Boulder County Paranormal Research Society

Investigation: The "Hammer House"

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The Longmont Theater


Richard Estep standing outside the rear facing of the building.

Jacob was an intelligent, professional, and friendly young man. I can vouch for his character personally because we served together as firefighters out of the same firehouse several years ago. He has since moved on from the fire service, into the realm of real estate. Jacob had recently purchased a property in Denver, a "fixer-upper", with the intention of renovating it into multiple apartments and leasing them out.
The property, whose address we will not mention in order to adhere to Boulder County Paranormal's confidentiality policy, is located on a fairly busy sidestreet. It has, to the best of Jacob's knowledge, no reported history of paranormal phenomena. However, several years ago, an individual was bludgeoned to death in one of the rooms. According to the Denver Police Department, a 28-year old male was beaten to death in his bed. There were no signs of forced entry to the structure. Drugs were believed to have played a part in the murder.
Thus far, the case remains unsolved.
Jacob is not superstitious by nature, but asked if we would spent a night in the property to carry out an investigation. It would, he reasoned, allay the fears of prospective tenants who might hear of the building's bloody history, if he could say that a paranormal research team had investigated the house and found nothing abnormal. I promised him that we would perform a thorough and objective study of the property and report back to him with the results.
Our research team assembled at the house on a chilly evening in late November. Richard, Laura, and Miranda from BCP were accompanied by two valued colleagues from CPR, Robert and Brad.
Jacob and his housemates kindly fed us before the investigation commenced (our team-members all refrained from drinking the wine which was offered) and gave us a guided tour of the property. I specificially requested that Jacob refrain from telling us which room of the four-storey property was the murder scene. This gave me a chance to ask my team-mates to see if they could guess where the murder took place.
Some clarification might be in order here. Our research philosophy at BCP favors the objective, scientific, and rational in all regards. As director, I do not tend to use "sensitives" or "psychics" (call them whatever you will) on investigations, for several reasons. Firstly, over the course of my eleven years in this field, I have never worked with a psychic that produced verifiable, objective information. Not once. Secondly, the flow of subjective information that accompanies some of these individuals serves only to muddy the waters of the investigation. It is rarely, in my experience, worth the trouble.
However, the team at BCP and CPR are a fairly level-headed bunch. Walking into a spacious four-storey structure for the first time, with no knowledge of which room the murder took place in, would make it a challenge to simply "guess" where the murder took place. Even though we knew that the victim was asleep at the time, there were four bedrooms in the property, so statistically one would have a 3/4 chance of guessing incorrectly. I asked the team to keep their intuitions to themselves until we left the property, and would all announce them in front of Jacob after the tour. He would let us know who had guessed correctly, if anyone.
The house was under reconstruction and redecoration inside (a prime causative factor for the onset of paranormal activity) and had limited supplies of electricity. There was no heat, which removed one mechanical potential cause of unusual noises and movement. On the other hand, we had to bundle up in warm clothing to combat the cold.
Following the tour, it turned out that my guess was the correct one - I had chosen the front room on the uppermost floor. Much as I would love to give credit to some kind of extrasensory perception, the truth is far more mundane - the room in question was next to a concealed attic-space, and the thought had crossed my mind: "If I were hiding a drug stash, where would it be?" In the attic. And I would probably be sleeping right next to it for security.
Jacob left us for the night and we set about sealing off the structure and taking baseline readings of temperature, EMF, air ionization, and rads. Nothing abnormal presented itself. Camcorders were placed, digital and analog voice recorders were sited. We took up observation posts on all floors at various intervals throughout the night. Miranda felt a strong sense of nausea which caused her to leave the building, but no objective data was gathered to support this
feeling. After a short break outside, she returned to the structure but immediately felt nauseous again. Miranda ended up leaving us early, shortly after 02:00.
A loud "slam" echoed throughout the building shortly after midnight. It sounded as if it originated within the building, but when we looked outside we noticed that some neighbors were loading equipment into the back of their pickup. They weren't exactly being  gentle, and this activity would easily account for the slam that we heard.
We conducted several EVP recording sessions throughout the night. One yielded some creaks or groans, but nothing definitive - certainly nothing that could not be explained by the internal mechanisms of the recorder, or ambient settling of the house itself. Listen to the EVP audio file at the bottom of this page, and judge for yourself.

Control objects placed around the building were not moved. In an inspired outburst of bad taste, Miranda suggested using a hammer (the murder weapon) as a control object in the bedroom itself. Nothing resulted from this, though I do commend her line of thinking!
Ultimately, we spent a long, quiet, and uneventful night inside the "hammer house". We have no cause to suspect paranormal activity is occurring within the building, despite the violent past evinced by the property. Jacob plans to inform us if the new tenants experience anything out-of-the-ordinary, but I am not holding my breath.
Richard Estep
Director, BCP

Click to play the noises captured within the hammer house - we do not believe them to be paranormal in nature.



A view from the rear of the house looking towards the front.
The murder occurred in the area where the stool now stands.


A closer look at the specific location of the murder.


A concealed space adjoining the bedroom in which the murder occurred.


Richard Estep and Brad Carstens tracing electrical lines running through the walls. EMF levels remained unremarkable throughout the night.


A claw hammer being employed as a control object.
It did not move at any point throughout the investigation.