Paranormal Investigators Of Milwaukee

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Ashmore Estates
November 7th, 2015
Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee (PIM)

INVESTIGATORS: Missy, Noah, Denys, and Gravy

ENVIRONMENTAL DATA:

Time taken: 3:30 pm

Weather Outside: Clear

Outside Temperature: 54.3 degrees F

Wind Speed: 9.9 mph

Barometric Pressure: 29.61 mmHg steady

Humidity: 54.3%

Moon Phase: 13% Full Waning Crescent

Geomagnetic Field: Storm!

Solar X-rays: Active

Solar Wind Speed: 482.4 km/sec

Solar Wind Density: 1.4 protons/cm3

Radio Sun: 10.7 cm flux; 110 sfu

Planetary K-index Now: Kp=4; unsettled

Planetary K-index 24hr Max: Kp=6; storm

Interplanetary Magnetic Field Btotal: 17.9 nT

Interplanetary Magnetic Field Bz: 8.3 nT north

Sunspot: Yes; 86

Flare Threat: None

Coronal Holes: Yes; 1

HISTORY:

From 1857 until 1869, the Coles County Poor Farm was located in Charleston Township near the small town of Loxa, Illinois. In 1870, the county purchased 260 acres from A. N. Graham in Section 35 of Ashmore Township for a new farm, which sat astride the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad. This small timber and brick building, constructed by H. B. Truman, was the first to sit on that property. It was 38x58 feet and two stories tall, with an attached kitchen. By 1911, the Auxiliary Committee of the State Board of Charities condemned the almshouse for its "vermin infected walls," "rough floors," "small windows," and improper ventilation. It was reported that "flies swarmed everywhere" and "were especially noticeable on the poor food prepared for dinner." In January 1915, the Almshouse Committee received bids for the construction of a new "fireproof" building at the location. The building contract for the new almshouse was granted to J.W. Montgomery in March for $20,389, and the cornerstone was ceremoniously laid on May 17, 1916.

Coles County sold the almshouse to Ashmore Estates, Inc. in February 1959. That corporation opened the building as a private psychiatric hospital by the same name. In October 1964, after only five years in operation, the psychiatric hospital closed down because of debt. The institution reopened in 1965, but changed its focus from a private facility to one that accepted patients from state mental institutions. By 1968, the shelter care facility housed forty-nine residents, including ten afflicted with epilepsy.

Paul Swinford and Galen Martinie purchased the institution in July 1976. Swinford and Martinie invested over $200,000 in the construction of a modern addition onto the old building. Construction began in 1977, but was not finished until the 1980's. Once the addition to Ashmore Estates had been completed and the rest of the building was brought up to code, the institution's future appeared brighter.

In February 1986, Paul Swinford entered into a limited partnership with a Peoria-based company known as Convalescent Management Associates, Inc. to help manage the institution's finances. The departments of Public Aid and Public Health dragged their feet over the issuance of proper licenses and certificates for nearly a year, leading Swinford to file for permission from the Illinois Health Facility Planning Board to close the facility. At that time, Ashmore Estates' financial losses exceeded $1.5 million. By the end of April, all of the residents had been transferred to area homes, and Ashmore Estates closed its doors.

In 1998, a resident of Sullivan named Arthur Colclasure paid $12,500 for the property and announced that he planned to renovate the building and turn it into his home. However, continuous vandalism prevented him from ever realizing his plans.

In August 2006, Scott Kelley purchased Ashmore Estates from Arthur Colclasure and began renovating. To finance the project, the Kelley's offered flashlight tours of the interior. To discourage trespassers, they erected signs and moved onto the property. Their haunted house opened on October 13, 2006. In the off-season, Scott offered overnight stays in the building.

In January 2013, Ashmore was hit by a fierce storm, with wind speeds reaching 80 to 100 mph. Ashmore Estates suffered heavy damage; its roof was blown off and the support gables were destroyed. Shortly thereafter, new owners took over the property and made plans to restore the building to its former glory.

