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Haunted Joplin: An Interview with author Lisa Livingston-Martin
The barrier between Joplin's boisterous past and its present is as flimsy as a swinging saloon door. Lisa Livingston-Martin kicks it wide open in this ghostly history. In her expert company, tour a hotel with a reputation made from equal parts opulence and tragedy. Visit that house of horrors, the Stefflebeck Bordello, where guests regularly got the axe and were disposed of in mine shafts. Navigate through angry lynch mobs and vengeful patrols of Civil War spirits. Catch a glimpse of Bonnie and Clyde. Keep your wits about you--it's haunted Joplin.
Lisa Livingston-Martin is a lifelong resident of Missouri, living in Webb City with her children. She has practiced law in Southwest Missouri for more than 20 years, and has longstanding interests in history and the paranormal. She is the author of Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri and Haunted Joplin, also published by The History Press.
Lisa. Welcome back to crime capsule. It is so good to have you back on the show.
[00:00:07.010] - Lisa
Well, thanks for having me. I really enjoyed being on before and it's always good to talk to you.
[00:00:13.570] - Ben
It's kind of hard to believe that it was July, about four months ago, since we had on the first time. You know, we've gone through two more British Prime ministers since then.
[00:00:26.290] - Lisa
Things move quickly. And a monarch.
[00:00:28.350] - Ben
That's true. And a monarch. You're absolutely right. I mean, time flies, doesn't it? In our last conversation, we only learned at the very end of the show that you were not just a historian, you were not just an attorney, but you are also a paranormal researcher. So for this show, I want to reverse that order of discovery to start with the paranormal first, and later we'll talk about the methods and the approaches that you use, maybe some of which come from your academic training and your legal training. So, Lisa, tell us, how did you get your start researching the uncanny, the spooky and the weird?
[00:01:19.910] - Lisa
Well, it really is a lifelong interest. I grew up in a farmhouse that had activity, and from an early age, I figured out things went on that not everyone saw or heard and we couldn't exactly explain. So I've always had an interest in the paranormal. And then as I grew up, went off to school, went to law school, I think just my innate curiosity kept going. And then some experiences that I had personally over time got me interested in, OK, I know these things happen, but why? And that question hurts me. Why do things happen that we can't explain? And for me, it's the process of trying to figure that out. The process is as fascinating to me as any end result. So over time, I ended up gravitating towards researching, getting as much knowledge as I could, then getting into the field and actually researching, then working with historic sites. And as I worked with historic sites for promotion, for education, preservation, ones that were haunted, it naturally segued into, let's explore these situations. And as people became more open to I want a haunted experience, working with historic sites allowed me to do ongoing investigations and research so that there are places that I've literally been thousands of hours and continue to build that body of evidence.
[00:03:24.030] - Lisa
So it's just been that organic process of a curious mind and opportunities to make use of it.
[00:03:32.590] - Ben
You mentioned this farmhouse, and farmhouse has actually appeared quite prominently in your work on the paranormal, owing, I'm sure, much to the landscape and the geography of where you're writing. Will you tell us just a little bit about your own personal childhood farmhouse and the activity that you saw there?
[00:04:00.940] - Lisa
Sure. The farm has been part of the family since the 1850s, although from another part of the family and then my parents moved there in the 60s, so I grew up there. And what we found out over time was that it was the location of multiple Civil War skirmishes in activity, which made sense when we looked back at things that happened, because one thing that happened is the farmhouse. Although it was built after the Civil War, it's probably around 1900. Where it sits is on a hill that basically has a command of all directions. And so it was a perfect lookout point. There was a small settlement on the land down by a river, and one thing that would happen is you would see the outline, sometimes more detail, but often more of a shadow outline of what looks like a soldier, sometimes carrying a rifle, sometimes not, often just standing, not interacting, not seeming to be aware of us. And so once we figured out the history, I think it was probably someone that was on picket, that was on lookout, never felt threatened. Well, I should step back when I was very, very little, and this would happen because sometimes it would happen in my bedroom, and we wake up and see this, and I'd be startled.
