Haunting at the Harvey House Museum

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After hours of combing through the Harvey House Museum, members of a metro-area paranormal group say they might have found evidence that the building in downtown Belen is inhabited by more than just historic memorabilia.

Submitted photo: Members of Purple Sage Paranormal recently investigated the Harvey House Museum in Belen. Pictured, from left, are Melissa Stephens, Margo Richardson, Rachell Atkinson and Roger Barton. Marlane Gabel-Barton is not pictured.

Marlane Gabel-Barton, co-founder and director of Purple Sage Paranormal, and the other members of the group, including her husband, Roger Barton, Melissa Stephens, Rachelle Atkinson and Margo Richardson, spent hours investigating the rooms, hallways and basement during an overnight stay in March.

The Albuquerque-based group was founded in 2008, and its members say while they don’t believe in immortality, they take a religious and scientific approach to what they do. They hunt for ghosts — or spirits, if you will.

Heidi Green, who has volunteered as a docent for the past two years at the Harvey House Museum in Belen, invited Purple Sage Paranormal to help figure out what was really going on in the 103-year-old building.

“Actually, Margo had come into the museum on a very slow day and I was there,” Green said. “She went upstairs to look around and, when she came downstairs, she asked if we played any music in any of the displays.”

When Green said they didn’t, Richardson asked if anyone went upstairs to check on her. Again, Green’s answer was, “no.”

Green said Richardson told her while she was upstairs she heard a woman humming as well as background music. She also described hearing someone walking in the hallway, which would have been impossible because of the carpeted floors, Green said.

Richardson told Green about the paranormal group she belonged to, and asked if she would like to host a ghost investigation at the Harvey House Museum. Green immediately agreed.

While Green has never seen anything paranormal in the historic house, she has felt several “cool spots” and has gotten goose bumps when she’s felt someone watching her.

Were they ghosts? Spirits? Or just her imagination?

“Some of the docents have seen glimpses out of the corner of their eye of someone who they think is a man,” Green said. “They call him Kevin, who they think was a grounds keeper.”

Before the investigators went into the museum, Green made it a point to “warn” the spirits of their visitors.

“I told them that they were coming, and hope they were willing to cooperate,” Green said.

The four women recently shared their findings to a handful of people who expressed an interest in ghosts at the Harvey House. And from 3 to 5 p.m., on Saturday, July 13, Purple Sage Paranormal will speak to the public about their findings.

All the women have had life-long experiences with spirits. They describe themselves as empaths and sensitives; they can feel spirits and their emotions, and formed the organization to help others learn about spirits that might be in their lives.

With a variety of technical equipment, including digital recorders, cameras and flashlights, Green and the group managed to capture what they say could be paranormal activity — ghosts.

“This was the most active place I’ve ever been,” Richardson said. “But I have to say that they were very friendly — they wanted to communicate. They were literally following us around. It was amazing.”

“I don’t know why they’re here,” Marlane Gabel-Barton said, “or why they’re fond of this place. But it seems that some don’t want to leave.”

While the group usually conducts their investigations at night, when there’s little to no exterior noise, the night at the Harvey House Museum was a bit difficult because of the nearby freight-train noise. Richardson said the noise of the trains drowned out a lot of what could have been picked up by the recorders.

With two teams in different parts of the building at any given time during the investigation, Richardson and her team started out in the building’s basement. She said as soon as they turned on their equipment, they picked up several EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena.

“I was standing there, and I said, ‘I’ve got to sit down,’” Richardson said.

When they played back the recording, an unknown voice can be heard saying, “OK.”

Soon after, the recorder picked up a man’s deep voice saying, “Don’t hurt me.”

“If I could have heard that in real time, I would have told him that we weren’t there to hurt him,” Richardson said.

As Atkinson began to talk to the entity, she had an overwhelming feeling of a man’s presence and that his name started with the letter H.

“Is your name Harold?” Atkinson asked.

The recording picked up a man replying, “Eh.”

During the same session, Richardson sat on the floor and dug through her fanny pack for her camera.

“I’m going to take your picture,” she said. But before she could, a man’s voice says, “Take a picture.”

Richardson said she took a picture, but didn’t capture anything.

Other voices detected on the recorder could be heard laughing, and saying “I’m drowning,” and another saying the name “Horacio.”

Another part of the investigation included video-taped light source communication, where the investigators placed a flashlight on the floor and asked the ghost to turn it on when the answer to their question was “yes” and off when the answer was “no.”

“Is your name Horacio?” asked one member. The light turned on.

“Were you a baker?” Again, the flashlight lit up.

On the museum’s second floor, the group didn’t capture as many EVPs, but did capture other interesting phenomena. They placed a recorder in the hallway, capturing what sounded like someone playing a flute.

“Are you the manager or his wife?” one of the investigators asked.

“He wouldn’t tell me,” one voice replied.

“His wife is a fool,” another voice could be heard saying.

One of the most eventful places during the investigation was on the main floor in the manager’s office, where there is a picture of a man named Horacio.

“Horacio, is this a picture of you on the wall?”

“Hmmm, yes,” the spirit could be heard saying.

When one investigator asked if he misses his girlfriend, the recorder picked up a voice of a woman responding, “I hope you do.”

Green said one of the investigators told her that while in the basement, she felt the presence of a little girl who was “attached” to a wheelchair stored in the basement. Unsure where the wheelchair came from, Green said the investigator told her that Horacio was protecting the girl and couldn’t leave until she did.

Another interesting event of the night was captured on video as the team left a camera in the upstairs hallway. A pulsating orb streaks across the floor to a bench at the far end of the south side hallway. Seconds later, another orb is seen in the video, moving across the wall toward the same bench.

At the end of the night as members of Purple Sage Paranormal were about to pack up their equipment, one voice recorder picked up a woman’s voice saying, “Don’t go” and “Thank you.”


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.