The Great Fairview Ghost Hunt
“If we can’t document it, it doesn’t exist.”
No, this wasn’t a biology teacher who said these words on October 16th to a crowd of 20 students and staff. Instead, it was none other than a paranormal investigator invited to our school to perform an authentic seance in the most supposedly haunted location in the school. The Royal Banner was lucky enough to be invited to the event, so myself and two other RB staff members, Conor Pepin and Harrison Young, decided to document the experience. Here’s what happened.
A few of us students meet Mr. Billington at the top of the school. He welcomes us from behind the bars of the the locked gate leading down to the ramps. One of the custodians comes to help us through; as he unlocks the gate, Billington explains to him that that we will be going on a ghost hunt tonight, starting in the science lecture hall and eventually making our way to…
“...the art room.”
The custodian had finished Billington’s sentence, a serious look on his face. The kids exchange glances. It’s no secret that the custodians don’t clean the art room loft after dark, claiming to have seen things.
Several staff members and their plus-ones are already in the lecture hall, as are the ghost hunters. They are a married couple, Christopher and Dina Moon.
More Knight Crew members arrive, chatty with excitement and nervous energy. There are 9 in total, plus myself and two other Royal Banner reporters. It is rather obvious that no one really knows what to expect tonight.
Moon begins his presentation. The lights are switched off and everyone in the lecture hall settles deeper into their seats.
Moon begins with his childhood, describing his first paranormal encounter at the age of seven. It came in the form of a little boy standing at the foot of his bed, one which his parents refused to believe existed; as Moon’s catholic father told him, “the only ghost is the Holy Ghost.”
Naturally, this wasn’t the end of Moon’s supernatural childhood experiences. Not only does he claim to have grown up in a haunted house built on an Arapahoe burial ground in Englewood, Colorado, but he was already conducting his paranormal investigations at the age of 13.
For the next hour, we listen in rapt attention as Moon describes his experiences at infamously haunted venues such as Peabody Mansion and Sallie House. We listen to audio clips of interactions between Moon and different spirits, made possible by his Telephone to the Dead. Moon explains that this device captures E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena). He also says he has brought it for us to use later tonight.
He tells us about hunting and haunting, about whole conversations he has held with the dead, about how he came across a possibly insane man who ended up providing him with Edison's legendary Telephone of the Dead. He recounts speakeasy murders, ghost cats, cold case crimes nearly solved by para-forensics, and his own near death experience at the ghostly hands of Andrew Borden, father of the one-and-only Lizzie Borden.
“If there was ever a justifiable murder,” Moon says bitterly, “it happened to that guy.”
Moon hasn't come to the table empty handed either. He plays audio clips of E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and projects his "spirit photography" for us. While it is all quite chilling to see and hear, I am not yet convinced. There is a disturbing lack of video evidence in Moon's presentation, and I'm not the only one to notice it; the boys sitting behind me have picked up on it too. Nonetheless I listen respectfully, ooh-ing and aww-ing along with the others at images of "orbs" and "mists" and "vortexes".
Several images in particular really freak me and the others out. One is from the Lizzie Borden house; Moon zooms in on a translucent figure in the corner of a window, and then projects a photo of Andrew Borden from when he was alive next to the supposed apparition. We all shift with a mixture of excitement and unease at the similarities.
The presentation wraps up with Moon’s ghost hunting tips, which include “always be an open minded skeptic” and “do unto the spirits as you would have them do unto you.” I notice the others leaning forward in their seats, as if they are paying extra close attention for our own upcoming ghost hunt.
There’s some time for questions, but it goes by quickly as everyone wants to get on with the hunt itself. We clap, the lights come on, and we are on our way.
We begin the climb to the art room loft. We kids are laughing nervously and grabbing each other's’ arms in excitement; morale is high after the presentation and several students in particular are already convinced that Moon is the real deal. Others, including me, are still skeptical but excited to potentially see something with our own eyes.
Students and staff congregating in the art loft before the seance.
Once we are up the stairs and in the actual art room, Moon begins his process. Some of the kids are still giggling, but they are hushed as Moon paces thoughtfully across the tile; no one wants to seem patronizing. Several minutes pass before Moon is ready to take spirit photos. We huddle around him in an effort to see the screen of his camera.
“We’re not here to disrespect you, just to learn more about you,” Moon says to a seemingly empty corner of the room, raising his camcorder. “I’d like to ask you to show yourselves so we can know you are here.”
Moon captures some images of “orbs”, a form of spiritual energy, which are supposedly swirling about five feet from where we stand. Everyone is straining their necks to see the screen. Moon says the room is all lit up with spirits- we should have a very productive night.
The lights are officially off in the art room. We are perched on stools around a long table in the back of the loft, Moon situated at one end with the Telephone to the Dead. The tension is the highest that is has been all night; pretty much everyone has their phone out in order to document the seance. My reporters and I start rolling our recordings as Moon switches on his device...
The voices sound like brief snippets from the radio, because they are. The responses from the spirits that claim to be in the room are shared with us through Moon as he picks out their muted responses from the white noise of the machine.
Questions jump from light-hearted to dead-serious in a matter of seconds. While one moment a students asks the ghosts what their favorite color is, the next they are asking how exactly they died. In the moments of static between questions, everyone is silent, attempting to pick out the voices for themselves.
The most intense moment during the seance occurred about 11 minutes in, when one of the students asks if the ghosts would be willing to show themselves. As innocent as the question seems, Moon frantically backpedals after it is asked, attempting to placate seemingly distressed or even angry spirits. Eventually he turns the machine off in an effort to regain control of the situation.
The rest of the room is confused as to what just happened- did we do something wrong? The obviously distressed Moon explains that the spirits may take such a question as a challenge, and that the aftermath could be ugly. The tone in the room has shifted, and when the machine is turned back on, everyone is much more careful as to what they say.
The session with Moon comes to an end. The machine is turned off for good and the lights come back on, revealing the bright and seeming innocence of the loft. As we file back down the stairs, the students debrief with one another- did they believe it? Were the ghosts real? The consensus is generally split. Several of the Knight Crew members are visibly shaken by the whole event, even staying behind with Moon to confirm that they won’t accidentally take any spirits home with them.
As for me? I have much respect for Mr. Moon and what he does. I cannot imagine spending one’s career- or one’s life, for that matter- being told that what you do is a hoax. And for that, I admire him and his devotion to his work.
This being said, the Great Fairview Ghost Hunt struck me to be in the realm of performance art more than anything else. Moon truly captured his audience and built a tense atmosphere, and for that I applaud him. The experience was one that I will most likely never have the opportunity to repeat; how often do you get invited to a seance with a professional ghost hunter?
By the end of the night, I was not convinced that ghosts exist. I was not the only one either. However, I did witness the power that the idea of the supernatural holds over us as humans; after all, we skeptics did choose to be there. We chose to listen to Moon’s experiences, to climb up the art room stairs, to huddle in the dark and pose questions to the open air. So how can I really call myself a non-believer? A part of me must have truly been open to the possibility of a haunting- otherwise I would have never even bothered with the experience.
Who knows what I may see in the future that might change my opinion? From the experiences that Moon shared, maybe it’s best if I don’t find out.
For more information about Christopher Moon, visit his website http://chrismoonpsychic.com or follow him on Twitter @manisthemoon