[00:05:58.390] - Lisa
But probably by the time I was four or five, I figured out he wasn't doing anything, he wasn't bothering anything. And then it kind of just became, oh, he's here, just as kind of if someone else walked in or your dog walks in, he's just part of what happens. I kind of figured out fairly early, most things that happen, they're just kind of doing their own thing, and we may be walking through as a shadow to them. I didn't have it in those kind of words, but intuitively, it just seemed to be that's how things felt to me. So I grew up knowing comfortably that, okay, things happen. And of course, I was always interested in these kind of subjects anyway. Other things that would happen sometimes there would be some sounds, footsteps, that kind of thing, that you think, oh, someone came in, you go, look, no one else is there. That kind of thing. My mother had an experience that startled her, and for a long time, she really my mother was a very skeptical person for a long time. Everything had to be rational. Everything had to have a here now explanation.
[00:07:30.260] - Lisa
I think the first thing that kind of made her start thinking maybe she wasn't going to be able to keep that belief forever was she walked into her bedroom one day. I think. Carrying laundry or something. And turns around. And there's a man standing there who she said was dressed in late 1800s attire. Is what she described. With formal shirt and a vest and trousers. And he was older and had a receiving hairline. She said he just looked real, and she just startled her, and she jumped and actually dropped what she was carrying. And when she kind of shrieked, then he disappeared.
[00:08:21.400] - Ben
[00:08:22.080] - Lisa
And we spent several years with that story came up, her saying, I don't know, I had to have imagined it, maybe it was a daydream, et cetera. And she did that for a long time, but you could tell that she kind of wondered too. And then later on she had experiences that she finally said, okay, something's going on. But things would happen on not only in the house, but on land. There'd be times that animals would react as if something was there that no one could see, tracking something even like an open field, etc. For sometimes everything going dead quiet, almost like there's a predator there. But from any indication, you didn't have any coyotes or mountain lions or anything else coming through that just didn't quite square up. And probably the most vivid things that would happen is that we would camp sometimes down by the river, which we figured out later was where the settlement was and where some of the more active Civil War fighting occurred there. And during the day everything would be fine, and sometimes at night too. It didn't happen every time, but the first time it happened, we were camping.
[00:10:06.490] - Lisa
We had a camp fire going. Our dog was down there. She was a boxer, and she was not afraid to go anywhere. She'd go running through the woods, et cetera, on her own or chase a rabbit or whatever. But that day, as the sun started going down, she started acting different than she normally would. She seemed guarded, very watchful. Sometimes the hair in the back of her neck would stand up, and as it got dark, I noticed she would not venture beyond the ring of light from the campfire, which was not like her. She would normally still go its floor at night otherwise, but we still thought, okay, odd, but you don't think that much about it. We end up going to sleep, and it's about two in the morning and there's five of us camping. And I remember waking up to the sounds of people running, and I thought, well, that's really weird. And I kind of sit up and everyone's there and a couple of other people are starting to wake up hearing the same things. And it sounded like a good number of people running through the underbrush on different directions around us.
[00:11:39.670] - Lisa
And then at first I thought, oh, is it deer? And then you listen and it's definitely Bipedal.
[00:11:46.380] - Ben
[00:11:47.110] - Lisa
And Sadie, our dog, I look over and she's sitting in front of the tent just inside, just guarded and tents, and just starts growling very lowly and ends up backing up into the tent in front of everybody, like she's guarding everyone. And this went on for probably five minutes. And this happened before we ever knew exactly the details of the battle. So fast forward. Years later, I'm an adult researching, and I find the details on the battle and realize, thinking back where this is taking place. You had a running battle between the Union and the Confederate soldiers, and they described it as being close enough to hear each other breathing and running through and everything and realize where we would camp was exactly where this was going on.
