Cincinnati Music Hall
Paranormal Comic Adventures in Queen City
By Terri J. Garofalo
Queen City? Where the heck is that? Oh yeah, Cincinnati. My knowledge of the mid-west is about as extensive as that of nuclear physics. However, I did quite well in geography, so I could identify its vicinity. Fellow paranormal investigator, Rich Scanlon of Everyday Paranormal Kentucky asked me to bring Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic to the Queen City Paranormal Conference or Paracon (ghost hunter lingo).
It was a great way to market my new book, “Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic, Paranormal Humor for the Ghost Hunter’s Soul,” as well as a chance to hobnob with paranormal celebrities and network. An even bigger hook was a chance to investigate the venue, the Cincinnati Music Hall. It’s not everyday one gets to ghost hunt such an enormous, history-laden building with some noteworthy paranormallers like Carl Johnson from Animal Planet’s Haunting, former demonologist of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) and Ghost Hunters, SyFy. Brad and Barry Klinge of Everyday Paranormal who hail from Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab were the headliners of the star lineup.
I agreed to fly out from New York and scope the scene. Connecting couple of flights in some paper towel tubes fitted with wings and seats landed me in Kentucky where Cinci keeps its airport. Must be cheaper to keep an airport in Kentucky… I settled in to my hermetically sealed motel room. Since the window did not open EVER, I assumed the same air was present in there since the 70s when it was built. I was curious how the oxygen held up as I was still breathing. At least it was clean. Still, I considered that it might have been cost effective to saddle up my horse and pack a tent.
Rich and Tyler whisked me away from my humble digs to pick up Carl Johnson and his side kick Dena Palazini. Carl was negotiating nasal tragedy with a newly manifested cold. Dena was all revved up and ready for a photo op since I had my camera available. We took some “rock star” shots in front of the gorgeous stained glass Jesus window in their room.
Once the swallows were gathered, we migrated to the restaurant bar where we were to join the other V.I.P.s for food and drink. It became clear that Jake Cunninham of Everyday Paranormal Kentucky had let the cat out of the bag there were celebrity paranormallers showing up. So, the place was packed and there was no room for the V.I.P.s in question. We all were assigned table-scavenging duty, placing our butts in strategically abandoned locations to secure a place to eat.
The celebs filtered in… We were joined by paranormal author Jeff Belanger, magician Aaron Houdini, Brad and Barry Klinge, Bo Blackburn who owns of a replica of the Scooby Doo van the Mystery Machine, Kristy of the Animal Planet show “Haunting,” and Syd Shultz who runs an awesome paranormal Boot Camp.
My first order of business was to apologize to Brad Klinge in person for drawing him shorter than his brother in an Entities-R-Us Guest Draw. I often draw paranormal celebrities in as guest stars. It turns out that Brad is a good four inches taller than his brother… Which makes him enormous. So as payback, I posed for a picture with him, which totally exacerbated my shortness.
Jeff Belanger is the author of several books about hauntings, ghosts, etc. He also heads up ghostvillage.com His sense of humor is natural, bubbling up like a paranormal Jim Carey. I was fortunate enough to trade books with him. He is conveniently a fan of Entities-R-Us. Jeff borrowed my camera to have a flash duel with another camera. Both survived the incident. AND, I got a couple amusing picts out of it.
A few drinks later, some awesome burgers, and the bar owner found himself strapped into Aaron Houdini’s straight jacket. His unsuccessful attempts at escape left us in stitches, all along entertaining the thought perhaps we could scarper without paying the tab. Klinge Brothers were commandeered to suit up Aaron Houdini in the straight jacket next. The only way he gets out of this he explained is to dislocate his shoulder on a “non-drywall” portion of the wall. I suppose he’s put a hole in some folk’s drywall before and has learned an expensive lesson. Talk about occupational hazard… He did dislocate himself, then proceed to weasel his way out of the jacket in short order.
We wrapped up the night late. It would be my only chance at any hardcore sleep since we had to ghost hunt the following night following the paracon. Stupid me got up at 6:00 am… I re-invented coffee in my motel room by mixing the regular and the decaf packets to secure two cups of mostly caffeinated.
It worked to my advantage that my ride to the show was late. I got to doze a bit after raiding the neighboring convenience store for some snick-snacks. Good thing I stocked up. It would later prove that I would be on the paranormal diet… peanuts, coffee and pizza (if you could get it). I was off to the Cincinnati Music Hall…
The Music Hall is a grand old 19th century building, which looks like a gothic cathedral. The ballroom where the vendors and speakers were is a vast vaulted venue, ornate with expansive wood floors. I set up next to a ghost tour group. It was a prime location for listening in on the lectures.
I embarked on the usual “shameless” marketing campaign dropping off Entities-R-Us business cards and introducing my self to the rest of the vendors. I examined the wares of each. I even attempted to find water (or paranormal spirits perhaps?) with the Bo Blackburn’s homemade dowsing rods. Those things will just twist around of their own accord in your hand. Perhaps I’m no longer a skeptic? At Joedy Cooke’s table I had the pleasure of handling some Big Foot tracks. He showed me compelling evidence of werewolf tracks photographed after a sighting in Ohio by a park ranger, who remains freaked out to this day.
The rest of my day was spent talking comics, signing books and prints. I met so many interesting people from all walks of life. Many recognized Entities-R-Us, which was comforting as a newer webcomic. I even had a Guest Draw request from Joedy Cooke of the Big Foot folks. I offered a raffle of a Guest Draw to the lucky winner. The lucky winner to be drawn into a color Sunday version of Entities to appear on the website and receive a signed color copy.
Situated near the stage, I enjoyed the discussions of Father Jack on demonic forces. Then Jeff Belanger regaled us with his “Legend Tripping” leaving us all in stitches. Carl Johnson shared his wisdom. Joedy Cooke offered cryptozoological evidence.
