|Originally published October 31, 2006 in the Daily Item ... Reprinted with permission|
Inn workers spooked by apparitions
Workers: Objects move, mists come and go
October 31, 2006
Whether you're a believer in the supernatural or a hardened skeptic, there's no question the darker corners of the Meiserville Inn can send a chill up your spine.
Built in the late 1870s, the spacious, three-story building has a diverse history that has spawned rumors of ghosts over last few years, especially among the inn's employees.
"Elaine Bolig, the bartender, would be working here alone and she'd feel something flipping her hair," said the inn's owner, Ron Flauaus, "..."sort of a prankster-type thing. She'd hear noises"... see things.
"She was on the verge of quitting," he added.
So, who was he gonna call?
The Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Research Association.
Don Groner, co-director of the CPPRA, and chief field researcher Chris Weaver sat down recently in the Meiserville Inn's bustling dining room to discuss their investigations in the building.
"There's two things you can do in a haunted situation," Mr. Groner said. "You can learn to live with them and understand them, or you can sell the house."
Chris Weaver, chief field researcher for the Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Research Association, stands near antique furniture in the attic of the Meiserville Inn. The location is believed to contain the apparitions of a small girl and an older, "grizzled" man, among others
Don Groner and Chris Weaver, of the Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Research Association, listen to Ron-- Flauaus, owner of the Meiserville Inn, discuss his employees� past experiences with ghosts in the late 19th-century building
Obviously, the second option wasn't a consideration for Mr. Flauaus, who'd come to respect, perhaps even enjoy, the historical setting and its paranormal implications.
"We wanted to at least make (Elaine) comfortable with what's
going on," he said
Ms. Bolig reports the constant presence of a little girl and has also seen "an old, grizzled-looking guy," according to Mr. Flauaus.
But those aren't the only signs Ms. Bolig attributes to otherworldly visitors.
"I was sitting at the bar by myself on a Monday night and I saw the phone move," she said. "Then the TV remote moved from one corner of the bar to the other."
She described bar stools that would slide out and push themselves back in and recurring instances of the air conditioner turning on by itself overnight.
"Sometimes I'll even get a mist in front of my face and then it will just vanish," she said.
Alyssa Lauver, a waitress, has also seen some disturbing things. The inn is equipped with a video camera focused on the foyer so a hostess knows when customers have arrived.
"One time I saw a man on the monitor standing there in an old-fashioned tuxedo, looking straight ahead," Ms. Lauver said. "I called a friend over and she saw it too."
"I'm not crazy."
According to a psychic who works with the CPPRA and identifies herself only as "Jo," nobody who has seen the supernatural side of the Meiserville Inn should be considered "crazy."
Mr. Groner said that Jo has distinctively sensed the little girl and an older gentleman, as well as a second child in the basement who may have died from "an accident, something violent."
But the CPPRA doesn't trust only the feelings of those who claim to have a psychic gift, despite the fact that Mr. Groner himself says he "can pick up on energies" when he enters a room.
They also take hundreds of digital photos, record audio for Electronic Voice Phenomenom (EVP) analysis and wait patiently, often for hours, to get a sense of the place and conditions that could be interpreted as ghostly visitations.
After the CPPRA's time in the Meiserville Inn, they gave Ms. Bolig a St. Benedict medallion for protection and assured Mr. Flauaus that the entities they believed inhabited the building were not dangerous.
"One of the things we've done," said Mr. Flauaus, "because Don said the girl was a bit playful, was leave things out for her to do. Elaine brought in some stuffed animals and we left a coloring book in the lobby."
As of yet, the pictures have not been colored by a mysterious hand.
Mr. Weaver described his time in the Meiserville Inn as one of the more important investigations he's been involved with since he started working with the CPPRA.
"This is one of the cases that really keeps me in the business," he said. "We were able to help Elaine. There's nothing like getting e-mails from people saying that everything's great now."
Life in the Meiserville Inn has returned to normal since the invesitgation. Mr. Flauaus seems to enjoy the unique charm of the building's supernatural aspects and Ms. Bolig and the other employees are now more comfortable with what goes on around them nightly.
When asked if she was still frightened in the building, Ms. Bolig was thoughtful.
"No... I'm learning to live with it," she said. "But I don't go in the basement."