[00:00:01.140] - Ben
Lisa, welcome back one last time to Crime Capsule for the last episode of our series on the paranormal.
[00:00:11.890] - Lisa
Thank you. It's a pleasure.
[00:00:14.590] - Ben
In this series, we have had a real spectrum of different stances on the weird and the uncanny and the spooky. And I have a slightly longer question for you here, so bear with me. But I want to COVID just a little bit of ground of where we've been before I ask it. So Darren Edwards, at the very beginning of the series, writing out of Utah, he said he leaned skeptic more than believer, but he still had a few questions about certain things. Okay. That was sort of the position of Gail Socheck as well up in Lake Michigan, primarily holding her tongue on whether the veil was parted. But she had a few things that she couldn't explain either, like sort of strange disappearances and so forth over the Lake Michigan Triangle. Okay. Then Allison Chase up in New York, in Brooklyn, she said she was pretty committed as a historian and as a skeptic until that one particular experience moved her needle, that sort of ghostly childcalling up her jacket at the Stanley Hotel. Peter Zablocki, who we just interviewed, he's a straight historian. No bones about that. And Brian Kuhn, who we spoke to last month, he's actually done the same thing that you have.
[00:01:41.800] - Ben
He has founded an investigatory agency, and he's pretty openminded towards the weird stuff. All right, so we got kind of the real range. Reconcile for us, Lisa, the two sides of your brain the paranormal investigator and the strict rationalist, the attorney who relies on fact patterns and narrow definitions of evidence rather than inferences and speculation and wishful thinking and emotive reactions. Do you compartmentalize these two approaches into their separate domains, or do you actually hold both domains of your work to the same set of standards?
[00:02:35.740] - Lisa
Interesting question. And I hold them together. I think one of the hallmarks of critical thinking is being able to hold two potentially contradictory thoughts in your mind at the same time. And often what we find is that it's not really contradictory. We just haven't figured out how they fit together yet. So, on one hand, the open minded possible believer form of me comes from personal experiences, from growing up and through investigating. And how I usually tell people is, look, we all know things happen in places that we can't explain. It's what you do with that? For me, I then I try to look at it as rationally and objectively as possible, and I do use those critical thinking skills of what possibilities are there that explain this, that are the mundane, the everyday, that are environmental, manmade causes, et cetera. If you exclude those possibilities, then you've got something unusual. Then it's, what is the case? And I tend to look at those from a perspective. Something is going on. I don't always leap to the conclusion of it's a ghost in the sense of a human spirit. I also think there's a lot of research going on, particularly in quantum physics, that touches on these issues that they're finding a lot of things that, for instance, every point in time mutually co exist.
[00:04:36.810] - Ben
You're thinking of entanglement, the theory of entanglement.
[00:04:40.240] - Lisa
Yeah. Spooky entanglement. Also, parallel dimensions have been proven theoretically that there are theories evolving that basically two points in time can basically bump into each other. So we may not be experiencing something that happened 100 years ago per se, but we kind of brush up against that moment in time as if you're walking down the sidewalk and brush against someone's shoulder by accident. And they may be having a similar experience in that other point in time. So for me, does that mean, quote, it's paranormal? Yes, in the sense that it's not a normal experience. Is it a lingering ghost? Not necessarily. I don't rule out that possibility that that can happen, but we just aren't to a point of knowing. We don't have enough information at this point. But to deny that things happen I think is kind of foolish. It's always easy to say that couldn't have happened, someone was mistaken. And I'll be the first one put my attorney hat on saying, yes, witness accounts can be unreliable and something can happen. The old psychology experiment of you have 100 people in a room, someone walks in holding a gun and they have a preplanned narrative that happens, they walk out.
[00:06:32.020] - Lisa
Then you ask 100 people what happened and you will get different answers. The question is how many in that room came the closest of what happened? If you repeat it, how many people get that kind of experience? So if you have something that happens in a space that literally hundreds of people have experienced over time right. That becomes much more interesting.
