Paranormal investigators will descend on Silverton’s Grand Imperial Hotel on Saturday as part of the third annual “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt.”
The World’s Largest Ghost Hunt, which occurs on National Ghost Hunting Day, is a synchronized effort that brings together hundreds of individual ghost hunts from around the world to conduct paranormal investigations at the same time.
According to the National Ghost Hunting Day’s Facebook page, participating hunts will span 12 countries and six continents.
By holding the hunts simultaneously, conducting some of the same exercises and asking the same questions, the spirit world is more likely to open up, said Tessa Thomas-Peterson, founder of Four Corners Paranormal Investigations.
“We’re trying to bridge our side to their side,” she said. “That’s why it’s at the same time.”
This year’s haunted historical place to be investigated is the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, which is no stranger to supposed paranormal activity.
Calls to General Manager Jim Harper were not returned Wednesday.
In 2015, Harper told the Silverton Standard & the Miner that remodeling construction on the 133-year-old building apparently disturbed a resident spirit at the hotel.
“On the third floor, contractors have inexplicably had nails thrown at them and chunks of drywall chucked at them,” Harper told the Silverton Standard.
It got so bad, Harper said, construction crews would go downstairs and wait until the ghost calmed down. Many believed the paranormal activities were coming from Room 314, where a 42-year-old man died by suicide in 1890.
There’s a wedding party booked Saturday at the Grand Imperial Hotel, so unfortunately, paranormal investigators won’t be able to search Room 314.
The team, however, was granted permission to stay the night in the hotel’s supposedly haunted basement.
Thomas-Peterson said the two-hour coordinated hunt will be limited to the Four Corners Paranormal Investigations crew of about eight people.
From 10 p.m. to midnight, however, about 12 people will be allowed in to try out the team’s investigative equipment. The event, open to the public, is already sold-out.
“It’s not what you see on TV,” said Melanie Graham, a member of the team. “There are times when it’s scary, but there’s other times when it’s OK and not all evil or demonic.”
For the last two years of the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt, investigators have looked into hauntings at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s train station in downtown Durango.
Investigators were able to make contact with a ghost that identified herself as “Kate Johnson,” Thomas-Peterson said.
Museum curators were even able to track the ghost’s back story, she said.
Four Corners Paranormal Investigations was founded in 2012, and its crew of eight or so voluntarily travel around the region to people who need help with ghost hauntings.
The team takes about 20 calls a year, she said.
“People think they’re going crazy because they experience it and no one else does,” she said. “A lot of it is a person coming to terms with who is actually there and what’s going on. For the most part, people do take our advice and it does help.”
Graham said she was originally skeptical that ghosts existed, but certain events in her life changed her way of thinking.
“It’s OK to be a non-believer, but really take a listen to some of the people saying they had encounters and listen to their stories,” she said.
The paranormal team is all volunteer and never charges for its help. This year’s hunt will donate all money to the Grand Imperial to help the hotel restore its historic theater in the basement.
If you missed out on this year’s hunt, you can catch it live-streamed on the team’s Facebook page. Thomas-Peterson said the team hopes to host more events for the public, like full-moon ghost hunts.