It’s always been others who have had ghostly encounters of one kind or another, even those without some form of psychic ability. Encounters such as seeing spirits or hearing the voices of the dead without a tape recorder, feeling a cold breeze on the back of the neck or something tugging on your shirt. But not me. I have not an ounce of psychic ability in my whole body. Oh, everyone has some form of intuition; some off the scale, but mine, it would probably take a lot of scales just to measure it. However, after four years as an investigator, I finally got my first, up close and personal encounter on A Midnite Walk in the Park.

I was in San Antonio, Texas for a conference put on by Gadzooks! Ghosts in March, 2005. One of the highlights of the weekend was an investigation to a vacant hotel that was in the process of being renovated, The Park Hotel. Named after the prominent Park family, who had lived in the area for generations, the hotel was built in the early 60’s and still retained décor similar to that time period but was now run down with major water leaks and mold damage. The best thing though, it was rumored to be haunted.

I should mention one other thing here first before I continue. About 3:00 pm that afternoon, the pressure dropped so fast my ears plugged, my head felt like it was going to pop and then the skies opened up with a huge T-Storm. I mean huge; complete with thunder, lightning and the biggest rain drops I have ever seen that lasted most of the night, a real Texas T-Storm. It was great!

Ok, where did I leave off, oh yeah, the Hotel – it had been vacant for some time but in its heyday during the swinging sixties, it was a haven for the movers & shakers, famous and infamous alike. Supposedly, celebrities, mafia and government officials mingled together to party, gamble, drink, make legal and unsavory illegal deals. It’s also reported that Cesar Chavez met with unions and produce growers to negotiate contracts for farm workers there as well. Customers rented rooms on a permanent basis, like apartments and it was said, some were slightly shady characters with connections to organized crime. Whatever the hotel guest list, it was the 60’s, free love, get high and join a protest march or sit-in.

In back of the Hotel was the pool and landscaped gardens but also a small chapel. Now, a chapel may sound like an odd structure to put on the grounds of a swinging hotel, but the owner fell in love with this little chapel, which was originally located in another town near San Antonio. When the owner learned it was to be demolished to make way for yet another parking lot, he bought it and had it moved to the Park property and reconstructed, brick by brick.

After dark we headed to the Park Hotel, split in groups and walked through the halls and hotel rooms on the first and second floors. As we stepped into room 259, the sensitive in our group told us there was a man following us. Described as an older man with white/gray hair, wearing a long black trench coat and smoking a cigarette, which some could smell in the hallway leading to room 259. But not me of course. No one else was smoking and there were no outside windows or doors open, no air conditioning or heating, in fact, it was pretty stuffy and smelled of mold from all the water damage. While our group of 5 were in room 259, I was taking pictures of when I noticed my camera wasn’t working, again! So I walked across the room to get another battery, which is so typical when hunting for ghosts, the dreaded battery drain. Then it hit me, literally and stopped me “dead” in my tracks (no pun intended) half way across the room.

Room 259
midnight_walk.jpgA cold ball of air hit me on the cheek, not the head, hair or shoulders, just the cheek. Enough to stop me in mid stride and all I could say was, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I don’t know any other way to describe it but I do know there were no drafts, no air moving at all in that room at that moment.

It wasn’t scary just a surprise and totally unexpected. After all, I wasn’t even thinking about ghosts on that walk across the room, just that bothersome battery drain. But I was so ecstatic I was laughing. Ok, so I’m crazy, everyone else thought I had absolutely lost my mind, standing in the middle of the room laughing until I told them what had just happened. So mark that up to my first, up close and personal encounter. But wait, there’s more.

Our old man with white hair definitely wanted our attention. After he touched me, he got fresh with one person by touching her chest and yet another on the small of her back. He was playing with us and after awhile got bored and left, leaving the smell of cigarette smoke trailing behind as he walked down the hall and not before giving us one more thrill, his name.

