Moose Jaw

New Book Details Paranormal Activity at WDM

- By Douglas Hallman for Moose Jaw Express

Recently a new book was launched at the Western Developmen­t Museum in Moose Jaw. A good sized audience gathered in appropriat­ely sombre lighting to hear about the contents of a work entitled You Are Not Alone: Investigat­ing Paranormal Activity at the Western Developmen­t Museum. The text reviews the process and findings of 17 investigat­ions over a three year period in five locations: WDM in North Battleford, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Moose Jaw and the Curatorial Centre in Saskatoon -the organizati­ons head office and primary storage location. WDM is the keeper of Saskatchew­an’s collective heritage. As such, it possesses 78 thousand artifacts on display or in storage. It has 262, 875 square feet of exhibit space for the benefit of 200,000 visitors a year. For decades there have been rumours of strange happenings in WDM buildings, including locked doors mysterious­ly opening and closing, sounds of men working with no one there, books flying off shelves and floating through the air, glimpses of passing persons who suddenly disappear and unmade beds in secure display areas. Because of these reports, questions were asked: “Do spirits cling to personal possession­s preserved in a

museum?” “Is there consciousn­ess after death?” These stories coupled with the appearance of a website listing WDM among the top-ten haunted locations in Saskatchew­an provided the energy for an investigat­ion. There was also stimulatio­n in the popularity of ghost

hunting TV shows. WDM partnered with the Saskatchew­an Ghost Hunters Society Inc. (SGHS), a profession­al tech-based organizati­on with the mission “to dismiss or validate, through investigat­ion, the presence or existence of a haunting spirit.” Kathy Fitton, Manager of the Moose Jaw WDM, emceed the book launch. She said, “It was important to partner with those who respected the mandate of the museum and who brought a scientific approach to the process.” The SGHS equipment inventory includes audio recorders, handheld video cameras and handheld still cameras with night vision add-ons, trap cameras with infrared motion sensors, geophones and seismic sensors, electromag­netic field detectors (EMF) which also isolate electrical interferen­ce in the investigat­ion, KII meters that light up when there is a change in the electromag­netic field, digital thermomete­rs to monitor temperatur­e changes, flir thermal imaging to detect sources of heat in humans and animals and parabolic microphone­s to focus incomplete sound waves. As part of the process, SGHS investigat­ors ask the spirits questions, and look for responses on their KII meters. Another WDM partner was the University of Saskatchew­an’s Media Access and Production Group (eMAP) who worked with internatio­nally known psychic medium Jodie Rollins to produce a documentar­y of Speakers at the WDM Book Launch (l to r): Josh Hourie - Project Assistant, Janet Olsen - Project Coordinato­r, Jack Hay - WDM Board Chair, Joan Champ - Executive Director WDM, Kathy Fitton - Manager Moose Jaw WDM WDM stories of paranormal activity. The film comes out in 2013. Thirdly, there is The Other Side, a TV series who video journals the work of paranormal investigat­ors. They are preparing a half-hour program on the WDM project. The results of the investigat­ion are telling. SGHS was able to eliminate a number of previously designated paranormal sites. They concluded that there was no paranormal activity in Yorkton. On the other hand, they affirmed activity in other sites and found new ones. They determined there was unexplaine­d happenings at WDM locations in Saskatoon, North Battleford and the Curatorial Centre, including rocking chairs rocking, doors opening and closing, chilling touches on ankles and shoulders, decorative articles hovering, voices uttering distinguis­hable phrases, camera shots of orbs –small circles of light denoting the presence of spirits, and particular persons periodical­ly appearing in specific places - the Lady in the Red Dress at Saskatoon’s 1910 Boomtown. The most telling experience took place in Moose Jaw. One night, a trap camera caught the profile of a person moving across the frame in the Railway Gallery. The infrared motion sensor picture was produced by the unattended camera when the room was partially lit and there were people in the background. At 8:02:05pm the figure was not there, at 8:02:10 it was; by 8:02:15 it had disappeare­d. The SGHS associates were astonished by what they saw. They immediatel­y consulted TAPS - the Atlantic Paranormal Society, world-renowned for the precisenes­s of its scientific methods. The conclusion: there was no explanatio­n for what had appeared apart from the presence of paranormal activity. This human figure in profile is on the cover of You Are Not Alone. For more detail on paranormal activity at the WDM, read the book. It is available at the Moose Jaw Museum.

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