“Jeff: A Ghost Story” by Rob Kristoffersen
A ghost story to most is just a story. To me, they’re an experience, because every one I tell is based in truth. Sometimes they’re life changing. Whether you chose to believe in this story or in my experiences is up to you, all I can tell you is that it happened, because I was there.
I’ve been a paranormal investigator for over six years now. My foray into this pseudo-science began about a year after my father’s death. My family has always believed in ghosts, and there’s never been a shortage of deaths in the family to bolster this belief. Often, my mother would tell a story about seeing my grandfather in the garage shortly after his death. I’ve always believed it. An aunt of mine used to tell me that my uncle, before he died, was sensitive, and the spirit of my grandfather would pay him visits frequently. Even my father used to make his presence known: I woke up one morning in my apartment with a voice in my head. It said, “well are you going to sleep all day?” This was a common expression my father used to wake me up throughout high school and college. Needless to say, I got up that morning with a smile on my face.
Part of my pursuit in the paranormal is an extension of certain childhood experiences I had. (I’ll save those for another time.) The other part of it stems from the personal belief that my father had to live on. Some how, some way, there had to be a spirit and it had to live on. It sounds selfish, but he’s my dad.
I’ve also been a Christian all my life, but my views of the paranormal are not informed by my spiritual feelings, instead it’s the other way around. My belief in the paranormal has informs my Christian beliefs. I’m not your average kitchen.
Since I started investigating, the group I’m apart of, The Adirondack Society for Paranormal Research, has gathered countless hours of evidence. The most important thing we do though is help the people experiencing paranormal phenomena, to understand it and what’s happening to them. We also help spirits move on to where they need to be.
Last year our group investigated a tiny cemetery on a backwoods road, and from that investigation comes my favorite ghost story. Well, story to you, but an experience to me.
It was a moderately warm evening in early August when we pulled up to the cemetery in bum fuck nowhere. I say bum fuck nowhere because we got lost on three different roads before stumbling upon this cemetery… the cemetery we weren’t even looking for. Really what we were looking for is a field with a small cemetery attached to it, where a man supposedly murdered his wife and kids and drug them across the field to the cemetery.
The ride over was full of banter. We were trying out a couple of new members, and humor is always a good ice breaker to ease tension.
“Yeah, Vin Diesel looks tough, till you realize Vin is short for Alvin.”
Roars of laughter erupted from the car on all sides. Sure, Vin isn’t short for Alvin, but the idea is fucking hilarious. Combine that with banter designed to attack our driver’s navigation skills, and you’ve really got something.
When we finally arrived, the days last light was beginning to die down. It would be a clear night, filled with enough stars to light our way, not that light is your objective when you’re looking for spirits. When spirits manifest, they appear darker than darkness. They look like deep dark shadows, moving against walls. How scary is that? Oh, hey, don’t mind us. We’re just trudging through a cemetery, looking for shapes that are darker than the darkness. Most people would be locked up in the loony bin at Syracuse if they were to admit that. Luckily, we were secluded enough where passing cars weren’t likely to pop up. At one point during the investigation, though, one truck drove by, coming from the dead end of the road. We all wondered what was going down, but just let it go.
Investigating cemeteries is about as amateur as you can get in this field. Most of the time we don’t have permission, or just can’t get permission in time to do a proper investigation in certain places. The phrase “Hey, turn off your flashlight, a car’s coming” is one muttered often in our circle. That’s not to say we don’t investigate homes, it’s just, sometimes, you get no takers on a particular weekend. And considering that I live about three hours away from the group, we have to do something.
Ryan, our fearless driver and dreadful navigator, pulled the car, a red Pontiac Sunfire from the companies’ glory days, just inside the cemetery. About a hundred yards away from us is row after row of grave stones, extending back about twenty feet from the start of each row. The length of the cemetery is about 500 yards in total; it’s a young cemetery and we didn’t expect to get much.
We popped the trunk, pulled out our equipment, and started to educate the greenies on the how-to aspects of the tools of our trade. Our group has what you’d call the basics when it comes to equipment. EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) detectors (including K-II meters, made in the great state of New York!), used to measure spikes in the electro magnetic field, which spirits are said to give off and manipulate; temperature guns, digital voice recorders for capturing EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomena), flashlights, and the ghost hunters most important piece of equipment, themselves. The human body can detect the slightest changes in atmosphere, the subtlest change in temperature, and you learn to trust your body on each investigation, and sense these changes.
