The first thing we like to do after being invited to investigate a location is to conduct some initial background research. We try to find a general history of the location and surrounding area, as well as a history of the claims of paranormal activity. For this investigation, we were lucky enough to be put in contact with Melisa Ferris, a longtime resident of Mantorville. Melisa also does work with the Mantorville Restoration Association and the Mantorville Theatre Company. Melisa was gracious enough to share many stories and claims of paranormal activity at the location, as well as filling us in on some of the history of Mantorville in general. The Restoration House itself was built in the 1850’s, and served as the first and only jail ever built in Dodge County, MN. In fact, the original jail cell is still located in the basement of the house. There are many other antiques and artifacts displayed in the house which come from Mantorville and the surrounding area. The house is set up much like it would have been back in the era in which it was built. In talking with her about the Restoration House, she told us about claims of odd footsteps, disembodied voices, odd sounds, doors opening and closing, items moving on their own, an odd presence being felt and heard in the basement area around the old jail cell, and possible spirits of children playing on the upper level of the house- even having a tendency to sit on the bed in the master room. It is possible that spirits could be attached to some of the antiques that now reside in the Restoration House.
Melisa also shared some of the history of the town and surrounding area. She told us about Flora and Simeon Boggs, who were the first African-American citizens to live in Mantorville. It is thought that they were taken as slaves from somewhere in West Africa, and brought to work in Louisiana. They came to the Mantorville area with General A.J. Edgerton after the end of the Civil War, sometime in the late 1860’s. Flora worked as a laundress for the townspeople until her death in 1903. Simeon passed away in 1905 at the State Soldiers Home- both were laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery in Mantorville. On previous investigations conducted at the Restoration House, investigators have claimed to make contact with/sense the presence of a large African-American woman in the basement near the antique wash tubs. We used all of this information in an attempt to help guide our investigation.
Investigation Start Time: Approx. 10:30pm
Investigation End Time: Approx. 3:30am
People Present: Justin Miner- (JPG), William Hill- (JPG), Brian Miner- (JPG)
Melisa Ferris (Mantorville Theatre Company/Restoration Association)
Patrick Jager- (Mantorville Theatre Company)
Weather Conditions: Clear- 70 degrees (Summer Solstice)
We started by setting up our equipment in the areas with reported paranormal activity. We set a 1080p HD Night Vision video camera in the basement area, focused on the inside of the jail cell. We were hoping to capture any possible movement in an out of that area, as well as capture any possible voices down in that area. We also set a full spectrum video camera in the basement facing the wash tubs, in an attempt to capture movement and voices. This seemed to be a highly active area for EVP’s and odd noises during prior investigations conducted at the house. We also had two cameras on the upper floor of the house- one shooting across the center room into the master bedroom, and one in the master bedroom focused on the bed itself. With these, we were hoping to capture items moving, a possible apparition, the sounds of voices or footsteps, and the sounds of children playing. We decided to put another IR camera in the front sitting room on the main floor of the house, focused on the front door. We were hoping to capture any possible shadow movement, EVP’s, footsteps, or the door actually opening in that area. Lastly, we placed our IR motion activated trail camera in the master bedroom as well, hoping to catch the images of children running and playing, EVP’s, or any other type of movement in that area.
It is interesting to note that while we were setting up our cameras in the master bedroom on the upper level of the house, Brian, William, and I all experienced something unexplainable at the same time. At one point, Brian was working to set up the trail camera, while I was in the process of setting up the IR camera on a tripod. William had placed an audio recorder on the bed just to monitor the room during set up. William then asked the kids (referring to any possible child spirits in the room) if they liked where we had the cameras set up, or if they felt like taking a seat on the bed. Just after that, William and I both heard what sounded like a high pitch child-like response come from somewhere close to us in the room. We could not make out what was said, but we both heard it at the same time. Immediately after that, William and Brian started feeling cold and had goose bumps form head to toe (normal conditions on the upper floor of the house that night was 80 degrees and stuffy, with no A/C or windows open). Immediately after that, I felt a sensation like something was close to my legs. I looked down and did not see anything, however, my legs immediately started to get a numb/tingling feeling from about mid-thigh down to my feet. The experience lasted for approximately a minute, and then everything went back to normal. We caught the entire experience on our audio recorder, which can be reviewed on the clip labeled- “RH EVP- Child”. Listen for the odd high pitch response at approximately the 9 second mark.
