A paranormal investigation at a haunted homestead, ghosts at Gettysburg, and much more spookiness on this edition of Jim Harold’s Campfire.
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JIM HAROLD: I hope you’ll join me for my tour, Stories From Around the Campfire, in the Northeast U.S. We’re going to Philly, we’re going to Pittsburgh, we’re going to Boston, and we’re going to the Big Apple, New York City. I hope you’ll get your tickets today: jimharold.com/tour. Jimharold.com/tour, and see you there!
Welcome to our gathering tonight. Here we share stories of ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary things. Sit back, relax, and warm yourself by Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Campfire. I am Jim Harold and you are in the right place if you want to hear spooky stories, scary stories from real people who have experienced them. That’s what we do here, and welcome to the show.
Whether you’re brand new or if you’ve been listening for years, if you enjoy what we do, please do us a favor: tell a friend today. Make sure you are subscribed or following on the podcast app of your choice. Apple Podcasts, for example, it’s “follow.” Make sure you hit that follow button so you never miss a week. And also, please tell a friend. It means so, so much. And share it on your online communities. We appreciate it very much because when you do that, we get more callers, and we get more great stories like this one.
Araina is on the line from upstate New York. We’re so glad to speak with her today. She’s going to tell us about an experience she had as a medium. Really interesting story. Araina, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
ARAINA: My story starts actually last year. I’m a psychic medium, but I really didn’t come into my abilities until about three years ago. I’ll start with saying that most of my experiences start in a tattoo shop. This one is the same thing. I have an 18-year-old son who wanted to get a tattoo, so he made an appointment weeks in advance at this tattoo shop we had never been to before. The night before, I went to bed and I had this dream.
In this dream – I’m going to use the name “Chad” for privacy purposes. In this dream, there were three people. One of them was a woman, and I could only see the back of her. I could see her ponytail in the back. One of them was a child in a high chair, and it was unusual the way it looked because the high chair was really big and the child was really small. Then there was a teenager, and I could see him clear as day. He had dark, kind of shaggy hair. He had on a striped sweater. He was larger than life, six feet, and he looked like he was about seven feet tall.
In the dream, he would start walking towards me, and every time he’d walk towards me, my body would vibrate. The first time it happened, I woke up immediately and I was like, “That was really strange.” Went back into the dream, and I walked towards the little boy in the high chair. I said, “Do you know who this is?” He said, “Yeah, that’s Chad. I talk to him all the time.” I said, “Okay, why is he here?” He didn’t answer me. Then the woman – she never, ever turned around. I could only see her hair color and her ponytail. I could see the back of her. Then Chad starts walking towards me again, and as he walks towards me, I start looking up at him and my body vibrates again and I come out of the dream. That was it. The dream was very short.
The next day, I take my son to the tattoo shop. He has his own car, so we met there. We get there, and originally he was supposed to get a tattoo on his arm. They were talking to each other, and he’s like, “Mom, I think I want to change the location to my thigh.” I said, “Okay, honey, but you have pants on.” He’s like, “Okay, I’ll just give you my pants.” He puts his car keys in his pants pocket and hands me the pants. We get in the cack and the tattoo artist starts tattooing him. Now, I also read tarot. He was getting a tarot card called The Fool. I don’t know if you’re familiar with tarot cards.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah.
ARAINA: So he was getting that on his leg. The tattoo artist is tattooing him, he’s talking to my son. My son’s name is Gabe. I’m just sitting there, listening. Nothing is happening. About an hour goes by and I start getting hungry. I told my son, “I’m going to leave and go get myself something to eat.” I leave and I’m gone for maybe about 45 minutes. I come back and my son’s car is still out there, so I assumed he was still there. I walked in the shop and I said to the tattoo owner, “Where’s Gabe?” He goes, “Oh, he’s all done. He left.” I said, “But his car’s here.” He said, “Yeah, his friend came because you took his keys.” I did take his keys. He put them in his pants pocket.
I said, “Ill hang out here until they show back up.” I said, “I really want to get a tattoo, and I want it to be spiritual.” He goes, “Spiritual, huh?” I said, “Yeah, spiritual. I really do.” Now, I’m going to stop here really quickly. I’m going to back up a little bit. The morning that we were supposed to go get the tattoo, I went on Facebook, and whenever I have a spirit visit me, I go on Facebook and I post something and I say, “I had this spirit come through,” and I’ll give a description and say, “Does it belong to anyone?” I just throw it out there to see if anybody can take it.
I’m going to go back to talking to the tattoo artist. I said to him, “I’m a psychic medium and I really want to get something that has to do with ravens. I love ravens.” He said, “You’re a medium?” I said, “Yeah.” He goes, “A lot of things happen around here.” At the time, we were still wearing masks. I said, “A lot of things like what?” He goes, “Oh, you know.” I stood up, and he said, “My son passed away.” I said, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” And the moment he said that, I had chills go through my body. I took my mask down and I said to him, “Can I ask you a question?” He said, “Sure.” I said, “By any chance was his name Chad?” He said, “How do you know that?” I said, “Oh my gosh, you’re never going to believe this.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
ARAINA: He’s looking at me, and I’m shaking because this has never happened. I did not expect it. I said, “Your son came to me in a dream last night.” He starts smiling. I pull out my phone, I open up Facebook, and I’m like, “This is the post I just put up about your son.” He’s like, “What happened in the dream?” I start telling him, and I said, “Now he’s telling me the month of April.” He said, “Yeah, April is his anniversary.” I said, “Yes, and he tells me that you usually like to go through this by yourself.” He says, “I do. I like to go through this by myself.” I said, “Did your son by any chance have black hair? Because this gentleman’s hair was blonde.” He’s like, “Yeah.” I said, “And it looks like he has the same exact haircut. He was wearing a striped shirt and he looked about 18.” He said, “Do you want to see a picture?” I said, “Absolutely.”
So he takes me into this backroom area – oh my goodness, he pulls this picture out – it is a replica of his son with the striped shirt on, and I said, “He seemed larger than life I the dream.” He said, “He was 6’2”.” I said, “That’s why he was so big. I feel like it was a tragic passing. I feel like he got into some things he shouldn’t have been into.” He said, “Yeah, it was tragic. He overdosed.” I said, “Your son made a way to come and see you today and give you this message.” I’ve never met this tattoo artist before, and I was there earlier, and my son actually changed the location of his tattoo, because if he didn’t, we would’ve left and went home, and we never would’ve discovered who the spirit belonged to.
So he took the Facebook post and he sent it to somebody else. Then I said, “My name is Araina Danielle on Facebook,” and he said, “My daughter’s name is Danielle too.” I said, “You’re kidding me.” [laughs] He said, “No.” So we found that out as well. Then I found out that my son goes to school with his daughter, and I was like, this is crazy.
I thought that was the most interesting experience. But I also want to say, too, that the morning of the tattoo shop, I was in the bathroom and I had actually forgotten all about the dream, and I heard in my head, “Chad.” I was like, “Oh, that’s right, I had a dream about this person.” So his son found this interesting way of talking to his dad and making things happen. I thought it was so amazing. I was blown away by this. I have a lot of experiences, but this one in particular really blew me away.