[00:13:05.530] - Ben
That is really something that will really give you a lot of pause for thought, won't it? When you draw those connections, that is remarkable. Lisa so today we're going to be talking mostly about Haunted Joplin, which came out about ten years ago, but it came out right around the same time as several of your other books. And it seems as though that you actually published a little cluster of books on the paranormal right around those years 20 12, 20 13, 20 14, that sort of thing. Before we get to Haunted Joffin, will you tell us just a little about these other books that you were working on at the same time so listeners can kind of get a sense of what your research interest was back then?
[00:13:53.810] - Lisa
Okay. The first book that came out was Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri, which covered a lot of the history, battles and things going on in southwest Missouri during the war and then the ghost stories that came out of it. And then Hannah Joplin was the next one. There was another one in there that was in the Wicked series, missouri's Wicked, Route 66. And then I published Hana Carthage, Missouri. And Carthage is not too far from Joplin, and so they all center on southwest Missouri.
[00:14:38.810] - Ben
You write that this area has a wide variety of unusual phenomena dating back to the early 1800s when written records began to be kept. You say that there are plenty of usage accounts, but that they were more oral in nature. So we don't have quite as many of those sort of transcribed. We have a few, but maybe not as many as the early settlers know.
[00:15:03.570] - Lisa
[00:15:04.410] - Ben
I was curious because you say this echoes a conversation that we had with Peter Zablocki a week or so ago. You write that this area enjoyed and in some cases still enjoys a high degree of folklorish beliefs, things like ghostblack dogs, like phantom cabins, which I love. The witch pegs the kind of traditional superstitious beliefs he was writing in the Revolutionary War era along the Atlantic Seaboard. But you're writing in an area which it struck me is much more remote and distant from, say, major urban centers. Right. And so I was curious, what connections do you see between, say, the remoteness of the area you're describing in southwestern Missouri and the kind of evolution or development or continuity of these folklorish beliefs?
[00:16:01.240] - Lisa
Well, I think there is a direct relationship because when you mentioned folklore, et cetera, on the Atlantic Seaboard in the 17 hundreds, a lot of the people who were settled there at that time then started moving west or south and then west and a lot of the settlers in this area came south and then up through Tennessee, Kentucky, and over into the Ozarks. And the area, particularly early on was rather secluded, not only population wise, but also geographically because it's a pretty rugged territory. And so earlier on, people settlers who came through often, if they stayed, they often were people who were escaping something from further east, whether it was tragedy or running from the law, that kind of thing, they were looking to get away. Then you start having a few families coming in, settling. So you have an area that was heavily populated with native tribes, but a lot of the area they would not permanently inhabit. They would migrate through different areas during hunting season, et cetera. And so you had some permanent Indian settlements, but not that many. And so you would get a lot of early settlers running into the Native Americans.
[00:17:55.600] - Lisa
It's changing lore. And ironically, there were a lot of similar themes, and a lot of the settlers were Scotch Irish, which they carried their folklore from the old countries, from the British Isles over. And so you had a long standing belief in things like ghosts and witchcraft and booger dogs and things like that, so that they brought those beliefs with them and use them contextually to explain their surroundings and what things that happened here. And since it took longer for a lot of more of the commercial transportation to get through, because railroads tended to go around this region for a while because they were hard to build through the mountains and so forth, you retained that sense of older place and belief longer, I think.
[00:19:05.550] - Ben
And you also have a very interesting history of conflict in the region. You write to that by the time of the Civil War and the tensions surrounding the secession and the Confederacy came to armed conflict, of course, it was a prominent area for skirmishes. What was interesting. Though. Is that you write that the mixed loyalties of locals. Some were Union sympathizers and others were Confederate sympathizers that led to this kind of longstanding tension in the area where you would have. Say. A Unionizer sympathizer harboring a runaway slave. And then they would be found out. And then the Confederates would come and hunt them. The ball nodders and that sort of thing. That history of conflict is fertile ground for, as you say, the residual entities or the spirits that were not at rest.
[00:20:09.640] - Lisa
I should say, though, when you mentioned the ball knobbers, that is a little later, that's late 1870s, 1880s, and actually the ball nobles were all former Union men, were they?
