Do you like ghost storys? Do you like trying to seperate fact from fiction? Do you like old historical places? Then you should like this story.
A Ghostly Fun Time in Virginia City, NV.
Or “Ghosts of Piper’s”
It’s almost a true story about an invitation-only event.Ever watch that TV series that shows you true stories and fictitious ones and asks you to decide what is true from what is made up?This story is like that.It is a mix of fiction combined with true events and as you read it you must ask what actually did happen and what parts were false.At the end I will tell you.
The Opening Act…
The night was dark and stormy.The lightning flashed, the wind blew the dry leaves quickly across the ground and through the air.The misty smell of rain hung heavy in the air.
A small group of people had gathered in front of Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, NV.The door opened and closed by itself on the old building causing a chill up and down their spine.It’s October, the time for ghosts and ghost hunters to challenge the reality of their worlds, a time to reach out and see if they can touch the other side.
You do like a ghost story now and then, don’t you?It’s the time for that kind of thing you know.So let me tell you a little story, about some ghosts, and some people who were determined to make contact with them.I know, because I was one of those people.
I received an invitation by E-mail to join in working on a paranormal production at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, NV.I’d been there the year before working on another program about the paranormal called “Spooky Places.”In fact my team had been to several places while in Virginia City and all of them were haunted by ghosts from the past.The thing that disappointed me was that we didn’t get to stay one night in any of those places.Perhaps this time things would be different.
It was when the group gathered at Piper’s Opera House.They were a rather strange combination of director/camera operators, photographers, artists, psychic mediums and volunteers.Night had just fallen when the front door opened and someone who bore a striking resemblance to Mark Twain stood in the doorway.Why should that surprise anyone?Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) began his writing carrier in Virginia City.Moments later I looked again and he was gone.
Old worn brown boards creaked beneath our feet as we walked.The psychics moved about inside the building, searching, sensing, doing what ever it is they do to touch the other side.Even I could sense the presence of curious spirits watching us from the dark recesses of the building.One of the psychics ventured into the upper box seats stage left where she encountered spirits who pressed against her holding her until she called out for someone to come help her.In moments others came to her aid and removed her from that place.
A few moments later, one of the psychics on the main floor noticed an image in the wallpaper in that same box seat area.
“What’s that?” she pointed.“Can you see that?”
Several more gathered and said they saw the image of a woman in the wallpaper.The woman was dressed in a big bell-type dress from the late 1800’s.I looked closely and did see an image or outline in the old wallpaper.It did rather appear like the outline of a woman in a dress and for a moment I could almost picture her standing there looking down at us.
Victoria, the group coordinator, said she didn’t sense anything, yet she was wired.
“I don’t understand why I’m so wired,” she remarked as she passed by.
I smiled and watched her for a few moments as she scurried about.Of the entire group, she stood out as unique.At five feet tall, blue eyes, and beautiful long blond hair she seemed very much out of place among this group, and it was impossible not to notice.
Victoria didn’t claim to have any psychic abilities yet there she was wound up tight as an eight day clock.She didn’t realize what was happening to her.I looked up into the dark upper corners of the stage area.They’re up there, I can feel them and they are just as excited as Victoria is.Could it be that Victoria was expressing the excitement the spirits were feeling as they observed us?
I looked again at the image in the wallpaper of that upper box seat and thought how odd the water marks in the paper had come to arrange themselves like that.As I watched I felt as if someone were standing directly behind me.I turned around and reached out my hand to feel the electricity in the air upon the tips of my fingers.“What was that?” I wondered.In a few moments the energy in the air had dissipated.
I turned around and saw what I thought was a bright ball of light shoot up through the ceiling high above our heads.It was so bright I expected that everyone should have seen it but apparently no one else did. Perhaps I imagined it.Or perhaps I caught a glimpse of one of those spirits as it passed between the spiritual and the physical plane.
Someone said there was the spirit of an angry man in the lower box seat stage right.He didn’t like anyone to sit in his seat.As he was in life, so is he in death.His energy, his spirit remains guarding over that box seat.
One of the mediums commented about one of the doors that would be found open not long after it had been closed.She found that strange.I never noticed if it was open or closed but I did know the electrical boxes on the south side of the stage were all closed.The big one near the stairs that lead up to the box seats on the balcony was locked with two locks on it.I touched them as if to test them but they seemed to be locked.A few moments later one of the groups that had gone up into that balcony area were coming back down and found that box open, the door blocking their path.There was no one there who could have opened it, yet there it was.I have no idea if anyone got a picture of the door being opened or not but I have pictures of it being closed and you can clearly see the locks on the door.
One of the volunteers watched the ceiling of the big room.“There’s a spirit up there watching us from that hole in the ceiling,” he reported.He didn’t claim to be a psychic either and neither am I, but I can sense spiritual things.He was sensing some of the same things I was picking up on.Spirits were watching from the high dark places in the building.They were curious as to who we were and what we were doing there.
After three round chair sessions and a calming prayer, one of the mediums ask that a spirit make itself known to us and instantly there came a sharp rapping at one of the windows causing everyone to jump and look. I turned from my camera to see, but saw no one outside the window.A few of them went to the side door, opened it, and looked around outside but there was no one there.They reported the window was high enough it would take a very tall person or someone standing on something to reach it. Locking the door, they returned to the group.This was all captured on video tape.
As the group reported their psychic impressions I could here children playing in my right ear.I took hold of my headphones and realized I only had one microphone hooked up at that moment and it was playing in my left ear.How was it that I was hearing children playing in my right ear?At that exact moment the lady who was speaking suddenly pointed past me to my right and said, “And there’s children playing over there.”My mouth dropped open and I wanted to turn and look but suddenly I couldn’t hear the sounds anymore, they were gone.
Victoria sent us out working in three groups, each going our own direction.I was teamed up with Vickie Gay, licensed psychic medium.I considered myself lucky that it was only her and I and wondered why we ended up being a team.The only licensed psychic medium there and me, her camera person.The others went their way in groups of 3 to 5 in search of the ghosts hiding in the dark corners of the building.But Vickie and I felt a certain amount of freedom.There was nothing between us and the ghosts except the air.We set out on our search.
Vickie led the way talking as she went with me following and recording her every word and movement.“What is a licensed psychic medium?” I asked.
“It’s someone who’s been to school and then been tested in a day long set of tests to see how accurate they are,” she answered.
I didn’t need anyone to try to convince me the spirits and ghosts were real and among us, I knew they were there.I had been raised in a haunted house.I’ve seen psychics who were a dime a dozen and I had learned from experience the good ones were rare. I had a good feeling about Vickie and the spirits there did too.I know because I can sense the spiritual energy in the air around me.Before they were all excited, curious, some may have even been frightened of our odd-looking group, our equipment and cameras, but now they were calm and seemed to be coming from their hiding places.
Vickie described a spirit that had touched her.She said she felt a pain in her chest, a sharp pain like a knife or bullet perhaps.“This is the way this spirit crossed over,” she said.To you and me that means that’s how they died.
We walked across the stage toward the south.I told her of a strange episode I had at the Gold Hill Hotel in the Great Room the year before.Suddenly during an interview with a waitress I couldn’t catch my breath.It was like I was suffocating and there was no reason for it that I could see.I asked Vickie if that was a paranormal event like she had just described and she said that it was.So I asked, “Why do they do that?”
“It is a method by which they identify themselves,” she answered.
“So one of the ghosts of a dead miner who died in the Yellow Jacket mine was touching me to allow me to know who he was and that he was there with me?” I asked.
“Yes,” she responded.
I followed her into the box seat stage right where the cranky spirit of a man had been reported earlier that evening.She sat right down in the middle chair, the one that man was most protective of.
“He’s here.” She waved her hands about as she closed her eyes.“He’s not angry anymore and doesn’t mind if I sit in his chair.”
For a few moments she sat silent with her eyes closed.“He seems to be amused with me being here in his chair,” she said in a puzzled tone.