We also caught another odd EVP from the master bedroom shortly after I got the IR camera up and running. On the video clip labeled- “RH Bedroom EVP 1”, you can see Brian working on setting up the trail camera. William and I are in the center room getting the second IR cam ready, while Melisa and Patrick were down on the main level of the house. At approximately the 8 second mark, you can hear a very odd whining-like noise. It seems to come from somewhere on the upper level of the house, but we did not hear it at the time.
All five of us I started the actual investigation by sitting on the upper floor of the house to conduct an EVP session. William, Brian, and I sat in the master bedroom while Melisa and Patrick sat out in the center room. We were trying to prompt another experience like what had occurred in that room during our set-up, but we had no further happenings of that sort. We did however capture an interesting piece of video. At the 10 second mark of the video clip labeled- “RH Bedroom EVP 2”, you can hear a voice speak over the top of William. We aren’t exactly sure what is being said, but it seems to be close to the camera. We also caught an EVP on one of the basement cameras during this time. On the video clip labeled- “RH Basement EVP 1”, you can hear a voice say what sounds like “Look out”! This happens at approximately the 3 second mark.
After approximately 30 minutes, we all decided to head down to the basement of the house to take readings and conduct EVP sessions around the jail cell and wash tubs. We started in the basement by taking initial readings with our K2 meters and our analogue EMF detector to get a baseline EMF level in that area. There was an electrical panel right next to the entrance, and a furnace in one of the back corners of the room which both gave off moderate EMF levels if standing right next to them. The rest of the basement area registered zero EMF. As we started our EVP session, Brian decided to place the analogue EMF detector and a flashlight on one of the wash tubs in hopes that a spirit would be able to use those two items to communicate with us. On the video clips labeled- “EMF and Flashlight Response 1”, and “EMF and Flashlight Response 2”, you see what seems to be direct interaction with those two devices.
Brian continued to lead the EVP session, specifically asking questions to try and determine if we were interacting with Flora Boggs. We have ten different video clips that show a very interesting documentation of responses to our questions via the flashlight and EMF detector. It is important to note that our analogue EMF detector needs to register a reading of 2.0 or higher for the alarm to go off like it is in the video clips. The higher the EMF reading, the faster the beeping of the alarm. We periodically checked the wash tub with our K2 meters during this time and continued to receive EMF fluctuations that seemed to emanate from the base of the tub itself. The wash tub did not have any electrical components, nor was there any electricity or water running in the vicinity of the wash tub. EMF readings around the wash tub were zero during the initial walk through of the basement. It is also important to note that it is definitely possible to set a Mag-Lite flashlight to a point where it will go on and off by itself. However, if the flashlight turns on or off within the parameters of a given command, it tends to fit more into the category of paranormal. You can view these specific responses in the video clips labeled- “Flora Flashlight Response 1-9”, and “Flora Flashlight Sequence”. Also during this time, we caught a video clip of Brian holding one of our K2 meters. William states that Flora seems to like responding to Brian the best, so Brian begins to ask another question. He does not notice it at the time, but the camera catches a huge EMF hit on the K2 he is holding as he starts to speak again to Flora. This can be seen on the video clip labeled- "RH Jail- Brian’s K2”. During this time, we were also hearing a lot of odd noises coming from the back corner of the room- little thumps and knocks. We looked around that area multiple times but we unable to determine the cause of those noises.
At one point during the EVP session in the basement, we heard what sounded like a thump or bang that seemed to come from the main floor of the house. Melisa, William, and I decided to go up and check it out while Brian and Patrick stayed in the basement area. We found no cause for the noise that we heard in the main part of the house. However, as we were actually making our way from the basement to the main part of the house, we did catch an interesting EVP in the basement. You hear Brian in the process of counting to five in an attempt to get another direct flashlight or EMF response. Immediately after he says the word five, you can hear a faint voice say what sounds like, “…ahh, come and get me”! This can be heard at about the 3 second mark on the video clip labeled- “RH Basement- EVP 2”. It can also be heard on the clip labeled- “RH Basement- EVP 2 MATCH”.