However, after a little over a year the owner's sold the property to Robbin Terry who immediately started cleaning out the building and making repairs to the windows and roof. Robbin re-opened Ashmore Estates in the summer of 2014 for overnight paranormal investigations. All money from investigations will go toward the repairs required for the building.

REPORTED ACTIVITY:

  • Apparition of a young girl, believed to be Elva Skinner, who died in a fire in the Coles County Poor Farm building that was located where the current building sits
  • Apparition of a doctor who is believed to have jumped from out of the window in the building
  • Apparition of a male wearing a top hat has been observed
  • Claims of footsteps being heard, shadow figures observed, and disembodied voices have been reported as well as people being shoved in hallways
  • In October 2009, a local meteorologist was sitting at the Nurse's Station on the 1st Floor. He found himself with a broken collar bone, lying on the floor, with no recollection of what happened and believes he was pushed by an unseen entity
ARRIVAL:

Missy, Noah, Denys and Gravy arrived at Ashmore Estates at 2:50 pm. There was a group of volunteers that were just finishing up from doing some work on Ashmore Estates, so Gravy suggested the group take this opportunity to take some outside pictures. After the pictures were taken they were met by a gentleman and his wife who would be staying in a trailer next to Ashmore Estates during PIM's investigation and would be there in case of any questions or emergencies. First the group signed some waivers and was introduced to Robbin Terry, the owner of Ashmore Estates. Immediately after signing the waivers the group began to bring in equipment. Once all equipment was brought in the group was briefed on any recent activity in the building. Missy and Noah had investigated Ashmore Estates on May 1st of 2014 so they did not require a tour of the building although they both observed that Mr. Terry has done an amazing job of cleaning and fixing up the building. It was a shocking difference from the first investigation.

There are three floors to the building. The floor that the group used as basecamp houses a small kitchen, two bathrooms, and a "break room" that is heated. It also has another flight of small stairs towards the center of the long building leading to the Boiler Room. The 1st and 2nd Floors are almost exactly the same set up with a Nurse's Station, several Patient Rooms, and a Common Room. There are stair cases on each end of the building. PIM was not allowed to cover any windows during the investigation so they didn't use the main stair case due to the large windows that would let in a lot of light from a large yard light right outside the door that could not be turned off. Fortunately there are doors that close off that stair case blocking most of the light. Typically any windows, doors, or cracks are covered to avoid light contamination from outside sources. The group did the best they could without using tape per the agreement that they would not use tape on any of the windows or doors.

At 3:20 pm Noah instructed everyone to get their Zoom H1 control audio recorders running, time stamped and attached to their person along with their personal data loggers. Every member of PIM is equipped with a Zoom H1 digital audio recorder, which is used as their control recorder, Extech RHT50 datalogger, and UV flashlight. Control recorders are not only used as another recording device but also to discriminate the sound contamination that an investigator might create during an investigation. Control recorders are started and time stamped first before any other equipment is started and they are turned off last to ensure any anomalous noises can be cross checked. Control recorders are also placed in a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage operates because an external static electrical field causes the electric charges within the cage's conducting material to be distributed such that they cancel the field's effect in the cage's interior. PIM's main goal in using these is to block radio signals from interfering with their audio recorders thus causing false EVPs. The Extech RHT50 datalogger takes a temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure reading once a minute and is used to try and correlate environmental data with any personal experiences an investigator might encounter during an investigation.

Everyone then began to set up equipment on tri-pods to make set up easier and faster. Once Missy had her equipment set-up and ready to be placed she walked around the Basement taking baseline temperature and EMF (electromagnetic field) readings using a TriField 100XE EMF Detector and indoor temperature was taken with a single-axis EMF Mel-8704R Meter (see table below). She would take the rest of the readings later during set up of equipment.