JIM HAROLD: I think that our loved one can manipulate, like puzzle pieces, almost, like chess pieces. I’ve shared it on the show before; things have happened to me that were just a series of weird synchronicities and coincidences you’d never think would happen, but it was like someone was engineering it and pushing buttons to say, “Okay, this person’s gotta be here at this time, this has gotta happen, this has gotta happen, this has gotta happen so that person will get that message.” It sounds like exactly what happened to you in an extremely, extremely powerful way.
And even though you’re a medium, so you live with this, even for someone like you, that has to provide some affirmation, doesn’t it?
ARAINA: It does, because most of the time I feel crazy when I hear things or I see things. For someone to say, “I know what you’re talking about,” it’s like, wow – that’s why I was shaking, because I was like, “This cannot actually be happening.” When you step into the spiritual realm and the spiritual world and you put those two together, you realize there’s so much more to life than what we’re living. There’s spirits who are still very connected to us and they want to reach their loved ones, and they will find ways to do that.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your story on the Campfire, and stay spooky.
ARAINA: Thanks, Jim. Bye-bye.
JIM HAROLD: Danielle is on the line from Michigan. We’re so glad to have her on the show, listening to the show, and thanks to Dante for telling her about it. So, Dante, we appreciate it very, very much. Danielle has a story about her mother-in-law. Danielle, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and please tell us what happened.
DANIELLE: Back this past July, I had a dream that my ex-mother-in-law passed away. The next day, my ex-husband calls and tells me that his mother is in the hospital. I was like, “Hey, that’s so weird. I just had a dream that your mother passed away.” It was a little awkward because that’s his mom and stuff. Then the next day at like six in the morning, I got a phone call from him that his mother passed away.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
DANIELLE: It made me feel really uncomfortable at first. I’m not really sure why she decided to pick me to be the one to be like, “Hey, this is coming.” Because me and her weren’t ever really close or anything like that. And then I think it was the next day or maybe two days after, I had a dream with her in it again, and it was essentially her saying it’s up to my ex-husband to take care of everything now. I’ve told him about the dream. He thought it was pretty cool. Neither of us are really sure why she came to me to say goodbye and everything, because we weren’t super close, but it was a pretty interesting dream, that’s for sure.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, I think it’s very interesting. But you think she specifically came to you to give your ex-husband a heads up that this was on the way?
DANIELLE: I think so. I have her grandson, who’s almost three now, so I don’t know if it has to do with him, and that’s why she came to me. Or if maybe it’s just because I tend to believe in the paranormal, maybe more than her son does. So I was open to that.
JIM HAROLD: Do you feel that she was saying she was okay?
DANIELLE: Oh yeah. She felt happy and she looked healthy in both of the dreams.
JIM HAROLD: Well, Danielle, thank you for sharing it. I believe these things happen. I’ve heard it too many times from too many people.
DANIELLE: Oh, definitely.
JIM HAROLD: I think our relatives and people we’re close to, even when sometimes maybe the relationship isn’t the strongest, I still think there’s a bond there, particularly with the grandson. Really think that’s a real thing, and you obviously experienced it. Thank you for sharing your story today on the Campfire.
DANIELLE: Thanks for having me.
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If you love the Campfire, be sure to check out the Paranormal Podcast, where every week Jim interviews experts and authors about strange mysteries. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune in to the Paranormal Podcast today. Now, we return to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Lori is on the line from Indiana, and she has a story about a mysterious tombstone. Lori, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
LORI: Thanks for having me. A little bit of background: my mother grew up in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, which is an Indian reservation. When she met my dad, he made sure – he wanted to move her away and make sure their kids didn’t live on the res because it’s a very difficult life. Poor community. But we always grew up listening to my mother’s ghost stories. She’s always been surrounded by spirits, as well as my grandma and my cousins and stuff that all still live out there. Well, my grandma’s passed away.
When I was in 11th grade, we moved out there for a couple years, and I always heard of this one story my mom would tell us growing up about this tombstone that was located in the cemetery on Pine Ridge. Very big tombstone. It would constantly be tipped over, and the priest would bring it back upright, and it’d be tipped over again, back and forth, back and forth. Then one time, the priest noticed that there was a devil’s face on the tombstone itself.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
LORI: They would scratch it out, and that face would just reappear, and back and forth, back and forth. They finally left the tombstone down because they got tired of it going back and forth. When I went out there to visit, I had to go see that tombstone.
So my cousins took me up there, and I saw it. Jim, this tombstone was ginormous. It was a big concrete – maybe a foot and a half thick and two feet wide. There’s no way a person could physically push that over by themselves. It would take a lot of effort to continue to do that. But I did see that little area scratched out above the name. It had a cross above the name, and there was a circle that was scratched out. I thought, “Oh, okay, it was just a story.” I took a picture because I wanted to prove to my brothers and sisters that I saw it, just a story, whatever.
I finally got the film developed – this was months later. At the time, I lived in New Jersey. We’d moved to New Jersey. When I got that film developed, in that picture, that devil’s face was in that scratched area, and in the upper right-hand corner of the tombstone was a sliver moon with some stars surrounding it, maybe about eight stars or so. It kind of reminded me of some flag. I forget what flag that would be, but it was just creepy, and it freaked me out because I knew it wasn’t there.
JIM HAROLD: So the stars and stuff weren’t on the tombstone either?
LORI: No, I did not see that at all.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes.
LORI: It was not there. I showed my dad and my dad’s like, “Oh, Lori, that wasn’t there.” I said, “No, the whole reason for me to take this picture was to prove to my brothers and sisters that it was just a story.” I showed my mom, my mom called her mom, and one of my cousins went back up to the cemetery, and lo and behold, there was that face and there was the moon and the stars.
JIM HAROLD: So when you went, it wasn’t there, but when they went it was there.
JIM HAROLD: How strange.
LORI: Yeah, it was completely smooth. It was the shiny, smooth texture of the tombstone. Only one area right above that cross in the center, it was that scratched out area. I didn’t see anything. And that’s it. But when that film was developed…
JIM HAROLD: When you saw the devil and the weird stars and moon and stuff, was it like engraved in the picture?
LORI: Like scratched into the picture? What do you mean?
JIM HAROLD: Did it look like the stone had been made that way, or did it look like it was –
JIM HAROLD: So when you see things engraved or etched into a stone, that’s the way it looked.
JIM HAROLD: Gotcha.
LORI: That circle where the face was, you could tell there was a lot of scratching and etching. It was deep. It wasn’t just barely on the surface.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. So what’s your theory? Do you just think it’s a haunted tombstone that has some supernatural kind of thing going on?
LORI: It’s got to. I tried to do some research on that particular name, and I couldn’t find anything. But since then, the priest turned those stars and the moon – they carved flowers, because they didn’t want to leave it like that. And of course, they scratched off that face again. Then when I went back to visit, I saw the flowers, but nothing had changed. I took another picture and nothing had changed. It was just how it was when I took the picture years ago.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. So when you take a picture, it shows up one way, but when people go visit it, it shows up another.