She made a motion with her arms, her hands across her face near her mouth.“He has a moustache.”She gestured with her hands in a lengthy motion.“A handlebar moustache.”Again she sat silently for a few moments with her eyes closed.
Again she made a gesture with her arms then moved them toward her lap.“When he sits here, he holds his hat in a strange manner.”Then she opened her eyes.“He laughed when I said that.”
Again she closed her eyes, listening to the spirit world, feeling, viewing images in her mind.Then she motioned to the chair to her right.“He is very protective of the person who sets in this chair.It’s not a wife or friend but someone close to him.”
“Like a sibling?” I asked.
Vickie nodded.“It could be one of his children.”Then she pointed at the chair to her left. “And a woman sat in that chair.”She took a deep breath then added, “It may have been his wife.”
Vickie tried to get his name but in a few moments of frustration suddenly she leapt from her chair with a startled expression on her face and turned around.“He tried to enter my body!” she exclaimed. “I don’t like that.”
I’m told sometimes spirits do that.They call those walk-ins where a spirit can enter someone else’s body and speak through them.Then again maybe he just wanted his chair back.
We wandered around the building working to avoid the other groups and found ourselves literally in the attic area of the building.Watch your step, one bad step up there and you could fall through the high ceiling into the big room below.
About halfway through the dark recesses of the dusty attic, I felt a strong energy.More excitement, it felt like something moved off to the right.I turned my video camera light toward the dark corner as if to see something that my eyes could not see.Was it this dark spooky place just giving me the willies or were there spirits present?I paused on the narrow board walkway for a moment as Vickie also stopped ahead of me and looked the same direction I was looking.We both sensed the energy in the air at that moment.
I reached out with my left arm as if to touch something that I could not see.The hair on my arm stood up like static electricity.“Is something here?” I asked softly.Suddenly I felt a cold chill run right down my spine like someone had taken an ice cube and ran it down the middle of my back.“There’s something here!” I said a bit louder wanting to look behind me to see who or what was there.
“There’s the spirit of a man back there.” Vickie pointed directly at the dark corner I had been observing.“He’s not suppose to be here.He’s hiding from someone.”
Slowly she turned toward the opposite corner and pointed. “There are two children over here.”She paused. “They are also hiding from someone.”
These spirits were afraid of something in life; they were still hiding in death.They had chosen to hide in the lofty dark places of that old building.Imagine what that might have been like back before there were electric lights in the building.Even with the work lights that were up there this place was very dark.
Vickie walked on toward the end of that path and the wall ahead then stopped.“There’s something back there,” she reported. “Someone goes back there.” She motioned with her hands. “They come and go from a place back there.”She looked into the room a little way into the darkness.“I’m not going back there,” she said upon observing the condition of the thin plywood that covered the rafter boards.She turned away and I moved into her place.I looked at the boards using my video camera light.Then I looked beyond that place and saw a new door mounted in a wall just beyond the darkness.
“There’s a door back there!” I said.“Not an old door either, a new one.”
Vickie looked past me and by the light of my camera she saw the door for the first time.Yet she had sensed that someone came and went from that dark place before she ever saw the door.What could possibly be back there in this dark foreboding place?
Again we looked at the path leading to that door and shook our heads.“I’m not going back there,” she said.
“Me either,” I agreed.I had no intentions of testing the quality of those thin boards nor becoming another ghost that haunts Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, Nevada.
We carefully worked our way along the previous path in the darkness taking care not to bang our heads on the huge ancient wooden beams that crisscrossed the ceiling.In a few moments we were back on the balcony overlooking the entire theater.
A few moments later we met with the other groups back on the main floor and talked about the things we had sensed and observed.One group insisted that chairs had been moved into their path in the basement.I don’t know; Vickie and I didn’t go into the basement.A news reporter with them said it wasn’t so that the chairs were there all the while.She knows because she sat upon them during that particular visit to the basement where an archeological dig is in progress.In a big dark place like this certainly your mind can play tricks on you.Of course spirits can play tricks on you and your mind if you let them.