[00:07:01.030] - Ben
Right. And that's something that I have tried to, I hope, gently needle some of our guests about is the notion of repeatability. Right. That you can visit these places in the American landscape or that have traveled through time in American history to reach us with their different residences and that it's possible to go to the town of Calico right, in California or now a new family lives in the Prosperity School Bed and Breakfast and may experience these things again. And I'm just kind of curious as to what further empirical testing we can pursue on places that claim this kind of duration or longevity or consistency of repertage.
[00:07:50.510] - Lisa
Well, I think there are things that can be done. It's a matter of when as institutions, scientific inquiry decides to put resources towards it. Ironically, this was more this was taken more seriously 100 years ago than it is now. Intellectuals like Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison took the paranormal very seriously and were all of the opinion that once science decided to take the study seriously that inroads would be made for answers. But it's going to take a large think tank, university governmental agency to be able to do research on the scope and being able to control variables because it's going to cost money and that's what it comes down to. And because even though someplace light the prosperity bed and breakfast, you have things that happen on a regular basis. But if you go there Tuesday, something may happen Wednesday. That particular thing may not happen, but it may happen again on Friday. So it's repeatable, but you're also rolling the dice up if you are there one time you may be there on a day that happens or you may not. And so it's consistency. It's going to take time, resources. And at this point in time our society has decided this is not something that we think that we're going to devote that kind of study to.
[00:09:49.540] - Ben
I'm going to paraphrase an old philosophy joke about there is hope, but not for us. It is repeatable, but not by us.
[00:09:59.210] - Lisa
At least not on Tuesday.
[00:10:00.600] - Ben
Right? Not on Tuesday. Let's take a look at two quick cases before today's biggie. I want to look at a case which is very old in southwestern Missouri, the Spook Light. And then I want to take a look at a case which is very, very recent of the butterfly people. So first, the spook light. Where is this, what is it and have you seen it?
[00:10:26.960] - Lisa
Okay, the Spook Light is a phenomenon that is seen over several square miles right along the Missouri Oklahoma border. Originally it was seen mostly on the Missouri side around a little hamlet that actually isn't there anymore, but it was called Hornet, hornet Missouri. So it originally was known as the Hornet Spook. But even back in the 1800s it would be seen over approximately ten square mile area. But that's kind of where the cluster of experiences were. Then it moved a little west and slightly north and was seen along what is known as County Road 40 on the Oklahoma side. And beginning in about the 1920s through about the 1940s, that was where it was predominantly seen. And interestingly enough, there was some effort made to scientifically study it. Several universities sent teams in. The Corps of Engineers was brought in, the army was brought in trying to ascertain what it was, the Spooky one. They never came up with an answer.
[00:11:51.630] - Ben
Yeah, I can imagine that. The Corps of Engineers here I am thinking out of our New Orleans contacts that they're going to try to build a levy around it, capture it.
[00:12:02.740] - Lisa
They're doing these things trying to figure this out. And then it moves slightly south about and was seen a lot on what is County Road 50, which is a mile south, county Road 40. And that became known as Spook Light Road.
or the spook light gets lost, you know exactly where to find it.
[00:13:31.930] - Lisa
[00:13:34.480] - Ben
[00:13:37.030] - Lisa
And that's the thing, is that it became a real folklore focal point in the area and a rite of passage for decades. People took their kids out there and you would park along the 50 road and look for the spook light. Teenagers would go down looking for it. On any particular weekend or evening, you might have 100 cars down there. And so it really was not only a phenomenon that was going on, but a community experience. This isn't something that one person saw ten years ago or maybe two people. When you talk about people's experiences with a spook light, you literally have tens of thousands of people over time and bad experiences. So again, it's repeatability. We don't necessarily know the cause, but it's definitely repeatable. And it's viewed in a number of spots facing all directions. So some people will say, oh, it's an optical illusion from this or that. Well, if so, it's an optical illusion in a lot of places with a lot of variables.
[00:14:58.390] - Ben
Yeah. And that you write has lasted for something like, at least in our recorded occurrences of it, 170 years, which is yeah, that's really something. Now let's take a look at an event, an occurrence, an entity. I'm not really sure what the noun here is, which is not repeatable, which did only seem to happen once. But what's curious about it is that you have these multiple independent witnesses who have no motivation to lie. So tell us about the butterfly people.
