Posts Tagged ‘Kirsten A. Thorne’

img_6109I was

at work, hiding out in the ladies’ room. I have this strange habit when I really want to be alone in a restroom: I look out from under the stall and make sure that nobody is there. This was a relatively small restroom with only a few stalls, so it was easy to peek out and see that nobody was there. Another odd thing about me is that sometimes I decompress in bathrooms without actually making use of said bathroom. This was one of those times. I sat on top of the toilet seat and enjoyed the silence. Until, that is, I heard the sound of high heels walking across the linoleum floor and heard the adjacent stall door open. Funny, I thought, I never heard the door open. I also didn’t hear the toilet seat open or anything else: total silence after the mystery woman entered the stall next to me. I wondered what she was doing there without making a sound, and I started to worry.

I peeked under the stall to see if she was actually there or not. No feet. I opened the stall door to see if anyone was there–but nobody was. The high heels had clicked their way into the bathroom and into the stall but never left. I realized that I had heard something that had not “happened” in a typical sense. For a moment, I realized yet again how extraordinary life can be, how odd and inexplicable. There are so many mysteries that happen to us daily, but how often do we really make the effort to understand them and study them?

I left the bathroom and decided that I had to tell someone about this. I found my colleague, pulled her aside, and told her what had just happened. “Oh my, this building has its very own ghost!” she laughed. I attempted to impress upon her how odd the incident truly was, and she laughed again before changing the subject. For the umpteenth time, I was shut down and the story forgotten soon after it was told. Why do people do this? Why do we assume that anyone who has a serious, anomalous ‘incident report’ to share is not worth our time or attention?

I have noticed at work that my interest in the paranormal is common knowledge to my colleagues and our administration. People ask me about my most ‘interesting’ or ‘terrifying’ ghost experience, yet completely dismiss my recounting of the incident as soon as they hear it. I have come to believe that there is real fear around the topic of the paranormal. I am not sure why. There are so many fascinating mysteries embedded in reality, yet most people need absolute clarity in their lives to feel comfortable, and the presence of the paranormal destabilizes our world, making it unfamiliar and strange. One either celebrates that oddness and mystery, or one runs from it, preferring the daily certainties.

When we refuse to take these reports (and note, I prefer ‘reports’ to ‘stories,’ because our culture does not accord stories the seriousness of truth) at face value and actually consider the truths they may hold for us, we diminish our collective experience in an essentially incomprehensible world. I do believe that we can make tremendous progress in understanding the realms of spirit and consciousness if only we were able to put aside the notion that it’s somehow laughable or crazy to wander outside the material world of our five senses.

I think we all see ghosts on a regular basis, but decide to code them out of our experience. We reject the strange, we turn our backs on the world of spirit, and we refuse to alter our world view to accommodate parapsychological phenomena. Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as Marsha (pictured above), Erin, Jennifer and Kimberly. We have created this community where it is safe to explore all the implications of paranormal phenomena and what they might mean for our existence, not just in the here and now, but in the past and in the distant future, beyond the horizon of death. We don’t much care if the general public thinks we’re crazy or deluded: we know that we are not. We are, along with others in our field, pioneers of a new reality.

Who in your life believes you, no matter how much your paranormal ‘incident report’ seems to stretch the boundaries of the possible? Who will always listen with an open mind and an unending curiosity? Those people, my dear readers, are your true friends.

Keep filing those reports. You may be unfairly judged by small minded materialists, but one day, your version of reality might change everyone else’s world. We can only hope.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

Mission SJC Ruins With PHW

One would think that the longer you investigate paranormal phenomena and the world of spirit, the less afraid you would feel. One might even think that it would be business as usual, occasionally boring, but certainly nothing to fear anymore. One would be wrong.

Boredom is only a factor when you’re not paying serious attention to what’s going on around you, either because your devices are all-consuming or there are too many (human) distractions. If you are truly tuned in to the worlds you can’t see, then your fear can escalate over time. It can become, sometimes, overwhelming. I should say here that I am representing my own feelings–Kirsten’s–and not necessarily how Erin, Jennifer or Marsha feel. Maybe they would have a different opinion about this.

