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Sunday, July 10, 2011
Are You Ready to Believe Us? Investigating the Haunted Sterling Opera House with Above the Realm Paranormal! (Part 2)
If you haven't yet been caught up on our adventures in the Sterling Opera House, please feel free to click here first for the tale of how Captain Cruella and myself came to explore one of Connecticut's most notoriously haunted locations!
After giving the main hall of the Opera House a thorough going-over, it was time for Above the Realm Paranormal investigators (from left to right, above) Troy Leong, Rich DeCarlo and Dan Rivera to take us underground into the bowels of the archaic structure, where a full police precinct and political offices once existed. Odd that such things would be housed below a theater, but we were informed that it was pretty normal during the turn of the 20th century for buildings to serve such completely dual purposes.
After continuing to snap photos like the one above, featuring bizarre energy configurations and inexplicable orbs/streaks of light, we figured we were ready for anything. We had even gotten to the point of directly goading the alleged spirits to show themselves, singing songs they might have recognized. Try to imagine the two of us on stage launching into renditions of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Cheek to Cheek", and you have an idea of how strange the situation was fast becoming.
Once we made our way downstairs, we found ourselves in almost total darkness, with just some streaks of light from the upper floors and the illumination of our cell phones and pocket flashlights to guide us. There was something far more sinister about these dingy offices filled with lead paint chips; the feeling that far worse things had gone on here. All of the warm feelings associated with the Opera House and its rich history were absent here. This was some scary stuff.
After scouting out the offices and precinct, it only got spookier. That's because the next stop on this twisted tour was the holding cells. Yes, this was something straight out of an episode of Ghost Hunters or Fear. A little mini prison that looked almost medieval, although it was probably only a mere 100-150 years old. Below is one of the shots we took of the interior of one of these cells, and it's important to note that the flash from my camera was the only light illuminating this space. Of course, we felt it necessary to take the obligatory pictures of ourselves behind the bars. Come on, you know you would've too. Although I will admit it took some serious coaxing from the Captain and ATR boys to get me inside one of those cells...
It was then that things got truly interesting. Up until this point, we had been dealing with weird flashes of light in photos and nearly inaudible sounds. What happened next is something I have a hard time really wrapping my head around, even now. You can judge me a looney by what I'm about to describe, or you can give me the benefit of the doubt. Either way, I'm telling it as I remember it.
The above photo shows me inside the police officer's locker room, just as I was about to make my way to the stairs that led back up to the theater. Keep in mind once again that the flash of the camera was the only light here. As I illuminated my keychain flashlight to help me see better, I turned the corner to step on to the stairs. At that moment, I was suddenly struck with a feeling of great unease, as if something was terribly wrong. It was hard to describe, kind of like a tightening in my midsection, accompanied by a wave of anxiety.
Just then, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye, on the right hand side of the stairs, at the top, facing down at me. A shadow, yet not a shadow. It was a dark, opaque shape, I suppose some might call it an apparition, moving slowly toward me down the stairs, edging around the corner and becoming more visible. Now, I would have been perfectly willing to believe this was just my shadow, except for the fact that it was moving, and I was not. There was also the issue of my flashlight shining right at it, which tends to make shadow, you know, disappear and stuff.
Yet there it was. The anxiety within me reached a fever pitch, and I'm not ashamed to admit I started quickly backing away from the stairs (OK, maybe a little ashamed.) "What's wrong?" asked Cruella. "Just keep moving...I'll tell you later!" I gasped as we made our way back into the hallway. I let the guys know what I'd seen, and they headed into the room I had just left.
"You don't run," they reprimanded, "You investigate!"
"No," I politely informed them. "You investigate. I run."
Yet when they mounted the stairs, whatever I had seen was predictable gone. Fortunately, they had already seen enough in the Opera House in the past to believe me. After a little more exploration topside, we chatted a bit more about the Opera House's history and what I had seen. We thanked ATR for providing us with a private tour, and left the building to ponder the nature of what had just happened.
I had been a major skeptic before, but I'd be a fool not to be thoroughly shaken in that stance after the Sterling Opera House. Maybe, just maybe, things that go bump in the night are not simply the stuff of horror flicks. Maybe sometimes...things really do go bump in the night...
For more information about Above the Realm Paranormal, check out their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter!