Special Guest: Allison Jornlin also joined PIM on this investigation. Allison does research on reportedly haunted locations in the Milwaukee area.
Gravy, John, Denys and Allison arrived at 5:00 pm and began unloading their equipment. Base camp was set up in the Lobby by the concession stand. Once base camp was established, the group started and time stamped their control recorders.
Every member of PIM is equipped with a Zoom H1 digital audio recorder, which is used as a control recorder, an Extech RHT50 data logger and a UV flashlight, which they carry on their person. 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 prior to all other equipment being started. Time stamps, from a designated atomic watch, are used as a point of reference and make cross referencing easier during evidence review.
Missy arrived at the Modjeska Theatre at 6:45 pm.
The group began setting up equipment while John took outside conditions and Missy took baseline readings (see table below). Baseline EMF (electromagnetic field) readings were taken with a Tri-field 100XE. Indoor temperature was taken with a Mel-8704R. A Kestrel Weather Station was used for outdoor weather conditions. After equipment was set up, Gravy turned the main power off for the theater.
Several high definition video recorders were placed in selected areas in the theater. A Sony HDR-XR200V was placed on the Stage, facing the House. A Sony HDR-SR5 was placed on both sides of the Upper Balcony, directed towards the Stage. A Sony HDR-CX160 was placed in the rear of the Private Theater, facing the front of the Private Theater. Sony HDR-SR7 was place in the Dressing Room in the Basement facing out of the room towards the other dressing rooms. Missy also carried a Sony HDR-XR200V with her as a mobile video recorder.
Various devices and objects were placed on the Stage. The devices included a Tascam DR40 digital audio recorder, an EMF pump, a small light that activates in response to vibrations and Dark Matter data logging device. The EMF pump emits different frequencies of electromagnetic fields into the surrounding areas. The use of an EMF pump is based on the theory that spirits need energy to manifest or manipulate objects. The Dark Matter data logger measures and records several environmental factors including: temperature, EMF, humidity and barometric pressure. The following trigger objects were placed on the Stage: baseball, harmonica, playing cards, toy truck, cigarettes, mini bottle of whiskey, a bullet, hat, Bible, kitty stuffed animal, plastic apple, and a toy bear. Trigger objects are miscellaneous items that are strategically chosen in hopes to invoke a response.
A Zoom H1 digital audio recorder was placed in the Private Theater, in the center of the Upper Balcony, and the Dressing Room in the Basement.
All lights that could not be turned off were covered using dark plastic sheets. Any additional windows, doors or cracks, in areas of interest, were also covered to avoid light contamination from outside sources. The 2nd floor Offices were the exception to this as it was not possible to cover all the windows.
Before breaking for dinner, the group started and time stamped all the equipment in the entire building. They returned to basecamp, turned off their control recorders and left for dinner at 7:35 pm. The group returned from dinner at 8:35 pm. Once inside the theater, the group restarted their control recorders and began the investigation.
Claims of Activity
- Strange, unexplained sounds
- Levitation of various objects
- Smoky apparition of a man wearing a top hat peering down at the audience from the Balcony
Main Theater – 8:53 pm
The group then spread out in the Main Theater. Gravy was seated upper stage right, John, upper stage left, and Denys in the center seat section of the House. Allison and Missy were seated on the Stage. The group started with a few minutes of controlled silence. Controlled silence is a common practice to get acclimated to and tag or document the normal sounds of the buildings and its surrounding environmental noises. It was noted there was a lot of vehicular traffic noise and pedestrian voices coming in from outside.
After silence was conducted, the group began an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) session. An EVP session is conducted by asking several questions but leaving a minimum of ten seconds in between each question in the event a response is captured on a nearby device. Investigators speak in full voice and tag any abnormal noises they might make during an investigation. Common noises that investigators tag are stomach growls, accidental whispering and shifting or moving noises they might create that could be mistaken as something paranormal during evidence review.
At 9:00 pm, Missy and Allison heard a noise they described as a “clicking” noise. It was decided it was possibly water dripping as heavy rains had fallen a few hours earlier and the theater was still under repair so water could be leaking somewhere. It was also noticed during this EVP session that very small particles from the ceiling would periodically fall and could possibly be another explanation for the clicking noise.
At 9:02 pm, Gravy heard a “bang” noise, but the group was unable to determine the location it came from or the cause. This sound was not captured on any audio device.