For me, the recent news of two investigators’ violent deaths comes as a warning and a wake-up call. I cannot say for sure whether or not their investigations had any effect on their emotions, behavior or the tragedy that ensued; but if they were anything like me and others I know in the paranormal field, those investigations certainly impacted them on many levels. Investigators routinely live in more than one world, and we have little idea who we are reaching on the “other side” from us; we can hope that those voices are human and kind, but we are often wrong. Just as we run into many unsavory characters in the material world, I imagine that there are just as many souls that are lost and corrupted who take the time to communicate with you. In fact, I often wonder if the impure of heart and the hopelessly lost form the majority of the spirits that answer our inquiries.

Otherwise, I doubt that they would have time for us. Anyone imprinting his voice on my audio or using my mind and emotions to communicate with me is probably in some sort of spiritual trouble. I leave out of this equation family members who desire to reach out to loved ones with the intention of relieving their worry or grief. For everyone else, there are probably darker motivations for communication. When I enter a building with a solid, haunted reputation, it takes me less than a minute to pick up the emotional content of the place. That has come with years and years of experience. That immediate impact affects me more deeply now than it did five or ten years ago. Now, when I walk into a troubled building, I almost lose my breath. It hurts.

One thing I noticed about agreeing to home investigations where the activity was strange or upsetting: afterwards, I would feel drained, with the characteristic headache at the base of my neck. That headache usually extended into the next day and sometimes into the next week. I would feel ‘off,’ slightly out of control of my emotions and exhausted to the point of feeling physically ill. Many paranormal investigators don’t have great boundaries, a characteristic that makes them effective at picking up spirit activity; however, it also leaves you vulnerable to the emotions and intentions of some very troubled and angry people. I also noticed that listening for EVP for hours on end can damage your well-being in many, subtle ways. Paranormal activity would spike all around me while I listened to my audio because I was connecting myself to another reality. That reality is one that none of us understand well.

Investigators often fight intensely over ethics, good practices, techniques, how to publish results of investigations and where investigations are conducted. What we don’t talk about enough is how what we do affects our emotional and spiritual life. In some cases, it seems to be all for the good; in others, it leads to tremendous pain, conflict and loss. Most paranormal groups fade out in about three years or so. The ones that don’t are careful, very careful, about where they investigate and with whom. They have particular, individual practices for self protection. They also know when it’s time to take a break from that world and focus on something else: our families, our lives in the here and now, our friends.

The PHW have learned when to take a step back and when to jump in with both feet. Right now, it seems the paranormal community needs to love, respect and take care of one another more than anything else. We have all proven to ourselves that, in addition to the great joys, there are great dangers in the spirit world. Let’s remember to protect ourselves and each other. If we don’t, then more of us will be lost to that world we only see through a glass, darkly.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD


Jennifer Storey

Kimberly Demmary

CampingSantaBarbara2014 239

CampingSantaBarbara2014 246

We (Jennifer Storey, Kirsten Thorne and Kimberly Demmary) have visited King Camp Gillette before, usually invited by our very generous and dear friend Rob Wlodarski. What I find interesting about this site is the element of the unexpected. Mr. Gillette’s main office is almost always active, setting off various devices and allowing us to collect some wonderful EVP; however, on this last visit, it was–pardon the pun–dead quiet. I’m pleased when this happens, because it means that our expectations and desires are not controlling or even influencing the outcome of the investigation. When what we want to happen is contradicted by what actually happens, it validates the notion that paranormal phenomena are independent of us, even if at times there is interaction.

Mr. Gillette’s bedroom is an unusual area with mixed feelings. Since he passed away there, one would expect lingering activity or impressions, and that is indeed what we sense–however, on this particular occasion, it appeared that we had picked up on family secrets, as suggested by various ‘ghost hunting’ applications that were all pointing in the same direction. I don’t take these applications terribly seriously unless they are consistent in their message or general theme; this time, they were indicating that dark events played themselves out in that room. I don’t wish to be more specific, since we did not receive any corroborating EVP or psychic impressions.

