In part 1 of our investigation of the Star of India, we found ourselves pitted against the hierarchy of the ship’s line of command. The spirit of the Captain was being reluctant to communicate with us. We had been politely asking for general information from the crew but it seemed being polite little women was getting us nowhere fast. Now we didn’t want to stoop to the level of harassing or taunting, that would be rude and unnecessary. But it seemed the Star’s Captain looked upon a bunch of FEMALE paranormal investigators with a bit of disdain. Who knew? And if the Captain was giving us the cold shoulder, it was pretty obvious he was making sure his motley crew stayed tight lipped as well. So what to do? This is when using your intuition and having some flexibility come in handy. I say intuition because we all had the gut feeling the Captain was hiding something. You know that feeling when you haven’t heard from a person in a while and you just KNOW it’s because they are avoiding you because they’ve done something reprehensible? You know when someone is hiding something from you even if you don’t know exactly what it is. We had to find a way to get him and the crew to talk. We needed to rethink our approach a bit. If the Captain is in control, who commands above the Captain? Who does the Captain respect and answer to? Ahh, we thought, the ship’s owners, that’s who! Unfortunately, we couldn’t be sure which Captain we had with us. Funny, when dealing with spirits, oftentimes you can’t be sure what timeframe you’re dealing with. The Star is over 100 years old and has been sold several times during her career, so we weren’t sure which owners’ names he would recognize. So we figured we’d just improvise. On a whim we thought “Let’s tell him we’re from the ship’s owners and we’re here to make a report.” We didn’t really expect it to work but thought, Hey, let’s give it a try. We Googled one of the several owners of the Star and took a guess about the timeline, picking the Shaw, Savill and Alboin Line. ( She was still the Euterpe during the 19th century ). We had Margaret’s husband James in his best British accent, call out into the night air, “We’ve come from the Shaw Co and we need to ask you some questions. We need to make a report and we need you to comply, Captain.” I was sitting with my back to the Captain’s quarters. It had a small window and short, cotton curtains with the lamp’s light glowing through. Kimberly faced the Captain’s quarters. Her eyes widened, “Kitty, the curtains just moved!” I wheeled around to look. Sure enough, the tiny curtains were parting ever so slightly. There is no way any breeze can get into his quarters because of the wooden partitions inside the galley. We kept talking. “We need to ask you some questions, Captain.” The curtains opened a little more! We all saw this happening. We could have squealed with excitement but were trying to play it cool, you know… I figured we had his attention, but would this little scheme really work? Could we get the spirits to communicate if they thought they were talking to the ship’s owners? We relocated into the galley. We started running several digital voice recorders and began an EVP session. The Captain’s presence could certainly be felt. Kimberly and I swore we could see him sitting on the galley’s sofa, glaring at everyone. It was in these first few minutes of recording we captured a Class A EVP saying, “Why did you lie to me?” We had made direct contact with the Captain of the ship and he understood what we had said! Apparently, the Captain did not appreciate being duped! Listen to it here. http://bit.ly/1qOkjea Would the ship’s crew now come forward and speak? We continued to run our digital recorders. As we sat around the heavy galley table, we could make out audible conversations between several voices talking excitedly. We were unable to make out what they were saying, but the word “hiding” came through clearly. What were they hiding? We could make out two distinct voices talking back and forth to each other. These were not like the other voices, that we were able to capture only as EVPs, or spirit voices in the white noise of a recording, but these voices were in the room with us, talking ABOUT us! It was exciting to finally have their attention and to capture such great evidence. Within a couple of minutes the voices died down and we caught no further EVPs during this session. Everyone needed a break. Out came the water, Mountain Dew, grapes, cheese, and Ding Dongs. I had a bet with Kimberly that the Ding Dongs would go first before any healthy snacks. I lost, but the Ding Dongs magically disappeared nonetheless. Recharged with a nice sugar buzz, we headed back into the galley. We thought we’d try a Spirit Box session to see if the ship’s crew would come through. The