LOCATION
EMF Before Investigation (with power on; denoted in mG)
Temperature Before Investigation (Fahrenheit)
Basement Hallway West
0.5-1.0
58.3
Dining Hall East
0.0
58.3
Boiler Room
0.0
56.2
Mary's Room Basement
0.0
55.8
1st Floor Common Room
0.2
57.2
1st Floor Nurse's Station
0.0
61.6
1st Floor East/Hallway
0.0
57.9
2nd Floor Common Room
0.0
58.6
2nd Floor Nurse's Station
0.0
57.9
2nd Floor East/Hallway
0.0
57.2

NOTE: EMF detection of 1.0 or higher can make a person have symptoms of nausea, dizziness, paranoia and the feeling of being watched. Some people are more sensitive to higher levels of EMF than others.

Missy then went outside at 3:30 pm to record outside weather conditions using a Kestrel 3500 Weather Station. The Kestrel Weather Station is a tool that measures temperature, wind speeds, barometric pressure and humidity.

Several high definition camcorders were placed in select areas of the building.

First the team began setting up equipment in the Basement. A Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camcorder was placed in the Boiler Room. Another Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camcorder was set up in the Basement Hallway. Lastly a Sony HDR-SR5 high definition camcorder was set up in Mary's Room which is just off the Boiler Room. Mary is a name that visitors of Ashmore Estates claim that "psychics" have come up with. Nobody knows who Mary could have been but believes she haunts this room. Zoom H1 audio recorders were set up in the Boiler Room and the Basement Hallway in addition to these camcorders.

The team then took equipment to the 1st Floor. A Sony HDR-CX610 full spectrum camcorder was placed upon the Nurse's Station along with a Zoom H1 audio recorder. An EMF Pump along with a trigger object bank and a geophone were also placed at the Nurse's Station. The geophone was custom built by PIM and has adjustable sensitivity. The geophone senses seismic vibrations. If any of the trigger objects would be moved the geophone would sense the vibrations. PIM uses trigger objects to try and provoke interest and activity from entities. The trigger objects that were used are a cigar, dice, whiskey, cards, rocking horse, Relic of Veronica's Vail, Bible, harmonica, bell, rosary, and crucifix. An EMF pump was also placed on the desk along with an Extech RHT50 datalogger. An EMF pump emits electromagnetic fields into the atmosphere which is believed to be a great energy source for spirits to manifest. A touch flash light was placed on the desk as well (which can only be turned on if the side is touched completing the circuit). Lastly a Mel-6704R-VIBE EMF detector was placed on the Nurse's Station. This device measures EMF and ambient temperature with rapid response. It also detects vibration and will produce an audible tone and LED indication when a vibration is detected.

In the 1st Floor Common Room a Sony HDR-SR5 high definition camcorder along with a Zoom H1 audio recorder were placed. An EMF pump along with a touch flashlight and trigger object bank were placed on a chair in the Common Room as well. The trigger object bank included a Barbie doll, ball, car, bear, apple and stuffed cat.

On the 2nd Floor a Sony HDR-SR7 high definition camcorder was set up in the Common Room along with a Zoom H1 audio recorder. A Mel-8704REM/ATDD/SDD EMF detector was placed on the 2nd Floor Hallway. It detects EMF & Temperature simultaneously, a hot and cold spot detector that will set off a blue light or red light for an increase or decrease of 1 degree or more along with an audible alarm, and a shadow detection system that has a long range and short range red LED light that if broken will cause an LED light and audible alarm to go off.

On the 2nd Floor Nurse's station a Sony HDR-XR200V high definition camcorder was set up along with a Dark Matter Detector. A Dark Matter Detector is a device that measures EMF, temperature, barometric pressure, and has a high quality audio recorder as well. An Extech RHT50 datalogger, geophone, touch flashlight, along with a trigger object bank was also placed at the Nurse's Station. The bank consisted of a Relic of Veronica's Vale, Playboy magazine, whiskey, bullets, cigar, cards, pentagram, dice, matches, and a Bible.