And then . . . there’s the basement. The basement contains strange rooms used for storage, heating and cooling equipment, rooms with cement floors and giant drains, and entrances/exits that seem to lead nowhere. The effect is disorienting and disquieting for me. The very long, very dark hallway intensifies the sensation that someone is following you or just ahead of you. This is usually the area where we collect the most data. We were hearing whispers, footsteps and odd noises which we assumed must be coming from other investigators. I searched the basement and the upstairs rooms, and nobody was above us. The other teams were outside when we captured the following audio:

In the above clip (Jennifer’s), ‘someone’ is joining our conversation. At four seconds and at fourteen seconds, a whispered voice is chiming in as we discuss our interest in another site. Notice that I pick up on this voice a few seconds after we capture it on audio.

Kimberly caught this audio. This is a male voice in an area where there were no men at all. Remember, I had already ‘cleared’ the area when Kimberly caught this. It’s difficult to make out what he is saying, and of course, why he is saying it.

Also during this time, we are hearing walking up and down the hallway. This was an active area, it appears, in the past; I don’t know who would have been using the area besides kitchen or cleaning staff. We are probably picking up on the typical sounds of a busy day back when the Ranch was home to many parties and events. In that case, we are most likely hearing a ‘stone tape’ replay of the past.

As always, these investigations into the life an old building remind me that everything we do, everything we think, everything we are, remains in the world we leave behind. It also makes me think that perhaps we never leave anything behind, we simply move to the dimension next door, where perhaps we have no idea why three women are asking probing questions in the dark with strange, little devices.

Thank you to Rob and Jerry for allowing such experiences to occur, and for supporting the PHW–and so many other teams–in our quest to unravel life’s biggest mysteries.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PHW/PhD


I start this post with an audio clip that demonstrates just how responsive this Orange County haunted house truly is. The three knocks make it clear that this is an intelligent entity or entities.

But first, a little history on the Howe-Waffle house:

“Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle was one of Orange County’s first woman doctors, delivering over 1000 babies during her 38 years of practice. She was known for her kindness and devotion to her patients.

She and her husband, Dr. Alvin Howe came to Orange County in 1878, settling in the Westminster area . She taught at the old Bolsa School in Santa Ana to earn enough to complete her medical education. When she was ready to do so, she took her baby daughter with her to Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago. She graduated in 1886, returned to Santa Ana and began her practice that same year.” (from

Here are, in order, Marsha’s, Erin’s, and Kirsten’s impressions of that night’s investigation:


I had a great time investigating the Waffle House. As soon as I walked inside the front door I was immediately aware of the warm, welcoming energy. The house is beautiful and has been so well preserved over the years; it was a real honor to be able to investigate there.

I would have to say the attic was the most active for me. I can remember feeling as though someone were right there with us wanting to communicate. As a matter of fact, the best EVP clips we recorded were in the attic. It seemed like the activity heightened when we spoke of a little boy. We asked if there were any children present, and we got a tap in response. I almost got the feeling he was playing with us! But I have to ask myself… would God really let a child linger in an empty attic for all eternity? If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think God would allow that. So how or why does this energy remain? Are we beckoning them from the other side when we ask for a spirit to communicate with us? Is it possible the little boy passed away there and that a piece of him will always just BE there?

There are theories that suggest when we pass away we split into two. Our soul goes to heaven and our spirits stay here. I have to say that rings very true to me. I can’t prove that this is what happens, but it makes sense. I’m looking forward to investigating the Waffle House again. I think it’s going to take more than just one session to really figure what is going on there.

Parawife Marsha


The Dr. Howe-Waffle house was a very interesting place to investigate. The
house is fantastically restored. As soon as I walked in, I wanted to live there! I
felt several spirits immediately upon entering. It was like there was a
hustle and bustle in there! Our first stop was the attic. In the attic, I was
very aware of two spirits: A man and a boy. They were associated with each other but not
closely related. I was amazed by the amount of physical I experienced. I
was touched on the feet and ankles, my butt, and I was pushed…not
forcefully, but gently over a longer period of time. I caught several EVP on audio
while up in the attic.