Spirit Box, also known as Frank’s Box, named after it’s creator Frank Sumption, is a useful tool to communicate with spirits. It’s basically a radio, usually an inexpensive AM FM radio, that has been modified to continually sweep through all the channels without stopping. Picture turning the dial on a car radio back and forth and you get the idea. What this does is creates a type of white noise, a physical medium for spirits to use as their voice. I find it’s better to run the channels in a backwards directional sweep to avoid any stray random words from popping in and creating false evidence. We sat ourselves around the galley table. It had already been a successful night and I just wanted to take a moment and drink it all in. I looked around the room, it’s woodwork gleaming with a fresh varnish. We were sitting at the ship’s original galley table. This table had been here since the 19th century, before the Civil War. I thought about how many people had sat in these chairs over the decades. I ran my hands across the big, heavy table. It carried it’s share of scars and history. The ship is filled with everyday utilitarian objects and well loved personal items such as a doll that may have made her way across treacherous seas…. This is when you really begin to connect with spirit. Imagine their time in this place. What must they have endured at sea? Did they ever see their loved ones again? Imagine their hardships and the difficult decisions that were made in order to simply survive. They did all this to make a better life. That’s what I love about paranormal investigating. When that connection is made. It becomes real. Still setting up our equipment when we once again heard what sounded like a conversation. Whispered voices chattering excitedly but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. We all heard these voices with our own ears, these were audible spirit voices, not EVPs. Was the ship’s crew trying to speak to us? Just then we heard a loud groaning noise. It was like a metal scraping on wood. We stared wide eyed at each other. It was LOUD. It did it again. We could feel the vibration through our feet. Groannnnn. It did it again. We looked around. What WAS that? James peeked outside. “Oh, there’s a motorcycle outside.” Yeah, we heard it. Brumm, Brumm. Hmm… Groannnnn…. Wide eyes again. “That’s no motorcycle!” Half giddy, half a bit unnerved, we searched for what could be the source of this groaning noise. We searched for the source of this noise in the back galley. Here the large iron rudder post runs through the ship from the wheel to the ship’s rudder. Groannnn… The rudder post was rotating! Okay, the rudder post is moving..but how? The ship’s wheel is securely lashed so it won’t move. I figured I better try to debunk this. “I’ll go up and see if I can get it to move.” Later we discovered immediately after I say this we captured another Class A EVP “Damn You!” My, the Captain was still upset with me. Take a listen here. http://bit.ly/1lde7jf I go above deck and grab the ship’s wheel. It’s lashed on both sides and only has a couple inches of play. I pull hard back and forth. I called down to see if that made the rudder post move. “Anything?” “Nope. Not a bit.” Now you might think, OK, this is just movement from the water creating some turbulence and causing either the rudder or the wheel to move. But not only could I not recreate the movement by leaning with all my weight on the wheel but the movement of the rudder post completely stopped while we were standing in the room watching it. The rudder post didn’t budge the entire time we stood there watching it, waiting for it to rotate. We could not debunk this phenomenon. I’m leaving this as unexplained but I believe the spirits were definitely messing with us. We took several still photos of the room while this activity was occurring. In one shot we captured this amazing light anomaly zooming across the room. There were no bugs on the ship and this anomaly only appeared in one shot, so I doubt it was dust or a reflection. Where were we? Oh yes, trying to set up our Spirit Box and digital voice recorders. Sometimes you just got to go with the flow and go where the activity takes you. We figured the Captain was telling us he was still in charge of this vessel. Could he make the rudder post move on command? Would he? With all our equipment running, I asked, “Captain, was that you and could you please make the post move again for us?” Immediately, we heard the now familiar “Groaannn.” “Thank you, Captain.” OK, maybe we squealed a little. Not only did it do it instantly after I asked him to but this was the last time during our investigation the rudder post moved. That’s pretty relevant because if it had been a strong current or tidal interference the rudder post would continue to