The group arrived at 4:30 pm and was met by Justin Libigs, the building’s owner. Gear was unloaded and a base camp area was established in the Kindergarten Classroom.
Jann went outside to take readings of outside conditions using the Kestrel 3500 weather station while the others began to unpack gear and determine where it would be set.
Justin took the group on a tour of the building and went over the claims of activity that have been made in each area. During this time, Jann took indoor EMF and Temperature Baseline Readings using a MEL-8704REM meter for temperature and the Magnii DSP-523 Three-Axis EMF Detector. EMF detectors are used to detect changes in the electromagnetic field which are believed to be indications of possible paranormal activity.
There are four floors in the First Ward School House. The 1st Floor has the Kindergarten Classroom, another Classroom that is being used for storage, and the Boy’s Bathroom. In the area near the front door and outside of the Boy’s Bathroom, there are large landings near the respective staircases.
In the Kindergarten Classroom the following trigger objects were placed on a desk: A ball and jacks, a small slinky, and a touch light. There was also a Mel-Vibe placed on this desk to detect any vibration from objects moving. A Sony HDR-CX160 video camera was placed at the front of the room facing the doorway to the landing outside of the Boy’s Bathroom. Also captured within screenshot is the shower room which used to be the closet where a paranormal group claims to have communicated with a little boy through the Ovilus.
On a podium at the front of the Kindergarten Classroom Noah placed the Rountree Voice Phenomena Recorder. This recorder was developed by paranormal researcher, David Rountree. It is thought by many paranormal researchers that spirits communicate through EMF (Electromagnetic Field). This device allows one to compare audio files created by sound waves to audio files created by EMF.
An Extech RHT50 datalogger was also placed in the Kindergarten Classroom. The datalogger is used to detect changes in temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure.
In the Boy’s Bathroom, a Sony DCR-SR85 video camera was placed so it was facing the ledge where the ceramic cat is located. A tape outline was placed on the ledge around the cat so if it moved it would be more noticeable. There was also a Zoom H1 audio recorder in this room. An EMF pump was placed in this room as well. EMF pumps are thought to provide spirits with energy they can use to manifest.
On the landing near the front entrance, between the first and second floor, a Zoom H2 audio recorder was placed.
There is a large landing at the top of the stairs near the Boy’s Bathroom. The Girl’s Bathroom is directly ahead when one reaches the top of the stairs. To the immediate left, there is a door to the Attic staircase. To the right is a door to a room that is used for storage, and another door to what used to be a Third Grade Classroom, but now it is furnished with several beds and a large TV. If one walks through the Third Grade Classroom and opens the door, there is a large landing outside of what used to be the Nurse’s Office.
There was a Sony DCR-DVD610 camera placed in the Third Grade Classroom aimed toward the door to the landing outside of the Nurse’s Office. A Mel-8704REM ATDD SDD was placed on this landing. This meter measures EMF and temperature changes and also has a shadow detection feature. One of the claims in this area is of a shadow figure standing over a woman who was lying in one of the beds. A geophone which is used to detect vibration was placed in this area, as was a PIM Pod which is a device used to detect positive and negative ions.
A Zoom H1 audio recorder was placed on the landing outside of the Girl’s Bathroom. A Sony HDR-SR10 video camera was set up pointing into the Girl’s Bathroom, an Extech RHT50 datalogger was placed in this room as well.
In the Attic there is a huge chimney that is centrally located. On one side of the chimney is a table where the owner reported having his laundry folded when he turned his back for a short period of time to get hangers from the south corner of the attic. On this table was placed a Zoom H1 recorder, and an Extech RHT50 datalogger.
There is a rumor that the little boy whose spirit is thought to reside in the Attic was either hung by bullies at the school, or that he had hung himself in the Attic. A noose was placed over a rafter in the Attic as a trigger object. A baseball, a small toy car, and a piece of candy were also used as trigger objects in the Attic. An EMF pump was also used in the Attic area.
Since the Attic is a large space, two cameras were used. A Sony DCR-SR45 was positioned so it captured the trigger objects in the room and a Sony HDR-SR7 was placed on the other side of the Attic to cover the area where Oscar was seen and the table where the laundry had been folded.
The Basement of the School House is divided into several rooms. There is a small Kitchen and Dining Area next to a large room that was once the Cafeteria and is now a Theater. In this room, a GQ GMC-300 Geiger Counter Datalogger was used to measure radiation. There was also a Zoom H1 audio recorder and an Extech RHT10 Temperature/Humidity Datalogger. The difference between this datalogger and the RHT50 is that the RHT50 also logs barometric pressure. A Sony HDR-SR5 video camera was placed at the back of this room.
