Thursday, March 29, 2018

Paranormal Investigation at St. Vincent Infant Asylum

My daughter and I signed up for a ghost investigation run by French Quarter Phantoms. Now, I'm not exactly what you would call a believer. At best, you could call me an open-minded skeptic. I've had some weird paranormal type things happen to me a few times over the years, but most of what I have encountered could be explained away via various means. Still, a ghost hunt in a "haunted" area in the most haunted city in America sounded like an opportunity that we couldn't pass up.

St. Vincent's Asylum is located on the corner of Race and Magazine street just a few blocks East of the Garden District. It was originally built in 1861 as an orphanage for children whose parents were killed in the Civil War or by the Yellow Fever epidemic that ran through the city. It was run by the Sisters of Charity and heavily funded by Margaret Haughery. She was widely known throughout New Orleans as "Our Margaret," “The Bread Woman of New Orleans", "Mother of Orphans" and "Saint Margaret". She devoted her life to the care and feeding of the poor and hungry, and to fund and build orphanages throughout the city. St. Vincent's Asylum was home to a number of colorful figures throughout its operation including priests, nuns, children of various ages, and a sadistic doctor. St. Vincent's has been converted into a hostel where people on a budget can stay. Guests report seeing ghostly children playing in the rooms and common areas as well as hearing their eerie laughter throughout the hallways. The apparition of a Nun ascending the front stairway has also been reported. Before we were there tonight, we heard it told that a guest in Room 26 awoke this morning to the feeling of someone sitting on his feet at the edge of the bed.

We went in to Room 26 to try to make contact with whatever spirit may be lurking there. As part of the investigation, the lead investigator from French Quarter Phantoms used some proximity detectors and a tool called an echo vox which, in this case, uses brief snippets of sounds coming from random FM stations. Don't ask me how a ghost would use these tool to communicate with the living, because I don't know. And, to be honest, I feel that the human brain's tendency towards pattern recognition makes it likely that anyone using the tool would unintentionally recognize many of the FM snippets as actual words. So, straight away, I didn't think that it was a good tool to use for the investigation. The proximity detectors, however, did show some interesting results that are more difficult for me to explain. Go ahead and watch the video I took in Room 26 of St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum for yourself. It's dark in there, but you can see the lights of the proximity detectors that have been placed on the bed.




After we finished our investigation in Room 26, we ventured down to the common room of St. Vincent's Guest House which used to be the library of St. Vincent's Infant Asylum. Here, the investigation centered on using dousing rods as a sort-of poor man's Ouija board. In theory, you ask a spirit yes/no questions. The spirit is asked to cross the dousing rods for "NO" and uncross them for "YES" or vice versa. After a little bit of coaxing, my daughter got up to make a run with the dousing rods.



After the library, we all moved on to the dormitory. This part of the investigation was much like the one in Room 26. In my opinion, not much of note happened during this part of the investigation. However, one of the lead investigators does give a pretty good explanation of how the echo vox works.

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