[00:20:23.440] - Ben
Okay, I may have misunderstood that.
[00:20:25.910] - Lisa
Yeah, I think people often associate ball numbers because of the mass with more racist groups later, but they tended to be Union men who and it started out more as community grassroots law enforcement because during the war, basically all law enforcement had evaporated from southwest Missouri. And so even after the war, and particularly Tanya and Christian County, which were even more rugged than exactly where I am, it took a long time for basically things to be rebuilt. And so you just had a lot of outlawing and businessmen professionals actually started the ballnobbers as a way of trying to police ourselves until law enforcement became effective again. And then in certain instances, it got out of hand, got you, and so that's where that went. But again, it goes to the ruggedness of the territory which led to those things.
[00:21:41.830] - Ben
Well, you'll forgive a Mississippian who has heard accounts of vigilantes wearing masks and riding on horses for getting that a little mixed up. So thank you for clearing that up for me.
[00:21:53.820] - Lisa
Yeah, you're good. And it is a common assumption, and I think that is just part of as that story has evolved people, it fits certain motifs and so that has become sort of the pop culture version.
[00:22:16.090] - Ben
So let's shift towards the more present day experiences that you have been investigating, some of which have ties to that era and which have throwbacks or as you say, residual entities. The first sort of briefcase I wanted to ask you about was Royal Heights. You mentioned your investigation of a young boy's experience named Bobby, and that is a really curious case that the Paranormal Science Lab went in search of. Pretty unsettling, actually. Once you start getting into the details, will you tell us what happened at Royal Heights?
[00:23:00.040] - Lisa
Yeah, Royal Heights is a neighborhood in the jobwin area and it's actually a very old area. The original Butterfield stage route actually had a line through Royal Heights and the stage stop was there. And so it was one of few rows roads that was really traveled in the 1850s and 1860s. And then when the war broke out, it was also used for troop movement through the area. And one of the early stories that comes out of that area is that we do know that there were some soldiers that were executed along the stage road in Roll Heights and were hammed. It's interesting because of course, particularly on the frontier out here, you didn't have detailed daily reports the way you did in the eastern theaters and you just didn't have the number of people involved. And if you've ever seen a Civil War field desk, which is like a lectern that you would have to carry around, you can understand why they didn't get done. So we do know it happened. It happened along the road in Royal Heights, but we can't say it was this tree. But the story grew up in the area that the tree remained and that's probably because the area became depopulated during the war.
[00:24:45.700] - Lisa
People, if they weren't fighting, they left. Many were starving. There was a scorched earth policy used by both sides, so there just weren't too many people left to deal with things going back to the folklore issue. One lore tastes that if you have a hanging tree, and this goes even back to the British Isles, if there was a hanging tree afterwards, the locals would cut it down because the lore went, it would become haunted. And that made sense with British and Celtic floor that along with trees, were homes for elemental spirits and so they were very active. The old superstition of knocking on wood for luck comes from that. You would knock on a tree to wake up the elemental spirit, to ask for protection and guidance. And so you would cut down a hanging tree so that you didn't bother the spirits and that the spirit of the hayman wouldn't linger there. The story goes that basically the hanging tree stayed and no one really over time it's been lost as to what tree it was and how long it stood. It theoretically can still be standing, so it kind of fits the area.
[00:26:18.100] - Lisa
There are quite a few stories of homes being haunted in the area, that kind of thing. Some that you can point to something that happened in the the family there and some that are a little harder to pinpoint a cause. This particular situation we were called in by a young family. They had a young son and they had lived there for several years at that point. And as the boy became a toddler, they started noticing things like particularly in the bathroom, if they were giving him a bath or something, he sometimes would act frightened that they couldn't explain. It wasn't that he was scared of the water type thing and he would watch a particular corner up around the ceiling. And as he started being able to talk, he would talk back to it and like, no, no, that kind of thing. And then things started sort of escalating and they had a toddler bedtress. The way it fit in there, it was kind of counter sunk so that it couldn't slide around. So the top of the mattress was actually below a little lip all the way around the bed. So one evening parents are in the bedroom and they hear a big thud, crashing sound and run in the other room.
