Ghost Hunters Take Their Camera To Alton House In Search For Spirits!
By Bill Reiter Of The Post-Dispatch
Investigators Film Throughout Mansion For Potential TV Pilot!
COPIED FROM: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ARCHIVES
Originally published on Thursday, July 8, 1999.
Filmmaker James Gregson is always looking for new talent. But his search for astar took an eerie turn last month.
The Alton producer recruited a trio of ghost investigators to help film his newest cast - the fabled spirits haunting McPike Mansion.
It's a marked change from other Gregson Independent Productions projects, such as "Cooking for Singles," "Sockville," and "Jake Steele: Future Spy."
Nonetheless, the idea of a series on local haunts had executives excited in January at a television programming convention in New Orleans.
"We were just going to do investigative re-enactments of local haunted houses," Gregson said. "(Ghost investigator) Mike Lynch came down and said he had footage. I looked at it and said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa - this is weird.' "
The pieces came together, and the project materialized.
So as darkness settled on a recent Thursday night in Alton, technicians began to set up video equipment and the Para-Vision ghost investigators from St. Louis armed themselves for the hunt.
The paranormal specialists wore black pants and T-shirts. They unpacked a video camera set to a specific light frequency, two "helmet cams" - infrared video cameras rigged to hard hats - and a remote-controlled truck complete with an infrared camera and infrared lights.
Other cameras were set up throughout the mansion.
The goal was simple: record specters invisible to the eye with equipment capable of seeing them and use the footage for a pilot on local haunts.
With motion detectors on each floor of the mansion ready to beep at any ghost floating by, investigator Michael Lynch crept slowly to the front of the darkened home.
The production team watched from the front lawn and monitored the video screens. Lynch pressed a video camera to his eye and marched through the front door.
"I've got a couple," he said, turning his camera on an otherwise invisible specter. "They're small ones."
The other investigators moved cautiously through the house, trying not to disturb the spirits.
Lynch examined the three floors for another 40 minutes without spotting much. He then went into a small, concrete cove in the basement.
The air was foggy. The cold room smelled of brick and decaying wood. In one corner, a video camera with infrared lights stood at the ready to record passing ghosts.
"You see that fog?" Lynch asked. "It's not fog. It's an energy. It's always been there, and it attracts the entities."
Lynch has investigated ghosts and tried to scientifically prove their existence since 1992. He said his experience has taught him how to track spirits.
His conclusions include:
* An entity is a human consciousness without a human form.
* They vary in power, and only the strongest can be seen by the eye.
* Most dance across rooms like an intense, baseball-shaped strobe light and must be viewed in a particular light frequency
"You can feel the energy," investigator Jeremy Johnson said. "You can feel the electricity. You can feel the cold spots. You'll walk there, and it'll be a 15-degree drop."
After investigating the yard and house for more than two hours, the ghost hunters and Gregson's technicians retraced their steps to see if any entities were recorded.
But there were no overwhelming sightings. The colony of ghosts Lynch said he saw at the mansion earlier this year did not appear.
Even so, he called the trip a success. He said the crews did record some spirits of the dead.
Flashes of light - what Lynch said were ghosts - were filmed whipping past the camera about nine times, zipping up a stairwell, across the yard or against a wall.
"That could be a flashlight," complained music composer Jim Callahan, as he watched a ball of light jet across the television monitors.
But some images flashing across the footage were strange.
"Wow," Callahan said a few moments later, watching a light dash from the back of the yard and over Lynch's shoulder. "That's weird."
Sitting in front of another television screen watching the footage, Lynch rewound the tape again and again to watch the light flutter across the yard.
"We know that's it," he said, as light moved across the screen for a few seconds. "Nothing else in the world creates that."
And what about the possibility that the lights are from flashlights, passing cars or other places?
"You have to look for the source of it," he said. "Going frame by frame of the video, you can take away the possibility of what it could be. When we run it through a software package, it shows beyond a doubt this is not a light source of any sort. That light is unique and in a unique spectrum.
"I don't doctor my evidence," he said. "I do this to prove the evidence."
The night did not produce the blockbuster recording session necessary for a television pilot. But Gregson isn't giving up. He'll return in the coming weeks for other sessions.
"I've seen enough to know there's some serious evidence," he said. "This is an excitement. There's an energy here."
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