New Book Details Paranormal Activity at WDM
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.