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26 Apr 2010


Paranormal activity in Heritage Junction

Community: Researchers find possible evidence of the supernatural at historical society

By Tammy Marashlian
Signal Assistant City Editor
661-259-1234 x525
Posted: April 25, 2010  11:31 p.m.
POSTED  April 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.

2 Images
It was the dead of night and two paranormal investigators were on the second floor of the old, creaky Saugus Train Station.

The men were scouring the more than 100-year-old building, part of the historical Heritage Junction in Newhall. They gripped special recording devices to catch electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs.

They were on the hunt for anything that went bump in the night.

The investigators didn’t hear much at the time.

But when they played the recordings back, they heard her speak as a real-life train whizzed through the station and set off its whistle.

“Will that be on the train?” says a loud voice from what sounds like an older woman with a British accent.

Those six words have left the American Paranormal Research Association’s five-member team puzzled.

Where did the voice come from?

Explaining the unknown
The American Paranormal Research Association’s investigations at Heritage Junction— home to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society — date back to 2008, two years after 22-year-old Brandon Alvis of Bakersfield founded the ghost-hunting group.

People had told Pat Saletore, the historical society’s executive director, stories about the Ranch House.

There were strange sounds and apparitions that couldn’t be explained, she said.

Yet Saletore didn’t immediately give in. Because she works out of an old building next to a railroad crossing, it allows for a lot of everyday sounds to be easily misinterpreted, she said.

And when asked about paranormal activity at Heritage Junction, she’d show visitors photos and let them make up their own minds.

“You have to have a certain amount of evidence to be sure, and I haven’t had any conversations face-to-face with any ghosts,” Saletore said. “So I want to believe. I’m not convinced just yet.”

The investigation

The association’s five-member team, three of whom call the SCV home, regularly hits the road with the goal of capturing paranormal activity and debunking claims at historical locations and private homes.

The investigations have taken the group up and down California and to such paranormal hot spots as the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

“All of us work so well together,” 40-year-old Bridget Odien of Saugus said.

The team is usually called in because of suspicious feelings — usually a sense of being watched.

While the team will look into the history of a home, they generally keep an open mind during investigations. “We go into these buildings to see if we can put some data behind the feelings,” 23-year-old Michael Rudie of Bakersfield said.

Each investigation brings a mix of cameras, electromagnetic detection and recording devices. The group usually splits up into teams of two and take turns examining the location.

Larry Odien recently built a new device, known as an electronic field processor or EFP that boosts what an EVP can pick up.

Once overnight investigation is completed, it’s time to review the evidence and later present it to the their clients with a memento: a certificate indicating paranormal activity.

The team realizes their evidence will not always convince the skeptics.

“It’s all subject to opinion,” Rudie said.

“No one knows,” Bridget Odien said. “And that’s why we do it.”

The team first investigated homes at Heritage Junction in 2008 where they picked up evidence like the voice of a little boy saying,

“I want my mommy” in the Ranch House.

They’ve since been back to the location nearly 10 times. They’ve caught what they call a “shadow man” outside a second-floor window at the Saugus Train Station.

The association is involved with the society’s annual Heritage Haunt fundraiser, which involves tours and dinner.

The voices of the little boy and woman with a British accent loosely correspond with the history of the house.

“Martha” is the name of a woman who lived with the Del Valle family in the late 1800s.

“I have some inclination to want to think that it’s her,” Saletore said. “It’s more of a hope than a knowledge.”

Still, Saletore holds on to some hope.

“I really want to believe,” the local history buff said, “because I think it would be cool if some of the people I spend my time studying would be around.”

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