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Search for ghosts goes deep inside Pythian Castle in Springfield MO

October 29, 2010|by Chad Plein, KY3 News | cplein@ky3.com

  SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- For the third year in a row, a KY3 News crew recently followed a team of paranormal investigators in the search for ghosts at a supposedly haunted place in the Ozarks.  Two years ago, the place was Landers Theatre in downtown Springfield.  Last year, it was the Riverside Inn restaurant near Ozark, before it closed in December and was demolished last spring.  This year, the site is the Pythian Castle in northeast Springfield.

 Castles just have that aura.  The century-old Pythian Castle never housed an evil count but its history has seen countless inside its halls.  In 1911, the Knights of Pythias - a secret order from the Civil War - built the castle for its widows and sick people, as well as orphans.

  By World War II, the government took over the building.  It became a place where injured veterans could rehab and be entertained.

 Military paperwork doesn't say if any soldiers died at the castle but there are records from when the Knights operated the castle of 105 deaths; two were children.

   Now privately owned, the question is whether any orphans or veterans are still in it.

  “Just the allure: we get guests all the time both from the present and the past,” said owner Tamara Finocchiaro.  “I’ve heard voices in the foyer, a woman saying, ‘hello,’ I've walked into masses.”

  In recent years, disembodied voices of kids playing and adults talking have been heard coming from thin air in the castle.  Others have heard knocks, seen mists, felt cold spots and seen objects being moved.

  “Our original dogs would not go in the basement,” she said.  “In the middle of the night, they would be barking to the basement, and we heard plenty of objects moving around.”

  Others also have seen things.

  “One of my friends was sleeping one time, and my dog got stuck on the roof, and we were on vacation, and somebody woke them up and said, ‘You need to rescue the dog on the roof.’ I mean, there was an apparition waking him up and shaking his arm,” said Finocchiaro.

 “We just co-exist with them; we're just being personal with people who've been here in the past.”

  In a past investigation, a black mass charged the investigators.

  KY3 teamed up with PIOSWM, the Paranormal Investigators of Southwest Missouri to see what has been seen and heard inside the castle.

  “We’ve been waiting two years to come to this place,” said David Glidden of PIOSWM.

  Because of the size of the castle, PIOSWM called in the Ghost Hunters of the Ozarks to help out.

   “We're really excited; I've actually never been in this place,” said Damon Priest of Ghost Hunters of the Ozarks.

  The teams use state-of-the-art technology to find scientific evidence of paranormal activity; no Ouija boards, no black arts.  They try to get video of an apparition - or audio of a disembodied voice.

  “We’re trying to find anything to document some evidence caught prior, who maybe lingering here,” said Glidden.

  At 10:15 p.m., the crew was almost done with its set-up when a clutter came from the basement and drew everyone's attention.  So, before we turned out the lights, we decided to go investigate.

  It turned out to just be a bird caught in the basement.  The team said it would keep that in mind during the investigation.

  One part of the investigation was in a tunnel in the basement.  It's a passageway connecting the castle to the old power and laundry building.

   In the dark, the team used infrared cameras and held many Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) sessions.  Using an audio recorder, they asked questions into the darkness; no answers were heard but they hoped, when they would play back the tape later, that they would hear an answer.

  “The theory is it works like a dog whistle. There's a frequency we cannot hear,” said Glidden.  “That's allegedly how a ghost will communicate.”

 When the paranormal frequency passes through a microphone, it filters out that frequency so humans can hear it.

  For six hours that night, questions were asked.  Later, the crew reviewed the tapes to see if anything was answering.

  PIOSWM found a few EVPs after reviewing its tapes, however, they were heard under the crew talking.  GHO found many EVPs as well.  There are a few they are drawn to.

  During a tour of the castle at the beginning of the night, a high-pitched laugh is heard on the audio recorder.  GHO does not believe it is one of the crew members laughing; they could not recall anyone laughing at that point, and on the recording, no one reacts to any laughter.

  Another EVP was caught at the beginning of the investigation in the basement.  The crew was asking questions into the darkness about who's with them and what's their name.  On tape, GHO says it sounds like something responds "I am no one, pay attention."  Later, others believe this EVP says "Listen, pay attention."  The rest of this message couldn't be heard; it was given while the crew was talking over it.

  The Pythian Castle has overnight ghost tours, dinner theater and banquet facilities for weddings or corporate functions.