Paranormal investigators claim they contacted two spirits, and detected the presence of others, at Mad Dawg's & Mel's Restaurant Monday evening.
The investigators, Brian and Linda Lile from Missouri, were in Arizona for a psychic convention when they heard about the recent story in the Roundup on ghosts at the Main Street eatery. Co-owners Melanie McCarthy and Madeline Manchio agreed to let them bring in their equipment after the restaurant closed at 8 p.m. Monday.
Brian Lile, a retired federal law enforcement officer and president of the Missouri Ghost Hunters Society, summed up what he and wife Linda found.
"It was a little bit of everything actually," Lile said. "We had a lot of physical evidence last night -- bar stools being moved, knocking on a door leading (to an apartment) upstairs, footsteps, disembodied voices, dishes rattling. It was quite an active night."
McCarthy, who was with the Liles the entire time, said they actually communicated with two spirits, an 8-year-old girl, and the father of a previous owner who once lived in the upstairs apartment.
"I'm just starting to be able to talk about it," McCarthy said Tuesday afternoon. "It was overwhelming. It was unbelievable."
In the Oct. 29 Roundup story, McCarthy and Manchio explained that a sequence of unexplained events led them to believe the restaurant, located in the historic Journagan House at 202 W. Main St., is haunted. These anomalies included "hot chocolate" and "cranberry juice" printing out on sales tickets when they hadn't been ordered; bottles of A.1. Steak Sauce flying several feet through the air in the kitchen; lights and equipment turning on in the middle of the night when no one was there; and a steel fire door creaking open and shutting itself.
Lile used two dowsing rods to communicate with the spirits.
"They work for finding water and they also work for spirit communication," he said. "Ninety percent of the people can use dowsing rods. The other 10 percent do not have the magnetic polarity in their body to complete the circuit."
McCarthy also held the rods during the contact with the two spirits.
"Brian (Lile) said the best way to communicate is to ask them ‘yes' and ‘no' questions," she said. "If you want to talk to us, move this rod to the left for ‘yes,' and if the answer is ‘no,' move it toward the right.
"The first person we talked to was a little girl who was 8 years old. She died of an illness in 1914, and she said she likes the juice, but not the hot chocolate."
The second encounter occurred later in the evening in the kitchen near where the A.1. Steak Sauce is kept on a shelf. McCarthy recalled the second spirit confirmed that it was the man who once lived upstairs; that he was throwing the A.1. sauce; and that he likes hot chocolate.
Not only did McCarthy hold the dowsing rods herself, but she also watched Lile closely when he had them.
"I wanted to disprove him, so I'm watching his hand and it is completely still," she said. "The way (the rods) were bending could only happen if they were moved from the other end."
But the Liles also use modern equipment during investigations, including digital cameras, infrared video cameras, Geiger counters, thermometers, digital tape recorders and EMF (electromagnetic field) meters.
"We don't let one piece of evidence stand alone," Lile said. "We have to back up everything we get, either by photographic or temperature or something else."
The EMF meters are especially useful.
"It's believed spirits operate in a magnetic field and we in the living operate in an electromagnetic field, and so when we die we convert over," Lile said. "When a spirit comes within the radius of this thing, it's either going to go to a number and hold steady, or if it really gets in close contact it could just start spiking and go crazy, and that means it's right on top of it."
That happened early in the evening when Lile was taking readings in the upstairs apartment where the man apparently died of a heart attack. His initial reading was 3 gauss, an electromagnetic unit of measure.
EMF meters read from zero to 100 gauss, with zero indicating no paranormal presence.
"I'm definitely getting something and it's not manmade," Lile said. "This is calibrated above manmade, so it won't pick up (electrical) outlets or stuff like that. If the general magnetic field is zero, something has to increase the energy, and when it does, this tells us. His energy is in this room, whether it be actual energy or residual energy. It's like a deer -- you can follow footprints."
When the subject turned to a mug of hot chocolate McCarthy had left earlier for the spirit, the meter reading jumped dramatically.
"Every time you talk about hot chocolate, this thing goes nuts," Lile said. "It went all the way up to 20 gauss. That's a good indication that he's here."
Lile believed that the spirits who are present have been unable to "move on" for one reason or another.
"Everybody who dies becomes a spirit," he said. "It just depends whether they move on or they stay. Some have something to finish and some don't know they're dead, especially if they died in a traumatic event like a murder or suicide or traffic accident. Some want to watch a loved one grow, and some are attached to a certain place and they don't ever want to leave."
Communications with many spirits over the course of the past 15 years reveal a common message, according to Lile:
"About 80 percent ask for some sort of help -- ‘Help me, rescue me.' But some say, ‘Get out.' We've even had an inspirational one that said, ‘Come to me to see the beautiful bright light.'"
The Liles said they are Christians, and believed their findings fit nicely within the Christian theology.
"There are several verses in the Bible that refer to ghosts," Lile said. "In one, there are a couple of disciples in a boat in rough water. They see Christ walking on water and they yell, ‘A ghost, a ghost.' Christ says, ‘A ghost has neither flesh nor bone, as you can see I have.'
"If there's no such things as ghosts, why did Christ describe a ghost? Catholics believe in a purgatory, a waiting spot. Nobody knows where that is, but this could very well be it."
McCarthy is convinced.
"I was so freaked out," she said, "but I'm telling you, I believe."
The Liles will now take all the evidence back to Missouri and put the pieces together. Then they'll overlay it onto a history of the house and the people who lived in it, and issue a final report to McCarthy and Manchio.