Once all the equipment was set, the team started and time stamped all the equipment in the entire building. Time stamps, from a designated atomic watch, are used as a point of reference and make cross referencing easier during evidence review. All lights were turn off at this point to set illumination with special infrared lights so the camcorders are able to record while it is dark. Once this was done the group stopped their personal H1 audio recorders at 5:27 pm and left the building to go to dinner. It was noted before dinner, the temperature in the basement was cold enough to see your exhaled breath. The group returned at 6:36 pm and again started and time stamped their control H1 audio recorders.

INVESTIGATION:

START TIME: 6:49 pm

LOCATION: 2nd Floor Common Room

PIM members spread themselves throughout the room before beginning control silence. Control silence is a method practiced at each new location in a building. It allows for members to get a baseline of noises the building could make throughout the night. It also allows for the group to tag outside noises heard in that area so as not to be mistaken as something paranormal later in the night. This also allows for the building to reset itself after members or PIM have been walking around.

At 6:53 pm, a short shuffling of a plastic bag sound was heard in one of the connecting room to the 2nd Floor Common Room. No bag was found and no source of the sound was discovered initially. However, when the noise was heard again it was discovered that there were many flies that were on the windows in that room which would sometimes buzz their wings making a sound similar to a plastic bag moving. The group began an electronic voice phenomenon or EVP session at 6:55 pm.

At 7:10 pm, a noise which was described as a "scratching" noise was heard. It was debunked as flies were found in the window sills and, although sluggish due to the cool temperatures, were still active.

At 7:26, Noah heard three "patting" noises in the Common Room. The group checked for bats. Earlier in the evening Gravy had watched a bat or possibly a bird, crawl under the gap of the front door and into stairwell. While the group tried to block the stairwell off from the rest of the building, it is still possible the creature made it into the rest of the building but wasn't seen again that night.

END TIME: 7:31 pm

START TIME: 7:32 pm

LOCATION: 2nd Floor Hallway

The group situated themselves down the hallway of the 2nd Floor, sitting in doorways to monitor the room as well as staying within eye shot of each other. They observed control silence before starting an EVP session.

At 7:40 pm Noah saw a concentrated light source that flashed for less than a second. The light was approximately a foot and a half off the ground. No source of the light was determined and Noah didn't believe it to be a reflection in his glasses. The group then began an EVP session.

At 7:51 pm, Noah went down to base camp to call his kids and say goodnight. Meanwhile, at 8:02 pm, Missy, sitting at the East side of the hallway, saw a shadow figure run across the hallway from one room into another. Even though there was a camera facing that direction, this event was not captured on video. It was noted that there was a window that was at the height of an outside source of light. The light coming in could have contributed to what Missy had experienced and been a trick of the eye. Noah and Gravy covered the window using small clamps and 3 mil black plastic. Please note: no staples, nails or tape was used to hang the plastic as noted in the rules of that location.

While Noah and Gravy were finishing up, Noah, Missy and Gravy heard a loud beep that sounded like it might have come from something electronic. Denys, was in the bathroom in the Basement at the time. At first, the group thought it was Noah's shadow detector on the floor below. However after further investigating, it was determined that the shadow detector did not create that sound and no source of the beep was found.

END TIME: 8:30 pm

The group took a short break and attempted to contact the buildings care taker, Dave, to see if there was something he knew of that could have made that noise. He did not answer his phone.

START TIME: 9:28 pm

LOCATION: 1st Floor Common Room

The group spread throughout the Common Room and observed control silence before beginning an EVP session at 9:37 pm.

At 9:43 pm, the entire group heard a shuffling/sliding sound come from down the hallway. No source of the sound was found and this was not captured on audio recorders.

At 9:48 pm, Denys heard a clap/popping noise that also came from down the hallway. Once again, no source was discovered and was thought to be a building noise.

At 10:04 pm, Noah heard a shuffling sound in one of the patient rooms. No source was found and this, too, was not captured by audio recorders.