move intermittently. Listen for yourself.. http://bit.ly/1ottT4E It remained quiet the rest of the night. I continued to ask the Captain questions but received no more responses. I was pretty sure that he was done talking. We wanted to see who else might be with us. “If this is not the Captain, then to whom are we speaking?” A moment later..”Patrick”. This was great, but I wanted some answers. I wanted to know what they were “hiding” from us. My mind raced with a hundred possibilities, all of them nefarious.. It must have been some contraband smuggled aboard the ship long ago. One can’t help but think about pirates and treasure. Who knows what sort of “booty” could have hidden on an old ship like the Star? It’s at this point we all noticed we had a strong metallic taste in our mouths. Gunpowder? Ah Ha! They were smuggling gunpowder! That definitely could be a very dangerous cargo. I researched into the Euterpe’s Logbook Collection, which is in the archive of the MacMullen Library and Research Archives and the Star ( then Euterpe) did at one time haul gunpowder, but the logbook did not state where they got the gunpowder. Alright, where does one acquire gunpowder in the 19th century? China, I would guess. With recorders and Spirit Box running, “Where did you get the gunpowder, and from where?” The answer came on the Spirit Box.. “China”. Listen http://bit.ly/VQV5Ub It’s really amazing to receive this much validation. We had physical movement of the rudder post that rotated on command and then stopped. We had a Class “A” EVP saying “Damn You!” possibly from the Captain. We had voices from the Spirit Box answering our questions intelligently. Remember, the bandwidths are sweeping backwards to eliminate the chance of stray radio voices coming through causing false positives. It was getting late. It was time to do what we are called to do, and that’s provide guidance in crossing spirits and sending them Home. Doing so in a haunted location does not create a vacuum and render a place devoid of paranormal activity. When done with Love and the right intentions of helping spirits who wish to return Home, I believe it actually creates some sort of portal and spirits communicate that there are folks on this side who wish to learn, talk, and help if possible. I think crossing spirits ATTRACTS other spirits to a location who might also need help. Kimberly called in her Angels and we all focused on filing the room with Love and Light. We thanked the crewmen for speaking with us. We told them their job was done, it was time to head Home at last.. With the Spirit Box and recorders still going… Kimberly..”Reach out your hands and find that your family is there waiting for you.” Spirit Box.. “Hi Mom.” Kimberly..”Your time is served, you are now free to go Home.” Spirit Box..”Thank You.” And then the most silent bit of silence I’ve ever heard from the Spirit Box….there were no pops. no sputters, no static… .He was just…gone……… Cue the tears and goosebumps.. Grab a tissue and give a listen.. http://bit.ly/1rCRveP I would like to add that the day after we concluded our investigation in which we captured this amazing evidence on a spirit box, or Frank’s Box, Frank Sumption, the founder and inventor of this device, passed away. Although I never had the chance to meet him I know the paranormal community is feeling his loss and it was his genius that made this experience possible. Thank you, Frank.. We couldn’t top that Spirit Box experience. It was late and time to call it a night. Time to find our wayward security guard and help him go through all the decks and set the alarm. Remember, it was only his 4th day on the job. Packed up and ready to hit the showers and a soft bed, we disembarked the lovely Star of India and expected our security guard to be there. Nobody. The guard has three ships to patrol so we headed out to the Berkeley. Calling out..”John! Where are you?” I decided to call his phone. “Hello, this is John.” Yeah, We’re finished up here on the Star and we need you to lock up.” Laughing, “Did you find any “ghosties”? “Yes, it was incredible. We had a ton of activity. This ship is alive with spirits.” Awkward silence….. Then in a softer tone.. “No Shit?” Obviously John is now thinking about all those decks, all those dark places on the ship. “You’re already off the ship?” “Yeah, we need to head out because we have to leave in about 4 hours so we need you to lock up and turn on the alarm.” Silence… “Um. go ahead, I’ll just leave any lights on and set the alarm, OK?” I guess the security guard was a little spooked about being all alone on a haunted ship.. I wonder if he made it there a full week…..
Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. She was built at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were relatively new for that time then, with most vessels still being built from timber. She originally bore the name Euterpe,the Greek muse of music and poetry. The Euterpe was a full-rigged ship until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig.The advantage of these rigs was that they needed smaller (therefore cheaper) crews than a comparable fully rigged ship as there were fewer of the labour-intensive square sails, and the rig itself is cheaper. They were still very fast and she could travel from England to India and back in about 100 days. Can you imagine such a journey? She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, the captain died on board and was buried at sea. After such a hard luck beginning, Euterpe made four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was sold again and embarked on a quarter century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand, sometimes also touching Australia, California and Chile. She made 21 circumnavigations in this service, some of them lasting up to a year. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, “laboring and rolling in a most distressing manner,” according to her log. Life aboard the Euterpe was difficult for the sailors, cooped up in her ‘tween deck, fed a diet of hardtack and salt junk, subject to malnutrition, seasickness, and a host of other ills. It is astonishing that their death rate was so low. They were a tough lot, however, coming from the working classes of England, Ireland and Scotland. Her name was changed to Star of India in 1906 and after 60 years of solid performance in 1923, she became the crown jewel of the San Diego Maritime museum, where she remains today as a floating piece of history. We arrived in the afternoon and walked into one of the shops that stands next to the Star of India. The store was crowded with white suited sailors fresh off their ship and they were eager to do some shopping. I was asking the clerk , I don’t know, something, and I noticed my body began to sway back and forth, as if rolling on a ship’s deck. The store IS located within a ship but it’s securely docked. I looked at all the sailors, they weren’t swaying so I figured they had their sea legs. Now I’m swaying quite a bit, back and forth, and I really felt as though I was going to get knocked off my feet. And the worst part was I couldn’t do a thing about it! It was like some kind of out of body experience. I knew I was doing it, I felt like an idiot swaying to and fro but was unable to control my actions. Finally I grabbed onto the counter and stared wide-eyed at the clerk. Yeah, she was looking at me funny, too.. I managed to gain control and as we walked out, Kimberly asks me, “So what was THAT all about?” She saw me swaying and she had begun swaying too. Was something trying to communicate with us already? I’ve never felt like that before. I was feeling like I was slipping out of body non consensually, unable to control the swaying, but realizing I was doing it and helpless to stop myself from tumbling to the floor. The spirits of the Star of India knew we were coming, alright..That was weird.. We started our lockdown by being escorted by one of the Star’s docents, Dave. Dave walked me through the ship’s four decks and located the light panels and alarm system. “I’m gonna be gone, and it’s the security guard’s 4th day on the job, and the first three didn’t have much training. Make sure when you’re ready to leave that you show him where these panels are and make sure he sets the alarm. If you need to leave in a hurry and you’re running down the plank, the gate won’t be locked, just push through it.” Wait.. What? Has he had people running off the ship in a hurry? Dave wouldn’t say.. Still wondering if I was going to be running screaming down a poop deck in the middle of the night, we set up our base in the galley and then we headed down below deck. This is another reason I wanted some ambient lights on. Have you tried to navigate a ship’s steep stairs with a thin rope for a rail? Do that in complete darkness? Yeah, I don’t think so! Besides, it’s a museum too, and I don’t want to break anything. We walked from stem to stern taking still digital shots. I felt drawn to crawling into every nook and cranny of the ship. It just felt as though they were somehow hiding from us. Sure enough, the cameras began malfunctioning. It was as though they were deliberately causing the equipment failure. The camera would turn on, I’d point in the direction I wanted to photograph and Boom, the camera would lock up. We had three separate battery drains as well. I had made sure all the equipment had fresh batteries before we started. The batteries would go from a full charge to completely drained in a matter of minutes. It’s a common occurrence for electronic equipment to drain or malfunction with the