A Bowling Green Private Residence

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Some people believe that death is the end of all things. Others believe that love can survive the death of the body and remain to surround those close to the dearly departed. Could this be the case for a local family? Does the essence of the family matriarch remain behind to care for a baby? Perhaps the healing hands of this nurse attend to the family and their child. Join Fringe Paranormal as we investigate the possibilities.

Investigation Date: April 14, 2012

Location: Bowling Green, Ohio

Investigation Conditions
Avg. Temperature  53.9°
Avg. Humidity  80%
Barometric Pressure  30
Wind  .7 mph NE
Precipitation  .36 inch
Dew Point  47.1°
Moon  waning crescent 35% of full
Solar X-Rays  normal
Geomagnetic Field  unsettled

Investigators

  • Don
  • Kelly
  • Al
  • Tammy
  • Ray
  • Fred

History

It is hard to believe that there once lay a terrible swamp beginning in the vicinity of South Boundary Street and running as far south as Findlay, Ohio, and east and west from the city of Sandusky nearly to Fort Wayne, Indiana…40 miles wide and 120 miles long. It was the Great Black Swamp, an oozing mass of water, mud, snakes, wolves, wildcats, biting flies, and clouds of gnats and mosquitoes. It was nearly big enough to cover the entire state of Connecticut.

Water, often up to the belly of a horse, stood on the surface until it evaporated in the hot summer months. When it rained, or thawed in the winter, it was water and muck. Much of the swamp was covered with an almost impenetrable forest of giant oak, sycamore, hickory, walnut, ash, elm, maple and cottonwood trees, except in a few prairie areas where limestone just under the surface would not support timber growth.

Not even native Indians went into the swamp except to hunt, and unless you could follow a blazed trail, it was easy to become hopelessly lost since you could only see but a few yards ahead.

The swamp was created 20,000 years ago when the last glacier retreated. The enormous weight of the mile-thick ice pack pressed down and scooped out the earth beneath it to create a depression about 10 feet lower south of where Perrysburg sits on the river bluff. Thereafter, until it was drained, water stood in the silted wetland and clay in the ground prevented it from soaking in. When water was standing and flooding conditions occurred, large fish from the Maumee River and other streams could swim all over areas now covered by corn and soybean fields. One man in Perrysburg told of ice skating all the way to what is now Weston, Ohio, nearly 17 miles southwest of Perrysburg.

There was no end to the variety of sicknesses and maladies spawned from the mosquito-infested swamp. There was cholera, typhoid and milk sickness, but chief among them were malarial fevers generally known as “ague” for which people kept quinine powder on the table, along with salt and pepper, to sprinkle on their food.

The fevers caused people to have chills, or the shakes, and according to a doctor of the time it took them from three to five years to get over it. The shakes occurred from about the first of July until the first frost. They took hold of people and literally shook them up. The doctor wrote that so violent were the chills and shaking that when they came on, the very bed and floor would rattle.

The Black Swamp was Ohio’s last frontier, and beginning in the 1840s, it took several generations of determined farmers to drain it and make it the rich, flat farmland of today. What started it all was pretty much the idea of the medical profession which believed that it was bad swamp air that caused the fevers.

They were ignorant of the fact that it was blood-sucking mosquitoes that transmitted the disease, but at least they were on the right track. Along with this, when canals and railroads came through here they created markets for the vast timber resources, most of it in the swamp. And still another good reason for beginning the tremendous job of draining the swamp was the realization that it could be done. People learned from trying to build roads that they could dig ditches and the water would flow toward the nearest stream of river.

Until then, early farmers tilled just the highest ground, with some effort to build shallow, open ditches around a plot or field, or one leading to the nearest creek if available. As more settlers came, farmers would sometime cooperate in extending their adjoining ditches.

Finally, in 1850, the Ohio legislature passed the first law regarding government support for drainage systems resulting in people throughout Northwest Ohio cooperating in wide-area drainage, with ditches deep enough to drain the swamp water into Lake Erie via the Maumee and Portage Rivers.

Individual farmers continued to dry out their fields by plowing trenches across them, using wooden troughs laid underground, and eventually with clay tiles and pipe introduced by European farmers.

It took back-breaking labor and construction of one of the greatest underground drainage systems in the history of the world to create the productive farmland people now drive by and take for granted just outside of Perrysburg.

(Reprinted from http://www.historicperrysburg.org/history/swamp.htm)

Claims

This residence in Bowling Green, Ohio was built in the late 1970s. This home rests in the area above that was known as the Black Swamp. This home has been owned by the same family since its construction although different family members may have held title to and resided in the home. The current residents report that they have experienced activity for at least twelve years. It is confirmed that a family member did pass away on the property. This fact has led the current residents to believe that the deceased relative may be having some sort of influence on the unexplained activity occurring in the home. The relative in question was a mother-in-law who worked as a nurse. Some of the unexplained activity has been centered around the children in the residence. The baby’s bed is on the lower level. Pillows and stuffed animals have moved from their locations. Books have been moved from their original spot and been stacked on top of each other on the bed. Electronic toys have inexplicably started playing on their own. These activities are deemed as non-threatening by the homeowners as they believe them to be directed by the mother-in-law who was a loving person and who loved children. Of interest to the occupants is another strange thing occurring in both the lower and first levels. Several doorways show evidence of bowing leading to the destruction of the woodwork surrounding the doors. Nothing on the walls nearby is disturbed and no noise has been connected to this phenomena. The residnets wonder if perhaps this may be due to some sort of paranormal influence. Disembodied footsteps have also been heard in the home. One resident reports hearing voices. At that time the police were called and nothing was found. Perhaps the most prevalent occurrence in this location is the sighting of shadows. Residents report seeing the shadow of what appears to be a man, usually in the hallway outside the upper level master bedroom. This too is considered benign by the witnesses. The residents feel that activity in the last few months may have taken on a negative slant.

