Skeptic is officially defined as a person that questions the authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
Before reading this account, keep in mind that nothing is being presented as fact. These are simply observations from one evening in September. For those skeptics, please don’t jump out of your seats too quickly as you continue to read.
Last year, Menomonee Falls Patch reported unexplainable phenomena were occurring at businesses up and down Main Street. Those stories came from business owners and employees, and were chilling enough. Now, it appears, the spirits are speaking for themselves.
On Sept. 29, Menomonee Falls Patch joined investigators from Cream City Paranormal to perhaps catch signs of ghostly activity at Purloin Studio. Owner Susan Corkum reported seeing a female apparition at the front of the store, hearing giggling, and customers witnessed sparks above the checkout counter. Purloin handyman Cale Youngbeck also reported a mysterious shadow figure in the basement.
Let’s just say investigators Karen Kolasa and Mary Collins didn’t leave Purloin Studio empty handed. After scouring their material, they discovered 10 electronic voice phenomena (EVP) during September’s session at Purloin. It’s an amount of activity that was surprising for them.
“We definitely want to come back,” Kolasa said.
What’d They Catch?
As the editor of Menomonee Falls Patch, I can personally vouch that there was no foul play or attempts to doctor the findings. I went in into this with the full intention of covering it objectively. I was along for the entire investigation, and entered the evening with a healthy amount of journalistic skepticism. In fact, it didn’t appear we had found anything as the night concluded on Sept. 29.
However, you can play four of the more clear EVPs from the night directly from this article. Most of the activity occurred in Corkum’s studio in the back of Purloin. You may need some headphones, but here’s what to listen for:
- “Run Away”: In the first and most eerie clip, you can here a faint male voice whisper, “Run away” just as Karen says “Mary” on the clip.
- “Uh huh”: In this clip, investigators picked up another EVP from the studio at Purloin. Again, investigators were all in the basement at the time. A female voice can be heard almost saying, "Uh huh" and once again you hear the same tonal sound at the 12-second mark.
- “No”: At the 15 second mark, you can distinctly hear a female voice say, "No." This was caught on a recorder set up in the studio in the back of Purloin. We were all in the basement at the time this was caught. At 10 seconds a car drives by, then at 15 seconds you hear the voice.
- Chair Moving?: While all four of us were out in the front portion of the building, we all heard something from the studio at Purloin once again. No one was in the room, and it is thought to be movement of the chair. Not confirmed by video, and investigators are submitting it as an interesting phenomena with no explanation.
For Corkum, the evidence only confirms what she’s witnessed as the owner of the building. However, it’s still a bit creepy for her.
“It’s so cool that they actually found some activity during the investigation. But I never want to go back in that studio,” Corkum joked.
For a more complete analysis of the evening, you can view the Purloin Studio investigation results on the Cream City Paranormal website.
How’d They Find It?
Searching for ghosts is nothing like you see depicted by Hollywood, or as dramatic as what you’ll find on cable television. Rather, it’s a carefully coordinated procedure guided by scientific technique. After all, Kolasa and Collins will tell you that they are just as skeptical as anyone else when it comes to hunting paranormal activity.
“You have to be skeptical so that you can remain grounded about doing this stuff. Otherwise, everything becomes possible, and nothing becomes plausible,” said Collins, who is a full-time oncology and hospice nurse by day.
In order to capture reliable evidence of activity, Collins and Kolasa carefully prepare for each investigation. Sound recorders are placed on each person, and throughout the room. Infrared cameras are set up in strategic locations. Temperature and electromagnetic field measurements are taken throughout the building. All the data are logged and monitored for changes throughout the night.
“We use control recorders to verify sounds, and we make our best attempt to eliminate anything that could have been caused by things in the environment, or by other people,” Kolasa said.
In all, Collins and Kolasa deploy roughly $1,000 worth of equipment that they purchased on their own. Cream City Paranormal is a volunteer group, and all investigations are done for free and for the sake of curiosity.
“You can’t charge for this, because we don’t even know what it is we are investigating,” Collins said.
During the investigation, which began around 9:30 p.m., the windows are covered to block out all light. The lights are turned off, and the investigation takes place in pitch-black darkness – with the aid of flashlights on occasion.
Then, Collins and Kolasa proceeded to each room and used techniques to stir spiritual activity. They asked direct questions to the spirits utilizing light-up sensors that spirits could use to answer “yes” or “no” to. A Bible was also placed in some rooms because spirits may react strongly to scripture.
Lastly, Kolasa considers herself a “sensitive” and can at times perceive paranormal activity. Many times during the vening she said she had visions of certain people and feelings depending on the room.
“I believe there are spirits. Why they are here, I’ll never know,” Kolasa said. “It’s exciting to maybe find some evidence that another realm exists. How do we know that we don’t exist in a different realm?”
Strange Happenings, and Is Purloin Haunted?
I don’t consider myself a believer in ghosts. I need evidence, and I’ll likely explain it away if I get it. However, a few strange things occurred during my stay with the investigators.
At one point, the cash register in the room began feeding receipt paper unexplainably. All four of us heard a chair move in the back room of the studio. We also all saw what seemed to be a glowing light from behind a bookshelf that quickly faded when Collins returned to the room.
Unfortunately, visual evidence of these phenomena didn’t make it to the tapes. The memory card on the studio camera was filled by the time the chair was thought to have moved on its own.
“In my five years, I’ve never caught anything on video. I’ve been on at least 50 investigations.” Karen said.
Believe me, I’ve found my ways to explain away the circumstances, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be convinced until I’m covered in goo from Slimer – or the equivalent of the slovenly specter of Ghostbusters. However, the voice saying, “Run away” did send shivers down my spine when Kolasa and Collins presented the evidence this week.
Collins and Kolasa aren’t completely convinced either, but they have a strong inclination that spirits are indeed attempting to communicate with Corkum and her customers. They plan to return to Purloin again for a more thourough and extensive investigation.
“I believe that people are made of matter and energy, and there is a persistence in the pattern of energy,” Collins said. “It does make you think about the nature of your reality. It’s an opportunity to be on the edge of something different and strange.”
What do you think? Do you have any Falls ghost stories of your own?