[00:28:05.210] - Lisa
And the baby, the boy, he's about two at this point, is sitting in the middle of the floor with his eyes biggest saucers. And the mattress was tipped as if someone had taken one side of it and flipped it and kind of flung him out. There's no way that he could have done that. It was too heavy. We tried recreating it. They had a photo of what they found and it would take a pretty strong man to have done this. And the way the bed was sitting, it would be almost impossible to do to be able to get a hold of him do that. Then the boy started. At first they thought it was an imaginary friend started talking to someone and he kept and he called this friend Jackson, and they thought it was odd because that's not a typical name. It was not the name of anyone that they knew. They had no idea where he would have come up with the name Jackson. Then they kind of started figuring out over time that this wasn't just a playful thing, that the boy would argue with Jackson, and he started acting afraid of him, that Jackson was trying to hurt him, you know, things like that.
[00:29:42.910] - Lisa
And they had never been able to see anything or anything. Then the parents started experiencing a few things. They started hearing noises and so on and so forth. At that point they thought, well, maybe it is haunted. And so they end up calling us in. And what we were able to find through research was that the house had been built around the turn of the century. And in I believe it was in the mid 40s, there was a fire in the house which someone did pass away. And when they fit the house and remodeled and built onto it, we figured out where from the from the fire department reports where they found the person who passed.
[00:30:44.440] - Ben
Oh, interesting. Okay.
[00:30:48.340] - Lisa
Where the bathroom was. Now, the bathroom hadn't been there at that time. The layout was different, but where the bathroom is is where this person had passed. And so we ended up kind of thinking that what the boy was seeing in the bathroom probably was this person. And we got EVPs that were pretty clear of a man's voice saying that, yes, he's the one who scared the boy. He didn't like the boy. He didn't want him there, he didn't like the parents, and basically that he was just trying to get them out. And it was very responsive as far as on point to things that you would say and then a responsive EVP, whereas a lot of times you get things that seem to be random, non responsive. What's your name? It's cold as a response, those kind of things that are just seem to be residual. This seemed to be very much aware of what was being asked and responding to it.
[00:32:15.660] - Ben
That's fascinating. Do you still have those recordings?
[00:32:21.110] - Lisa
We probably do have some of those on backup drive somewhere. Still, it's been a number of years.
[00:32:28.620] - Ben
Well, I couldn't help but wonder after I read this account, I mean, it's a little unusual to have a spirit take a malicious stance towards a child, right? I mean, the children are supposed to be the innocent ones in these sorts of accounts. But I was curious, do you have any idea whether that family stayed at Royal Heights or did they do the smart thing?
[00:32:55.090] - Lisa
I know they did, at least for a while. I think they did move eventually, but I know at least for about six months or so afterwards that they were still there. I had some information later that made me think that they had moved. And I kind of got the sense that it was someone that was very possessive of, this is my house, this is my space. A lot of times people will jump to the conclusion that something like that, oh, it's evil, it's demonic, it's something like that. I didn't get that sense. I got the sense that this is someone, that this is my space. You're in my space. They may have been just a Cromogen in life. I often say a jerk in life is usually a jerk in the afterlife. That's how it came across. You're not supposed to be here, and I'm going to do I can to get you out. Kind of getting rid of unwanted trying to get the unwanted guests to leave that won't leave.