Investigation

This investigation saw the Fringe team using its new eight camera video camera system. For its first deployment we decided to use four cameras. Two cameras were stationed on the lower level focusing on the baby’s crib and into the common area doorway. Two cameras were also stationed on the upper floor to capture the hallway and the master bedroom doorway looking out into the hallway. These four areas are alleged to be sites of unexplained activity. Stationary as well as roaming audio recorders were utilized as well. Before the investigation got underway the team took base EMF, humidity, and temperature readings. The team also toured the home in an attempt to get familiar with the surroundings. Throughout the evening Fringe conducted EVP sessions and took photographs in their search for evidence of anything out of the ordinary. At one point during the evening agents Ray, Tami, and Kelly were in the lower level baby’s room. Agent Ray witnessed a black shadow in the adjacent room. He reports seeing it move “…from left to right across the room. It then stopped at the left side of the doorway and blacked out part of the doorway. It then went from left to right and nothing more was observed.” This seems to correlate with director Kelly and agent Tami noting the adjacent room getting lighter. Thinking that the shadow may have been caused by someone outside one of the windows, the team investigated and found that was not the case. The team also discovered that the light source emanated from a big screen television in the room. The cable box was off and the TV was on. The remainder of the evening went on without any activity of note.

Analysis

The clients had expressed concern that the bowing and destruction of some of the doorways and their surrounding woodwork may be paranormal in nature. Fringe believes it is likely that this issue can be explained by natural means.

Wood can be effected by humidity in different ways:

In nature, wood is a resource that was designed to perform in a wet environment, absorbing and losing water to balance its moisture content. All wood is hygroscopic, meaning that when exposed to air, it will release or pick up moisture until it is in equilibrium with the humidity and temperature of the air. Because of this, wood tends to expand as it gains moisture and to shrink as moisture is lost, and it does not shrink or swell equally in all directions. Any solid wood or wood component will expand or contract over time as moisture and climate conditions change, and this exchange of moisture is ongoing. In an uncontrolled environment, wood is a dimensionally unstable material. Some wood species are more hygroscopic than others and the expansion and contraction is more pronounced. Just because a piece of wood is “finished,” that is coated with stain, sealer and top coat, it is not impervious to moisture.

Humid Climates  – Wood products located in humid climates are especially susceptible to expansion due to the extra moisture in the air. The wood will absorb this moisture, causing it to swell or expand. If doors are exposed to excessive moisture for an extended period of time, they may not resume their original size.

Dry Climates – In low humidity conditions, wood will release moisture and shrink or contract in size. During winter in the colder areas of the country, cabinetry will shrink from the dry heat supplied from home heating units. As the wood loses moisture, gaps will appear at the joints between the cabinetry pieces. Painted doors will also reveal seams at the joints as natural wood movement occurs. As the cabinetry regains its lost moisture under humidification control or during the summer months, these gaps will often close and be less noticeable. This occurs with all wood products in the home – furniture, mill work and cabinetry.

During our investigation the Fringe team also noted high levels of EMF in the master bedroom emanating from the above bed light and also in certain areas of the office. High levels of EMF have been associated with hallucinations and feelings of being watched among other symptoms. Had the unexplained occurrences in the home been isolated in the areas mentioned we might suggest the EMF levels as a possible cause. However, as activity has been experienced in different parts of the location we do not believe that EMF sensitivity is a factor in this case.

During the pre-investigation interview and walk through the client mentioned unexplained noises including footsteps. We noted an attic egress in one of the upper level bedrooms. The attic is of the unfinished variety and the homeowners have not been up into it. We believe there may be a possibility that some sort of wildlife may have gained entrance to the attic area. If this has occurred it could explain some of the unexplained noises.

We find it difficult to attribute paranormal elements to the reports of childrens toys playing on their own. Electronic toys often have glitches that may make them operate unexpectedly. We find this may also hold true to televisions in particular. This could account for the TV turning on while agent Ray and his fellow agents were in the lower level.

In reviewing the video taken from our surveillance system we did not find anything of note. We did notice a few orbs floating through several areas. We believe these to be caused by dust due to their movement and duration. As a rule Fringe Paranormal does not generally place much stock in orbs as being paranormal in nature as there are too many natural causes that would explain their appearance. To capture our interest an orb would have to be extremely unusual in appearance or behavior and correlate with other unusual activity.

Conclusion

We believe that some of the concerns of the homeowners can be explained through natural means. We also highly suggest that the attic be inspected not only to explain certain occurrences but also to ascertain that there has been no encroachment by wildlife or other natural hazards. During our investigation we did not experience anything negative. We have no explanation for the shadow witnessed in the lower level. As the family has been experiencing strange things for quite a while we believe that further investigations may be advised.

Prepared for Fringe Paranormal by Don C

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I am the Director of Fringe Paranormal based in Toledo, Ohio.

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