an open door, and, unless you close the door, they can keep coming back,” she said.

She went on to say that all that is needed if someone wishes to do their own ghost hunting is a good digital camera and a tape recorder.

“Patience is the key. I take hundreds and hundreds of digital photos in the course of my investigations,” Machowski said.

The direct approach can also work when it comes to dealing with the spirit world, according to Machowski.

“A lot of spirits will leave on their own if you ask them to,” she said.

Is your house haunted?

According to Beyond the Veil, the following items may indicate a haunting:

• unexplained noises.

• doors opening and closing, furniture moving.

• lights turning off and on.

• unexplained smells.

• unexplained shadows.

• strange animal behavior.

• feelings of being watched.

• feelings of being touched.

• cries, whispers, or music from an unknown source.

• cold or hot spots.

Back to Current Stories Menu | Back to Archives List
Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Search | Dassel-Cokato Home | Delano Home | HJ Home