may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself
at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke." --
Vincent Van Gough
Where There's Smoke,
Doesn't quite have the same ring
as that other tried and true old saw, yet according to our clients,
smoke, or rather, the smell of smoke was a sure sign of an otherworldly
presence sharing their modest suburban home. Nor, it seemed, was the
odor merely any common old smoke, but that pungently strong sort
identified specifically with hand-rolled cigarettes, a distinction made
by one of the clients whose grandfather had been a life long
Since kicking the habit several years ago, there was no easy explanation
for the smelly whiffs nor the fleeting shadow movements caught in the
corner of the eye. It was of especial concern that the activity seemed
to be concentrated in areas associated with the couple's two small
children. Episodes with dysfunctional talking toys and smoke detector
false alarms in the wee hours of the morning left both adults feeling
things weren't quite as they should be.
Intrigued and looking forward to what would be several firsts for the
Ghost PRO team, namely an out-of-state investigation, a guest
investigator and the use of some new equipment, we loaded our gear into
the cars and headed north away from blistering late August temperatures
in the Upstate toward the relatively cooler climes of the North Carolina
Piedmont. Nervousness isn't usually a problem before a fresh case, but
halfway from home, it became a factor as a suspicious sound in a rear
wheel worsened with each mile and we were faced with another team first,
a vehicle breakdown. Fortunately our prayers for good luck were heard
and answered. We made it safely to the site and back home...although the
car went to the garage to have a wheel bearing replaced the next
On arrival we got right down to business. As interviews were being
conducted by the case manager, the other team members saw to it that
base readings were recorded, orientation photographs taken, safety
checks performed and multiple pieces of equipment set up. All of this
occurred under the close scrutiny of our guest investigator who deemed
it accomplished with "military precision", a compliment of high praise
indeed, considering our guest has a former military intelligence
The clients knew a little bit about their house's original owners. The
husband had smoked an occasional pipe, but the wife reportedly preferred
hand-rolled cigarettes and was so proficient at the art, she was able to
prepare one with a single hand and have it lit before most could shake a
factory brand from a pack. Born and raised in the tobacco belt of the
Tarheel State, in the days before the lethal health effects were known,
one could hardly expect less.
Ghost PRO records every investigation with multiple cameras, and as soon
as filming began, almost immediately Mariel's infra-red camera began to
have difficulty focusing down a short central hallway. The other times
that type of trouble has happened were in the presence of anomalous
energy. That, and with Catherine, the team's sensitive, picking up on
something as well, we were on alert. The baseline EMF sweep in each room
had registered the usual culprits, microwaves, TVs, PCs and fish tanks.
There was nothing to foreshadow the abrupt surge of energy at the
younger child's crib-side which set three separate detectors howling.
Three minutes of extreme readings were recorded before... just as
suddenly... nothing. It was as though a switch had been turned off. The
room opposite was the kitchen, so we re-checked the appliances, yet the
levels were exactly as taken down earlier. Nearly an hour passed without
a further occurrence before we directed our attention to other rooms.
A contact session in the older child's room elicited a few faint tapping
sounds, which could have been as much a creaky floor board as a
communicating spirit. The few potential EVP recorded proved under later
analysis to be noises from suburban traffic and a family pet kept inside
due to an infirmity. Catherine picked up on a name and some information
that was confirmed through background research, but the "hits"
demonstrate more her sensitivity than anything of paranormal origin.
Returning to the baby's room, once again at crib-side the silence was
shattered as meter alarms rang out with readings nearly off the dial,
and as before, after a few minutes stopped just as suddenly.
Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, we stationed two
investigators each in the bedroom, the hallway and the kitchen. We
watched and waited...and waited...and waited. (Investigating is not
always thrills and action!) Our patience was eventually rewarded, and
after all the idle time, the mystery was solved in seconds. In perfect
synchronicity with the ice-maker starting up, each alarm went off and
measurements spiked. When our initial readings had been taken, only the
electromagnetic field generated by the refrigerator had been recorded,
but the ice-maker's periodic cycle produced a stronger fluctuation and
effected a wider area.*
Despite our time spent in the house that evening we failed to encounter
any hint of smoke or toys acting abnormally and with a two hour drive
home the growing lateness of the hour prompted the Ghost PRO team to
pack the gear away and look ahead to analyzing the information we did
gather. Unfortunately, an unfocused camera plus a few raps and other
unrecognizable snuffles or snorts do not constitute hard-core proof of
paranormal activity, so our conclusion on this particular case is where
there's smoke, there's not always fire...or ghosts!
exposure to strong electromagnetic fields has been proven to impact a
person's health in a variety of ways, Ghost PRO did alert the clients
regarding the issue in consideration of the crib placement.
Though blind, spunky Darwin seems to be
using his other heightened senses to detect unusual activity in the
hallway of his home.