The group arrived shortly before 7:00 pm to the location and drove around the block to scope out the building and check out the outside environment. The jail is located a block off the main circle of Crown Point where a majority of shops, restaurants and bars were located. There was also a lot of traffic making parking difficult at first. PIM managed to find a parking spot across the street from the jail. They parked and unloaded the van placing their equipment in base camp, the first room to the left as you enter through the main entrance. Once their equipment was brought in and prior to the initial walkthrough of the building with the client, PIM members started and time stamped their control recorders at 6:59 pm. It was noted at this time, voices could be easily heard coming from outside. Street traffic was also very evident. There were still many local shops open at this time.
Every member of PIM is equipped with a Zoom H1 digital audio recorder, which is used as their control recorder and an Extech RHT50 datalogger. Control recorders are not only used as another recording device but also to document 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, if possible. 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, or with any anomalous recordings captured, during an investigation.
At 7:21 pm, the group was given a brief description of the history and claims of the building as the client gave the team a walkthrough. During the walkthrough Tom, Chris and Brandon took pictures of the building. The walkthrough concluded at 7:57 pm.
At 8:19 pm, Gravy did a short Facebook live session to inform viewers where PIM was going to be investigating that night and to stay tuned for updates throughout the night. Meanwhile the group began setting up their equipment in preparation to place it in locations directed by Noah.
At 8:57 pm, PIM proceeded in getting their equipment set up as Noah directed each member where their own equipment was going to be placed throughout the building.
At 9:30 pm, Brandon did baseline Temperature and EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency/Field) readings using a MEL-8704R meter. Outside weather conditions were documented using a Kestrel 3000 weather station.
The rest of the team began placing their equipment throughout the building. A Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camera and a Zoom H1 audio recorder were placed in the 1st Floor Cell Block.
A Sony HDR-CX440 full spectrum camera and Zoom H1 audio recorder were placed in the Juvenile Detention area on the 3rd Floor. A Ghost Pro full spectrum camera, was also placed in the middle of the area and focused on a table where several trigger objects and an Extech RHT50 datalogger was placed. This device datalogs humidity, barometric pressure and temperature in one minute increments that can later be reviewed in graph form for reference.
It was noted during set up that a stiff breeze could be felt through the Juvenile Housing area. Despite being on the top floor, traffic lights could be seen and heard on this floor as well. Voices could also be heard from people walking around outside.
The trigger objects placed on the table were a touch flashlight, a toy horse, a magnetic levitator, a stuffed cat, a plastic army man, a toy soccer ball, a fake apple, and the PIM Platter. Trigger object banks are groups of objects, contextually relevant to an environment, that are left unattended in the hopes that something might interact with them and that interaction can be captured as evidence. These items are placed on graph paper and baseline photos are taken before and after the investigation and referenced for possible manipulation of the objects. The magnetic levitator is a magnet that levitates above a small base and can spin freely.
The touch flashlight is activated by two contacts being touched, thus completing a circuit and turning the light on. The touch flashlight is used in lieu of a flashlight that has had the battery compartment or on/off switch manipulated to function in a way that is not intended and as a result, can create false positives.
A Sony HDR-CX440 full spectrum camera and Zoom H1 audio recorder were placed in the Poker Room Cell on the 2nd Floor facing the trigger object bank placed on the cell’s table. The trigger objects included were: a harmonica, a cigar, two bullets, a pair of di (5 & 3 up), a touch flashlight, a mini bottle of whiskey, a Holy Bible, a deck of playing cards (Queen of diamonds up), a rosary, a crucifix and the magnetic levitator. A geophone was placed next to the trigger object bank. The geophone is a device that measures seismic vibration and lights up based on the intensity of the vibration.
A wooden gun carved to replicate the wooden gun believed to be used by Dillinger in his escape was also placed with the trigger objects in the Poker Room Cell.
An obsidian orb was also placed in the Poker Room Cell with the trigger objects. Obsidian orbs are believed to be powerful protection stones and have the ability to heal the negativity from the human psyche; however this orb was purportedly haunted or cursed by negative energy. PIM placed it here in hopes the negativity surrounding the orb might clash with the negativity reported in the jail areas.
