21 Sep 2009
Is anybody in here?’
Ghost hunters walk the halls of the Fischer
BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
DANVILLE — The usually empty rooms of the old Fischer Theatre had visitors Saturday night looking for its otherworldly residents.
Members of two ghost hunting groups — the Illiana Paranormal Society and the Midnight Ghost Hunters — descended upon the century-old building to draw out and speak to any spirits still present in the theater or apartments above it.
“Our hope is if there is any paranormal activity, we’re going to uncover it,” said Kathy Langellier, case manager of the Illiana Paranormal Society.
The silence and shadows provided few answers for one team assigned to the third and fourth floor apartments of the building. Their questions of “Is anybody in here?” were met with waves of quiet and the glow of street lamps along North Vermilion Street.
Technology, however, gave the team answers where standard communications could not. A K2 meter — which shows the presence of electromagnet fields associated with spirits — came to life without explanation in the bathrooms on the south end of both floors.
With questions sometimes answered by lighting the K2 meter’s display lights, the team determines it may have been talking to a young girl in one of the bathrooms. Another room on the third floor also yielded lights as a result of questions, with possibly a man in his 50s on the other side.
The presence of a girl was in line with the predictions society member and psychic D.J. Walker ventured prior to the investigation’s beginning.
“Mostly in the upstairs in the parts where people lived,” he said about where the spirits could be. “Where it not haunted per se, but they come here because of the connection.”
Standing outside the building, Walker said he felt the presence of a female on the third floor.
Members of the two paranormal groups were expected to be in the building from 9 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday, covering the four above ground floors as well as the rooms underneath the large theater’s stage.
Langellier said the group’s psychics thought as many as 10 spirits could be in the building.
Group members spent hours beforehand setting up stationary infrared cameras throughout the building to try to catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Teams — one assigned to each floor — were armed with camcorders, voice recorders, K2 meters and temperature gauges to help determine the presence of the supernatural.
Langellier stressed the members do not assume any encounters they have are purely paranormal.
“They try to debunk whatever they come up with, whether on the scene at the time or later when going over collected materials.”
The results of the investigation, once examined, will be turned over to the Vermilion Heritage Foundation.
Saturday was the second time a group has investigated the Fischer Theatre. In 2004 and 2005, the Springfield Ghost Society looked into the ghost rumors, reporting hearing sounds and experiencing feelings of being watched while inside.
The Illiana Paranormal Society and Vermilion Heritage Foundation will offer a ghost walk from 7-11 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10 at the Fischer Theatre taking people in a mock paranormal investigation showing the findings of Saturday’s investigation. Cost is $10 per person.