SIDNEY – A ghost hunter group visited the old Shelby County Jail at Main and Court streets Saturday night to record what might haunt the 143-year-old structure. The evidence they collect will become the second season premiere of their Youtube show, “Midnight’s Light Paranormal.”
The founders of this paranormal group are the Shiverdecker family, represented by brothers Devin, who acts as technical lead, Sage, who is the primary investigator, and father Steve. Other members are Richard Salisbury and Hayden Schindler.
The one-and-a-half-year-old Paulding County group began their day at 1 p.m., setting up their detection equipment. Their actual investigation began at 10 p.m., with plans to stay until what they called “the witching hour” around 3 a.m.
To possibly see apparitions, eight cameras peered down dark halls and abandoned cell blocks, hooked to monitors and recording equipment in a back room of the building. The cameras detect many types of light, including infra-red and ultra-violet, as well as full spectrum light. Another visual device was a new handheld 3-D camera created by Salisbury which he said can “see” areas of energy, creating points on an electronic viewing area. “It looks like a stick figure.”
Equipment they said could be used to hear the dead included a Spirit Box, a device that uses radio frequencies to contact spirits and an Ovilus 5, which they said can convert environmental readings into words.
But the group also has an additional detection device that involves no electronic equipment. That is their father Steve, who acts as a medium.
In explaining his father’s role, Devin said Steve comes into an area to be investigated without any prior knowledge of the site’s history and writes down thoughts and impressions he feels. One of his perceptions that night was eerily accurate.
After walking around the building upon arrival that afternoon, he said he’d been contacted by “a woman with blood in her hair” who met a “sudden, jolting” end.
“She called me a spiritualist,” said Steve, “an old-fashioned word.”
Devin said later their research showed a woman jailed for infidelity was shot by her husband in 1895. Other impressions he sensed were feelings of strangulation and pain. Devin said that was possible, since there were many reports of suicide by hanging over the years.
Steve said his ability to see and communicate with spirits goes back to infancy.
“My mother told me she would be hear someone comforting me when I cried,” he said. “My Grandma said not to worry, it was probably the ghost of a former resident of the house, but Mom was still scared.
“One night, Mom said she heard me laughing and she worked up the courage to look into my room. She said my mobile was spinning around.” said Steve.
As the hour of 10 p.m. drew near, the night’s investigation began with a prayer to St. Michael to protect them from evil. Devin said sometimes the spirits follow a person to their home.
“I had terrible nightmares after one investigation and woke up with scratches on my neck,” said Devin.
He also said that those types of apparitions are not human entities, but demons. He said they feed on fear and negativity. So, he said, if you disregard them, they “go away.”
Principal investigator Sage said there are two types of human-based hauntings.
“One type is completely residual, where powerful events have literally left a stain (of psychic energy) in the very structure of the building,” said Sage.
He said the second type of haunting is of dead people who can communicate intelligently, although they may not be aware of the passage of time.
Once the investigation began at 10 p.m., lights were turned out and a team comprised of Sage, Steve and Hayden went into the rooms and halls with their detection equipment. They ask for contact with what ever spirits may wish to communicate.
The second floor of the jail is practically the same as when the building closed in 1994, with cells that still contain the old bed frames, toilets and names carved into the walls by past inmates. On both floors and in the basement, peeling layers of paint hang from the walls. The rooms were hot and stuffy after the 90-degree day.
During the first hour-long sweep, Steve’s voice could be assertively asking questions in a nearby room. When they came back from that first tour, he said he was responding to a male voice who identified himself as Brian, and only said “die” three times in response to their questions. Other impressions were of a woman screaming, a cold spot, knocking sounds, and possible spirit orbs. Said Steve of the latter, “dust motes don’t change direction like that.”
Throughout the night, the routine had them walking up and down the halls, asking questions and recording data, while the rest of the team watches the computer monitors. As those watching the monitors see interesting things, they note the time and date stamp when the sighting occurred.
They said other ways to come in contact with the spirits of the building is to sit alone and quiet. Sage planned to stay alone at least one hour in a maximum security cell on the second floor where some violent things had happened.
Once the night was completed, what still lay ahead was the time-consuming task of going through each recording, finding unusual sightings and sound.
“It’ll take about a month for us to create a show we will post on YouTube, although trailers should be available in about two weeks,” said Devin.
He said their YouTube site has all of last year’s episodes.
Those who would like to know more about the group can also look at their Facebook page, https://m.facebook.com/MidnightsLightParanormal/. Devin said that they are always open to volunteers who would like to be part of future investigations.
“Mind you,” he said, “the waiting list is long,” said Devin.
But they welcome those who would like to come and experience this phenomena.