A DM X-930 Dark Matter detector was placed near the trigger object bank. The Dark Matter Detector is a device that measures EMF, temperature, barometric pressure and has a high quality audio recorder. This device also datalogs these measurements for later review should something have occurred and would need to be referenced
Gravy’s homemade EM pump, which generates a localized EM field, was placed near the trigger object bank in the Poker Room Cell as well.
A Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camera was placed on the 3rd Floor in the Solitary Confinement Cell of James Cook along with a Zoom H1 audio recorder
A Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camera and a Zoom H1 audio recorder were placed in the Universal Room where a shadow figure was seen.
Chris carried his touch flashlight as a trigger object. Gravy attached an old wooden Billie club to his hip as a trigger object.
The group made their way to the Poker Room Cell. Along the way, around 10:40 pm, the group stopped at Dillinger’s cell to take photos.
10:46 pm – Poker Room Cell
The group observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. 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.
It was noted that sounds of traffic could be heard easily. People’s voices also carried through the building and there was an exhaust fan of a nearby business that could be heard constantly. Gravy, who was situated outside of the Poker Room Cell noted that he could feel a stiff breeze in the hallway. This is important to note in the event that someone might make a claim they felt something/someone move past them. Also noted were paint chips falling from the ceiling, walls, cell bars, etc. Gravy also noted he felt a bug crawling on him which indicates insects in the building which could also cause odd light anomalies on video recording devices and in still photography.
At 11:08 pm, Noah and Chris played two hands of five card stud for cigarettes. This type of roleplaying is recreated in hopes of eliciting a response from something that might have once done the same activity. No known response occurred at the time nor was recorded by any device in the vicinity at that time.
At 11:13 pm, Noah, sitting in the Poker Room Cell, described hearing an “eek” sound. It was believed the sound originated from outside but sounded like it came from inside the cell area. The sound was too faint to be captured on audio recorders.
11:24 pm – Juvenile Detention
During the research process for Lake County Sheriff’s House and Jail, Gravy came across a photo (Figure 1) taken in the Juvenile Detention center of the jail. It was noted this part of the jail was open to the elements and not climate controlled. The floor was covered in a layer of dust that could easily be stirred up. This was one possibility for the photo in Figure 1, so PIM took this opportunity to test this theory.
Gravy used his Samsung S8 phone camera with flash to replicate the photo (Figures 2-4). The conditions of the environment when the original photo was taken cannot be replicated exactly, but the original photo is a close enough match to Figure 2 that PIM believes the white figures seen in the photo are just dust particles that were kicked up before the picture was taken. Figure 3 is a photo of the room before any dust was kicked up and Figure 4 is a photo showing the room seconds after the dust was kicked up. This is important to note as dust can take minutes to even hours to settle. Even if an investigator walked through this room and another walked in the room an hour later, dust could still be in the air. With the room open to the elements, wind coming through the windows could cause enough air movement to move dust around as well, even without investigators in the area.
Satisfied with the results of this debunking session, the group decided to conduct an EVP session. They observed control silence before beginning the EVP session. It was noted the fan from the nearby business could be heard on this floor, along with traffic and voices from pedestrians.
At 11:45 pm, the group heard a noise in the vicinity of the room where Tom was sitting. He believed it was the sound created by a paint chip falling. He proceeded to knock another paint chip of the wall and recreated the sound other members had heard.
From 11:44 pm to 11:47 pm, Gravy attempted to ask questions using a marquee app on his Amazon Fire 7 tablet. The thought behind this technique is that perhaps what PIM is trying to communicate with cannot hear. Gravy would type a question on the marquee, let it play once and read it out loud (for the audio recorders) as the question scrolled. He would then let it scroll a few times while sitting silently allowing time for a response. This was done for several questions with no captured or experienced results.
11:50 pm – Federal (3rd Floor cell block)
Noah sat in James Cook’s Solitary Confinement Cell while the rest of the group sat in the common area. The group observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. Again, voices, traffic and the fan from the nearby business could be heard.
