(See anything odd in this photo of Frank Hotchin?)
Earlier this month, we investigated the LAFD Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center, which is home to the LAFD Leadership Academy. This history of the center dates back to the 1940s, when it served as a training center for members of the military. It is notable for having a piece of the World Trade Center on the grounds from the terrorist attack of 9-11 and for several unconfirmed suicides that are rumored to have occurred there. It is located, in part, on the remains of an old graveyard. Hundreds of families were “relocated” in order for the city of Los Angeles to build more lucrative public housing; later, the remaining families were forced to leave at gunpoint so that Dodger Stadium could start construction. There was also a local cemetery that authorities had promised to move, along with the bodies buried there. Most historians agree that although the headstones were moved, most–if not all–of the bodies remained behind.
The various functions of the buildings are lost in the mists of history, rumor, speculation and innuendo. It is difficult to know what actually happened at this site. Some say that it used to house military personnel with known histories of mental disorders or criminal tendencies; others say that there is a hanging tree where several men tied ropes around their necks and jumped to their deaths. Many of the stories surrounding the site cannot be corroborated, but reflect a general unease with the buildings’ past. There are several reports of paranormal activity from the people who currently work there, ranging from feeling as if someone is watching them, to actually seeing someone wandering through the shower area when no one is present.
Marsha, Erin and Jennifer have written up their thoughts on the site, and without further ado, here they are. Let’s start with Jennifer’s account:
“What a wonderful place with so much history. Right when I walked in, I could tell it was my kind of place! We were ready for some major action and it seemed like it was going to start any minute. I couldn’t wait to start, when ALL of my equipment including my audio recorder, K2, camera and laser died on me. I then just decided to pull out my small notebook and write whatever impression that came to mind, even if it seemed dumb or crazy. Most of the impressions happened in the ‘pool’ room. I imagined this lady in a white dress (1940s style) with shoulder pads and random red triangles, angry and yelling at us. I got the feeling she felt guilty and angry at herself and felt like being stuck in this place was not enough punishment for her. After writing this down, I got an intense cold sensation on my legs and became teary eyed (my usual sign of nearby activity). I was drawn to the pool room as well as the shower/dressing area. A couple of the firemen and girls were touched, but I didn’t feel anything or hear anything in there except late-night LA Marathon joggers passing by! It was like the spirits had so much to say, but couldn’t find a way to communicate it or to show us. It’s hard to hear when there is so much outside noise!
We then started to make our way back into the main hanger-like warehouse. I casually looked to the right into a doorway, when suddenly I saw what looked to be a man in a white t-shirt walking by. It was so fast–I could only make out a quick visual impression of a t-shirt. After I yelped and ran after the figure, we went into the room where I had seen it enter. You could tell that this room was even heavier and more full of energy than the others. I feel like if we had stayed a bit longer, we would have experienced amazing things, but alas our time was already up. Hopefully next time I can bring my sleeping bag and stay for awhile! I can’t wait to go back!”
“This place was HUGE! We only had a short amount of time, so we were only able to explore a very small portion of the rooms where I had felt had activity. We first went into the very top room. I wrote my impressions down. Here is what I got: Male, heavyset, short, straight, dark hair, clean shaven, not married, had a heart attack but not in this building, and he likes to come and spend time in this room. I also an impression of ‘doors’, Which didn’t make sense at the time; but later on in the investigation, we heard several doors slamming but did not find the source for that sound. An interesting thing about this room is that when we asked for the spirits’ name, the Ovilus said “identity” and when we commented on the train sound, the Ovilus displayed “voyage”.
We then went to the pool area. This place felt creepy! We did have a bit of a challenge with the runners going past the building. They were very loud! I also wrote my impressions down for this room: A male, but female (so either a transgender or feminine male); fringe (like on a costume), cows, drinkin’, mid 20s, laughing and then a woman with poufy dark hair, white, long-sleeved button-down blouse, with big breasts, tucked into a longish tan or grey skirt, yelling at us to get out. I recorded twice in this room. The first time was about 10 minutes, and then I stopped to play back something we thought we heard. Then I started my recorder again. I stopped it when we left the room and started it again in the basement area. Both the second pool recording and the one from the basement area are gone. This is when I feel that we really started to get the most activity.
I heard a moan that my recorder did not pick up. I felt the temperature drop and things move behind me, even though I was sitting really close to the wall.
