Published: 11/1/2012 11:13:15 AM
Paranormal investigators take on Fleming Hall ghost stories
“Name … rank … serial number ...,” the radio scanner transmitted.
Shane Harris, an investigator for the Night Whispers Paranormal Research/ Investigations out of Clinton, N.C., looked up from the radio frequency scanning transmitter and smiled. It was small proof of what was to come as the night got darker.
Teamed with members of the Southern Paranormal Society, N.C., paranormal investigators set their research skills and sensitivity focus on Fleming Hall on Pope Field the night of Oct. 13. The four-story building was built in 1931, when it replaced four, 1917-type barracks, supply buildings and a mess hall as a headquarters building.
In 1958, the building was dedicated to Sgt. Walter Fleming, a mechanic who was flying with Lt. Harley Pope when their JN-4 Jenny crashed into the Cape Fear River. Since the 1950s and 60s, the building has been headquarters for 464th Tactical Airlift Wing, 317th Airlift Wing, possible elements of the 23rd Wing, 43rd Missions Support Group and currently the 440th Airlift Wing.
But many rumors, not recorded in the Pope Field archives, are circulating that during World War II, the building also housed German prisoners of war. And with rumors, ghost stories seem to accumulate.
The most popular ghost story takes place in the attic, just a storage facility nowadays. The story told by many is that late at night, while walking to your car in the parking lot, if you look up to the circular windows of the building, you may see a dark shadow swaying back and forth; possible proof that the rumor a German POW hung himself back in the day.
So, when the radio frequency scanning transmitter clearly stated, name, rank and serial number, shivers could run down anyone’s spine. Again, possible proof of the frightening and disturbing rumors of the old building. A radio scanner rapidly scans hundreds of radio stations per minute. It is believed that ghosts can manipulate these frequencies and can communicate with the living.
The group setup their video recorders, motion light sensors, laser scope grid (which in theory, if someone or something were to walk in front of it, would cast a shadow on the wall behind it).
Tina Joyner, co-founder of NWPRI, started taking electromagnetic field readings using two different devices near one of the circular windows of the attic on top of a beam. The readings spiked. Joyner began to ask one question after another and each time, the meter spiked. She looked around for any possible electrical equipment, lights, or outlets that could possibly be interfering. Nothing.
“This is the window,” she said. “Something happened here. I think this is the beam where he hung himself.”
And with that, the crew slung a rope over the beam to set up a trigger for the spirits to be able to communicate more efficiently as the “witching hour,” approached.
“I’ve always been sensitive to this sort of stuff,” Joyner said. “I wanted to know what I was experiencing was real and Mark (her husband) and I set out to do that. We want to help people with problems, help them become more comfortable and bring peace to their lives.”
Founded by Joyner and her husband, NWPRI came to be in 2011 in Clinton, N.C. The group grew to five volunteer paranormal investigators whose primary goal is to investigate claims of possible paranormal activity. The group uses a combination of historical research, personal interviews and site investigations using scientific equipment to conduct paranormal research. Often partnered with SPCN, out of Roseboro N.C., the teams have investigated both private and public properties such as, West Virginia Penitentiary, Old Bluff Church in Wade N.C., USS North Carolina Battleship in Wilmington N.C., and many cemeteries.
Both groups compromise of a set of close knit volunteers who don’t charge for their services. Joyner explained that Mark’s support and her very first private residence investigation, sealed the deal for them to continue doing what they do. They helped a Family and several relatives come up with a way to ease their fears of their house. When it comes to private residences, after the investigation determines that there is indeed a spirit, they will call in a priest to cleanse the house with an old Native American technique of burning sage. Thus far, the group has been very successful.
“As long as we are helping out people, I’ll do this forever,” said Mark Joyner.
James Britt, with SPSN, walked toward Harris with his Ghost Box Ovilus, a device with which spirits can communicate with the living. In theory, an Ovilus can pick up words that a spirit can use by choosing frequencies to respond to questions from a preset database of 2,048 words.
“Are you a German soldier?” Britt asked.
“Wet,” the ghost box responded. “Alone.”
Amanda Smith, NWPRI, held the KII meter closer to Britt. A KII meter is a electromagnetic field detector which, when exposed to a magnetic field, an electrical current is induced within the device’s circuitry. According to many in the paranormal research community, spirits produce a magnetic field which they can manipulate at will. Based on this assumption, researchers ask questions aloud and try to use fluctuations (read by colored lights ranging from green to red) in the magnetic field as a means of communication for the spirits’ answers. The lights flickered to yellow.
After a slight pause, Britt continued.
“It’s not wet up here, but was it wet where you were?” he asked.
The light flickered to yellow.
“Where you in the German navy?” Britt asked.
The light flickered red.
“Officer,” the Ghost Box said. “Steve.”
“Aha, so you were a navy officer. I was in the Navy too,” he added. “Thank you for speaking with us Steve.”
Outside, we could hear the rumble of artillery on Fort Bragg, the KII meter spiked to red, then to green, then to yellow, and back to red.
“There’s a lot of activity going on right now,” Smith said.
“Charge,” the ghost box said.
“Does the artillery bother you?” Britt asked.
KII flickered yellow.
“Does it bring back memories?” He asked again.
KII flickered red.
It was very possible that Britt was speaking with a German officer in the navy who had seen war, possibly been close to explosions, and was held as a POW in the building … his spirit confined to the attic of his jailhouse.
Other strange happenings from the building, Joyner felt something or someone grab her and had red swelling on her arm after a heated conversational EVP (electronic voice phenomena) session in the attic. Several of the women investigators felt their hair pulled, sudden changes of temperature, a male investigator heard women chatting on the second floor when all investigators were on the third floor and the highlight of the night — just as investigators were getting ready to wrap up their session in the attic, there was a thump on the roof.
“Signal,” the ghost box said. “Death. Run.”
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