In the area of the Basement that was the Janitor’s Workroom, a small bottle of liquor was placed as a trigger object. An Extech RHT10 datalogger was also placed in this area.
By 7:30pm, the equipment was positioned and running and baseline photographs were taken of rooms and trigger objects. At this time the group left for dinner.
The group returned at 8:30 pm and checked equipment on the First and Second Floors as well as the Attic to check that everything was properly illuminated and that all equipment was running. Noah scanned the Attic with a FLIR E40bx Thermal Imaging Camera to ensure that there were no animals. At 8:30 pm the group returned to the Kindergarten Classroom where they had set up their basecamp to grab some two-way radios and then proceeded to the Basement to begin investigating.
Cafeteria/Theater – 8:56 pm
The group spread throughout the room and began the investigation as usual with five minutes of control silence in order to note any ambient noise that is in the area. The group began an EVP session at 9:01 pm. At 9:03 pm there were two loud knocks that sounded like they came from the floor above. At the same time, Gravy reported feeling pressure in his head.
Noah and Gravy went upstairs to check out the noises while Jann, Andy and Tony continued the EVP session. Just as Noah and Gravy were returning, Tony and Andy saw a white light in the Kitchen area which is through the doorway from the Cafeteria/Theater. The group was unable to determine what caused the light, but it was thought it may have been car headlights shining through one of the windows.
When Noah and Gravy returned the group resumed the EVP Session. Gravy again noted that he was feeling pressure in his head as well as ringing in his ears. At this time, Noah turned on the Inductive Amplifier which is a device that converts EMF into audible sound. The group investigated this area until 9:20 pm and then returned to the Kindergarten Classroom/Basecamp area.
END TIME: 9:20 pm
Cafeteria/Theater – 9:48 pm
The group moved back to the Cafeteria/Theater and once again began an EVP session. At 9:52 pm Gravy and Noah switched places because Gravy’s head had begun to hurt again.
The group continued the EVP session until 10:00 pm at which time they decided to move to the Janitor’s Room. Noah did not report any pressure or other ill effects to sitting in the same location as Gravy when he experienced the head pressure. The EMF readings were normal and no barometric pressure differences were noted.
END TIME: 10:00 pm
START TIME: 10:05 pm
LOCATION: Janitor’s Room
Gravy sat next to the washing machine in the main area of the Janitor’s Room. Jann went in the Furnace Room which is directly off of the main area of the Janitor’s Room. Tony and Noah went in the room that is used for storage of Halloween decorations. This is the room where the woman claims to have been held against a wall. Andy went into the Hallway where the other woman claims to have been pushed against a wall.
Tony and Andy reported feeling pressure in their heads. This sparked Noah to test the EMF coming from wires running along the ceiling. The EMF in the room they were in averaged 4.5 milliGauss (mG) with it being 7.8 mG near where the woman claimed to have been held against the wall. This is quite higher than the EMF level in most buildings which is usually about 1.0 mG. When Noah measured the EMF near the ceiling, it was higher still at about 10.0 mG. When he held the EMF detector near the wires that were running along the ceiling, the reading reached 109.0 mG which is extremely high.
PIM cannot prove that the woman who claims she was held against the wall was having a reaction to high EMF, but it is possible that this may be responsible. High levels of EMF are believed to cause reactions in people including headaches, skin irritations, nausea and hallucinations.
Another claim in this area occurred where Andy was positioned at this time. A woman was walking down the hallway leading to the Janitor’s Room, and she felt as though she was pushed into the wall.
While walking through this area, Tony noticed that there is a dip in the concrete floor along the wall. He theorized that the woman may have lost her footing as a result and fallen into the wall. It is also possible that the high EMF in the area could have caused her to be slightly dizzy as well.
As with the above scenario, PIM cannot prove that this is why the woman fell into the wall. We did not speak with her so we do not know the details of the situation. However, this is a plausible possibility that this is how the event occurred and therefore may not be a paranormal event.
At 10:14 pm, the group began an EVP session. At 10:15 pm, Noah and Tony reported hearing scratching on the wall, but the cause was not determined. It should be noted the owner informed the group during the walkthrough that the building was infested with mice, which may have been the source of the scratching noise that was heard.
