During the month of October, the MNPSG normally shuts down for media opportunities. One case came through to us that we wanted to check out when we were contacted in the middle of the month by the owners of a tavern on Lake Superior.
The Minnesota Paranormal Study Group were contacted in mid-October by Aura and Antonino Coppola, the business owners, of Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake. The restaurant has been in business since 1978 when Jack and Barbara Arnold. The Coppolas took over the business from the Arnolds in January of 2009 and agreed to operate the building as it was first established as an English Pub.
Aura contacted the MNPSG by email because she has been having some issues working in her office which is located in the basement of the building. When they first bought the building, they would hear employees talk about how eerie the basement was as well as seeing shadows dart about out of the corner of their eyes. Aura also had her own suspiscions about the basement as she would often hear strange noises such as feet shuffling when she was the only one down there. The last straw came when Antonino was in the keg cooler and the door shut behind him and latched. Luckily, he was able to have a lever on the other side of the door that released the latch.
In her original email, she writes:
We own a historic gas station/now an English Pub for the last 33 years, Sir Benedicts Tavern on the Lake. We have been experiencing odd happenings at the establishment since taking over Jan. 09.
The story of Sir Ben's is that a man died in the elevator shaft. We periodically hear the cooler doors shut, bathroom door shut-it squeeks, chains moving on the floor and voices-these happenings have occured in the basement.
Now granted, the coolers are located in the basement, ice machine, furnace-a lot of items that produce energy. But the items I have personnaly heard just cannot be explained. The cooler door is hard to open and close.
We were wondering if anyone would like to investigate our properity? We believe something is here. Many of our employees have heard things and seen things. But we feel this energy is friendly not mean spirited.
Aura and Antonino did explain to us that a man had came to the bar on October 28th and claimed to be "sensitive to the paranormal." He did not know any previous stories of the location and asked if he could walk around. When they allowed him to walk around, he did ask if he could sit in the area by the keg cooler as there was some type of energy in that area. He explained to them that the spirit that was there was confused as he had no track of time. This visitor had explained to the spirit that this was the year 2010 and the spirit responded by saying that he was about 50 years out of his own time frame. In other words, he thought that it was still 1960! It was told to the clients that once this spirit knew what year it was, he was less confused and able to move on.
Aura did say that it was a quieter location come the next day after this strange visitor's appearance.
When we were originally scheduling this investigation, Justin asked if we could do this on Halloween because he would be doing a different kind of hunting come early November; deer hunting. We ran it past the client and Aura agreed that this would work for their establishment.
Since October is our big media month, we approached WDIO/WIRT Channels 10/13 (Duluth) if they would be interested in covering our seminar at the Hibbing Public Library on October 28. They declined and asked if we had anything else coming up on a weekend and it just so happened that we were going to be at Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake on Halloween night. After asking the client if it was okay to have the news crew there and them agreeing to it, we invited WDIO to film our start of the night for a special Halloween news piece.
Below you can watch that teaser:
The team met up at the Tavern on the Lake around 7:30 PM and met with Antonino as well as the WDIO news crew. Adam and Justin were mic'd up for the news piece and briefly talked about the equipment that we use. We did this first because we were waiting for the establishment to close before we could set up any real equipment. The news crew was with us very briefly as they needed to get back to the news station to make the final edits by the 10 pm news broadcast.
Antonino insisted that we talk with Aura as she has a better memory of things and that she was more aware of the things that happen down in the basement. Aura did attend to meet us later on that night while we were setting up and did give us a tour of the things. Antonino agreed to stay with us through the night as we investigated. (We were glad that we were able to visit with Antonino, or "Tony" as we called him in fear of mispronouncing his name, as he was from Italy. He shared many things with us through the night and was a great host.)
Once the establishment was closed, we stationed our DVR unit and monitor upstairs in the restaurant area as most of the reports were in the basement. Once all equipment was set up, Antonino helped us go dark by flipping out all the lights.
The team divided up into two different groups; Justin and Adam took Antonino (GROUP 1) down to the basement to investigate while Matt and Kristin (GROUP 2) stayed upstairs and conducted some EVP work.
While in the basement, GROUP 1 noticed that the coolers are very loud and in the section that activity was reported. The swirling matrix of sound levels seem to almost create a pseudo-noise of people conversing.
The two groups spent the night switching off the levels of the establishment.
Observations and Conclusions
The team was not able to capture any definite type of evidence that support the claims of the clients. The only reasonable thing that we were able to make out of this investigation is the fact that when you have different sounds being produced by different type of machines such as coolers' condensers, a matrix of noise can create an audible illusion that can fool the brain. We noticed this whenever we entered the area by the office/beer cooler.
Even though we were unable to find any evidence to support the claims of the clients, it does not mean that the experiences had by the staff and owners were not legitimate. Absence of evidence means that we were unable to provide objective data for what they subjectively experienced.
It is interesting that a psychic gentleman visited the pub a few days prior to our team being there and ever since then, the owners said they did not experience anything between the days of the visitor's arrival. (He visited on a Thursday, we investigated on the following Sunday.) Could the spirit have moved on after communicating with this psychic? This odd circumstance and the lack of our evidence leads to this interesting hypothesis.