LORI: Well, after I took that picture, when I went back, I saw the flowers that the priest had carved. So nothing changed. I wanted to see, if I took another picture, would something different appear, or would that face appear again? Because that face did not appear to me physically. I did not see it, but I did see where they’d carved in the flowers. That was not there when I took the picture originally.
JIM HAROLD: My goodness.
LORI: It was just crazy. It freaked me out.
JIM HAROLD: What an interesting, interesting story. Thank you so much, Lori. I appreciate you being a part of the show and sharing the story. I wonder if anybody else has had a similar experience. If you have, jimharold.com/campfire. Sign up to tell us. Lori, thank you again.
LORI: Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the Campfire is Bobbi from Texas. She’s a great supporter of the shows, all of our shows, and a great listener. We really appreciate it. She has two stories for us today about connecting with people before they’ve passed over. Bobbi, welcome back to the show and please tell us what happened.
BOBBI: Hi. Yes, sir. Thank you again for having me. My two stories, the first one started off in 1999. I was nine years old, and I remember this like it was yesterday. I was having a very vivid dream that I was in a single-engine plane, not usually used for commercial, but just private use and for entertainment purposes that people usually utilize. I was flying over a residential area in New Jersey. I had never been out of the state of Texas at that point. The dream was that I was flying, everything was going well, I was having a lot of fun, beautiful clear skies, and next thing I know, I had very dark fog and smoke around me. I was trying to understand what was going on. I’m like, “What is this? What’s going on here?” I look around, but it isn’t me in my human form. It felt like I was in a spirit form. I was trying to figure it out, but instantly I knew that I had passed away. I said, “This is weird.” I couldn’t wake myself up.
Finally, my alarm had gone off, and I woke up and looked around. I obviously recognized my room. I’m like, “That was very strange.” I get myself up, get myself ready for school, and I stick my breakfast in the microwave. I just can’t shake that feeling, so I turn on the TV. Something compels me to turn on the TV. In that morning news, they had broken a story in Houston, Texas, about a small single-engine planet that had crashed and hit some residential areas in a suburb of New Jersey. I’m not sure exactly where.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
BOBBI: Yeah. I was sitting there, and it’s the first thing – I didn’t even change the channel. I was so entranced by it, and I couldn’t speak. I had apparently been there for quite a few minutes as my mom had come around the corner with my breakfast and said, “Honey, what are you doing? You’re going to be late for school.” She looked over at the TV and she said, “Honey, it’s not time to watch TV. You’ve got to go catch the bus.” I said, “Okay, okay.” She just looked at me like, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yeah, I’m fine.” I didn’t know how to put it into words at nine years old of what I had just connected with.
It bothered me the entire day, and then I started doing research more into it as a teenager, and I’ve connected with quite a few people who have passed on, right before they passed on. Which kind of leads me into my second story.
I did want to say, this is kind of a trigger waring. This does mention self-harm and suicide. So if anybody’s feeling like that or having any of those thoughts, feelings, or emotions, please reach out to somebody that you trust. You can call the National Hotline.
JIM HAROLD: Yes. 988. The number is 988 now in the U.S. Please take advantage of that if you feel you need help or you’re having those kind of thoughts of self-harm. 988. Excellent point, Bobbi.
BOBBI: Absolutely. Yes, please. So back in 2015, I was working as a night manager in a hotel. It was usually just me and a couple different employees, but I had three employees at the time, and everybody and their dog had come back to the hotel and needed extra towels, needed to check in, went to the restaurant. I was literally running circles everywhere, just going nuts. I had worked all the way up until 11:30. That was when my shift ended. Probably about an hour before, it finally started to calm down, and I told my employees, “Hey, I’m going to go to my office. I’m going to try and get some paperwork done. If you need me, just let me know. I’ll be back in my office and I have my cellphone on me.” Everybody’s like, “Okay, that’s fine.”
As soon as I went back to my office, I had this horrible, overwhelming dreading feel of just hatred of myself. I’m like, “What is going on here?” I checked my chart that I usually do – I write stuff down just to ensure that I get it done – and all that needed to be done was paperwork. I’m like, “This is kind of a weird feeling,” but I couldn’t really shake it. So I sat there and I tried to concentrate on my paperwork and take care of some accounting stuff, and I just could not concentrate, to the point where I started crying. I was like, “What is going on? What is this?” I couldn’t shake the feeling.
I gathered myself up and I went around as my employees were closing up and getting ready to end their shift. I said, “Is everything okay?” Everybody’s like, “Yeah, we’re fine. We just got slammed, but you helped out a lot.” I’m like, “Okay,” went and checked everything I needed to, and then my third shift employee had arrived and said, “Are you okay?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m fine.” I just couldn’t shake that feeling. I’m like, “What is going on here?” I was like, you know what? I’m going to leave a little bit early. I told everything to my third shift employee that they needed to know, and I said, “Hey, I’m just going to go drop off the deposit at the bank,” as it was on the way home for me.
Where we were located was in the middle of a field. That sounds a little strange, but probably about 100 yards from us was another hotel that was closer to the freeway. I had seen red and blue lights, so first responder lights. I was thinking it was just a standard accident, somebody had gotten into an accident. So I didn’t pay too much attention to it as I was walking to my vehicle.
As I drove by, we use the same driveway as the other hotel, and as I was driving by, that feeling came back and it came back even more intense. I said, “What’s going on here?” I slowed down just to make sure I wasn’t in the way of any first responders, and I see what looks like a sheet over something in the middle of the field. I was like, “Ooh, okay, I hope nobody’s hurt.” I go about my business and drop off the deposit and I go home, and I had a really rough time trying to sleep that night.
I get back the next morning and I talked to the other manager at the hotel, and I said, “Hey, I just want to make sure that everything’s okay. I saw some first responder lights.” She goes, “Oh yes, we had a guest who had checked in and unfortunately had committed suicide in the field.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my goodness. So you felt that somehow you were intercepting those feelings of despair.
BOBBI: Absolutely, yes. I felt the horrible self-hatred, crying, no hope. It’s a scary feeling. It really is. It really hit hard. I even asked her and followed up, “What time did this happen?” She goes, “It was around 10:30 last night.” That was right around the time that I started feeling it. Like, oh my gosh.
JIM HAROLD: Wow, that’s really – first of all, my heart goes out to anybody who feels that way and takes that road. I hope people take advantage of that 988 number. It sounds like you’re a very empathetic person, and for whatever reason you can pick up on these things.
BOBBI: Absolutely, yes. If I come into work and I feel something’s off, I’ll try and figure it out, because that really resonated with me. I just want to make sure that everybody’s doing okay, nobody takes that route. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Please, if anybody’s ever feeling like that – I’m part of your Facebook group; please feel free to reach out to me, reach out to somebody you love and trust. It’s a horrible feeling, and please, your life is worth so much more.
