With electromagnetic field detectors, cameras and voice recording equipment, 57-year-old Greg Feketik investigates reports of paranormal activity as part of the more than 30-person Tri-C Ghost Hunters. The retired police officer with an interest in demonology hopes to help distressed souls.
In the kitchen [of a private residence], there was a Jesus figurine on top of a cabinet that would turn on its own. [The homeowners] would hear heavy footsteps coming from the second floor, like someone was angry and stomping around. One time, there was a male voice that told [the husband] to "Get out." If you didn't know any better, you would almost call it demonic.
One of our lead investigators, Jake, was up in the daughter's room with one of our other investigators, and we had the video camera on him. You could hear something fall in the corner behind him, and he turned and said, "If that was you, can you do that again?" Then Jake got poked from behind. During a review of the video, there's an old man's voice that says, "How's it going?" But he says it in a very distinct way — loud and clear. My first thought was that it had to be one of them, but it wasn't because Jake was holding an audio recorder in his hand, and that captured the voice too but it sounded far off and metallic.
This voice was so clear and recognizable that we thought maybe the homeowners could identify it. Our client said, "My grandfather always used to say, 'How's it going?' " So I said, " 'Can you take this voice to somebody to see if they can identify it?' Well, she took it to her mother and her uncle, and both identified the voice as their deceased father.
Since we had an idea of who was haunting this place, all we did was say, 'You're scaring the family. You need to knock it off. This isn't your home anymore. You need to move on.' They have not had another problem since, and they're still living in the same house. Everything stopped."
After lurking inside the halls of the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron for 19 years, 57-year-old Fred Coladonato is coaching up-and-coming monsters on bringing the horror to Northeast Ohio's longest-running haunted house. Here's how to take terror to new frights.
fake the alarm
False doors and lifelike mannequins will have your visitors looking elsewhere long enough for you to sneak up on them. "Get somebody thinking that the scare is someplace, when actually, the real scare is somewhere else in the room," says Coladonato.
make your move
There's nothing more terrifying than walking down a dark hallway and feeling someone's breath against the back of your neck. To maximize the madness, wait until your victims are within arm's reach before you jump out. "But you also want to do it quickly not to ruin it for the four to six people behind them," he says.
be the beast
The devil's in the details: Think of extras such as a haunting piano ballad or elaborate, gory sets. "You have to feel the part, and you have to play the part," says Coladonato. "It's more than putting a mask and a robe on and yelling, 'Boo!' at someone."
As the founder of Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours, Chuck Gove seeks out scary places. "When we started researching haunted locations in Cleveland, we were surprised to find out how many spots are actually haunted," he says. Check out these three public places — if you dare.
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
A catacomb of tunnels underneath the 116-year-old centerpiece in Public Square is said to be populated by ghosts. "Some people felt something brush against them, and [someone] got scratched once and there was nobody there," says Gove. "He had three fingernails going down his arm."
USS Cod Submarine
This World War II submarine reportedly harbors a playful ghost, said to be a sailor who fell overboard. "They think he's there to keep an eye over the submarine," says Gove. "He'll make the call bell ring, and when they go and investigate, there's nobody down there."
West Side Market
A butcher often mistaken for a real person is said to lurk in Cooler No. 9 underneath the market's main floor and a girl covered in blood wanders the alleyways outside of this local hot spot. "When people run over to help her, she just vanishes right in front of them," says Gove.
It's hard to keep a level head when you're locked in a 250-square-foot room with 11 strangers and a flesh-eating zombie. Located in the Screw Factory in Lakewood, Daring Room Escapes offers a harrowing experience ($28 per person) in which you work with a team to solve more than 30 riddles in under one hour and find the key to safety — or run the risk of being eaten alive. Except for a locked box, clues on how to escape aren't obvious. But while you're sifting through furniture, hoarding strange objects and piecing puzzles together, the chain that holds the zombie gets 1 foot longer every five minutes. If you're not good with close quarters, take after me — herd team members like cattle toward the zombie to free up some space. daringroomescapes.com