Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Orpheum Theatre: Sylvia Browne Interview & Show

Like most legendary haunted locations, the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN has its fair share of legends and stories.  Most people in the Memphis area have heard of the ghost of Mary--and most likely have heard one of three stories concerning Mary's origins.  Now there is a fourth version to the story--one that adds more depth, details and a second ghost!  This information comes from psychic Sylvia Browne who will be appearing at the Orpheum this Friday, April 23.

During a conference call that included members of the local press and management of the theatre, Sylvia managed to do a reading of the spirits at the Orpheum.  And what a reading it was!  I managed to get an interview with Sylvia concerning her reading--as well as to get valuable information from her regarding hauntings, ghost hunting and the use of psychics by paranormal investigators.

As I mentioned above, there are three original stories concerning Mary.  They are:
1.  She died in an accident involving a fall and wandered into the theatre.
2.  She was struck by a trolley in front of the theatre, was brought inside and then died.
3.  She perished in a fire that occurred in the original opera house.

These stories evolved from a couple different sources, including a parapsychology class from the University of Memphis who visited the theatre in 1979.  Over the years, these stories (at least the part about the spirit of a girl being in the place) have been supported by eyewitness accounts of seeing Mary hanging out in and around her 'favorite seat' in the theatre C-5, Box 5.  Even famous actors like Yul Brynner have reported seeing the ghost of Mary.

With Sylvia Browne already scheduled to appear at the Orpheum this Friday, it seemed only natural to get her take on the haunted happenings at the theatre.  During my phone call with her, she revealed several new revelations concerning Mary:  She died at the age of 27, she passed away during the Civil War and she is not alone!  During her reading, Ms. Browne revealed that Mary Margaret Forrester died because of an immunity issue and a broken heart while attending wounded Civil War troops on the grounds of the theatre (she was a nurse).  Her beau was killed while serving in the Confederate army (a soldier by the name of David Jensen) which led to Mary's demise sometime in 1863 or 1864.

When I asked Sylvia about people seeing a 'little girl' in the theatre, she stated that Mary is quite short and that people are simply mistaking her for a younger girl.  Simple enough explanation.  Sylvia also feels that there is a male entity in the premises as well; his name is Clifford Ferris (or possibly Farris) and he hung himself from a tree sometime around 1886 while suffering from encephalitis.  Clifford and Mary do not communicate or notice each other, but exist in their own worlds within the property.

It will be interesting to utilize this new information during an investigation of the Orpheum Theatre--something that's in the works for us as I write this.  For those who are interested in hearing Sylvia's take on ghost hunting, psychics and paranormal television programs, take a listen at the podcast below.  It is the entire phone conversation between myself and Sylvia Browne.  In addition to taking the time to speak to me about the Orpheum and the paranormal, Sylvia has also offered something for you, the visitors to this website:  Free tickets to her show this Friday!  At least three pairs of them at any rate...

The first three people to email me about this post and to mention a specific detail from the phone call/podcast below that's not mentioned within this article will get a pair of free tickets to see Sylvia this Friday night (April 23) at the Orpheum Theatre.  She has even said she may attempt to speak to Mary during the show!  This is your chance to see one of the country's premier psychics in action--as well as to ask your own questions concerning your haunting, ghost hunting, etc.

If you're not one of the lucky three to get the free tickets, you can enjoy a discount off your ticket price that's being offered to the visitors of this website.  Just visit Ticket Master to purchase your tickets for the show and enter the Discount Code 'Sylvia123' to get an instant 10% discount off the price!  Her show is priced extremely reasonably already (tickets are as low as $25), so with this discount you will not want to miss it.  Enjoy the podcast and I hope to see you at the show!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

News, Events and New Gear

It's that busy time of year for us; with warm weather now breathing down our necks, it's only natural that we would start planning some new investigations and overnight events for the year.  We have also revamped our website.  If you take a look at the investigations listed on the site, you will notice that they now feature embedded photos and mini audio players embedded right in the articles.  There are no more pesky external links to deal with (with the rare exception of when we need an extra large photo to be available for review, as in the Woodruff Fontaine House case).  So take a lap around the site and check out all those EVP's that you maybe didn't hear before.  I also invite everyone to check out our Facebook page (there's a link in the sidebar of this site).  You can post your own paranormal photos, videos and audio there to share with other paranormal enthusiasts, as well as add a link for your own site.

News-wise, we have several announcements to make.  First off, it's probably not too early to announce that we will be teaming up with the Woodruff Fontaine House again this year to host haunted tours of the living museum.  We will be performing a pair of new investigations of the premises, so we hope to have new audio, photographic and video evidence of the haunting there to present at the event.  If you've never heard of this location, or of the spirit of Mollie Woodruff, you may want to check it out.  Haunted tours aside, the home is a great place to visit (they are a museum that's open most days) and they offer tours.  Check out their site for more info.