JIM HAROLD: Yes. And I’ll repeat that number for people, the National Hotline: 988. That’s 988. If you or someone you know is thinking of self-harm, needs help, needs assistance, reach out. That’s a 24/7/365 hotline. That is 988. Bobbi, thank you for getting across that important message and for sharing your Campfire stories.
BOBBI: Absolutely. Thank you again for hosting me.
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JIM HAROLD: Erin is on the line. She found out about us from And That’s Why We Drink. Christine and Em are always so kind, spreading the word. We appreciate it. Make sure to listen to their show as well. First of all, Erin, first things first: your daughter is a big fan of the show. Isabelle, right?
ERIN: Yes, she is.
JIM HAROLD: Isabelle, thank you for listening and stay spooky! I appreciate it.
ERIN: She’s a great kid, and she will stay spooky. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Excellent. That is good to hear. So you’re going to tell us about some strange experiences, supernatural experiences, with a coworker, right?
ERIN: Yeah. This all happened while we were working online. We work remotely, so most of our meetings are online. To give you some background, she and her mom are mediums. That’s what they do outside their full-time jobs. She’s a really fun person to talk to. One day she was telling me she could see my aura over the internet, and I thought, “That’s pretty cool.” But here’s when it gets weird.
One day we were having a meeting, and she says all of a sudden, “I’m getting the word ‘grandma’ or ‘grandmother’ around you right now.” I said something real snarky, like, “Oh, is it my lovely grandmother, or is it my crazy grandma?” And boom, all the electricity in the house went out.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh, snap.
ERIN: My husband and I just looked at each other – because he was there – and he was like, “It’s just a brownout.” I thought, yeah, if it was anybody other than my grandma – who I did love, don’t get me wrong. I loved my grandma, but she was a handful, and if anybody was going to come back and get you for calling her crazy, I think it was Grandma. [laughs] So that was fun. That was weird. And I have to say, I wasn’t scared. I think when I was younger, I’m pretty sure we lived in a haunted house, and that scared me. This was like, if it was Grandma, it was Grandma. It’s fine.
JIM HAROLD: Right. I just think it’s wild that your electricity went off at that precise minute. That’s pretty wild.
ERIN: It was just instantaneous. Some time later – it must’ve been over a year later – we had moved to another house. This house had been owned by a fireman. We bought the house from his adult children, and they told us about how he was very house-proud, he took care of this house, he never allowed any smoking, no candles, things a fireman would think about. We always joked, “We’re going to light a candle and we’re going to hear his ghost come blow it out.”
Well, one morning, I woke up and I came out and I couldn’t believe it – I had left a candle going all night.
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy.
ERIN: I was so upset with myself. I mean, that’s just so irresponsible, and I just want to put it out there for everybody. Don’t do that. That’s a terrible thing to do.
JIM HAROLD: It’s so funny because my wife and daughters love candles. I like the idea of a candle, if I’m sitting there watching it, but a lot of times they walk out of a room and I’m like, “It’s unattended!” I know it’s not long, but it doesn’t take long. So I’m like the candle police around the house.
ERIN: [laughs] Yeah, so is my husband. I think it was because it was in a dark glass container that I didn’t see it.
JIM HAROLD: Hey, you made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes.
ERIN: Well, thank you, but I was a little bit horrified, or a lot horrified.
JIM HAROLD: I can understand.
ERIN: Anyways, blew it out, hoped nobody noticed, and went on with my day. Later on, had a meeting again with this coworker. She and I were talking about Halloween. It was October, and we love all the spooky stuff. I was telling her about your podcast.
JIM HAROLD: Well, thank you.
ERIN: You had rereleased some of your favorite stories, and they were just fantastic. I mean, my daughter and I were texting them to everybody, like, “You have to listen to this for Halloween!” I said what I really love about your podcast is the format where people call in and tell their stories, and it reminds me of when I was a child, there was some radio station my parents listened to where people would call in. It has a nostalgia factor for me.
So, whatever, we’re going on, and all of a sudden here we go again. I heard talking in the house. I said, “Hold on, I’ve got to figure out what’s going on.” I walk to my bedroom, and it did sound like the TV. I walk in, and lo and behold, voices are coming from the TV, like a newscast or something. But the screen was blank. The screen was not on, just the voices. I was looking for the remote, and yep, it was on the nightstand like always. I started pressing the power button, like, “What’s going on here?”
This is what I can’t believe. The screen turned on, and it looked like the radio line, like the numbers with the line, the radio dial. And that was what was on the screen.
JIM HAROLD: A radio dial.
ERIN: A radio dial. The screen was all gray, with just a radio dial and a newscast coming through.
JIM HAROLD: That’s weird.
ERIN: Yeah, that’s really weird. [laughs] I don’t know what else to say other than I just stood there and stared at it and turned it off.
JIM HAROLD: I can’t say that I blame you.
ERIN: I came back to my meeting and I said, “Okay, so this is what happened.” She said, “Yeah. I can’t explain it.” She said she often will be around and somehow electricity gets manipulated because of her.
JIM HAROLD: So this coworker definitely sounds like she has the gift of psychic abilities of some sort.
ERIN: So it seems. It’s something she practices, and she is trying to hone this skill. She and her mom are always talking about how they only allow love and light in, and they want to be careful with this. But when she’s talking about something spooky, or she just gets a thought coming into her head that has to do with another person, yeah, things happen.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. I believe things do happen. It’s pretty wild you were talking about Campfire, talking about talk radio, you go to the TV, and there’s a picture of a radio dial on it. So the TV wasn’t on? It turned itself on, essentially?
ERIN: Yeah. I was home alone.
JIM HAROLD: That’s wild stuff. [laughs] Yeah, that’s pretty wild. It turned itself on to what looked like a radio station. It said, “If you like the radio, here you go.”
ERIN: “Here you go.” Just to be careful, I said to the guy who I know used to live here, out loud, “Mr. So-and-so, I know you cared for this house. I know you loved this house for over 50 years. I’m going to do better. I promise.”
JIM HAROLD: You think he might’ve been a little bit angry about the candle?
ERIN: Yeah. I think if anybody was going to be angry about leaving a candle unattended, it would be a fireman. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: I would think so. Erin, thank you so much for being a part of the show. Thank you, Isabelle, for listening. And both of you, stay spooky.
ERIN: Thank you. Stay spooky.
JIM HAROLD: Amy is on the line from the UK, and we’re so glad to have her on the show. She’s going to take us back to when she was 12 or 13 and some strangeness that ensued. Amy, welcome to the show. Tell us what happened.
AMY: Hi, Jim. Thanks for having me. I was about 12 or 13, and I was upstairs in my bedroom doing my homework at the time. I had my head in the books, really concentrating. I used to keep my books in a set of drawers at the end of my bed, and the top drawer was really stiff. It was so hard to get open. I used to keep my books in there. I needed a certain book – I don’t know what it was now, but I needed a certain book out of the drawer. I went up and opened the drawer, and it was so hard to get open, I decided, “I’ll just leave it open. I’m not going to shut it because I’ll need another book in a minute.” I went and got the book and sat back down on my bed and carried on writing and studying.
