THE STURGEON BAY OPERA HOUSE - STURGEON BAY, WISCONSIN
Wausau Paranormal Research Society (aka: WPRS) was invited to investigate the building by the owner, Mike Hall, located at the above address in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on January 18, 2014. The building is over 100 years old and is known by the citizens of Sturgeon Bay as the ‘Andre’s Food and Spirits’ building. It has been known by several other names throughout its history, including but not limited to the Sturgeon Bay Opera House and Bay View Opera House. Investigators present included Lead Investigator Sharon Williams, Shawn Blaschka, Anji Spialek, Bill Beaudry, Nick von Gnechten, and Andrew Blaschka.
WPRS investigators arrived at the location at approximately 6:30 pm on Saturday, January 18, 2014. The owner, Mike Hall, introduced investigators to several family members in attendance prior to leading a walk-through of the building. During the walk through Mike Hall discussed the history of the building and previous occurrences which were unexplainable and possibly paranormal in nature. At the end of the walk through Mike and his family left the building.
Prior to setting up investigative equipment, WPRS investigators formed three groups of two persons each. The three pairs were then each assigned a quick walk-through of one of three floors; basement, main floor, or second floor; to assure that all rooms were secure and all exterior entrances were locked or inaccessible. Upon completion of the second walk-throughs the investigators immediately began to set up the digital video recorder with four infrared cameras at various locations throughout the building; fireplace dining room, dance floor/dining room, second floor apartment area, and the basement.
Additional equipment used during this investigation included the following: various digital cameras, full-spectrum camera, digital voice recorders, motion detectors, Trifield electromagnetic field (EMF) meter, and an infrared thermal probe.
The temperatures on the first floor in the main bar area were normal, between 62 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the room. The remainder of the building’s temperature readings was a consistent range between 47 degrees to 62 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder ranges throughout the remainder of the building were expected, as the owner had advised that the heat in the remainder of the building was low as he was trying to reduce fuel expenses. The EMF meter measured an average electromagnetic field between 1.0 to 5.0 milligauss, with spikes in areas where electrical outlets or wiring is imbedded in the walls and where electronic equipment was in use. Levels behind the actual bar were high (15 to 20 mg), although this was to be expected considering the multiple items of electronic equipment in that area (ex: refrigerated coolers, lights, cash register, jukebox, etc.)
There was an unusual occurrence noted while all investigators were present during the first EVP session in the dance floor/dining room area. Investigators S. Blaschka and Beaudry were sitting in separate positions near the small stairs leading into the main dining room/dancehall, with Beaudry closest to the stairs and S. Blaschka sitting in the hallway next to the rest rooms. Within seconds of each other, S. Blaschka stated that he could hear talking or whispering and Beaudry stated that he heard what sounded like footsteps and talking. Neither could decipher the talking or words that were heard.
Base of operations was set up on the first floor in the main bar area of the building. The four infrared cameras were set up in the following locations: 1) Fireplace dining room area, camera in a rear corner angled to take in the door and a portion of the main hallway in front of the main bar. 2) Dancehall/dining room area, camera set up by the piano and pointing toward the stage. 3) In the second floor hallway. 4) Basement area, camera pointing toward the back room past the walk-in cooler. Additionally, motion detectors were moved with each EVP session and placed about the area wherein the session was being conducted.
The first EVP session was held in the dancehall/dining room. In attendance during the EVP session were investigators Williams, Spialek, S. Blaschka, von Gnechten, Beaudry, and A. Blaschka. The first EVP session lasted for approximately 30 minutes and it was during this session that Investigator S. Blaschka stated that he could hear talking or whispering and Investigator Beaudry stated that he heard what sounded like footsteps and talking. Neither could make out what may have been said and no investigators were walking or moving during this time frame.
Additionally, it was during this session that motion detectors which were placed strategically about the dancehall floor were easily triggered by investigators footsteps from across the room even when attempting to walk gingerly. The dancehall floor is noted to have high levels of vibration and, for lack of a better term, ‘bounce back’ especially in front of the stage area. This lack of firmness in the floor led to popping noises being heard behind any person walking across the floor and, after the person actually stopped walking, making it sound as if there were footsteps approaching from behind.
The second EVP session was held in the fireplace dining area. In attendance were investigators S. Blaschka, Spialek, Beaudry, von Gnechten, and A. Blaschka. The second EVP session lasted for approximately 30 minutes and, in addition to typical questions asked during EVP sessions, the investigators attempted to agitate any possible spirits or entities by making disparaging comments about the building. This was done because the owner had stated that strange things would happen if something bad was said about the building. Nothing either visual or audible was noted by the investigators during this session.
The third EVP session was held in the second floor apartment area and included investigators Williams, Spialek, S. Blaschka, and von Gnechten. Typical questions were asked during this EVP session and the session ended after approximately 15 minutes due to time constraints. Nothing either visual or audible was noted by the investigators during this session, although it was noted that street noise could easily be heard while in this area.
The infrared cameras were set up and ran from approximately 9:05 p.m. on 1/18/14 until 1:15 a.m. on 1/19/14. During the investigation the only unusual activity which was directly observed or experienced was the incident involving investigators S. Blaschka and Beaudry during the first EVP session in the dancehall/dining area.
After studying the available audio, video, and digital images from the investigation there were limited unexplainable anomalies noted. There were no unusual video anomalies found by any investigator and only two unusual EVP anomalies found on the digital audio recorder of Investigator Beaudry. See Investigator Beaudry’s notes here:
“It was during
the first EVP session in the ballroom. I was seated near
the top of the stairs a little off to the side. I could
hear what sounded like (swooshing or rustling) noises
along with some faint footsteps, which to me it sounded
as if it was coming towards me in the hallway area
coming from the dining room area. That was the first EVP
that I captured.
The two EVP’s caught by Investigator Beaudry are intriguing because two investigators actually experienced audible activity during the time when the EVP’s were captured and because there was actually audible activity; footsteps and/or swooshing noises, and the word ‘help’; captured on a digital recorder. Though intriguing and worthy of serious consideration, it must be noted that at no time did investigators leave the building to see if anyone was outside yelling for help. The act of looking outside for someone requesting assistance was not possible during the investigation because the request of “help” was not heard until Investigator Beaudry processed his audio recordings. So whether the request for “help” was from inside or outside the building is ultimately not able to be verified.
While the investigation did not produce absolutely reliable paranormal evidence, WPRS investigators concur in the belief that the building may have the potential for paranormal activity. It has been stated by the owner, Mike Hall, that the possible paranormal activities in the building seemed to be higher in frequency when the building was in the repair and/or remodeling period. As renovations to a building are generally theorized to be a catalyst toward increased paranormal activities, another investigation of the building would be warranted in the future if and when further renovations are conducted.
*Any use or reproduction
of this documentation is prohibited without the sole
permission of Sharon Williams or the WPRS.