At 10:21 pm, Tony asked anything that was there to make a sound on a different floor if it was too afraid to do it when the group was present. At the same time on the 2nd Floor landing, the Mel-8704REM ATDD SDD alarmed for 10 seconds. The REM portion of the Mel was what alarmed and it was the only time it occurred all night. This alarm was not heard at the time, but was captured on the stationary recorder that was in the Third Grade Classroom. This is an interesting occurrence. Although the Mel had not alarmed at all previously, including when we were using the two-way radios which is known to activate the Mel, nor at any time later in the investigation it is impossible to know what caused the Mel to alarm. The camera positioned in the Third Grade Classroom could see the landing where the Mel was positioned but nothing was seen when the Mel alarmed or just previous to the alarm sounding. Since no other evidence was captured to link the Mel alarm to a paranormal event, PIM has decided to class this event as an anomaly that requires further investigation.
The EVP session lasted until 10:25 pm when Noah and Gravy went to get a battery for the camera in the Cafeteria/Theater area. Tony, Jann and Andy stayed in the Basement during this time. At 10:35 pm, after replacing the battery, everyone moved up to the Kindergarten Classroom Basecamp area.
END TIME: 10:35 pm
Noah changed the battery in the Boy’s Bathroom camera as well prior to going to the Basecamp Area.
Kindergarten Classroom – 10:38 pm
Noah was in a chair by the chalkboard, Andy was in the entryway, Tony was on the landing near the Boy’s Bathroom, Gravy was near the Shower Room, and Jann was seated in the teacher’s desk.
At 10:40 pm, the group held five minutes of control silence prior to beginning an EVP session. The silence was interrupted at 10:41 pm by a knock on the landing. Tony stated that he heard a knock in front of him, but was unable to elicit a subsequent knock. The noise was captured on several recorders but since no knock was asked for, and no other knocks were heard when more were asked for, it was decided the noise was most likely a normal building noise.
At 10:53 pm, something came through on Channel 2 of Noah’s two-way radio. This was determined to be normal radio noise. PIM was using two-way radios set at different channels to see if anyone might be playing a trick on people who come and do paranormal investigations at the school. A different paranormal group reported hearing a male voice responding through two-way radios. At no time during the investigation was there a responsive voice heard from the two-way radios. What may have caused the voice to come through the two-way radios is someone talking on the same channel. This is very possible as there is a trucking company located directly behind the building.
No other events occurred during this session and it ended at 10:59 pm.
END TIME: 10:59 pm
The group went upstairs to check on the cameras in the Girl’s Bathroom and the Third Grade Classroom. They then moved to the Attic.
Attic – 11:13 pm
The group spread out to do an EVP session. At 11:18 pm, after five minutes of silence, the session began. Shortly into the session there were some popping noises that were determined to be normal settling sounds of the building.
During this time, there were several noises heard, but none of them responsive. At 11:30 pm a noise that sounded like a footstep was noted, and at 11:31 pm a metallic, squeaky noise was heard.
At 11:39 pm, Jann and Gravy both heard what they perceived to be a voice. This was captured by Gravy’s control recorder but no other recorders in the area captured the sound. The sound is very faint, and PIM cannot make out anything that may be being said. Thus, PIM does not consider this to be evidence.
END TIME: 11:50 pm
The group ended the session in the Attic and moved to the Second Floor where the Third Grade Classroom and the Girl’s Bathroom are located.
Third Grade Classroom – 12:22 am
Noah and Andy went back to the Basecamp Area for a battery for the Mel meter. Gravy, Tony, and Jann conducted an EVP session beginning at 12:22 am until 12:31 am when the others returned.
At 12:31 am, Noah, Gravy, Tony and Andy sat around a kitchen table that is in the middle of the room. Jann lay on the bed where the woman was lying when a shadow figure was seen hovering over her.
At 12:54 am, Gravy and Tony heard a thump. Shortly afterward, the alarm on the temperature detector of the Mel meter sounded.
At 12:58 am, Tony heard what he said sounded like a door closing on a different floor. No doors were found to be closed that hadn’t been closed prior to this time.
At 1:09 am, Noah changed the battery in the camera that was on the landing outside of the Girl’s Bathroom. At this time, Andy reported seeing a white flash in the landing near the Nurse’s Office. At 1:13 am, Andy, Noah, and Gravy heard movement near the Nurse’s Office as well. Nothing was caught on video that showed anything in this area.