Then out of nowhere, this drawer just slammed shut. It was so loud. It was quite aggressive, really, because it was such a stiff drawer. I would really struggle to shut it, and for it to just shut as fast and loud as it did, it really frightened me. To be honest, I froze on the spot. I didn’t know what to believe. I couldn’t believe my eyes and my ears. I went downstairs to find my mum, and she said, “Are you okay?” I just said, “I need a glass of water.” I thought, “She’s never going to believe me.”
Anyway, I plucked up the courage and I said to her, “Mum, my drawer just shut on its own. It’s really scared me. I don’t know why it shut on its own.” And she said to me, “Oh, Amy, don’t worry about that. That won’t hurt you.” It was so scary. It did comfort me, Mum saying that to me, but it was just really strange.
JIM HAROLD: So what you saw was almost the definition of a poltergeist. It was something that moved by itself. That drawer slammed itself shut violently.
AMY: Yeah, that’s right. My mum has had experiences, many experiences, actually. I don’t know if she ever experienced anything in the house, but yeah, it was definitely strange. I didn’t have anything else move at the time, but it certainly frightened me.
JIM HAROLD: I love that story. I think those things absolutely happen. Just think about it, folks. You’re minding your own business, you get a book out of a drawer, the drawer is open, and then you’re sitting there reading your book and the drawer, with no one around, violently shuts. It’s a short experience, but boy, that had to really make an impression, no?
AMY: Yeah, definitely. It certainly shook me up.
JIM HAROLD: Absolutely. Amy, thank you so much for sharing your story all the way from the UK.
AMY: Thank you for having me.
JIM HAROLD: Theresa says she’s very interested in the paranormal and has been for a number of years. She said when she went looking for the best paranormal podcast, ours came to the top. And I can say, Theresa, you’re very perceptive. [laughs] Theresa’s from Pennsylvania, all joking aside. We’re so glad to have her with us. She went on a paranormal investigation of a haunted homestead, and she’s going to tell us all about it. Theresa, welcome to the show, and tell us about the spooky goings-on.
THERESA: Thank you so much, Jim. I’m really happy to be on the show today. I wanted to share my ghost story. I love this story because it was the first time ever that I was on a paranormal investigation and I was actually able to verify that the person that I was communicating with was somebody who actually existed in history. It’s a really cool story.
This took place at a homestead called the Nathan Denison House, which is located in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, which is right in the heart of the Wyoming Valley in the area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I know when people think of Pennsylvania and history, a lot of times our minds go right to Gettysburg, but there’s actually a lot of American Revolution history here as well. In the Wyoming Valley, we famously had in the American Revolution the Battle of Wyoming, which didn’t end well. So it’s more often known as the Wyoming Massacre.
The house that I was investigating belonged to someone by the name of Nathan Denison, who was a colonel in the American Revolution, just to give the listeners some background of where we were investigating. My sister and I went on a paranormal investigation at the Nathan Denison House. This was in the summer of 2021. They don’t often have paranormal investigations that take place in the homestead, but they do do a lot of tours, and the local historical society often has different kinds of events there. It’s been known to have some spooky happenings and some paranormal phenomena.
My sister and I were investigating, and we were using just a light-up cat toy. It’s like a motion-activated toy that lights up when something touches it. A lot of times with paranormal investigations, they’ll use something like this. It might be a flashlight or some motion-activated LED lights, but something to help us communicate with whatever paranormal being might be present. This was just a little light-up cat ball. We had been in a couple different rooms investigating in the house, and in some rooms we would get some hits on the cat ball and in some other rooms not so many.
We placed it in one of the bedrooms of the house, on the floor, and right away we started noticing that the ball was lighting up. It was lighting up for a long time. I think the ball went off for about a minute straight in this room. So right away, my sister and I got the inkling that we might be dealing with a child spirit because it seemed to be having a lot of fun playing with the toy. Once it calmed down, we did what we normally did, which is to let whatever spirit might be present in the room know, “We’re going to ask you some questions, and if the answer to that question is yes, go ahead and touch that so we know.”
We started to ask some time period names and some names of family members that we knew from the museum attached to the house were associated with the Denison family. We asked a couple names and nothing was happening with the ball, and then I asked the name Hiram. When I said the name Hiram, the ball lit up.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
THERESA: Yeah, so we got right away that this spirit was named Hiram. Because it was having so much fun with the ball, the next question that I asked was, “Are you a child?” And the ball lit up again. We asked a couple more questions, and quickly the ball started lighting up, so we felt the child had probably gotten bored with us at that point and went along to explore something else.
But at the end of the night, we passed the Forty Fort cemetery. This cemetery has the Nathan Denison family plot right within the cemetery, so there’s a big obelisk type monument there at the front of the cemetery that says “Denison” on it. I said to my sister, “Let’s just stop over into the cemetery and see if we can find any tombstones associated with the name Hiram.” It took us a couple minutes. The stones are obviously very old. I mean, we’re talking American Revolution war family, so really old headstones, kind of hard to read.
But we did come across one that was for Hiram Denison, and he died at the age of three years, two months, and nine days. Just being able to find that tombstone and see the same name and that it was in fact a child – that was really spooky for me because it was the first time I ever felt like I communicated with somebody and was able to verify who they were.
JIM HAROLD: That’s cool. I love the ingenuity of using a cat toy. That wouldn’t be the first thing you think about, but I guess what you need basically is like a yes/no conduit, and that would seem to do the job.
THERESA: I’ve been to a lot of different investigations, and sometimes they’ll use flashlights or things that something can touch and they’ll make a noise. But I really like those cat balls. They’re really cool.
JIM HAROLD: Let me ask you this, since you obviously do paranormal investigation and things. Why do you think the spirits communicate with us? Do you think they want us to know that they’re still around? Do they usually have a specific message? Why do you think they’re trying to keep this communication going back and forth?
THERESA: That’s a really great question. I don’t know that I know what the answer to that is. I think a lot of times that spirit might just be trapped where they are, and it just might be the only option for them to be able to communicate with somebody.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. I assume that you have more paranormal investigations on the schedule in the future?
THERESA: Yeah, I’ve got a couple more this summer. I’m really excited. I try to do at least a couple every year.
JIM HAROLD: Well, please keep us up to date, and if you have any more memorable results, please call back in to the Campfire and let us know, Theresa.
THERESA: Absolutely, I will. Thanks again, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you, and stay spooky.
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Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram @TheJimHarold and join our Virtual Campfire Facebook group at VirtualCampfireGroup.com. Now, back to the Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Katie is on the line from Massachusetts. We’re so glad that she is. She’s been listening for a few years, and she says she tells all her family and friends about the Campfire. We appreciate it very much. Her story hints at some things that we talk about on the show – we talk about ghosts and things, but I think that sometimes different energies are much more complicated than that, and Katie is going to talk to us about that. Katie, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
KATIE: Hey, Jim. Hey, Campfire crew. So excited to be here. I am a big believer in the paranormal, love the Campfire, and love the stories, but I can’t say I’ve ever, before this point, experienced too much myself.
