Boulder County Paranormal Research Society

Investigation: The McClelland School, Pueblo (2007)

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The McClelland School


A former orphanage, now a private school, the McClelland School in Pueblo, CO. is a beautiful, atmospheric building which exudes character and charm. I had investigated the school before, when working for another research group in Colorado, and experienced some intriguing phenomena...for example, a book somehow fell to the floor in a closed room on an empty floor, "falling" several feet outwards from the shelf and several feet to the side as well! Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to go back.
We were fortunate enough to be joined on this investigation  by our friends and colleagues from Colorado Paranormal Research, a professional and motivated investigative team which covers Northern Colorado. The school is sufficiently large to cope with big research teams, and even with a crew of sixteen people we weren't able to cover all of the property.
On arrival at dusk, we were met by the delightful Mrs. Gail Purcell, the office manager, and the principal, Mr. Ed Mercer. A number of other McClelland staff and family members joined our team for the overnight investigation, and we were given a friendly and courteous reception throughout. A guided tour was conducted for those members who were new to the school, before we unloaded our equipment and began to set everything up for the night.
Everything was calm and tranquil for the majority of the night , up until midnight, at least. As the evening wore on, unusual events did begin to take place.
Throughout the night, batteries in various devices were draining at an astonishing rate. Voice recorders, cameras, and flashlights were losing power in a fraction of the usual time - and all batteries were factory-new when placed at the start of the evening. It is a well-documented  observation that paranormal phenomena is often accompanied by accelerated battery drainage. One theory suggests that the phenomena is using the stored electrical capacitance to manifest itself - a theory which has yet to be satisfactorily proven or disproven.
One standard operating procedure we use is to "go dark" at regular intervals. This means that we position observers at strategic locations throughout the building and then bring down the lighting and maintain absolute silence for a given period of time. We exercised this technique several times at McClelland, focusing our attention on each floor and also on the master staircase. Two observers on different teams heard footsteps ascending the stairs, followed by a "swishing" noise that both observers independantly described as sounding like that of a dress. One of the observers also witnessed a shadow, which she states was "human shaped and sized", on the master staircase, at the top floor level. This was accompanied by the swishing noise.
EMF, thermal, and  radiation levels were unremarkable throughout the night. I had much the same experience last time I investigated the school...momentary EMF spikes turned out, on further investigation, to be attributable to fluorescent lighting on the floor below, or other mundane explanations.
Footsteps were heard throughout the building at various times during the night. However, it proved impossible for us to localize them to one specific place. An unusual camera malfunction occurred downstairs in the basement, when a digital camera (which has previously performed flawlessly) began to flip backwards through the recently-taken photographs while nobody was operating the controls.
Nothing unusual showed up on our photographic media that night, either still, digital, or motion cameras. My colleague Jessica Martin, who specializes in the recording of EVP, did record an interesting EVP at one point, which you can find elsewhere on this page. Rest assured that the voice which can be heard answering her was not heard by anybody present at the time...
We packed up our equipment and headed home just before daybreak. I found out later that a staff member reported hearing what she thought were childrens' footsteps, following the team out as we exited the building. Once again, the McClelland school (and its fantastic staff) did not disappoint.
                                                    - Richard Estep, Director


*UPDATED 7/30/07*
We received the following update from Mrs Purcell, two months after our investigation took place...
"Nothing reported since the remodel.  But right before school let out we had a sub for our music class and she had just finished showing the children a movie.  She left the room in-between classes to get something out of her car and when she returned and began another class the TV and VCR would not work.  She looked in back of the equipment and found that it had been unplugged.  No one had been in the room.  We even double checked with the janitor.  On that same day I kept feeling like someone was behind me for most of the morning and part of the afternoon.  I would look over my shoulder and nothing would be there.  The water valve the janitor was working on that day kept turning itself off.  Very active on this level on that day.  Mrs. ______, our music teacher said that kind of thing happens to her all the time and that she still hears the knocking in the ceiling when no one is upstairs."
Sounds like McClelland is still active!
                                     - Richard Estep,     Director
EVP taken by Jessica Harris (click to play)