[00:15:37.850] - Lisa
The butterfly people, it's very unique because it happened it's one of those it happened once experiences, but in such a way that you can't just be discounted. And this was during the 2011 Joplin tornado, fi tornado, one of the worst in American history. And it hit Joplin unexpectedly. They did not expect a tornado. They thought it was a rain cloud. And it happened at a very bad time as well, because there were multiple high school graduations going on that day. It was a Sunday, early evening. It hit at 05:41 p.m.. The largest high school in the area was having graduation and a couple of others, and it hit the southwest edge of town. And the Weather Channel, everyone still thought, even on Doppler, they thought it was just rain and it was turning north. One, it didn't turn north, and it wasn't just rain, and literally hit the largest building in town, a nine story hospital, and took out two thirds of it and moved it off its foundation, then proceeded to stay on ground for 13 miles through town, destroyed over 90 structures. And then you had thousands of people out and about because of all these graduations and so forth, that normally wouldn't be out on the road.
[00:17:29.750] - Lisa
And the only way that I can describe the scene is that the Job One, which is a town of 500 people, literally in the tornado zone, looked like photos of bombed cities in World War II, right to the point that I've lived here all my life. And this would went on for well, as things were rebuilt, that you would be driving along a street, you've driven it thousands of times, and you would lose track of where you were because there literally were no landmarks.
[00:18:11.370] - Ben
[00:18:11.830] - Lisa
And so you had to stop and think, what street am I at? Because all the street signs were pulled out of the ground, bark was pulled off trees, and you could see across town about 7 miles, just empty land.
[00:18:31.580] - Ben
[00:18:35.080] - Lisa
That's the level of destruction. So what happened was that there were dozens of reports of the butterfly people in the immediate aftermath within just the hours after the tornado, as people are being rescued and showing up at the other area hospitals. And the witnesses were all children, typically younger children, under about ten years old. And they told remarkably consistent stories to first responders and to personnel in the Ers. They said that the butterfly people came to help them. One description of a little girl was she and her family had taken refuge in a hallway, and that they could feel she was feeling the wind, that part of the roof had been torn off. There's debris flying around them. And then she said the butterfly person came and basically stood over them, and that basically all of the wind went away. They didn't feel anything flying around anymore, and that basically they held them down. The butterfly person held them down in place so they didn't get sucked out of the house. And very similar accounts, consistently, they were described as being looking like a person made of light, taller than a regular person, with butterfly wings.
[00:20:24.350] - Lisa
And I always found it interesting not one described them as an angel, which we are in the middle of the Bible Belt. I would have expected someone children to say, angel came to save us. They didn't. It was the butterfly people.
[00:20:43.210] - Ben
[00:20:45.280] - Lisa
And they all described feeling very calm, comforted that everything was going to be okay. And it was so consistent that now there are butterfly installations everywhere and murals and so forth, that if you didn't know the background, you would wonder, why is Joplin the butterfly city? But that's why is because of those accounts. And it was also very interesting because they would be talking about being terrified. And then when the butterfly person arrived, they were calm. They weren't scared anymore. They knew it was going to be okay.
[00:21:32.530] - Ben
I mean, this is weird for a couple of reasons, and really almost more than any other case in your book, Lisa, this sort of just left me scratching my head thinking, what on earth was going on here? And it's weird because children are not great witnesses. I mean, they fabricate, they don't remember. They come up with all sorts of things. And in some cases, they absolutely have reasons to lie. I had an encounter with my six year old nephew not too long ago, which he's standing in the middle of the kitchen with chocolate all over his face claiming that someone else in the house ate the cookies. And you know, right, two plus two, buddy. Two plus two, guess what it equals. But in this particular case. When you have. As you write in your book. Multiple independent accounts of the same thing coming into the first responder tents and the aftermath and so forth. From children who didn't know one another. Who didn't collaborate on a story. Who had no encounter with one another previously. I mean. The volume of them plus the consistency of them across an entire urban area. That's just weird.
[00:22:52.830] - Ben
[00:22:54.350] - Lisa
It really is. And another factor is it's not even that this could have been a phone call chain of did you hear? Did you hear? Phone service is down. There's no electricity. You couldn't even get text messages through. So there literally was no way that they could have heard this from another. Someone in the family heard this, happened to someone else, and then they repeated it. This was almost as close to sort of a clinical situation, controlling variables as you can in something like this.