When we started to leave this room, Jen saw someone in a white t-shirt in the basement area. We–of course–ran in there and immediately started feeling something weird. We all heard a woman talking, but it sounded muffled [we caught this in the audio clips below]. I then started feeling like someone was walking around the room that was not one of us. We also all heard several doors slam (here is where the correlation from the first room’s impressions come in, and we also have this on audio below). I went out to investigate with Leif and Jen, but could not find the source of the noise. Soon after this, we had to leave.
This was a fantastic investigation, and I can’t wait to go back to get to the spots we weren’t able to investigate the first time around!”
Marsha’s impressions are interesting because they dovetailed with the images and emotions that were coming to me. She and I were both in the car, at the site, waiting for the other team members, involved in a discussion that we can’t fully reveal publicly (sometimes, you can’t openly discuss your impressions when they might lead to an investigation of a different nature):
“I will start this with a dream I had from 1995, a dream that I haven’t thought of in so many years, but still seems so fresh in my mind. I have been puzzling over why this dream stands out so clearly in my memory, and I think it’s because of the utter fear I had during the dream and the emotion I felt when I woke up. The fear itself is what woke me. The dream took place in a jail. It was a woman who was incarcerated, or about to be, and she was so scared. She wanted to escape because she knew she wasn’t safe. At the time of my dream, I didn’t know of what she was scared.
She had some sort of a relationship with an officer, and they planned an escape or a getaway. My dream starts out with a brown-haired woman waiting for the officer to pick her up. She gets in his car; he was driving a white pickup truck. He pulls over and opens the door for her, signaling for her to hide as far under the dashboard as she could. He told her to stay there because he doesn’t want anyone to see he has a second person in the car. She obeys and stays hidden. Some time passes, and she tries to sit up normally in the front seat, but he stops her, saying, “no, it’s not safe yet. Just stay hidden”. She obeys. Time passes and she wonders why it’s taking so long to pull over. She notices the man driving, and he seems different. She starts to get nervous. She asks him if she can come out now and he says no, but more forcibly than before. He seems distant and he won’t look at her. She knows something is wrong.
Finally, he pulls into a driveway and tells her to get out of the car, because he needs to make a quick stop. She steps out of the car and notices how beautiful the house is. The driveway has a long curve and there is a lot of vegetation in the front yard. The house has a huge window, spanning almost the entire length of the front. The man escorts her inside by holding onto her arm, (as an officer would, if he were escorting you to jail) and they go inside. It wasn’t until they were inside that the fear returned full force, and she knew something was wrong. There was plastic covering the entire floor, and there were 5 to 7 other officers standing there waiting for her. She knew they were going to kill her: Not just hurt her, but kill her. She knew she was going to die. So she turned to the man that brought her and said, “are you going to kill me?” and he said, “well no, not yet anyway.” That is when I woke up.
I can remember feeling so scared and so sad. It seemed so real; but you know, as time goes by, we forget things that don’t seem to make much sense to us at the time, and I didn’t think about that dream for over 20 years; until we were scheduled to investigate. The night before our investigation, I had the same dream again!!! But still, I didn’t really connect the dots. When Kirsten and I were driving to the location the night of our investigation, I mentioned this woman and my dream and how something weird was going on because I kept thinking of her all that day. It still wasn’t that big of a deal until we were investigating the ladder room, and I became overwhelmed with the impression that there was a female spirit there with us, and her name was Donna. She was desperate to communicate with us. I felt that she was so desperate, that she was confronting us and pulling her hair in frustration. So I asked if there was a woman there and if her name started with a ‘D’. I waited a moment and then asked if her name was Donna; that is when Kirsten had an emotional response because she “knew” her name was Donna, and she was receiving the same impressions that I was. I’m sure we have audio as evidence how convincing Kirsten was in these moments [yes, we do, but I'm yelling so loud that it makes listening to it rather difficult!]. Experiencing impressions is no proof of the paranormal, so like a good investigator, I began my research into Donna and tried to figure out how we could help her. That is, after all, my ultimate goal, to heal the universe one soul at a time. So, I researched the name ‘Donna’ and ‘jail’ and ‘police’. Bam! That was all it took and out pops a picture of a woman named Donna Gentile. Here is a link for more information on Donna. I will continue my research and update you all in a few days with more facts on this case.”
AUDIO CLIPS: Listen with headphones and the sound turned up!