Uncovering the paranormal

Posted 10/14/10

Seated in a dark, cold corner around “Jackie’s table,” two electro-magnetic field detectors at the end of the table, which had been quiet all …

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Uncovering the paranormal


Seated in a dark, cold corner around “Jackie’s table,” two electro-magnetic field detectors at the end of the table, which had been quiet all night, suddenly began flashing green and yellow.

“Is that you standing in front of our devices? asked paranormal investigator Kathy Sampron. “Can you light up our other device?” she asked, pointing to another EMF detector on the table a few inches away.

The lights on the first two continued to flicker brightly, but the lights of the third instrument did not go on.

“I feel something cold,” Kathy said. “Are you sitting next to me?”

Another paranormal investigator pointed a thermal imaging camera in her direction. Then, just as suddenly as the flickering lights on the EMF detector had started, they turned off.

“We know that took a lot of energy for you to do that and we appreciate it,” Kathy said. “But if you’re still here, can you light up our devices again?”

We waited. Nothing. If a spirit had indeed been here, it was now gone.

Spirit Paranormal Investigations is a Littleton-based organization that investigates and documents ghostly phenomena. The Oct. 8 midnight investigation at the Melting Pot was the most recent of six formal investigations performed by SpiritPI since 2007 in Littleton’s most famously haunted site.

Investigators have experienced and documented electronic voice phenomena, disembodied voices, orbs and objects moving of their own accord. The building is ranked a six out of 10 on SpiritPI’s paranormal scale rating.

Located at the west end of historic Main Street in downtown Littleton, the building was designed by Colorado architect J.J. Benedict, the cornerstone laid in 1916. Originally Littleton’s Carnegie Library, it was subsequently the police headquarters, complete with holding cells, from 1965 to 1977. Over the past 33 years, the building has been home to various bars and restaurants, including the Melting Pot since 1996.

The Melting Pot embraces its spooky reputation, giving SpiritPI investigators free run of the place after closing time. The haunted happenings there are well known. Stories are recounted time and again of bartenders having their feet grabbed, women being pushed in the restroom, eerie voices and a newly installed cappuccino machine that flew across the bar.

What’s not so well known is why the place is haunted. Investigators speculate it could have something to do with the building’s proximity to the Platte River, whose course used to run much closer, since spirits can use water to manifest.

Rumors persist, but through interviews with Littleton old-timers, SpiritPI researchers have debunked stories of policemen or inmates being shot and killed in the building. No one has ever died within its walls. Investigators think people hungry for a good ghost story have mixed up facts about other Arapahoe County shootings, and happy for a tale to tell to diners, Melting Pot employees have perpetuated the myths.

There are two kinds of haunting, explained SpiritPI President Kevin Sampron: residual and intelligent. A residual haunting is leftover energy or emotions, usually anger or sadness that is ingrained in a certain space. An intelligent haunting, like the kind at the Melting Pot, is when spirits interact with people.

Cavernous, with low ceilings and a maze-like blueprint, the Melting Pot feels haunted. Brick archways and stairs lead to semi-private, cozy tables tucked in corners. A dark basement section of the building with wine racks, known as “the annex,” is like a catacombs.

But even though his team has captured heaps of evidence, Sampron is slow to jump to conclusions. The Melting Pot is an EMF hot spot, but unusually high readings in the banquet room, which also serves as the investigation headquarters, probably have a rational explanation. A small stove sits in each table at this fondue restaurant, which can contribute to high EMF ratings.

“We are a very skeptical group,” Sampron said. “We do not claim ghosts right off the bat.”

A consultant for Hewlett Packard during the day, Sampron and his sister Kathy, a lead investigator who works as a real estate agent, are disarmingly down to earth. Their high-tech audio visual equipment, including digital cameras, audio monitoring systems and infrared motion detectors, takes a while to set up. But the real work begins after the investigation as they patiently sort through hundreds of hours of tape, which may only contain one or two paranormal phenomena.

“It’s so time-consuming,” Sampron said.

Always intrigued by the paranormal, Sampron would sometimes hang out in cemeteries for fun. After his mother died in 2003, he began carrying a tape recorder with him on his visits to her grave. What he found brought his older sister to tears. His mother’s voice was on his tape recorder responding to a question his wife had asked.

“We were by ourselves in the middle of the day at Fort Logan Cemetery,” Sampron said.

That experience led Sampron to want to educate other people about the paranormal and help them understand the nature of hauntings.

“We are helping people,” he said.

If you go

Sampron and his team will be leading their annual Tour of Terror, open to the public, at the Melting Pot from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Call 303-794-5666 for reservations.

More ghostly events

Haunts of Littleton

Join two experts on Littleton’s history, Brian Vogt, CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens, and John Brackney, president of the South Metro Chamber, for the eighth annual Haunts of Littleton.

This walking tour is part history, part haunting and all entertainment. Tour leaders recount ghastly tales of Littleton’s own cannibal, Alferd Packard and try to uncover the mysteries that lurk in the old Carnegie Library.

The tours start at 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23 at the Downtown Littleton Light Rail Station in front of Romancing the Bean. Reservations are recommended. For more information, go to www.bestchamber.com.

Ghost Hunting 101

Join Dina Aweida and Paulette Huff of Haunted Times Magazine for a presentation on ghost hunting.

Speakers will present the basic techniques used and describe the field equipment used for ghost hunting. Sponsored by the Highlands Ranch Historical Society, this event is free and open to the public.

Ghost Hunting 101 begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Highlands Ranch Southridge Recreation Center.


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