presence of paranormal activity. I believe they do this to gather energy from an external source in order to manifest either visually or audibly. Remember, spirits have no physical body so in order to be seen or for you to hear a disembodied voice or to create an EVP, they need an external source of energy. I also believe they sometimes just like to screw with us. I believe they mess with equipment when they don’t want to be caught on camera. Spirits are very resourceful that way.. So began a cat and mouse type game of bangs in one room across ship, equipment malfunctioning, basically leading us from one end of the ship to the other. We decided to regroup on the main deck. With cameras behaving themselves now, we began taking more still shots. Kimberly’s sister Michelle noticed she was getting a lot of orbs immediately in the vicinity of the lifeboat. “Come here, Look at these!” Michelle called excitedly. Over the course of several consecutive shots, dozens of orbs would suddenly appear around the lifeboat, then in the next frame slightly disperse, then be gone completely by the fourth shot. There was no dust and very little breeze, so we ruled out dirt contamination. I would take several shots of the same boat with a similar camera to no avail. The orbs only appeared when Michelle took the pictures. With activity seeming to center close to the lifeboat, we figured this would be a good time and place to conduct an impromptu seance. Each of us gathered a chair and we sat in a circle. We relaxed our minds and allowed ourselves to slowly focus on the spirits around us. Silently we invited them to join us. I let my eyes fall slightly out of focus ( and at my age that’s pretty darn easy) and I gazed up at the elaborate rigging in the masts. Slowly taking shape aloft in the rigging lines and beams were shadowy shapes. I gazed a little longer and I could see the haggard, barefoot sailors staring back at us. They looked at our group with what I can only describe as a bit of disdain, they looked thoroughly unimpressed with these ladies trying to demand and order them about. Just then I distinctly heard the words “Bilge Rat” ! It seems the pecking order of sailing ships is certainly Captain, crew, THEN female ghost hunters! This was going to be harder than I thought. We had been politely asking for general information from the crew but it seemed being polite little women was getting us nowhere fast. Now we didn’t want to stoop to the level of harassing or taunting, that’s just rude and unnecessary. We needed to rethink our approach. Who would the Captain respect enough and answer their questions? On a whim we thought “Let’s tell him we’re from the ship’s owners and we’re here to make a report.” We didn’t really expect it to work but thought, Hey, let’s give it a try. We Googled one of the several owners of the Star and took a guess about the timeline, picking the Shaw, Savill and Alboin Line. ( She was still the Euterpe during the 19th century ). We had Margaret’s husband James in his best British accent,call out into the night air, “We’ve come from the Shaw Co and we need to ask you some questions. We need to make a report and we need you to comply, Captain.” I was sitting with my back to the Captain’s quarters. It had a small window and short, cotton curtains with the lamp’s light glowing through. Kimberly faced the Captain’s quarters. Her eyes widened, “Kitty, the curtains just moved!” I wheeled around to look. Sure enough, the tiny curtains were parting ever so slightly. There is no way any breeze can get into his quarters because of the wooden partitions inside the galley. We kept talking. “We need to ask you some questions, Captain.” The curtains opened a little more! We all saw this happening. We could have squealed with excitement but were trying to play it cool, you know…. I figured we had his attention but knew time was of the essence. We quickly relocated into the galley. We didn’t know how long we could keep the Captain’s attention. We started running several digital voice recorders and began an EVP session. The Captain’s presence could certainly be felt. Kimberly and I swore we could see him sitting on the galley’s sofa, glaring at everyone. It was in these first few minutes of recording we captured a Class A EVP saying, “Why did you lie to me?” We had made direct contact with the Captain of the ship and he understood what we had said! Apparently, the Captain did not appreciate being duped! Listen to the EVP we captured here ..Is this the Captain asking, ” Why did you lie to me?” http://bit.ly/1qOkjea What will the rest of the evening hold? Coming soon.. Part 2.. If you want to see more of our investigations, evidence and upcoming events, please check out our Facebook page at bit.ly/kjfbpage and please visit my website at kittyjanusz.com !