Next, we went to the maids’ room. Although we were only in this room for a
short while, I felt a lot of spiritual energy right at the beginning…then
(of course) it moved out of the room we were in. I heard several things out
in the hall and caught a voice that sounded like it came from the hallway as

We went into the bathroom next, because as we were walking out of the maids’
room, I heard something in the bathroom. We were only in there for a few
moments because again….the energy shifted out of the room. It was like we
were chasing it.

Dr. Waffle’s bedroom and the main hallway was next. We spread out and
set up our equipment. Unfortunately, I caught nothing on audio
even though I was anticipating this area to be very active…and it was for
other people….just not on audio. There were several people that had
personal experiences in this area, but I was not one of them. This was the
least active area for me.

The last area was downstairs in the dining room. This was very active with
audible voices, sounds, thumps, dishes and footsteps. I smelled different
smells and felt moods shift. The man that was in this portion of the house
definitely did not want us there, but we weren’t going to back down. We came
for some answers!

I cannot wait to go back to this wonderful house. It’s very active and I
know that whenever we go back we will catch something else!

Parawife Erin


What I found most interesting about the Howe-Waffle house concerned the shift in mood in the main parlor. I experienced odd noises and impressions in the attic, but nothing I haven’t encountered in other haunted houses. The dining room/parlor was en entirely different reality for me.

We all noticed that the energy in the room was male, and we also felt–about the same time the temperature dropped dramatically–that this male presence was not happy about a loud group of women expressing themselves freely and dressed in a scandalous manner. This was rather amusing, and we were teasing him about it, when suddenly it became serious.

I started to feel very, very sick. I was dizzy, nauseous, faint and having some trouble catching my breath. This occasionally happens on investigations when a spirit is angry or upset, but this was an unusually strong reaction on my part. Right around the time that we were asking Mr. Howe why he left his wife in Santa Ana, in addition to bringing up the sensitive abortion issue, we started noticing dark shadows, cold spots and noises from the parlor and kitchen. On one of our audio clips, you can hear a male voice say a very nasty word in response to our prodding.

There were several EVP clips from that area. We caught a woman’s voice, isolated words, breaths, and one odd sound we can’t identify at all. This was quite an experience for me, since during the time we were recording the EVP, I was physically experiencing the emotions that those voices were conveying to us all. I find it amazing, shocking almost, to what extent all of us were on the same page concerning the spirit activity in the house. To have that activity and those impressions validated on the audio clips proves that what is happening at the Willella Howe-Waffle house is very real, and can be very disturbing.

—-Parawife Kirsten


Not to overwhelm our readers, but there were quite a few EVP in most areas of the house. I will post them a few at a time in separate posts in the hope that we will hear more feedback that way.

Here is the infamous “dirty word” clip that I mentioned earlier. It’s quite clear, but if you aren’t sure what this angry man is saying, I’m happy to tell you what all of the Para Wives heard!

The “surprise” is clear in this clip:

Here the woman’s voice is clear:

In this clip, we were noticing the odd smell of vomit. During this session, I catch an extremely odd noise. Do any of you know what this could be?

Here is talking all around Erin:

OK, my dear Readers, there will be more audio clips to follow. I hope you have some comments and/or questions for us.

Is the Howe-Waffle house haunted? Hmmmm . . . let me see . . . that would be a definite YES!

–Kirsten A. Thorne, Ph.D./PHW




Rancho Los Encinos Child 1

Rancho Los Encinos Child 2

Rancho Los Encinos Rita

Rancho Los Encinos Eulalia

The family above were residents of Rancho Los Encinos in the late 1800s; the children belonged to Rita, and Rita’s mother–Eulalia Perez de Ayala. I try to divine something from their pictures, but I only see innocence in the children, hope in Rita, and exhaustion in Eulalia. The Rancho is not in the best of shape these days, due to the extreme budget cuts in the California Parks and Recreation programs over the last several years. It is beautiful and well-kept, but has an air of abandonment and loss about it. I know that feeling. Pierce College feels the same way, after three years of slashing away at public services and education.

