With: Kim Hornsby
Some women fly to Vegas for a birthday. Some have a romantic dinner with their husbands. Of course, children go to Chuckie Cheeses, Bounce Houses, play laser tag etc.
I went ghost hunting.
I like to adventure, challenge myself, cross things off an imaginary, ever-changing bucket list, so my birthday party last week had a ghost hunt theme. Which seemed appropriate seeing I write novels with ghosts. I convinced eight girlfriends to join me on a Seattle downtown Ghost Hunt Tour, enticing them with the promise of a cocktail before the hunt.
Seattle is full of ghost stories and what better place to look for an entity than the Seattle Underground? What’s that, you say? Seattle’s downtown core was originally built too close to sea level making the streets soggy and turning toilets into dangerous, spewing bidets when the tide was coming in. Eventually the whole downtown had to be built up one level, leaving behind a slowly disintegrating town beneath the streets of the Pioneer Square section of Seattle. One level below are the remnants of the original city and you can tour through with an organized group to hear the history of the olden days when they discovered they’d constructed banks, taverns, stores, too low to survive the onslaught of the nearby Pacific Ocean’s tides. What remains under the existing Seattle streets is a fascinating maize of boardwalks, twists, turns, ruins that hold so much history it makes your head spin. And death. Olden Days Seattle had its share of murders, lynching’s, tragic bar fights, and the Paranormal Tour is only too happy to tell you about the spirits left behind.
It was a Saturday night. Eight of us women between 40 and 59 gathered in Seattle’s oldest restaurant, The Merchant Cafe for a pre-hunt drink. We gathered around a table in the Underground Bar, below the main level. I’d earlier watched a YouTube clip on an entity in the tavern’s men’s bathroom that people took with their phones. Once seated with my Stella Artois, I did not slip away to the Ladies’ Room, just in case. In case I saw a ghost, yes, but also I’d heard about those toilets not working properly on this level in the olden days. I’m a believer in ghosts and even though some of my birthday party friends said they are not convinced ghosts exist, everyone was excited about the prospect of heading into the dark underground late at night with electromagnetic recorders.
When we arrived at the tour headquarters, an old building in Pioneer Square, we were fitted for vests and shown how to use the devices that would measure electromagnetic spikes in the atmosphere, a good indication of paranormal activity. I’ve watched Ghost Hunters. I know. Strapped to our vests were flashlights and in one pocket was our audio recording device attached to headphones so we could listen carefully for bumps, scrapes, and voices saying “Help me” or “I’m here.” With the Ghost Buster theme song looping continually through my brain, the guides told stories of previously making contact in the Underground and showed us how to work all the equipment in our bulky vests.
As we left headquarters and walked along the street to cross the now deserted street to the stairs to go below, I questioned our leader about what she’d seen and heard in the years she’d been leading tours. Once, she saw a fluttering of what looked like grey material float by a dark doorway, once she’d felt a tapping on her sleeve, many times she’d had spikes on her Mel Meter, heard a voice on the audio recorder, and the other guides had experienced similar happenings.
It was pitch dark once we descended and started along what used to be a street. In some areas we navigated only by our Mel Meter tiny red lights as we walked along the planks, snaking through the part of the Underground that has been propped, supported, and inspected for safety. Stopping along a catwalk sidewalk, a guide leapt to the rubble below, set up a laser grid and tried to contact a spirit as we stared from above. Apparently if a ghost walks by, the grid will show it like a shadow. I was on the end of the line and waited for a tap on my shoulder, but nothing.
“You know me,” the guide said. “I’m here every week. We mean no harm. We want to know your story. Are you with us tonight?” Nothing. Then he knocked on a board by his feet and told any spirit listening to knock back. Nothing. The Ghost Adventure Hunters spend two to three nights in haunted areas waiting for signs, I reminded myself.
We arrived at an old saloon where we were told to split up and meet back in twenty minutes–don’t go beyond a certain point. My friends and I headed for the bank vault where the most paranormal activity has taken place, a teller having met his death during a fight for a girl.
I’m happy to say several of us walked through a patch of cold air and two of my friends got a spike on the Mel Meter. Anything past a 3.5 is good and one of us got a 4.2 which the guide said was interesting. She told us that patch of air has been felt before. When we walked through it again, the temp had gone back to normal. (We had thermometers on the meter.)
Because our group was so seriously searching for a sign from the other side, the guide recommended returning on a Monday night when the group would be small. That’s when they have made contact. Also, she told us to review the tour online and to ask to be taken to what she called darker areas.
As an author who seems to have a ghost in almost everything I write (not sure how that happened?) I felt the whole night was hauntingly successful. That patch of cold air was real. Not sure if there was another reason for that but I’ll never know.
Working the Mel Meter, listening in headphones, setting up the laser grid, asking questions of possible spirits, and waiting for signs, was highly exciting, creepy and exhilarating having researched this for novels but never having done it myself.
And, I’m not sure I actually wanted someone to tap me on the shoulder while standing at the end of that long line of ghost hunters in the dark. Would you?
Ever had a paranormal experience? Do tell…
Kim will be giving away an ebook copy of The Dream Jumper’s Promise, an award-winning Supernatural Suspense with 275 Reviews, to everyone who comments!
Tina Green’s husband is presumed dead from a Maui surfing accident and now she’s being haunted by otherwordly dreams. When former boyfriend, Jamey Dunn, turns up at her Lahaina dive shop and offers to help, she can’t believe his preposterous claim — he can enter dreams. Along with Tina’s friend, Noble, they piece together clues to her husband’s disappearance but secrets, lies, and heartbreak rise to the ugly surface and no one is entirely who they seem. One is an impostor, one a traitor and one is flirting with insanity.
Kim Hornsby is a Supernatural Suspense author who’s shared bestselling lists with Stephen King, Dean Koontz and J.D. Robb. She lives in the Seattle area overlooking a tree-lined lake and writes about women overcoming the odds under difficult circumstances. Women’s Fiction meets Supernatural Suspense.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 20th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email email@example.com with a subject title of JPR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.