I recently, as recent as last December, had what I think is an experience myself where I believe I experienced a residual energy of my very much alive child. Last December 12th – I happen to remember it was my nephew’s birthday – I had trouble sleeping. It was a Monday morning. It was way too early to be up for work, necessarily, at that time, and I am a big believer if you snuggle down on your living room couch, you’ll get a good few winks before you have to start your day, so that’s exactly what I did. Unusually at that time, my daughter, who doesn’t have trouble sleeping, was also having trouble sleeping, so I took the small couch, she took the big couch, “let’s snooze before school and work that day,” all that good stuff.
I can’t tell you how much time passed. Maybe an hour, maybe two if we were super lucky, and all of a sudden I heard “Mom?” with a question mark, but it wasn’t my daughter’s voice. It was my young son’s voice. He has a little bit of a speech impediment, so a distinct tone of voice, and he seems to ask a question whether or not he means it, so him saying “Mom?” with a question mark sounds pretty valid, pretty on point for my son.
I said, “What, honey?” and my daughter answered, “I didn’t say anything.” I said, “Did you just hear your brother?” She goes, “Yeah, I did.” We look around, no son to be had in the living room. We go check upstairs in his bedroom; he’s sound asleep, tucked in. He’s definitely out. Maybe a little drool going on. Okay, no big deal. We’re both collectively hallucinating, trouble sleeping, who knows. So that was Monday morning.
Fast forward to Thursday morning of that week, December 15th. I was having trouble sleeping once again, or staying asleep. I decide, “Okay, I’m going to go to the living room couch. If I can’t fall asleep, let me flip on one of my favorite rewatchable shows, Modern Family.” So a little funny show, keeping it super light not to wake up the family, all that good stuff, once again before I have to start work and school and being a mom all day.
All of a sudden – with the volume super on low, I can hear normal sounds in my house like my laundry dryer running, things like that, the fridge humming – I hear breathing from the other couch that I’m not on. I’m on the small couch again. That’s my go-to spot, and I hear breathing from the big couch. Once again, as a parent, you get to know the little sounds your kids make; it sounds like the breathing my son makes when he’s about to wake up, when he’s doing that stirring sound. I think, “Okay, this is a little unusual.” I actually think of Campfire, believe it or not, right away. Even though I’ve not experienced paranormal things before, I’m like, “I’d better text a friend or get this on the Virtual Campfire or something in case something goes down when I creep over to the couch and try to figure out if this is my son and I’m just having a hallucinating parent moment or if this is something real.”
Once again, I hear this breathing. I actually put the TV show on mute to think, “Is this for real?” I creep over to my couch, not really sure what I’m going to see, what I expect to see, or what I want to see – and finally get the nerve to peer over to the big couch, and nothing’s there. At this point I don’t even check to see if my son’s upstairs in his bed; I know he is. I actually went right to the Virtual Campfire and I said, “Has anyone else experienced the residual energy of their very much alive child?” There was a lot of response. Apparently I may not be the only one who has gone through this.
That’s my story, Jim. Not as scary as some of your other awesome storytellers, but that is it.
JIM HAROLD: No, I believe that. I’ve had times where I’ve heard voices of people who are alive, and you kind of wonder. One time – and this was not that long ago – I was sleeping, and I swear I heard my oldest daughter say, “What?” and I woke up. Now, that could’ve been a dream, but I do believe, especially young people have a lot of energy, right? They even say poltergeists and stuff tend to happen in households with children in them, adolescents. So I believe kids have a lot of spiritual energy, and it just makes sense that it gets charged up an sometimes it discharges in the way you’re saying. Again, I’m not an expert; I’m just speculating. But it seems reasonable to me.
KATIE: Absolutely. The only follow-up I have to this story – well, two follow-ups. It was upon listening to your weekly Campfire episode that particular Thursday. I was thinking about my story, hearing the other people’s stories, and one of your callers was talking about the significance of dates. That’s when it started clicking for me a little bit, where December 12th and December 15th happened to be birthdays of family members in my extended family, but it also happens to be the dates, unfortunately, that my maternal grandfather passed away on December 12th, 14 years ago. And then unfortunately he was buried on a family members’ birthday, on the 15th. So I was like, it could be a stretch, but maybe it was a little hello from the beyond from my dear Papa in the voice or cadence of my little young son. You never know.
JIM HAROLD: Could be. Thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire today. I appreciate you sharing your story. Thanks again.
KATIE: Thanks so much, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Monica is on the line from Florida. She’s a new listener, but she said, “Jim, I’m going to answer the call. I’m going to tell my stories on the Campfire,” and I appreciate it very much. She’s going to tell us about two ghosts of Gettysburg. Monica, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
MONICA: Thank you so much, Jim. Probably around 2005-2007, typically our family takes vacations to historical places; my parents and I like traveling in RVs or campers, and we decided, what would be a better time to go to Gettysburg than during the reenactment? We love history, my father and in particular. At that time, we were doing some ghost hunting exploration around our area, so what better way to go do that exploration than go up to Gettysburg?
At the time, it was our first time there. The story has two parts. This was our first time going. Our first time going, we were staying outside the city limits, but we decide, like every historical place that we’ve gone to, “Let’s do a ghost tour.” It was in the evening on the second day of the reenactment, so maybe around early July. We’re doing the ghost tour. They’re taking us through a bunch of scenic areas downtown. There’s this high school as well where they did find some Confederate soldiers on the ground. What’s interesting, though, was that the high school field area overlooked the cemetery, which is a federal cemetery. While during the day we saw a lot of reenactment, apparently you’re not supposed to go over in the cemetery in the evening as soon as it shuts down. It’s federal ground. As soon as you walk in, they said, “It’ll be noted that you’re there and you’ll be escorted off.” So it would be less likely to see anybody in reenactment gear or anything like that.
We did the tour and we were just learning about the history, and then all of a sudden our tour guide looks out at the distance and he’s trying to make out what’s going on and what he’s seeing. He’s brought a pair of binoculars, or night vision binoculars, and he had seen – you could kind of see as well – there was a soldier in the middle of that cemetery. It was unusual at the time because he was startled by it, so it seemed like that’s not something he sees all the time. And even though there’s a reenactment going on, he was very clear and adamant that usually people who are doing the reenactments don’t go in the cemetery, especially during the evening.
So we were able to see, at a distance, what looked like a soldier. I couldn’t make out what kind of uniform it was, but you can see it at the distance, very stoic, just standing still. It was pretty cool because I don’t think I’ve ever seen something visually before. I was very excited about that, and that was one of the highlights of our trip aside from the reenactment during the day, going on a ghost tour and actually seeing a ghost.
JIM HAROLD: That is pretty cool.