[00:23:40.160] - Ben
Yes. Strange. I'm going to have to do a little more digging into that on another occasion.
[00:23:49.550] - Lisa
I've never really found another example like this. Now, interesting that there is a second part to it. In the aftermath, people, again, without being able to communicate because communications were down, people who were not in the tornado zone. Basically, it was almost like in Stephen King of Stand, you just start gathering, went to Grant what became known as Round Zero on the main commercial road where several of the bid box stores had been leveled. Walmart, Home Depot, etc. E. And it became basically ground Zero command. And people just appeared. And first responders literally were taking volunteers. And my 19 year old son at the time was one. And basically, okay, you three people, you're together here's, Kansas spray paint. And I need you to go down these blocks, search every car, every house, and if you find a body, put this mark. If you find a survivor, put this mark. If it's cleared, put this mark, et cetera. And so how everyone ended up where they did no one can really explain. I mean, it's just one of those things that you can't explain this by. It was the Internet. It was telephone calls or anything.
[00:25:22.040] - Lisa
So you had this environment. So as people are out starting to look for survivors and survivors walking, there were people who were set to other houses and landed a mile from their house, things like that. Sure.
[00:25:35.470] - Ben
Phase one is always search and rescue, right?
[00:25:37.520] - Lisa
Yeah, exactly. So while you had people out walking and so forth, they started reporting seeing something else, that they would see a group of survivors walking down the street, trying to get where they thought there would be help. And they would see cloaked shadow people walking with them. And again, where you would think that people would be scared, would be terrified at these images. Consistently, their response was they were being guided. They were watching over the survivors. They were going with them until they got to help. And so it's almost like the close shadow people were the yang of the butterfly people. The butterfly people were helping keep them from being harmed, and the shadow people were looking after them afterwards, and they did not inspire any fear, any revulsion. It was like they were there to help.
[00:26:52.930] - Ben
Was there ever any I understand from the murals with the butterflies, yes, there were. But in the aftermath, did anyone try to sketch images? Were there any drawings? Were there any kind of visual captures of any of these entities?
[00:27:10.850] - Lisa
I saw a couple, and then I talked to some of the witnesses, and they would just describe them as a hooded cloaked figure, something that you imagine from the Middle Ages, all in black, but they never could see a face or anything. The area of the hood were empty. It's just all just dark, like a shadow person.
[00:27:42.050] - Ben
Very unsettling. Very unsettling and curious on multiple levels. In the few minutes that we have remaining, I wanted to take just a quick look at the Joplin Public Library precisely because, as we said last week, some of these places we can still visit to check out the residents, and others we can't. But the Joplin Public Library actually is a public library, and you can go and you can check out a book if you would so desire. So would you just give us a very brief overview of why the Joplin Public Library is now on your list of places to check out in haunted Joplin, Missouri?
[00:28:31.630] - Lisa
Well, they built another library, but the building is still there and still accessible, but actually used by the county and the university. So it is there and you can go through it. It's an interesting story because the library that was there was built 180, and it was never intended really to be there or be a library. The land was part of old downtown. There had been buildings there since the 1870s. And before the library was built, that block had about six buildings on it. But the majority of the block was taken up by the Connor Hotel. And it was a nine storey luxury hotel built in sits, which was actually built on the site of a previous hotel that had been there since the 1870s, which ironically was a three storey hotel that had been moved from Baxter Springs, Kansas in the 1870s. I can't even imagine that feat.
[00:29:54.350] - Ben
Yeah, that's a tricky one. I'm thinking Fitzgeraldo here, let's pull the boat over the mountain. Right? Let's do it.
[00:30:02.980] - Lisa
Pretty much. Pretty much. And so by the early 1900s they had decided to build a new hotel. There had been a couple built in town that were newer and the Joplin Hotel wanted to maintain its status as the nicest in town. And so they were building the new one. It was going to be the Joplin Hotel, but one of the principal owners, Thomas Connor, who was one of the early leaders in town, died during its construction of cancer. And so they decided to name it after him then. And it became the Connor Hotel and it was a landmark in town for decades. It was absolutely gorgeous. Just beautiful appointments. The lobby was all marble and just looked like something out of golden era Hollywood movie.
