Do you believe in ghosts?

Tyler Murphy

Undetectable consciences that drift from the flesh of death.

A state of being beyond our instruments but detected by the senses.

A sound in the dark, the brush of a cold draft in still air, the tingling of sudden tension, a glowing light with no source.

The first year of the Evening Sun’s Ghost Hunt (Aug. 2007) Jessica Lewis and I were walking in the Eaton Center’s attic. There were a number of large areas closed off to the public and the crew had dived up into small groups.

Wondering ahead we stumble upon an entrance to the building’s highest floor. The rooms long windows were etched with the watery veins of heavy rain and cast in an amber glow from the street lights outside. As skeptics desperate for a good scare we walked forward without the benefit of our flashlights. We both leapt as the ceiling above us began to pound. It was as if someone was smashing a rock against the roof. After a moment of what seemed like insistent and impatient knocking the sound suddenly stopped.

We glance out the window and saw the whipping storm and the parking lot several stories below. We imagined falling debris to be the culprit but nothing stood above the tall building. Tumbling shingles perhaps, or some other object may have been clobbered by the strong winds. I still have no idea.

This is what wrote at the time. “The roof of the Eaton Center suddenly banged as Jessica and I walked beneath it, scaring us half to death. The ceiling knocked very loudly; it was six feet above us on the top floor of the building, so unless someone was on the 45 degree slated roof 100 feet in the air while it was raining outside, I have no explanation. The sound repeated several times and we stared at each other completely clueless and concerned. Just like that guy in those cheap horror flicks who says ‘Maybe it was the wind,’ right before he’s slashed to death.”

I walked up and down the attic space trying to provoke a second response. (Wow, did I really just admit that?) I stared for long moments through the greasy window panes waiting to witness a logical explanation. The freight of the initial noise gave my mind little time to triangulate an origin and I listened carefully hoping the sound might repeat to reveal a source.

The fact that the banging never returned and no obvious answer could be calculated has left me puzzling ever since. But just because I couldn’t figure one doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. I’m not quite ready to believe in the supernatural just yet. If such theories were so easily assumed I’d be blaming ghosts for my misplaced car keys every other week.

I guess you could say that’s the most Ghostly experience I’ve so far encountered in the our hunts. So far I haven’t seen anything that would change my mind but there are often creepy moments in our Halloween ghost hunting adventures. The best of these experiences seem to take place alone or in a small groups of people, in remote parts of our trip and are often accompanied by a report of an unexplained noise, a change in temperature or a rise in emotional tension.

Our mediums (professional ghost hunters, psychics, spirit talkers, angel summoners) often supply us with these tense moments, as much as they allegedly sense ghosts they seem just as initiative to other people’s anxieties. Whenever there seems to be a person professing they experienced “something” they jump in and apply their spooky craft to the moment.

Sometimes I feel it’s just adding spice for flavor but the people taking part in these explorations, sometimes our staff included, actually do believe in them.

Living vicariously through “believers” can be very intense. When someone you know personally is willing to look you scared in the eye and make a paranormal claim it can be down right unnerving. When these sorts of things happen I’ve felt my own emotional tension rise.

I find it curious and thrilling but you’re going to have to prove it to me before I believe in ghosts.

Is that so much to ask?