The most fabulous Rob Wlodarski and company set up this investigation and were kind enough to invite the PHW to attend, although Erin and I were the only Paranormal Housewives available. At first, she and I had the same feeling: how was ANYTHING going to measure up to the church investigation, where we were like guests at the Spirit Show of the decade? It’s difficult to overcome that feeling of disappointment, when you hang out in historic rooms and nothing remotely odd or strange happens. I think that is due, in part, to the fact that many of the rooms in the original adobe house have been used for teaching the history of the site for so long. There are big posters and photos of the way things used to be in the adobe, with displays and the like. There is nothing terribly atmospheric about that, because the purpose is pedagogical. Those rooms bear little resemblance to the original home.

It wasn’t until Erin and I wandered into the living room at the end of the adobe house (or what certainly appeared to be a perfect recreation of the living room, with the original rug) that something shifted in the environment. The rest of the team was several doors down conducting a solemn and quiet EVP session; we could not hear them. The door to our left opened to an outdoor hallway, and there was a door behind us that led to another ‘teaching room,’ with displays and photos. It was around sunset, which–my dear friends–is the REAL ‘witching hour,’ if you ask the PHW, and Erin and I were alone. My husband was talking to the ranger far away by the offices.

We heard shuffling and muted conversation. Erin assumed, as did I, that people were talking on the other side of the door. Erin checked twice to see who was outside. Turned out, of course, that not a single, solitary soul was near the living room. The conversation stopped when she got up to look, and resumed when she returned and we continued the EVP session. We heard knocks and more rustling, which to me sounded like a woman’s long, crinoline skirts brushing against each other. When we played back my audio, the conversations and rustling were so clear, we again assumed that somehow, we were mistaken and people MUST have been outside (although, they would have had to run and hide when we checked, then return like stealthy thieves while we returned to our seats and start talking in muted tones . . . not likely).

Then Erin played back her audio. She had been recording only a few feet from me. We heard the rustling . . . but not a single, solitary conversation or spoken word of any kind. We played that clip over and over . . . nothing. My recorder picked up entire conversations and responses that simply were not on Erin’s recorder at all, even though her device was so close to mine that there is NO WAY it would not have picked up all that commotion if all that commotion had been . . . from the living.

Rancho Los Encinos Living Room Better Pic

And then, just like that, the investigation became very, very interesting. Yes, we will post those clips for your listening pleasure; but I am in the process of installing my computer and equipment at a new house (OK, so Ty is the one doing that, I confess) and I need a few more days. In the meantime, I leave you this thought: after you have read all of this, listened to our clips, evaluated our experiences, what else could we possibly do to convince you of the reality of the spirit world? Or the reality of the survival of consciousness? Maybe you need to experience this yourself, if you haven’t already; or maybe, this all makes perfect sense to you. If so, congratulations–I’m still reeling from the shock of it all.

More to come . . .

Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

Rancho Los Encinos Erin Mist

Rancho Los Encinos Skull

Rancho Los Encinos Arty Tree

Rancho Los Encinos Joe with Shadow

Rancho Los Encinos Kitty and Ty

Rancho Los Encinos Old Mural



Are We Ghosts?

The Paranormal Housewives came out to the Los Angeles Supernatural Summit and had the opportunity to meet up with fellow paranormal investigators and friends.  Dawn Gomez, Frank Beruecos and Dan Guthrie did an awesome job pulling it together.  While we were there, we listened to great speakers, sang our hearts out at Karaoke Night, danced the Harlem Shake, indulged in fabulous food and of course did a little ghost hunting!

 We met up with a couple of nice guys (Jim Wingate and Chris Salisbury) who were fascinated by and interested in learning about what we do. We decided to take them along to investigate Kirsten’s room and their room (This is more innocent then it sounds).

While there, we experienced a few knocks here and there, and Erin and Jim saw a shadow moving in the bathroom.  I caught the most amazing EVP at this time.  Kirsten had already gone back to her room. It was just me (Jen Storey), Erin, Jim and Chris. This is what I hear in the recording:

Erin says, “Is anybody here?”  Right away you hear a woman say “no”.