MONICA: Then we decide a couple years later, “Let’s go again.” It was a great trip, a lot of fun, so we decided that we were going to take it a step further. We’re not only going to go on a ghost tour; we want to stay in a supposed haunted location. I did all my research; I was a very good researcher, and we picked a bed and breakfast that supposedly had a lot of history. They actually did ghost tours in the basement area. I had an idea, but I wasn’t sure if it was the right place, but it turned out they actually did ghost tours in the basement area. You go down, you get equipment.
We were staying in the hotel aspect itself, close to a kitchen area, so we’d see some traffic and stuff like that. It’s my parents and I, just the three of us. We’re renting a small little room in an old historic hotel, so everything’s kind of small. Essentially, you walk in and it had very unique art to it. It was a little unsettling, but still I can see the artistic value to it. [laughs] And then there were a couple paintings, and there was also this little stuffed cat. It looked like one of those Avanti cats. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with those. It looks like it’s curled up in a little ball, a cute little furry cat. My father and I, being who we were, looked at the cat, and as soon as I even touched the cat, I was like, “Think fast!” That cat went sailing across the room. Of course, my mother had a face like “What are you guys doing?” Here we are playing toss with the cat. We’re not sure if it’s real or not, but hey, it looked like a fun thing to do at the time.
Anyway, we had a little cot in the room, so it was just the three of us in a little room, but we actually got some interesting meter reads. We would ask a question in the room, and every time we’d ask a question, it would spike on an EMF reader. We thought that was cool. It was interesting. It was kind of a fun place. We knew there was some activity in the room; we just didn’t know what the activity was. We were at the time not really bothered by it. We’re like, it’s just natural you’re going to have a lot of activity in the middle of a place where so many people lost their lives. So we were very much aware that this was going to be going on. My mother was kind of dragged along with it. [laughs] I don’t know if we told her it was haunted beforehand. She was just watching us and looking at what we were doing.
It was in the evening, and there wasn’t much to eat around at 7:00 or 8:00 at night, so we’re watching the news. We were all sitting on the bed and eating pizza because there was really no table or anything to sit. They had a big bed and they had a cot on the other side of the room. So we’re all eating pizza. I think I was watching something on the news or what have you, and all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I see this shadow – probably no more than three feet – dart from one side of the room all the way into the bathroom. It was really quick. It was kind of one of those things in a flash.
I look at my father, he looks at me. We’re like, “Did you see that?” He nodded. Looked at my mom. I’m not sure she even noticed, but we both knew what we saw. Given that information, we decided to continue eating pizza like nothing happened, like “Oh, okay, great.” [laughs] We actually ended up sleeping in the room no problem. That was the only event that I witnessed in that room visually, aside from the meter spiking when we’d ask something questions.
What was funny, though, is that like I said, the basement is part of where they do some tours, and we’re right near the street. There’s a little dining area that they have and then the main street, so we’re hearing a ghost tour guide talk about the history, and he’s like, “Oh yeah, we haven’t really seen anything aside from a reenactment two years ago when there was a solider up on a hill in the cemetery.” I remember that we were there about two years ago, and that was the same event and the same tour.
So it’s kind of funny to know that we had been there when they saw that, and they hadn’t seen anything since, and then here we are in a hotel room – we saw something ourselves without even going on the tour. But it was cool to know that we were there for that experience and then we had our experience. I don’t think I’ve seen anything since then. I’ve had some things with ghost boxes that I’ve done, but that was the first time. It wasn’t just me seeing it. My father and I saw it, and we had that connection of knowing, “Okay, it wasn’t me imagining it.”
JIM HAROLD: That’s good. It’s great to be able to experience things together. That’s pretty neat as well. Monica, thank you so much for sharing your story. Really appreciate it, these haunted places and spaces that we encounter, and I love it when people call in. And thank you for calling in after being just a brand new listener. I really appreciate it.
MONICA: Thank you so much, Jim. I’d love to call back and tell you a couple stories that I’ve had experiences with going on a couple investigative tours. I think those were pretty interesting occurrences that occurred during that time too.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent. Looking forward to it.
Alana from Wisconsin is back. She’s a faithful listener and contributes stories to our shows, and we really appreciate it. You have folks who keep coming back and they’re very loyal and they always share their stories and share the shows with other people and are active on social media and help promote the shows, and Alana certainly falls into that category, and we appreciate it – along with her husband, Jack. Alana is calling from Wisconsin, and she has a story that her mom told her. She’s going to tell it to us now. Alana, welcome back. Good to speak with you again, and tell us what happened.
ALANA: Thank you so much, Jim. Great to be back. Yes, as you stated, this actually is my mom’s story. Last year, my grandma passed away, which was my mom’s mom. She passed away, and Mom said that shortly – and I only heard about this story maybe a few months ago. She hadn’t said it before that. We were talking about something else and then she brought it up.
Shortly after the funeral – she passed away, we had the funeral, we did all that stuff, and she said maybe three or four nights later after the funeral, she’s lying in bed, and she hears this flapping noise, like something with wings is in the bedroom with her. She turns on the light and nothing’s there. She’s like, “Is it a bat? Is it a bird? It sounds like a bird. How’d a bird get in the house?” Turns on the light, nothing there. She’s just about to fall back to sleep, and it happens again. Same thing, turns on the light, nothing there. So, goes about her day.
The next night, she’s asleep and she wakes up to this flapping noise again. Turns on the light, same thing. Nothing. She’s like, “What in the heck is going on?” So she turns off the light. Just about to fall asleep again, same thing. The flapping noises. Just this random flapping, and she didn’t feel anything – she said she felt very calm. It wasn’t scary, like some big bird or bat is in the house. It was just a real calm that second night, I don’t know, almost like when you hear a babbling brook and it lulls you to sleep. It was almost like that. Once again, turned on the light, looked around, nothing there.
She thinks that was Grandma coming and saying, “Hey, I’m okay” – because after that second time, it has not happened since. So we think it was Grandma coming through saying, “Hey, I’m okay up here, everything’s great.” Side note, my grandpa, her husband, passed away in 1986, so it’s been a minute. [laughs] So yeah, I think because of the fact that it happened twice – me personally, I think both of them came to my mom, because those were her parents.
JIM HAROLD: So the flapping, do you think that was almost because I’m guessing that she may have associated wings with angels? Do you think it might’ve been the idea that they were angels to come see her?
ALANA: Possibly. And she’s a very light sleeper to begin with, so I think Grandma would know, “I don’t need some big noise. Just a little wing noise is enough to wake her up.” She said she could hear it right by her ear. It wasn’t in the corner somewhere or on the other side of the room. It was right near her head, she said.
JIM HAROLD: That’s a very sweet story. Alana, thank you for joining us and sharing this story. Again, Campfire can be scary, but sometimes it’s heartwarming, and I love to hear those stories too. Thanks for being a part of it once again.
ALANA: Thank you so much, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Paul is on the line, and he has a story about some things that happened while in the service of our country in South Korea. Appreciate him very, very much for his service and for being a part of the Campfire. Paul, welcome to the show. Please tell us what happened.