[00:31:07.630] - Ben
It was an extraordinary set of photographs in your book. I really loved looking at those. They weren't recreations, I mean they were just captured before it was torn down. And you think this is as classy and opulent as it gets. Beautiful.
[00:31:21.350] - Lisa
It really was. It really was. And then of course I had very nice restaurants, et cetera, stores and etc. R and so it was something that really kind of belongs to everybody. Everybody had a connection to the Connor for being there for this or that. And then during the late sixty s and early 70s during urban renewal, as hotels moved out to the interstate, there was decline in vacancies. So they decided to sell the building and new group bought the building and they started talking about tearing it down and replacing it with something new. And it was contentious. A lot of people did not want it replaced.
[00:32:15.900] - Ben
[00:32:17.300] - Lisa
So they started saying well, it's in such bad shape it would be too expensive to bring it back up. And ironically they hired a group of engineers to come in and they were hoping the engineers would say oh, it's going to take this, this and this, it's going to be so many millions of dollars so that they could say, see, we're justified. And I know this because my father was one of the engineers. That's not what they said. And the developers were not happy with the engineers report because they said no, it needs a few things, but it was not going to be that expensive. So they ignored that and continued their plans. And so they had a planned demolition and they had planned on taking it down. Just like you see when they take out those Las Vegas casinos and come down controlled explosions.
[00:33:18.420] - Ben
They are amazing to watch.
[00:33:20.530] - Lisa
Yes, well that's what was going to happen and in fact there was a big event planned and people were going to be block away or whatever and watch all this. It was going to be on a Sunday morning that this happened. So they're getting ready and Saturday night they are still setting some of the explosives in the basement. And part of doing this for controlled demolition is you cut partway into the support beams and the buildings so that they're weakened when the explosives go off. Well, the Conor Hotel had other ideas. It's almost as if it decided it was going to go out on its own terms. It came down early and there were three men in the basement working. Two of them were killed instantly. The other was trapped in a small cavity about 2ft high, 2ft wide and about ten or 12ft long. And at the other end of the cavity it was one of the other fellows who was killed instantly. It was so confident he couldn't turn over anything. He just literally was on his back and it took three days for them to find him. And so you had two people pass during the demolition.
[00:34:47.520] - Lisa
You had two people die actually during the construction of the hotel. One worker fell down the elevator shaft and passed. And another, there was a crane that was set up on the corner of the lot and it collapsed and killed somebody. So there were four people that passed in the construction and demolition. And then there were always stories of people who had died in the hotel. But in those days those things didn't really get reported in the paper because it was bad for business. So what we did find out is in the late sixty s. A. Concierge retired and he had worked there for over 50 years and he was kind of small of stature and of course being that age of a building, it was built with transcend windows over doors. So if they had a guest check in and then not check out, he had the dubious distinction of being the one they'd put through the transmitter to go find out what happened. And he said being interviewed by the paper on his retirement about the hotel and things he'd seen, that he knew of ten suicides in the hotel.
[00:36:07.450] - Ben
It's funny, as I was reading this there were so many residual entities, shall we say, so many sort of stories that were cut short, lives cut short associated with it. I frankly was not surprised when you guys went in and did your investigation that there would be this kind of sense of recurring presence over time. You all did a sort of full investigation. You brought the flashlights out, you did the EVPs, you did everything we talked about with prosperity. You brought the whole kitten caboodle a.
[00:36:38.560] - Lisa
Number of times, actually. Yeah, we were there a number of.
[00:36:41.030] - Ben
Times and I was struck by I want listeners to be able to read your account in full in the book. So we're not going to spoil everything as to what you found here, but I was struck by one claim that you mentioned. You have an alleged contact where you say you require a minimum of half an hour of engagement with a presumed entity in the now library space or in the library space at the time you were there. You say that if your flashlights start misbehaving and you're trying to sort of make contact, you say that you sit there for bare minimum half an hour before you begin to record this as legitimate. You don't allow like one little flicker to kind of say no. If you're asking questions and things are happening to this equipment that you've got, you might be dealing with something which we can't fully detect or see. So where did that figure come from? Why half an hour? Why an hour? That length of time, is that determined by other encounters or is it just sort of the practice that you've developed over the years?