Before we even had a chance to investigate the cemetery, our EMF meters started spiking right by the car. Just as soon as they started, they stopped. We chalked it up to the natural EMF that can appear in nature. (even the believers can be skeptics) We broke up into two groups and set off to either side of the cemetery.
The groups investigated for about an hour, eventually meeting up in the middle. From there we would switch up the groups and sides.
Dave, our resident goofball and conspiracy theorist, headed back to the car for batteries. One of the meters had been running out and we decided to let it ride until the last minute. When he finished putting them in, Dave turned on the meter and immediately began to get colorful spikes. He hung around the car for a little while, and returned to investigate with me on the side he was familiar with. During our time in the cemetery, we never got a shred of evidence. All was quiet throughout the stones. In fact, the best evidence we did get was an EVP of Dave saying: “fart in 3…2…1…EXPLOSION.” We still say it’s our best evidence, but you’ll never hear it. Got to maintain that professional edge.
Dave and I investigated the western end of the cemetery for about forty five minutes before we got the wild idea to head on over to the car. Really, the car was it, the only area that we got anything. I placed my digital voice recorder on the roof of the car, and turned on my K-II. Dave did as well. Immediately, we started getting spikes like before. And then, they would stop. We moved forward. They came back. We kept this up until we followed the spirit around the car.
The K-II meter can be used as a question/answer tool. We can only ask yes or no questions, but for a yes answer we ask the spirit to light up the meter. When they do, a series of green, yellow, red, and orange lights will come alive. For a no, we ask them not to light up the device. We began to ask questions. “Are you male?” Response returned with lights. “Did you serve in World War II?” Response returned with lights. “Are there multiple spirits here?” Response returned with lights. The spirit continued to move around the car as we asked questions.
Along with the new recruits, we were testing out a new piece of equipment called the Spirit Box. The Box scans AM/FM stations, and spirits use the white noise generated to communicate, usually with a single word. We called over to Ryan for the Box, which he had used somewhere else in the cemetery with his group. He handed it over and we told him to get out of the area until we were finished. As soon as we turned on the Box, we started getting answers.
We began by asking the spirits name. At the time, we couldn’t make it out. If I hadn’t had the presence of mind to move my voice recorder to the back of the car, we never would have figured it out. We asked the same questions we had when using the K-II meter: “Are you male or female?” Response came back male. “Did you serve in a war?” Response came back yes. “Is there more than one spirit here?” Response came back yes.
We asked a few more questions before packing it up for the night. Dave and I had felt like we really connected with the spirit, that we tried to understand who this person was and really still is. The next morning, we decided to review our evidence. Throughout the cemetery itself we got nothing. No EVP’s, no EMF hits… nothing. When we reviewed the voice recorder during the Spirit Box session, there was one EVP, a response to a question I had asked. “Can I ask you a question?” I said. Response: “yeeeeeees.” It was soft, but very clear. EVP’s can often be discerned because the spirits voice is below the normal range of human speech. If you listen to yourself whispering and an EVP of a spirit, the spirit sounds like it’s speaking without breath, which it really is.
Further, we got the name, and on the recorder you could hear it clearly: Jeff. During the Spirit Box session, we asked it three times, and each time we got the same response, Jeff. Each piece was marked as great evidence in my handy dandy notebook, and the archived the digital files. We also archived Jeff himself, at least for a little while.
Two months later, our group appeared at a meet and greet arranged through the local Chamber of Commerce. We had a table set up with some of our equipment, headphones connected to a computer to listen to some of the EVP’s we had captured, and various paraphernalia, including business cards. The building this event took place in had been investigated by the famed John Zaffis for his program Haunted Collector. Another local paranormal group had been giving tours of the place was also there. Needless to say, our groups don’t get along. Our table received some pretty good traffic anyway.
As the day wore on, Ryan, our fearless leader and terrible navigator, pulled me aside at one point and told me about Jeff. Jeff had been in the back of my mind. He never fully left.
“Dave looked into Jeff. He was asking around about him and he got some interesting stuff.”
“Really? What kind of stuff?”
“Well, he found out that Jeff is Jeff ___________, and that he hung himself at the end of the road the cemetery’s on.”
“Holy shit.” A typical response from me when people drop knowledge bombs on me.
“That’s not all. He also found out that his daughter had a red Pontiac Sunfire.”
If I could have taken a shit right there, I would have. That evidence still haunts me.
I firmly believe that we’re all connected somehow. I’ve always believed that. It just took a spirit to prove it to me. I think about Jeff often. I wonder if he needs help, and when will we be going back.