END TIME: 10:11 pm

START TIME: 10:13 pm

LOCATION: 1st Floor Hallway

The group situated themselves down the hallway of the 1st Floor, again, sitting in doorways to monitor the room as well as staying within eye shot of each other. The group observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. It was noted during control silence that the sounds of plaster/peeling paint chips could be heard hitting the ground in some of the rooms. This could have accounted for the clapping/popping or shuffling noises heard while the group was in the Common Room of that floor.

At 10:22 pm, Missy, Gravy, and Noah heard what sounded like a female voice. Although there was a female guest staying the night in one of the bunk house, she was still gone at that moment the group heard the voice.

At 10:33 pm, Missy saw a short shadow move across the wall and at 10:38 pm Noah witnessed a ribbon like light that was soon debunked as headlights of passing cars on the nearby two lane highway.

END TIME: 11:00 pm

The group took a break. They checked their equipment and replaced SD cards as needed. They then went to base camp to discuss the night's events and allow the equipment to run without human interaction.

START TIME: 12:33 am

LOCATION: Basement Hallway

The group spread themselves throughout the hallway and observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. Nothing happened during this time and the group moved on.

END TIME: 12:53 am

START TIME: 12:56 am

LOCATION: Furnace Room

The group sat themselves in the Furnace Room and observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. After dropping her voice recorder, Missy had to go back to base camp to get another battery. No activity was noted during this time and the group moved on.

END TIME: 1:13 am

START TIME: 1:22 am

LOCATION: 2nd Floor Nurse's Station

The group sat in the area of the Nurse's station on the 2nd Floor. They observed control silence before beginning an EVP session.

At 1:41 am, Missy smelt a burnt wood smell for approximately two seconds before it dissipated. No source of the smell was discovered and although the couple that was staying in the bunk house discussed having a fire that night, they did not.

At 1:46 am, Missy asked for two knocks and two knocks were faintly heard. This was not captured on audio records and could not be replicated. PIM does not believe this was paranormal in nature and was merely coincidental. In order for this to be substantial evidence, it would need to be replicated with different knock cadences and/or sequences. No other events occurred and the group moved to the next location.

END TIME: 1:48 am

START TIME: 1:49 am

LOCATION: 2nd Floor Common Room

The group situated themselves throughout the room and began an EVP session. At 1:57 am, Noah noticed the light source coming from under the door at the end of the hallway get completely blocked out. No one was in the stairwell at that time.

END TIME: 2:00 am

START TIME: 2:04 am

LOCATION: 1st Floor Common Room

The group situated themselves throughout the room and began an EVP session. No activity occurred during this time and the group moved on.

END TIME: 2:13 am

START TIME: 2:16 am

LOCATION: 1st Floor Nurse's Station

The group situated themselves in the area and began an EVP session. No activity occurred during this time and the investigation was called to an end.

END TIME: 2:26 am

PIM broke down all their gear, stopped their control recorders and packed their equipment in the van before heading out to the bunk house for the night.

EVIDENCE:

AUDIO: None
VIDEO: None
PHOTO: Due to the nature of photographic evidence, PIM does not believe photos are accurate evidence of the paranormal. However, photos are taken for baselines and documentation of trigger object starting positions.

CONCLUSION:

Even though the investigation did not produce any evidence of the paranormal, PIM had some interesting experiences during the investigation. Ashmore Estates is an interesting building with an extensive history. The owner has cleaned out and repaired the building very well, making it a much better location to investigate than during PIM's previous investigation. There is still the possibility of animal infestation as evidenced by the bat that was witnessed crawling underneath a door into the location. However, the building is still light years ahead of where it was a year ago. PIM would consider revisiting this location in the future and looks forward to returning to further investigate this location in hopes of unraveling the mystery of the claims of Ashmore Estates.

PIM would like to thank the owner for allowing us to come in and investigate his building and wish him the best of luck in his renovation process.