[00:34:06.790] - Ben
Yeah, absolutely. This one is interesting because it has some parallels with a number of the other cases in your book. And the one that it sort of overlapped with the most as I was reading was the case of the Prosperity School in bed and breakfast, which it's an extensive investigation. It's one of the longest, actually, in haunted Joplin, and its background is of sort of almost typical for the time, sort of a mining story of obscene wealth that then eventually led to decline and sat derelict and vacant, and then it was renovated later in its life. And Prosperity is interesting because it's a useful case study, right? I mean, you mentioned a number of concepts in the science labs investigation that feature prominently in all of your research. You have sort of methods and tools which seem to recur, but they were very visible during your sojourn into the Prosperity School. So I'd like to take those in turn. First, just give us a quick overview of what Prosperity School was. And then I'm going to ask you kind of lightning round style, sort of what some of the tools and tricks and methods and devices and so forth that came up were.
[00:35:35.590] - Lisa
Sure. The school house was built in. Prosperity was a mining camp. The Joplin area was the largest lead zinc mining field in the world. And so you would have camps pop up different places if they thought it was likely to hit something. And that's what happened there. And they hit pay dirt. There were seven or eight pretty lucrative minds going. And so you had enough people right there that they decided to build a school, two story brick school house, and was in use for decades and then got absorbed into larger school district. And that building ended up standing empty, went to deterioration, disrepair, got to the point where kids would go out there looking for ghosts and that kind of thing, and then eventually was purchased and redone and turned into a bed and breakfast. And the interesting thing about that is they retained as much of the character of the schoolhouse as they could, but yet turning it into not only a bed and breakfast, but the owners lived in part of it. And the decor featured a lot of items from the school, from history related to the area and so forth.
[00:37:27.860] - Ben
Let me just make sure I got this right. When you stay there, you were sleeping in old classrooms that had been converted into they were old bedrooms.
[00:37:40.230] - Lisa
Okay, yes, they had been converted into small suites, bedroom suites, but they were former classes.
[00:37:49.480] - Ben
Okay. Because listeners may well recall our interview with Alison Chase about a month or so ago in which she told us about a really spooky haunted basement classroom at Arasmas Hall in Brooklyn, New York, and a pretty wild account of something that happened down there. And ever since hearing Alison talk about it, and now reading your account, and I've just thought, an old classroom is basically the last place I would like to spend the night. Sort of somewhere give me, like, an abandoned mining shaft any day of the week after that.
[00:38:26.890] - Lisa
It's not the only school that I've investigated it's either. I don't know what it is about.
[00:38:32.650] - Ben
Yes. I don't know, and I don't want to find out. Lisa, so you mentioned these trigger objects. Okay, this is lightning round question number one. You mentioned trigger objects at Prosperity. What are those and why are they significant?
[00:38:47.510] - Lisa
Trigger objects are things that you introduce to the space and the investigation that hopefully would be familiar to any ghosts that are likely to be there. And at Prosperity, they were all around because they had accumulated a large collection of items from the school and its years of being in a school house. So you had school records, you had deaths, you had all of the little things that would have been in a school that, if someone was there, that had been there while it was a school, would recognize. And so you would utilize those things as a trigger for the memory of a ghost. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
[00:39:46.080] - Ben
Okay, that's fair. It's important to keep our skeptical hats maybe not totally snugly around us, but just sort of loose fitting for the time being. Now, shadow persons, what are shadow persons? You've already mentioned them in a different context, but what exactly are they? Because you did have one there.
[00:40:06.640] - Lisa
Yes. Shadow persons, or shadow people are sort of think of the negative image of an apparition. They appear as pure lack of light, more than shadow, because they tend to be darker than the darkness. Even in total darkness, often you can actually see them against total darkness. You could be in a basement with no light, and you still can see that shadow person. Think of a black hole. It's absorbing light almost. And you usually see them in a human outline form. Some are more detailed than others. It's a rough outline. Others I've seen where you could literally see the edges. Of a shirt tucked into pants and a hat, things like that. And there are shadow people at the school. Actually, the very first time I was in there for a preliminary walkthrough before first time I investigated, the owners and three of us, me and to their investigators, were standing in to the dining room, which originally was the school cafeteria. And we're standing there talking, and I'm standing sort of catacorner from the doorway. And the doorway opens into the main hallway in the school. And as we're standing there talking, I see movement out of the corner of my eye.