At 11:53 pm, everyone in the group heard a sound. Everyone’s description of the sound and origin of the sound were different making it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the sound and what might have caused it. Evidence review did not yield different results either.
No other events occurred during this session and it was decided to move to another location.
12:06 am – Universal Room
Gravy sat in Karr’s Solitary Confinement Cell while the rest of the group sat out in the open area of the block. They observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. The same sounds mentioned before were noted once again making this a common theme throughout the entire building. Headlights from nearby vehicles cast light anomalies on the walls and cell bars which could be seen in the common area. PIM believes these light anomalies could account for the figures seen in this room especially if the light is seen out of the corner of the eye where vision is poor for details but can still detect motion.
No other events were noted during this time and the team moved on to another location.
The group took a short break from 12:15 am – 12:31 am.
12:33 am – 1st Floor Cell Block
After the break, the group went to the cells on the 1st Floor to debunk the claim of breathing noises that could be heard when standing in a cell. Each cell was occupied by a PIM member. The cells had bars on two sides and concrete walls separating them. Two hallways were on either side of the cells along the barred sides of the cells. One by one, each PIM member would take a breath and exhale slowly and fairly quietly as well. The other PIM members could easily hear the breath from each of the cells and depending on which way they were facing in the cell, they could hear it in front of them and/or behind them. The sound of breathing could be heard even between the two cells furthest from each other. PIM concluded even though two people could be on opposite ends of the cell block, their exhaled breath could be easily heard and to prevent this, investigators would need to use control recorders to reference should this occur during an investigation.
The group also decided to debunk the claim of feeling pushed or pulled into the cell when standing in the cell door way. In order to stand still, the human eyes need to be able to focus on an object for balance purposes. Due to the nature of investigating locations in near complete darkness, it would be easy for someone to stand in the door way of a cell and sway back and forth thus giving the feeling of being pushed or pulled into a cell.
It was also noted that it was very easy for an article of clothing to rub against the cell doors and bars and give the perception that clothing was pulled by an unseen force.
After the group debunked these few claims, they decided to do an EVP session to see if they could gather evidence to contradict their recent findings. They observed control silence before beginning the EVP session.
At 12:43 am, Chris, sitting at the entrance to the cell block, heard a noise he described sounded like a rodent chewing on something. It was asked of him if it was possibly the water dripping that other PIM members could hear in the cell blocks but sounded different to him once the sound reached his ears. He confirmed by turning his head in the direction of the cells, he could faintly hear the dripping noise but didn’t believe that to be what he was hearing. No evidence of rodents were found at the time either.
No other events occurred during this session and the team moved to a new location to continue the investigation.
12:47 am – Basement
The group went into the Basement to have a look around. Due to the dampness and mold in the Basement affecting some members, the group did not spend time performing an EVP session. The group was, however, still interested in exploring and taking pictures of the Basement and did that instead.
1:04 am – Kitchen
The group observed control silence before beginning an EVP session. It was noted that a heated argument could be heard outside, possibly from the nearby bar.
The Kitchen had a claim that there was once a Spanish speaking employee who might have still resided in the Kitchen. The group decided to do an EVP session in Spanish. Unfortunately, after reviewing evidence, there was no evidence to support that claim.
No other events occurred and the team decided to conclude the investigation.
END TIME: 1:13 am
This concluded the investigation for the night. The group needed to be out of the building by 2:00 am. They gathered and broke down their equipment. Once all the equipment throughout the building was gathered and turned off, the group turned off their control recorders. Gravy backed the van up to the curb and the group loaded their equipment and they left the premises by 2:00 am.
Lake County Sheriff’s House and Jail has an amazing history that makes the claims here intriguing to investigate. Although there were claims of activity and photos that PIM believes could be easily explained with natural explanations, PIM can’t account for all claims of activity with just one investigation. PIM looks forward to returning to this location in hopes of finding the truth behind the claims whether they are explainable or paranormal in nature. We would like to thank the Old Sheriff’s House Foundation staff for their part in keeping this location open to the public and allowing paranormal investigations.