Still in room 259 with 4 other female investigators, I was leaning against the dresser with the others seated either on the beds or standing against the wall. Our sensitive said there was someone standing right in front of me. Of course, I couldn’t see a thing so I told her to ask for his name, as I was holding my digital recorder and this is what I captured:


First name, Emilio; Second name, Balacchi. While no one heard anything at the time, when I got home and analyzed all my recordings, I found our old man had not only given us his first name but his last name as well. Not a whisper as is the usual EVP but a clear and strong masculine voice. Ok, now I’m ecstatic again! No, more than ecstatic, jumping and yelling so my husband thought I’d really lost it this time until he heard the recording for himself.

Let me put this simply, this is awesome, REALLY AWESOME! This is what is classified as a Class “A” EVP. A first and last name plus a normal sounding voice and heard without headphones. Just so you know, there were only 5 women in room 259, who were spread out about 10 feet from where I was standing at the time this recording was taken. As a second confirmation and for validating purposes, the tape was run through a sophisticated program by a forensic audiographer to specifically identify and separate human from anomalous voices, or EVP. And folks, we have a winner! I mean, how much better can it get? But wait, there is still more.

On our way out of room 259 an hour later, I got a frantic call from another group on my walkie-talkie to get my butt to the chapel. (Sounds like an ol’ 60’s song doesn’t it?) Remember it is still raining complete with thunder and lightning, so I made a dash to the chapel, walked through the heavy, wood double doors, stepped into the chapel foyer, took 10 steps to another set of glass French doors and on into the chapel itself where 7 others were waiting for me. The lighting included the foyer, which had a medium sized chandelier turned on, the chapel had 4 wall light sconces, which were on dim and 4 ceiling fans which were off. The whole chapel was no bigger than my house, about 1100 square feet, small house, small chapel. There are 8 of us in there and I try for some EVP. Nothing. One person is standing on the threshold of the glass French doors and everyone else is sitting down and scattered throughout the 5 rows of pews inside the chapel. The person standing gets pushed into the chapel by the French doors closing. Ok, so I check the doors to see if a draft caused them to close. No draft and those doors were not that easy to close because they kept getting hung up on the shag carpet underneath and it took several small pushes to close them.

Now everyone is in the foyer with their attention on the French doors dividing the foyer from the chapel when someone yells the ceiling fan is moving, just one. Ok, so I figure someone accidentally hit a wall switch turning it on. We check the foyer then all of us return to the chapel and check those walls for electric switches, an electric panel, anything to explain how just one of those fans started spinning and it’s spinning on medium speed and not slowing down. Nothing. But I notice a chain on the fan itself, however, everyone present would have had to stand on a pew to reach it in the dark but we were all in the foyer checking the door when it started spinning. But now we are all in the chapel trying to figure out the ceiling fan and I am standing in the middle of the aisle, panning my flashlight around the walls of the room when my light hits the foyer I just left not 5 minutes before. The chandelier is swinging back and forth and I mean really swinging not just shaking but like someone gave it a hard push. I announce, “Now that was not moving just a minute ago.” Everyone turns to look and gasp but I start laughing, completely ecstatic, again (how much more can I take!) I thank our ghost because by now there is no doubt from anyone, our ghost has definitely got our attention. I did get some whispered EVPs: “yes” “careful” and an “Oh God”. The first two in answer to my questions and the third, I have absolutely no idea. I think our ghost was done with us because after that nothing else happened. No EVP and no other manifestations. I think she, and it was a she, was out of steam. All in all, this second up close and personal encounter in that little chapel took less than 45 minutes. But what an awesome 45 minutes it was.

So there you have it. The EVP was phenomenal and now I know just how good it can get. Unfortunately, I was so excited when I was in the chapel, I didn’t take any pictures as I was so preoccupied with everything going on around me I didn’t want to stop and think about what was happening or angle to shoot, just experience it. It was just too extraordinary to be in the middle of all this energy. But if you are the hard core skeptic type, contact or, they were there too.

Or you’ll just have to take my word for it but just imagine ………

A quick acknowledgment to Gadzooks!Ghosts. I had the best time that night and lots of thanks for the great memories.