Then Erin asked if there was a Maria. There is a long pause and you hear a man say, “Yes, I missed you”.

Almost immediately you hear the woman say, “Then we’re probably missed too” (there’s a knock).

She then says, “Are we ghosts”?   

I thought this was one of the most amazing EVPs ever caught. She asks if she’s a ghost!! That is one of the biggest mysteries of the afterlife. Do we know we are dead, or are we literally in the dark?


The other EVPs consist of knocks and whispers. On the “Response to Erin,” there is an immediate response and then a whispered word near the end of the clip.

–Jennifer Storey


Glen Tavern March 9 2013 Knock

Glen Tavern March 9 2013 Response to Erin

Glen Tavern March 9 2013 Scary Whisper


Things haven’t been terribly smooth at the new job. I must be deliberately vague; all I can really say on this matter is that Insecurity and a need for power and control can be a toxic combination, one that darkens the halls at the brightest of universities. Not that this university was so bright to begin with . . .

Week Eight at Cam has been darker than normal, and not simply due to my previously stated experiences. I attribute this to the gradual desertion of the students, allowing Cam’s previous energies to resurface and reclaim their territory. Observe the picture below this post.

The hallways are much darker today than normal, even accounting for weather and outdoor lighting conditions. However, I’m not simply referring to the literal sense of dark, but more to the heaviness in the atmosphere here.  It’s freezing cold in all the rooms and halls, in spite of the fact that it’s a pleasant 70 degrees outside. The students freeze in our classroom, even though there is no air conditioning and our room faces a sunny courtyard. It’s as if the warmth simply cannot penetrate these walls. I am always wearing jackets indoors, my hands stiff as I attempt to type.

No one is ever going to change the nature of this place. Maybe it’s the Bell Tower in particular, which housed the criminally insane on the East Side (where I enter the building) with the worst psychiatric illnesses, or the fact that the unruly adolescent boys were incarcerated on the West Side of the Bell Tower; these two groups were, unbelievably enough, mixed together in “Recreation Rooms” and group therapy rooms right in the area where I teach. In fact, from the configuration of my downstairs classroom, it looks to be one of those “common area” rooms where patients mingled and were frequently unsupervised. This toxic comingling of boys and insane men is a fact I gleaned from someone I know who spent a year or so in this very building for “anti-social” behavior.

I think I’ve realized something important. You can’t spend hours in a place with dreary energy from a traumatic past and hope to leave with a smile on your face and a sunny disposition. I should know this, of all people, yet I was seduced into thinking I would find this a mysterious and educational experience; it IS that, and will continue to be, but I find myself needing to conserve my energy. I used to spend much time fine-tuning my sensitivity, opening myself up to the energies around me, consciously seeking contact. Now, I find myself doing the exact opposite just to get through the day at Cam. I work on protection, I attempt to ignore my surroundings, and I even pretend that the place was never a hospital for the so-called ‘insane’.

What also assists me in this work of “tuning out” is the fact that Cam is never the same day to day. You can walk all over the buildings one day with no particular feeling one way or the other, and then the next day, or even later in the evening, the air is thick with mystery and menace. Even though one might object that this is pure emotional projection, I have had my experience of this validated so many times by those with whom I work and investigate that I no longer doubt my impressions.

That is probably the greatest gift of Cam: I no longer doubt my instincts and my sensitivity to my surroundings. After several years of investigations and explorations, no one can tell me that what I sense isn’t real. Anyone who tells me that I am “projecting,” “inventing” or fulfilling some fantasy or wish no longer upsets my confidence or causes me to question my abilities. I have become, for wont of a better work, “sensitive” or “a sensitive,” and that is a very real transformation. I have a certain limited and rudimentary ability to see into the past and peer into the future. With time, I expect that skill will increase in power and precision. I only hope that I will find some mentors and guides along the way, so that darkness does not infect me at the deepest level.

The mental hospital wants to grab onto anyone that can feel it. It affects even those who deny its reality as a living memory. I started out wishing for nothing more that to be a witness to the paranormal. Now, I have to protect myself from it.

The Bell Tower