Ghost hunters check out local museum
By GAYLE PEREZ
There just may be some truth to the stories that ghosts are hanging out in
the former Hose Company No. 3 on Broadway Avenue, says a Boulder paranormal researcher.
"There is something definitely going on there," Richard Estep said Thursday
after he and three other researchers spent Wednesday night at the former fire station, which now serves as a fire museum.
The building at 116 Broadway Ave. was built in 1881 and the last fire alarm
sounded in 1979. Renamed Fire Station No. 3 in 1891, the building, operated by the Pueblo Firefighters Historical Society,
continues its fire-related service to the community.
"We had some interesting stuff happen there," said Estep, a Boulder firefighter
who does paranormal investigations or "ghost hunting" as a hobby. "We heard a couple footsteps around the bottom of the stairwell
and one of our investigators also heard some breathing near the fire pole."
"We definitely are planning a second night of investigation."
Estep, Randy Schneider, Brad Carstens and Miranda Armstrong, all paranormal
investigators from Northern Colorado were in Pueblo to investigate strange occurrences that have been reported at the fire
station for years.
Firefighters who worked out of the station have told stories of how a hand
print repeatedly appeared on an upstairs window, even after it had been repeatedly cleaned.
"They said the firemen even had a new window put in and that hand print still
appeared," said Mark Pickerel, a Pueblo firefighter who took the researchers on a tour of the fire station Wednesday afternoon.
Pickerel said his father, Walt, was a firefighter at the former Fire Station
No. 3 for years and had heard many tales of unexplained happenings at the station.
Among them was an incident in the 1950s when a pumper truck started up on
its own and motored through the garage door.
Probably the most eerie occurrence took place two years ago, when an old Model
T car, a replica of what the fire chief drove, mysteriously steered itself from outside the rear of the building. The car
had been parked unattended with the engine idling, when it drove around the block and through a display of tombstones from
the nearby mortuary before crashing into a trailer parked in front of the museum.
Gary Micheli, a local firefighter who helps operate the museum, told the investigators
how he witnessed the incident as did several bystanders who saw the driverless car circling the block on its own.
Those strange incidents, in particular, were what lured the ghost hunters
to Pueblo to see if they could determine a logical explanation for the happenings.
The team members, all working professionals, do paranormal research on the
side. They do not charge for their investigations, which Estep said is necessary to protect of the integrity of the operations.
"If we were to take money, then there would be pressure for us to find something,"
he said. "What we are doing is purely for research purposes."
When he heard about the reported haunting at the fire museum, Estep said he
asked if he could investigate the building.
"It sounds to me like a spirited fireman wanted to have some jollies," Estep
said, his words tinged with his thick native British accent.
Pickerel welcomed the request because he is curious to know what's causing
the oddities at the museum.
"Those of us who have spent some time in that building can feel something
in that building," he said.
Pickerel said he's felt a strange force when he's been at the top of the steps
of the two-story building.
He said some have felt forces in other locations in the building, while still
others have reported hearing strange noises.
"I don't know, maybe it's just my mind messing with me, but it would be nice
to know if there's something to all this," Pickerel said.
He said the team from Northern Colorado is the second paranormal research
group to visit the museum in search of ghosts.
The first team reported that the only strange occurrence was when they went
out an unlocked door and tried to return, and they felt an unknown force holding the door shut.
Estep's team arrived at the museum at about 5 p.m. Wednesday and stayed until
about 9 a.m. Thursday conducting a variety of investigative tests.
Estep said it is important that investigators stay overnight as "the majority
of activity takes place between midnight and 3 a.m. That's when it's the quietest and you can hear every little creaking sound.
It's not the same at 3 p.m."
Schneider said the night also allows investigators to see some signs, such
as a faint light that can't be detected during the day.
In an effort to legitimize the investigation, the team members are very conscious
and careful of the process.
They requested the heat in the building be shut off for the night to prevent
any unusual noises from the forced air furnace. They also established a temperature zone that was monitored throughout the
All windows and doors were sealed with tape to prevent unauthorized entry
into the testing areas.
With high-powered voltage meters, they checked for electric current readings
throughout the building. When readings were found, they were documented and the investigators attempted to determine a logical
source of the power.
Shortly after beginning their testing, the crew found a high current reading
from an old base station for the fire alarms in the southwest corner of the museum. There were no known electrical outlets
or power lines in the vicinity, nor was the machine ever operated by electricity.
After the current was recorded, the group strategically placed video cameras
and digital recorders in different locations in the museum in an attempt to record any suspicious appearances or noises. Their
objective is to find logical explanations for appearances or sounds before reaching a paranormal explanation.
The team has not reviewed the video or audio recordings from the firehouse.
Estep said he's hopeful the recordings will verify the footsteps and breathing
that was heard by team members.
He said the majority of his investigations are scientific, but Wednesday night
the team veered slightly away from science and into the supernatural and spoke with an unidentified psychic about the fire
He said the woman psychic, whose conversation by speaker phone was recorded,
told them that the spirit in the station was a disgruntled former firefighter.
"He's very bitter and disenchanted with the fire service," he said. "She told
us he had an aggressive spirit and she described in detail this angry personality."
Estep said the psychic added that the spirit is "a mischievous, deceitful
character. She has even given us a name, ‘Larry.’ ”
Estep said it wasn't long after they were told of the spirit that investigators
heard the footsteps.
"We tried to engage the entity in conversation to see what could occur," he
Although they did not hear any voices, Estep said when questions were asked,
investigators measured the electrical current.
"We were getting some pretty interesting fluctuations."
Although Estep said he wouldn't characterize the occurrences as "spectacular,"
he was pleased they had some activity.
"Ninety-five percent of the time we're sitting in a cold, dark building for
nothing," he said. "But that 5 percent of the time (when something happens), that makes it all worthwhile."