[00:41:49.950] - Lisa
And I look up and I see what looks like someone moving towards the doorway, coming towards the doorway, and a shadow comes to the doorway and literally kind of leans in and like, pokes his head in, looks around and then continues down the hallway.
[00:42:09.460] - Ben
Okay, well, that's a little spooky.
[00:42:13.990] - Lisa
It appeared to be more of a woman's form, but the movement was very natural. It was just like a woman had walked down the hall and stopped Kylie like, oh, who's in here? And then continued on her way. Yeah.
[00:42:31.380] - Ben
Okay, so that was lightning round number two. Lightning round number three is you mentioned camera distortions in otherwise working equipment combined with phenomena like sudden inexplicable battery drain help us to figure that out.
[00:42:50.740] - Lisa
Yes. And particularly in one of the bedroom suites, you would set up cameras and things would seem to be working perfectly, and then suddenly the feed on that camera would be distorted. And it wasn't necessarily just pixelation. It was very odd. It was almost like almost a film over the lens at times. And then sometimes it would be some sort of distortion in the field that just seemed to kind of float through. But it wasn't something form that you can say, oh, that's a light or something. But it was just distortion that you couldn't explain. And you would change out the camera, and while that would be going on, you might do three or four cameras and it would do the same thing. So you change the cables, everything, every factor you would change, and it would continue to do that. It was also a room that people had the most experiences of being touched, not only during investigations, but people who would stay guests. Guests would report waking up in the middle of the night and feeling like the covers were being tugged. Or one guest reported she had come into town for business and spent the night.
[00:44:35.220] - Lisa
And during the middle of the night, she kind of was roused and had a sensation of child crawling into bed next to her. And she said she was so sleepy, it didn't hit her that she wasn't at home and her kids weren't there. So it was like, oh, Jimmy crawled into bed, she go back to sleep and woke up the next morning going, wait a minute.
[00:44:58.870] - Ben
Yeah, that's sort of extra spine tingling because in our conversation with Alison, who wrote Bizarre Brooklyn, she describes one of the events that kind of moved her needle was I'll let listeners go back and catch it for themselves if they haven't heard that story. But it also involves a child and a child sort of crawling up into her lap when there was no child present and sort of her lapel being tugged and that presence searching for an adult for either comfort or for dare I say it, something more nefarious. Right. Who knows? But it's the same kind of same kind of motion there. So that's a little intense. Okay, moving on. Round four. Round four. EVPs, you've mentioned already, and we've discussed a little bit in previous interviews, but here you claim to have interacted with an entity through your flashlights. Now, I could not help but think of season one of Stranger Things with Will in the walls, right, with the lights and Winona Ryder. I mean, you did this years before the Duffer brothers got their hands on the idea. But can you just tell us what you were? You were sitting on the floor and you disconnect flashlights, but then they magically turn on what's going on here?
[00:46:25.610] - Lisa
Okay, there's definitely with flashlight lights, sure. And we tend to use mag whites because of their construction, because there's something that if you're push button and they require a spring to operate, that kind of thing. There's just a lot of variables too. But maglites are aircraft, great aluminum and I actually talked to engineers about this, trying to figure out, OK, how is this working? Why does this happen? Because what you do is if you take a maglite and you take the cap off like you're going to change the bulb, the default position is on. If you actually read it on the packages, you can set a maglite in its cap and set it down and it's candlelight mode because it will always stay on. So you can use a camping or whatever and there's an oring and it's a pretty heavy oring that sits on the housing that when you put the cap on and rotate it down, it pushes that down. You actually have to do that to break the battery gap. The battery gap is always on, otherwise and so most skeptics will say, well, if the lights coming on and off, there has to be physical movement.
[00:48:17.660] - Lisa
And either the case is flat scene somehow and it's thermodynamics it's temperature variation. Well, talking to engineers, they consistently always told, well, for that to happen, you'd have to have an energy exchange that would release about 2000 degrees of heat. So that's not happening.