After checking for the source of the odd bang noise we heard, Melisa, William, and I returned to the basement area. At this time we decided to continue the EVP session using the spirit box in an attempt to engage in audible communication with Flora or any other spirit that might be present. At one point, Brian asked Flora if it was correct to say that she did not want us to go into the back corner of the room. At the 10 second mark of the clip labeled- “RH Spirit Box- Yes”, you can clearly hear what sounds like a female voice say the word, “Yes”. You can also hear this on the clip labeled- “RH Spirit Box- Yes MATCH”. At another point during the spirit box session, Brian asked Flora where Simeon was. We all heard a vocal response with our own ears that did not come from the spirit box. We were not able to make out exactly what was said at the time, but after reviewing the video, you can hear what sounds like a female voice say the word, “Nanune”. After conducting some research, we found that “Nanune” is the name of an African tribe that originated in Ghana- West Africa. This EVP can be heard on the clip labeled- “RH Basement EVP- Nanune”. It can also be heard on the clip labeled- “RH Basement EVP- Nanune MATCH”. During this time, we also caught an interesting clip from the camera located in the front sitting area on the main level of the house. In the clip labeled- “RH Front Door- Odd Knocks”, you can clearly hear two distinct knocks that seem to happen relatively close to the camera. We aren’t sure what causes this. It is interesting to note that prior to us leaving the basement, Melisa claimed to feel something brush past her leg as she sat on the step leading out of the area. After this happened, all activity seemed to stop. We were no longer able to get readings off of the old wash tub!
Toward the end of the investigation, we all decided to sit out on the front porch in order to let things settle in the house for a while. During this time we caught two interesting EVPs on the camera in the front sitting room. At the 4 second mark on the clip labeled- “RH Front Door EVP 1”, there seems to be a whispered voice, but we are not sure what is being said. In the clip labeled- “RH Front Door EVP 2”, we captured an eerie high pitch voice saying, “Don’t you miss me”?
I’ve mentioned before that I basically need to have an undeniable personal experience, or see something with my own eyes in order to label a place as haunted. I left the Restoration House feeling like I more or less had both of those things happen that night. Brian, William, and I all had an undeniable experience in the master bedroom while setting up equipment, which we were able to partially verify with audio. While we did not see or capture the ghost of Flora or Simeon Boggs on video, I feel like we did have some very interesting communication happening in the basement area. I definitely feel like a more in-depth look into the history behind the Restoration House and the people that lived there or frequented the location would help in trying to pinpoint possible causes for the odd happenings that we experienced. It’s safe to say that there is a certain level of paranormal activity occurring at the Restoration House, and we absolutely look forward to making a return trip to Mantorville in the future to try and discover more!
*Reminder that you might need to use headphones to hear some of these EVPs!
2014 Full Length Evidence Synopsis
Investigation / Research / Documentation
Johnsdale Paranormal Group
The two video clips below highlight how we try very hard to verify every piece of potential evidence that we find. The first clip was taken from the IR camera in the master bedroom on the upper floor of the house. All five of us were sitting in the center room attempting to engage a child spirit by playing a game with our flashlight. You hear me ask Melisa if she wants to take a turn kicking my flashlight over. After that, we hear what sounded like a voice saying, "I'm shoeless". We initially thought that this could be a spirit trying to explain why they couldn't join in the game we were playing.
The second clip was taken from the bedroom on the other side of the center room. This IR camera was much closer to where we were sitting, and was able to capture our full dialogue. After I asked Melisa if she wanted to try kicking my flashlight over, she agrees and then makes the comment, "I have short legs".
By being able to cross reference the two video clips, it enabled us to completely rule out what we initially thought was an EVP.
Whenever possible, we try to put at least two pieces of equipment in the same area that are able to capture audio, video, or both in order to help verify anything that we may think is odd. It has helped us countless times with being able to legitimize and debunk various pieces of evidence.