[00:37:55.250] - Lisa
Kind of over the years? Because we found that in locations that there seems to be a lot of interaction on devices and certain presences do seem to be fascinated by electronic devices and get battery drain and things like that.
[00:38:12.070] - Ben
[00:38:14.230] - Lisa
What we have found too is that when you introduce things like flashlights, sometimes it takes a bit for whatever's there to start interacting consistently with it. It's almost like figuring it out, using something for the first time. And how does this work? And so sometimes it will start out and it seems kind of random or not sure, was that responsive to that question or not? So we don't get too excited until we start getting internally consistent responses over a period of time. And so and we've just kind of find at least half an hour with, you know, a good number of consistent responses is when we start saying, okay, this is probably more than just something random or something just kind of playing. What does this do? Like a location?
[00:39:13.400] - Ben
I was kind of taken by it because you do have alongside these wonderful photographs of the original interior and sort of the circular banisters and all those sorts of things, the marble floors and countertops and staircases. You also have this photograph of one of your colleagues sitting on the floor staring at a bunch of maglites. And if you haven't read the book very closely up until that far, you might think there's not a lot going on here. But if you have paid attention that you know, then you know that there is something which is in fact going on there and you guys are kind of at work staring at a bunch of maglite on the floor. And I was kind of struck by the incongruity of those images and I couldn't help but ask what's going on?
[00:40:04.100] - Lisa
Well, hopefully it makes people kind of think a little bit too think about that process. I always tell people when we do public events because we will do public events and bring people into haunted locations so they can't get a glimpse of what's it like to investigate. I'll tell them it will seem weird at first because you're sitting in a room with people and it's like you're talking to air, but you'll get used to it.
[00:40:37.180] - Ben
You will get used to it. There you go. You have no idea what you're in for, but you're going to get used to it. It'll be fine. I love it. Lisa, I have just two last questions for you, and the first one is really easy. Where can people find out more about your work? Whether it's the tours and the Hanukkah or whether it's the books and the publications, where is the best place for people to find you?
[00:41:01.700] - Lisa
They can find websites are Paranormalciencelab.com and Darkosarts.com. You can also find Paranormal Science Lab and Darkozartz on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and books are available pretty well wherever books are found online as well as in a lot of the area stores. But stores and different department stores are carrying them. And so just do a search and you can find them.
[00:41:37.460] - Ben
Good deal. Well, thank you. It has been such a joy to have you back on Crime Capsule. We actually owe the inspiration for this series to your stories that you shared with us last summer when we were talking about Wicked Route 66. So we are doubly and triply grateful.
[00:41:56.050] - Lisa
Lisa well, I'm honored by that and I've enjoyed our time talking over time and happy to do it any time.
[00:42:06.800] - Ben
We'll have one last question for you and I have to ask. How do you do Halloween in your family? Do you just leave everyone behind and go camp out in graveyards with thermal sensors? I mean, it's really hard after reading your books, it's really hard to imagine you do the trick or treating thing when there are so many other actual ghosts to chase to catch. What do you do?
[00:42:34.030] - Lisa
That is kind of a family joke that we don't really do the typical Halloween stuff because my kids investigate too. So Halloween weekends or most weekends during October, we're actually doing public ghost hunts.
[00:42:52.500] - Ben
And things for people.
[00:42:54.020] - Lisa
We're bringing it to other people. And so the joke is we'll just go buy ourselves a bunch of candy after Halloween and eat it.
[00:43:02.560] - Ben
Well, if I can work up the nerve, I will come and join you guys next Halloween for a ghost hunt in southwestern Missouri. And hopefully we won't catch one. Good heavens, no.
[00:43:16.220] - Lisa
You won't want one. You want to catch one and you're welcome any time to come.
[00:43:19.480] - Ben
Thank you so much. Lisa wherever your travels take you, happy hunting.
[00:43:24.500] - Lisa
Thank you. And I will definitely be tuning into more episodes.
[00:43:28.890] - Ben
Sounds good. See you soon. Alright.