At 1:30 am, Gravy and Jann switched places and Tony moved to the couch were Noah had been seated. Noah and Andy went to debunk claims of stall doors slamming in the Girl’s Bathroom. They were not able to position the doors so that they slammed by themselves, since the doors always closed all the way and could not be left partially open. They also checked to see if suction from having the door to the bathroom closed and then opening it could cause enough air movement to make the door move, but this was not able to make the doors move. Direct debunking of this report was not successful, however upon review of the evidence another possibility was found. During audio review, several times during the night a loud thud was captured on multiple recorders that sounded much like the sound of a stall door closing in one of the bathrooms. PIM had cameras in both bathrooms and none of the stall doors moved the entire night so the sound is not a stall door closing. PIM hypothesizes that most of the reports surrounding the stall doors closing are audible ones, meaning the actual moving of the stall door was neither witnessed nor captured on video. If this is the case, the noises that PIM captured could easily be normal building noises that just happen to sound like a bathroom stall door closing, and this is where this claim comes from. However, if anyone has actually witnessed the stall door move by itself or captured it on video, PIM would not have an explanation for those claims at this time. Anyone with video evidence of this please contact PIM.
Another claim in the Girl’s Bathroom is of toilet paper getting moved from one stall to another. The report is that when a woman is going to use the stall if she checks for toilet paper it will be there but when she enters the stall and sits down she will find the roll on the floor in the next stall. To test this, PIM simply followed the claim and entered one of the stalls. When this was done, it was found the extra roll of toilet paper had in fact moved to the floor of the adjacent stall. This can be explained relatively easily. The extra roll of toilet paper hangs on the back of the doors to the stalls, and when one enters the stall it was very easy to bump it and cause it to fall off the door and roll to the adjacent stall. PIM cannot definitively prove that this is what happened when the person reported that she found the toilet paper on the floor, but it is a very plausible explanation for why the paper was found there.
At 1:39 am, Tony stated that he felt pressure on his left triceps as though someone was leaning on him.
No other events occurred during this session.
END TIME: 1:43 am
The group decided at this point to move to a room on the Second Floor that is currently being used for storage.
Second Floor Storage Area – 1:43 am
The group held a brief investigation of this area until 2:01 am. No remarkable events took place during this time.
END TIME: 2:01 am
The group headed to the Kindergarten Classroom Basecamp Area. Everyone had a quick energy drink break at this time. Jann changed the batteries in the Zoom H2 recorder.
At one point the school was run by nuns, most of which resided in the Attic with the exception of one nun who slept in a small room in the basement. The owner found a coffee can in this area that contained, what may have been, personal items belonging to the nun. The group decided to go to the Basement to investigate this room.
Basement Nun’s Quarters – 2:15 am
The group gathered in the small room to conduct an EVP session. At 2:17 am, Noah and Gravy heard what they said sounded like a high-pitched scream. This was captured on their control recorders but was not captured on recorders placed in other parts of the school. This fact rules out the noise coming from outside, which was the group’s first thought. We are not sure what caused this noise to occur and have submitted it as evidence.
The group remained in this room until 2:32 am. No other events occurred during this time.
END TIME: 2:32 am
The group decided to move to the Cafeteria/Theater for one more investigation of the area.
Cafeteria/Theater – 2:34 am
The group spread out in this area once again. The area was investigated until 3:19 am. No unusual occurrences were noted at this time.
END TIME: 3:19 am
The group moved to the Kindergarten Classroom to investigate.
Kindergarten Classroom – 3:30 am
Everyone took seats in the classroom and an EVP session was conducted. At 3:30 am, everyone heard what sounded like a voice, but it was debunked as a noise made by Tony by leaning on a desk.
Prior to the investigation, the building’s owner mentioned that activity was stirred up while he was listening to Christmas music and decorating the Christmas tree. Noah played some Christmas music that he had downloaded onto his iPod. Unfortunately, there was no activity.
END TIME: 3:43 am
At this time, the group moved to the Attic.
At 3:51 am, the group did an equipment check and discovered that the memory on the cameras was full. The investigation was concluded at 4:00 am.
1:15am – control
2:17am – control
This was a great investigation at a beautiful historic building. There were some occurrences that were very exciting, and upon review, it does appear that we were able to capture some evidence.
Though we did not get video evidence to coincide with the Mel meter alarm sounding, it is still very compelling that it sounded immediately after Tony asked if someone could make a noise on another floor. Further study of this particular event is needed to determine if a natural explanation can be found.
PIM was also able to debunk a number of claims at this location. The history surrounding this location combined with the high number of investigations that occur can result in many varied claims. Even though we could debunk a number of the claims, PIM still came up with some strange events and evidence from the investigation it conducted. PIM hopes to return to the First Ward School to continue studying this location in the near future.
PIM would like to thank Justin Libigs for opening his home to us and allowing us to have the pleasure of investigating this gorgeous property. First Ward School House is a great old building, and we feel very lucky to have been able to investigate and we hope to come back again in the near future!