We also want to let everyone know that we have two more articles appearing in Paranormal Underground magazine.  The April 2010 issue (out now, just check out their website) features our investigation at Devil's Backbone in Grand Tower, Illinois and the May 2010 issue will have our investigation of the Lehmann House.  Both of these investigations are featured on this site, but the magazine will have tons of additional articles concerning the paranormal, so it's worth checking out for sure.

The last thing I want to mention is that one of our members, Brandon, is now officially in the U.S. Army, so we are down an investigator.  Though we can usually do our work with just two people (and we actually prefer a small team), we do feel the need to take on a new investigator.  Ideally, this person will live in a reasonable distance from Memphis so attending investigations, etc. won't be a problem.  If you are interested in coming aboard, shoot me an email at info@paranormalincorporated.com.

On the events front, we have a couple new intriguing investigations coming up.  We will be hosting an overnight at Duff Green Mansion in Vicksburg, Mississippi as well as at the infamous Angel's Park Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  I am in discussions with both locations and hope to have a hard date set VERY soon.  Those will be announced here and on our Facebook page.  I am also in talks for a unique investigation of our own local 'Waverly Hills' style sanitorium that's known for its paranormal activity.  Though this won't be an open overnight event, we will definitely keep our friends in mind for joining us on this trip.

Lastly, I wanted to introduce a new piece of gear for everyone.  It's a small, handheld nightvision camera that runs off batteries and records directly to SD memory cards.  What makes it cool is that it also features an onboard flashlight, so you can use your second hand to carry an additional piece of gear (like an EMF detector).  But, perhaps, the coolest thing of all about it, is that it only costs $80.00!  Why is it so cheap?  It was designed to be a toy (and you can tell it was because it's very lightweight), but it functions very well and does offer an easy to use alternative to a camcorder (and using SD memory cards makes it easy to offload the video footage).  You can order your camera through this link at our Amazon Store.

Stay tune to this site for more information regarding Paranormal Inc and our upcoming events and investigations.  If you have a haunted site for us to investigate, drop us a line at info@paranormalincorporated.com.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Case Files: The Lehmann House

Though this Romanesque Revival home was originally built in the 1860's for Edward S. Rowse, it's more known for Frederick and Nora Lehmann who took over the property and lived there for over thirty years.  The house would go on to pass through several other owners before landing in the lap of current resident and innkeeper, Marie Davies.

Since taking over the property in 1992, Marie has done an outstanding job of renovating this house and she now hosts one of the best bed and breakfasts in the area (the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood).  Guests who stay in the Lehmann House get to choose between four different rooms for their stay:  The Presidents Room (named for the fact that several U.S. presidents were known to have visited the house during the Lehmann's residency there), The Map Room (where Frederick once stored his map collection), The World's Fair Room (which commemorates Frederick's membership on the Board of Directors for the 1904 World's Fair) and The Maid's Room (named for the obvious reason).

But what about the haunting of this bed and breakfast?  Tales vary.  If you research online, you'll quickly figure out that most think the spirit of Edward is still lingering in his old bedroom.  Marie has heard some of these stories--and has had her own experiences in the home--though she reserves a certain amount of skepticism regarding some of the more extravagant claims (as is often good to do).  Of course, like most homes of this age, there have been deaths there (all of natural causes), so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that somebody from the home's past could still be there.

During my visit at the B&B, I stayed in The Map Room, an area where others have claimed to have seen shadowy apparitions and heard footsteps/voices.  After several hours of snapping infrared photos and performing EVP work throughout the house, I turned in for the night for several hours of restless sleep.  It would be after my review of the audio recorded in the bedroom that I would know why I slept so fitfully...

Over the course of the night, sounds within the room would shake me awake--primarily the sounds of whispers/voices and objects banging/moving.  Here are a few examples of this:

Clip 1:  Here you'll hear what sounds like a voice whispering in the room and then a bang that wakes me.  The audio recorder was on a nightstand beside the bed.

Clip 2:  In this clip you'll hear a gasp/sigh that's me suddenly waking up.  At the same time, it sounds like a female says something (almost like her voice woke me).

Clip 3:  Here you'll hear a female voice say a couple words, then hear me wake up and turn over in my bed.  I actually remember waking up for this one.  I looked around the room and found nothing, so I went back to sleep.

Clip 4:  This is the same as Clip 3, only I have enhanced the audio so you can hear the female voice a little clearer.

Since most of the tales involving a ghost seem to involve a male family member who lived there, it's a little surprising to have captured a female voice.  But that's the way it goes sometimes.  Like I said before, there were family deaths in the home...

Visit the Lehmann House B&B's website for more information regarding the home, its restoration and to book your own room for a stay you won't forget.