We wrapped up, packed up and retreated upstairs to a conference room. Here Brad and Barry Klinge gave a talk. They showed paranormal evidence, discussed investigating and Ghost Lab, the TV show. They soon went all karaoke and burst into song. Brad snagged a nearby baby grand and Barry took up the mike to sing “Let It Be,” by the Beatles. It was hysterical, especially when Barry mixed up the verse eliciting raucous hollering from Brad. It made for a good time and a relaxed atmosphere before the impending investigation.
Roger, the Music Hall guide took the bulk of us on tour around the building before the big ghost hunt. He showed us the hot-spots and regaled us with ghost stories. We trooped through the main entrance glittering with multi-faceted chandeliers, columns topped relief-sculpted, theatrical faces. All of this setting the stage for a haunting good time. We visited the workshop where a “shrouded” small figure was once seen scooting between two people as it emanated what looked like steam. The taps in bathroom would mysteriously turn on. Supposedly the ghost a former employee would do this.
Venturing into the expansive basement full of creepy props like coffins and various stage related items, we were treated to a secret hole which led to the portion of the building which was once the basement of an insane asylum. We were led back into a dirt-floored room where some work was being done. Supposedly they had found human bones here. The Music Hall was built on an old potters field. Most of the bodies were removed and reburied, but they apparently missed a few. Here a young girl in ragged clothing once appeared to watch an electrician work on the wiring. She appeared each day while he worked down there. It is said anyone who takes a piece of the brick or stone from this area is compelled to return it… Apparently, some nasty energy comes with it. No, I did not take ANYTHING from there… safety first!
Brad and Barry Klinge joined us for the remainder of the tour. We all filed back into the basement to begin investigating. Some of us moved back to the woodshop to see what we could entice out of the darkness. While there seemed to be some activity, it was mostly quiet. So, we trundled up into the theater balcony.
The theater is a vast open vestige from the 1800s. There is a chandelier the size of a couple of vans they used to raise and lower at each performance. Looking down on the stage from the third tier was breathtaking. The stage is supposed to be visited by an occasional apparition. Sounds of music are sometimes heard. Here we decided to camp and do an EVP session. EVP or electronic voice phenomena are voices a recording device will pick up, but we are unlikely to hear as it is out of range of normal human hearing. We each set out our digital voice recorders at different parts of the theater. Each of us began to call out to whatever spirits were present. “Who is with us tonight? Are you here for the show? Did you work here? What is your name?” These were some of the questions asked.
Soon we were hearing voices, but not of an EVP nature. The Klinge brothers have their own way of drawing out the ghosts. It’s called provoking. They were under the stage with a few of the other investigators. There was a fair amount of hollering emanating from the below the stage flooring and we could hear it distinctly. It was pretty amusing. The maddening crowd worked its way up from below on to the top of the stage where they elected to settle in the orchestra chairs. Brad wandered into the box seats. Carl and Dena were on the right side of the upper balcony, Rich and his crew were to the right of the center upper balcony. Aaron Houdini was in the center upper balcony while another investigator Kat, and I stood left of center. We then embarked on a large-scale EVP session.
It was not long into it when I spotted what I thought was Dena sitting in the upper aisle. When I called out to confirm where she was, she stood up, but NOT where I expected her to be. So, WHO was that up there? None of the living investigators… Soon we were seeing dark shadows flitting on the left side of the upper balcony. Then one appeared to be passing back and forth behind Brad Klinge in the box seats.
In attempt to draw them out we provoked. Provoking for me involves some minor sarcasm. For the Klinges it involves outright threats! Threatening a ghost with bodily harm is probably not likely to freak them out, unless they don’t know they are dead…. At one point Carl thought he saw a couple of spirits running away. We heard a door shut off stage. Kat thought she saw a guy dressed like a conductor walk up to the stage as if to take the podium for a concert. Barry and a few others on the stage heard a tuba play a couple notes.
Carl turned up the heat saying the place was going to be torn down – which wasn’t true. Brad was annoyed at the hide-and-seek shadow person flitting unseen behind him. So, expanding on Carl’s idea, he barreled out of the box seats and roared about taking down the chairs in prep for demolition. Nothing significant occurred. I presume the ghosts all fled to the basement where it was quiet.
Our next sojourn was the freight elevator with Carl Johnson. We shut the door much to the disconcertion of one of our claustrophobic ghost hunters. Carl attempted to quietly draw out any energies that were there. Tales have been told of screams being heard. In fact, one of the women with us worked at the music hall and was the granddaughter of a fellow who was crushed by the elevator. He was not killed, but severely injured. The screams heard are likely residual energy from him. Residual hauntings occur when a significant emotional event occurs and leaves an imprint. This sort of haunting is not aware of us and will not interact. An intelligent haunting is aware and will interact with people in the physical. With no activity showing up, we were treated to stories from the set of Ghost Hunters, the SyFy TV show Carl was a part of for a time. That was almost as entertaining as having a rash of poltergeist activity show up (which it didn’t).
After convincing Dena that she was on the edge of a big drop-off at the elevator shaft and extracting a laugh at her expense, we wrapped up the night. All in all it was a great investigation with a fun bunch of people. It was back to the hermetically sealed motel for two hours sleep before my flight out in the paper towel tubes. Little did I know I’d be flying in drinking straw for first connection! It was still a jet, but this time I had a whole seat row of one to myself! That was the best flight I’ve had though. My view was astounding. I even got to see the Music Hall from the air. A more substantial tube took me back to Stewart Airport where the Shawgunk Mountain winds buffeted the plane into the valley of the airport where we landed with a twisting thud. I was back home and ready to review the evidence I gathered.