At 9:10 pm, Missy and Allison observed an unusual light aberration in the 2nd Floor Center Balcony, which they described as looking like a faint, white mist in the shape of a person. They further stated it did not appear that it was moving. The rest of the group was not able to observe this. Gravy and Denys went up to that location and attempted to locate the source but before being able to do so, Allison and Missy advised they could not see it any more. It was possible it was a result of outside light coming in from a 2nd Floor window and reflecting through the Projection Room window, which is at the top of the Balcony.
At 9:23 pm, Denys and Gravy returned to their original positions in the Main Theater.
At 9:34 pm, Denys and Allison indicated they again saw the unusual light activity. Missy then observed, what she described as, a three foot in diameter ball of light in the Upper Balcony for about a second before becoming no longer visible.
At 9:38 pm, Gravy observed what he described as three strips of light between two infrared lights on the left side of the Stage. Gravy only observed this for several seconds and we were unable to determine the cause.
At 9:42 pm, Missy and Allison heard a loud creaking noise twice, from stage left, on the Stage. Again, we were unable to determine the source of the sounds and these were not capture on any recording devices.
At 9:44 pm, Gravy heard what he believed to be the sound of a chair seat moving. The bottom seats of the theater chairs are normally in an upright position, due to spring tension, unless pressure is applied. This sound was captured via audio recorder but was determined to be a natural occurring sound produced by the cooling of the theater.
None of the observed light anomalies were capture by video recorder. No other known activity occurred and the group took a short break.
END TIME: 9:48 pm
Private Theater – 9:58 pm
The group spread out in the Private Theater. After observing several minutes of controlled silence, the group began an EVP session. The group did not experience any responses during the course of the EVP session.
END TIME: 10:54 pm
2nd Floor Offices – 11:06 pm
The group spread out in the 2nd Floor Offices. The offices were illuminated from street lights and there was an unusual amount of street noise due to a celebration in the local community.
With the exception of the noise contamination from outside, the building was otherwise quiet. No known or recorded activity occurred during the EVP session. The group then took another short break.
END TIME: 11:54 pm
Basement – 12:22 am
The group situated themselves in the area just outside the Dressing Rooms in the Basement. Immediately, Gravy noticed that his video camera was malfunctioning by repeatedly powering on and off. At this time, Missy attempted to get a temperature reading using her Mel-8704R, however, she was unable to obtain a reading. Missy’s Tri-Field meter began displaying fluctuating EMF readings, from 2.5 to 10 and back to 2.5 and repeated this cycle. The group was unable to determine what may have been causing the EMF fluctuations.
At 12:32 am, Denys retrieved his Tri-Field 100XE EMF detector and received similar results. However, the amount of fluctuation was not as significant. Since Denys’ EMF detector had a red back light, both EMF detectors were placed side by side on a chair. The group began asking for responses to questions by requesting fluctuations in EMF readings between the two similar devices. This experiment was unsuccessful.
At 12:38 am, Denys reported feeling the steel folding chair he was sitting on had shifted. The surface of the floor the chair was on was level.
At 12:40 am, as Missy began using her video camera to document the EMF fluctuations, her camera powered down and had to be manually powered back up. There was no apparent cause for this malfunction and Missy indicated the battery status showed it was still fully charged.
It should be noted that after the investigation, Gravy’s camera still did not function properly. It is also possible the high humidity in the Basement may have been a factor in the video cameras malfunctioning. The humidity was high enough and temperature cool enough that the groups breathe was clearly visible.
END TIME: 12:53 am
Main Theater – 1:02 am
The group situated themselves throughout the Main Theater. John was seated on the Stage, Gravy, front stage right of the House, Missy front center, Allison, the edge of the center of the Stage, and Denys in the Balcony. During this time, the group noted again that small particles were falling from the ceiling periodically and were most likely to have been the source of many of the sounds heard during the investigation. Nothing else of interest occurred during this time.
END TIME: 1:24 am
The investigation was called to an end and the group broke down and packed up the equipment.
This was another interesting investigation at the Modjeska Theatre. During this investigation, there were several light anomalies that were witnessed by several different members of the investigation team. Unfortunately these anomalies were not captured on video, so it is uncertain what caused these anomalies. As such, PIM can’t conclude that the anomalies are paranormal in nature. Further research is required to see if the light anomalies might occur again. The incidents with the video cameras and EMF meters fluctuating is interesting, but PIM knows that with electronics it can be hard to determine exactly why something is happening and none of the events are considered to be paranormal in nature.
No evidence was captured from this investigation, but PIM looks forward to continuing the study of this location.