One of the methods the team from All City Paranormal uses to establish the presence of a ghost at a location involves the use of small flashlights. Lisa Jahnke, one of the lead investigators of the group, told me they set up the flashlights, ask questions of any spirit that might be in the room and wait for the spirit to respond by turning on the flashlight.
I thought this probably would not happen and decided to record the session just for the audio. I had never heard of a ghost turning on a flashlight after being asked to do so.
Patch has been working on a series about haunted venues in the Chicago area. As part of the series, I was following a paranormal investigative team that was studying the Country House Restaurant in Clarendon Hills.
I watched the team members take seats around the table and stand their flashlights up on it. I sat at the desk away from the table with my camera set up. Nothing happened for quite a while.
The team joked around and talked for a bit about the music downstairs. Jim, the founder of the group, began singing along to the music. That's when one of the other team members, Shannon, joked, "If you don't want Jim to sing, turn on the light," and a light turned on.
I laughed. I was surprised and skeptical, but kept watching. Over the next half hour or so, I watched the flashlight turn on several times during this process. I remembered that I had a flashlight in my car and wondered if the batteries were still good. I had never opened the package, so I figured they should be.
After the next session, I went out to my car and got the flashlight. It's a mini Maglight that turns on by rotating the head and handle in opposite directions. The team had gone back upstairs, and the room was dark when I walked into it. I didn't tell any of the team members that I had brought in a flashlight of my own. I just set it on the desk next to me.
The manager of the Country House, Lynn Banks, had joined the group.
"Did you live here before the Kobel family took over the business? If the answer is yes, could you turn on the light?" She asked.
The light next to me turned on.
"Whose flashlight is over there?" Lisa asked.
I admitted that it was one that I had brought from my car, and the whole group laughed.
"See? It's not—we're not rigging anything," Lisa said.
I'm not saying my experience proves the existence of a ghost at the Country House, but I can't explain how my flashlight turned on.
In the video attached to this story, you can hear the voice of Jim O'Connor asking a question of any spirit that might be in the room, to see if he can get a direct response.
*Editor's Note: This opinion piece was part of a series originally published in October of 2011. This particular article was published originally on October 19, 2011. In the spirit (pun intended) of the season, we are re-running the series every day this week for those who might have missed it. This recording is part of the finished piece, which is scheduled to run on Friday this week.