Sonya, a friend of mine from LA was working to photograph everything she could using a little digital Kodak camera that has the ability to capture ghost orbs.Of course it captures things in the IR and UV spectrum of light. It can see things our eyes cannot see. It can see dust orbs and ghost orbs and she captured a LOT of orbs in her pictures.Some of them may be dust orbs, but some of them may be ghost orbs.It’s very hard to tell.
In the early morning hours several more people who had come to spend the night packed up their sleeping bags and changed their minds.I looked at my sleeping bag on that old hard floor and considered why they might be leaving.Then again perhaps the place creeped them out and they didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in the haunted building.I had taken the big metal bird to Reno just to be at this event and I wasn’t leaving until daylight.The ghosts didn’t bother me at all, but those hard boards, now that’s another story.
We all lay upon our sleeping bags gathered on the floor near each other.The building was darker now since Victoria had turned the lights down.For a few moments we listened to the sounds of the building.Now and then someone would speak to someone else asking questions and considering the things they had previously observed.
Victoria said Janice didn’t show up with her EVP equipment so we couldn’t do EVP’s.What is an EVP you ask?It stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena.I thought for a moment and responded.“Why do we need Janice and her equipment?I have a hand held digital recorder right here.”
One by one we began taking turns using the recorder.We would start the little recorder, ask a question and wait for 10 to 15 seconds then stop it and play it back.Mostly we heard hissing sounds, the sound of the pink noise or white noise that a sensitive recorder picks up from the ambient room noises.Sometimes we thought we heard voices, like someone having a conversation in the distance but we could not make out what was being said.Then finally one of the mediums asked…
“Why don’t you open the door over there on the left?” she asked then waited.She stopped the recorder and played it back again.We heard her ask the question then to our surprise we heard something else.A voice responding to her question.
“What was that?” someone asked.
“Play it again!” someone else said.
She did and we all listened.Without a doubt there was a voice barely noticeable above the pink noise.She handed the little recorder back to me and I turned the volume up until we could hear the voice better.I played it again.Suddenly someone responded.“He’s saying, ‘I tried to.’”
We listened again and I could hear it.“I tried to.”Half of us there could make out the words now.
We must have made 40 or 50 attempts to record EVP’s but now we had one very good EVP.Not everyone could make out the voice, but most of us did.The news lady said she heard nothing but hissing on the recordings.I couldn’t help but feel sad for her because most of us could hear the voice clearly.A ghost had actually been able to record its voice on my little digital recorder.How in the world can they do that?
It wasn’t the only EVP we recorded but it was certainly the best.Here at my home office I’ve spent days analyzing the EVP’s and there are several that have ghostly sounds on them.Some do sound like voices of a conversation taking place within the walls of the building.The ambient sounds along with the voices indicate to me they were inside the building when the conversation took place.The problem is not so much what was being said as to when.Could it be possible that I recorded fragments of play from years ago? A play that took place upon the stage of Piper’s Opera House.Some of the sounds were strange clicking sounds.Some sounded like someone trying to speak but just not quite able to make the words complete on the little recorder.Some may have been doors opening or closing while some may have even been the sound of an animal, perhaps a sheep or goat.Yet there were no animals there at that moment.No one was up moving about opening or closing doors.We were all together now and some of those sounds, though barely unperceivable, were not readily explainable.
The morning sun crests the desert mountains.A glint of the first light of day peeks through the windows of the historical building.A cast of several men and women gather upon the stage, taking their positions. Looking out over the empty chairs, they can see people sleeping upon the floor against the north side of the room.Slowly they clasp hands and take a bow in unison.Their job finished for another night and today is a new day.
You might ask yourself how much of this story is true .I can tell you this much.It wasn’t storming on the night of September the 23rd.The people I mentioned were all really there just as my story describes.As for the possibility of the ghost being there and being real, I’ll leave you to decide that for yourself.
This wasn’t the only place I visited while working paranormal investigations in Virginia City, NV.I also stayed at The Mackay Mansion and the Gold Hill Hotel in the Miner’s Cabin.I’ll tell those stories here soon.
There is one last thing I can do for you.I can give you a link so you can hear the EVP’s taken on this trip for yourselves.