[00:48:40.950] - Ben
You would feel that little sunburn, just.
[00:48:46.170] - Lisa
A little just a little crispy. And ironically, when you are doing the VB sessions and you have a light that starts going on and off quite a bit, almost invariably it will be the case will be ice cold in comparison to say another one that's interesting. It will get colder, not hot. Some will say, oh, it's vibration. One thing that we tend to do is we'll set the lights and put them out and then literally bang on the table. If they're on the table, stomp on the floor, et cetera, to see if it reduces response.
[00:49:29.680] - Ben
Right? Yeah, right.
[00:49:34.840] - Lisa
And if it does, we pull that flashlight, we throw it away. And so it's not something that is going to happen with just vibration of in a room or someone walking across the room, that kind of thing. And what is interesting to me is we'll just set them, and a lot of times we'll use several and then just go about and go about an EVP session and see what happens. And there are places that you don't get anything. My house, for example, I've set lights up on camera 24 hours a day. I have never had flashlight go on and off in this house. And there are a number of people who have seen full body apparitions in my house, in my house who've never been here before. I've had a couple who ended up running into someone in the hallway, going to the bathroom, but they don't interact. But there are places that something does manipulate. And so what we tend to do is if you're starting to get reactions that seem to be really timed with a particular question, what we will do is then spaced out through questions. We will ask that question again, and then we will phrase it differently.
[00:51:14.060] - Lisa
So that we're looking for are we getting internally consistent responses to questions over time in EVP?
[00:51:24.210] - Ben
It's kind of a measure of repeatability, which is, okay, that's interesting, right?
[00:51:30.260] - Lisa
Yeah. So if you ask the question over the course of a couple of hours, if you ask the question ten times and you get a hit off of it once, it's probably random. But if you start getting hits consistently over time, that becomes interesting.
[00:51:52.990] - Ben
Now, I'll have to confess, as I read your account, we'll talk more about that next week with the Conor Hotel. But as I read your account, there was one phrase that sort of stuck out in my mind as I was reading, and the phrase was, I'm going to quote here. Unfortunately, no anomalies were captured on camera equipment. And at least I have to say I was sad too. I was kind of sad too. I kind of thought that that was unfortunate. I was really looking forward to seeing some sort of shadow person outline or just give us something to work with here. I was a little disappointed. What can I say? Not at you, but with you. Let me ask you this. That's the end of our lightning round. And I'm curious because several weeks ago we had a good conversation with author Brian Clooney, who is one of your colleagues when it comes to interviewing excuse me, who is one of your colleagues when it comes to researching the history of the Mother Road, Route 66. And he takes up the Mother Road at its western terminus, of course, where it enters California and kind of digs into the ghost towns and the old mining towns that sort of dot the landscape, following the rail line and so forth.
[00:53:21.960] - Ben
Now, in his book, he writes that some of the ghost towns are still a little hard to find. Some of the ghost towns are still there. You can still visit them today, but with prosperity, with your case here, unfortunately, it's not possible. I looked into it and it closed in about 2016, which is really sad to say. But here's my question. Now that it's vacant, number one, do you think that that would increase activity there? Or number two, does that justify another investigation? Is it time to bring the flashlights out again?
[00:54:07.160] - Lisa
I would love to, except for it closed because one of the owners passed away and then her husband ended up selling it and it sat for a while. Currently, very recently, it's been sold and a family is living in it as a private residence, which I find very interesting. And I think that over time, activity will hype and up there, because of that, I would be very interested. But I respect their privacy and they know they can reach out if they decide to. But to me, a location like that now being a private residence, my guess is that over time, activity will have.
[00:54:57.130] - Ben
You done the honorable thing and given this family your research to make sure that they know what they're getting into?
[00:55:07.010] - Lisa
My understanding from the former owner was that he enlightened them when he sold it to them.
[00:55:13.630] - Ben
One can only hope. Lisa, we are going to pick up right here next week on Crime Capsule. Thank you again for joining us, and we'll see you in a week's time.