PAUL: I was in Korea, and I’m very familiar with Korea. I was there from 2003 to 2006, and then again 2009 to 2011. This particular story is a field training at LTA-130. I’ll never forget it. For me it’s like it just happened yesterday. Korea. It’s an eerie night. They have weather just like Michigan, where I’m currently living. All four seasons. It’s kind of an eerie time, very cold, just like today’s weather here in Michigan. This was around October/November 2004. I say that because it was only supposed to be a week, but we had to search for this guy, and we were there an extra three weeks. What turned out to be a two-week exercise – we were there almost a month. As anybody in the military knows, when something like this happens, you are on lockdown, all that. We’ll get more into the story.
JIM HAROLD: Tell us what happened.
PAUL: This is one of the first field training exercises I was on. I was known as a quartermaster. We did humanitarian mission support. I was working with the water and fuel unit at this time. It was supposed to be a typical two-week training exercise, no biggie, just doing our training. I was there with a unit called the 1st and the 15th out of Camp Stanley. They’re not there anymore. They actually left by the time I left Korea.
I was doing gate guard around 12 o’clock at night. That’s when my shift started. We all have different shifts, anybody in the military knows. You check into the TOC when it’s your turn. TOC stands for Tactical Operations Center. That’s where you check in. There’s usually an officer or a staff sergeant, whoever’s in charge of the night watch. You have day watch, night watch. Any guard duty, you can’t be relieved until properly relieved and all that stuff.
I’m doing my gate guards in front of the gates, making sure trucks come in and this and that, no problem. I want to say around two in the morning – because I had a four-hour shift – the guys doing roving guard around our perimeter, I want to say at least 400 or 500 yards – this was a bigger area. We had mountains next to us. I say that because there’s not a whole lot of ways out of here. There’s a highway, there’s a farm and a farm. Imagine almost fall in Michigan. That’s the same weather in Korea.
It’s coming down the line, the guy that was doing roving guard. I had seen him a few times. He was just a private. I was already a private first class at this time. The guy came up missing.
JIM HAROLD: So you guys were going to be out searching for him and trying to figure out what’s going on?
PAUL: Yeah. First, some of the privates first class were afraid to tell anybody. I said, “No, you stay here. I’ve got to go to the TOC, the Tactical Operations Center, and let someone know. You guys should’ve been letting someone know.” So we went to this tent. He wasn’t there. We told his NCO. He’s like, “Oh yeah, this guy, who knows?” We checked everywhere. The latrine area – you’ve got your latrine, where the DFAC is set up where people eat, all this stuff. Couldn’t find him.
By morning, like I told you in the letter, you had the whole chain of command coming down probably only like 25 miles from our main base camp casing. You’ve got officers, you’ve got people asking questions, “Where is this guy?”, all that. Like I said, for me it was a pretty eerie night anyways, and I had never had anything like this happen to me in the army. I knew we were in for a long few weeks because even if a weapon – and the main duty station I was at, Camp Casey, South Korea, there’s a big base. Eve if a weapon comes up missing, the whole base goes on lockdown. This is a soldier that came up missing.
For me, he just disappeared off the face of the earth, Jim. You have lockdown going down this highway near where we were – probably not even 50 yards to the roadway on LTA-130, there’s only two ways – the mountains are to the west and the highway is to the east. You go north, you’re going to the DMZ. We were probably only maybe 40-50 miles from the DMZ. You go south, all the ROK army – if this guy would’ve decided to go AWOL, they’re going to catch him. They have Korean police going down this road all the way. Because it’s one of the main roads you’re going to get –
JIM HAROLD: For people listening, the ROK army would be the Republic of Korea, correct?
PAUL: Yeah. We also had Korean augmentation with United States soldiers. They were kind of scared about this, too. This time of year is a big holiday time for them, Chuseok. It’s like their Thanksgiving. They’re concerned, “We’re not going to be able to go home” and all this. It was kind of sad for them; they weren’t able to go home. We had helicopters flying around, the MPs from Camp Casey come down. I still remember the staff sergeant – for a lot of reasons. You do gate guard and you do courtesy patrol outside of Camp Casey, he comes down with his MP dogs. We search that afternoon, all that day, with the ROK army. By the afternoon, the helicopters are coming in. That’s going on for three days. Then we’re going up and down probably about a 100-mile perimeter, back and forth. This is every day, I want to say within two or three weeks. By the time this is over, we’re all tired.
Now, by the time I left – this is 2004 – I was there till 2006. There is a missing people picture when you walk on Camp Casey, when you first walk in. By the time I left, his picture wasn’t even on that wall anymore. And even more, the fact there’s really no way to leave Korea, Jim. If anybody’s ever seen it on Google Earth, it’s all surrounded by ocean. You cannot get on a plane, you cannot get on a train, you cannot get on a ship without a passport or anything.
JIM HAROLD: So you feel that this person just disappeared into thin air, essentially.
PAUL: Whatever may have happened. We did find out later on, Ajumma – that’s a Korean grandmother – they cooked for us and stuff – she told us that that’s a very known haunted area and one of the largest burial sites on the other side. There’s two sides to this mountainous area, the west side I was telling you about, and on the other side was one of the largest graveyards of the Korean War. There were caves in there.
Korea is a lot more haunted and a lot more things going on than people would know. One of my things to break the ice, I would always share our ghost stories with them, their ghost stories with us.
JIM HAROLD: So you think there’s very likely potentially a supernatural explanation for it. You don’t think he just wandered somewhere off or something. You think that maybe he just disappeared through a portal or something.
PAUL: Yeah. And anybody that’s ever gone AWOL in Korea, they usually find him in an hour. You’ve got to understand about Korea – they have a whole – every corner has a cop on it. They have a volunteer cop force, a volunteer military. There would’ve been cops all along that highway, too. There’s the ROK army going up and down that highway. And like I said, let’s even say he made it to an airport or he decided to go AWOL.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, how could he get out without a – yeah.
PAUL: There’s no way he’s getting out of Korea.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, he would’ve been caught. Well, Paul, thank you for your service. Thank you for sharing that story. I really hope that that poor soldier is still with us, but it doesn’t sound positive. It doesn’t sound positive at all.
PAUL: Yeah, you think of the mother and the father. That’s why I wanted to share the story.
JIM HAROLD: Very sad. Very sad indeed. Our hearts go out to our service folks and people who do what you’ve done and that great sacrifice. Thank you so much, Paul. Thank you for being a part of the Campfire today.
PAUL: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you so much for joining us today on the Campfire. Thanks to all of our great storytellers. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, I hope you’ll join me for my tour, Stories From Around the Campfire, in the Northeast U.S. We’re going to Philly, we’re going to Pittsburgh, we’re going to Boston, and we’re going to the Big Apple, New York City. I hope you’ll get your tickets today: jimharold.com/tour. Jimharold.com/tour, and see you there!
And I hope you’ll tune in next week for another edition of the Campfire. We’ll talk to you next time. Until then, stay safe and stay spooky. Bye-bye, everybody.
You’ve been listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire. Tune in again next time for more stories of ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary things.
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