- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - As security guard Carlos Cadiz walked down the sixth-floor hallway around 2:30 a.m. making his nightly rounds, the air around him started to feel cooler, denser. He fought back an overwhelming feeling that someone was striding along with him, close but not quite touching his arm.

Suddenly, a locked door leading to the old jail started rattling violently.

“I just ran for the elevator,” Cadiz, a guard at Camden City Hall, told The Philadelphia Inquirer (https://bit.ly/1uOVKE6). “I got out of there fast as I could.”

This month, with the help of 10 paranormal investigators who blanketed the sixth floor with spirit-detection technology, Cadiz was introduced to his walking mate.

His name, apparently, is Ed.

The all-volunteer South Jersey Ghost Researchers, one of the oldest paranormal groups in the region, unpacked infrared cameras, electromagnetic sensors, and static field detectors to investigate Cadiz’s suspicions that the building, which dates to 1929 and once housed the county jail, is haunted.

In his three years at City Hall, Cadiz said, he’d heard whispering early in the morning and seen shadows disappear into elevators.

But nothing scared him more than the sixth floor.

The now-defunct jail is a rotting labyrinth straight out of a horror movie, with decaying walls, ominous graffiti from now-deceased prisoners, and flickering lights reflecting in pools of water on crumbling concrete floors.

Cadiz said he felt something walking down a well-lit and carpeted hallway adjacent to the abandoned jail.

“We’ve got lots of guys walking around back here,” Kim Pietrzak, a horse trainer from Mullica Hill, said as she pointed her flashlight into an old recreation room where prisoners used to play cards.

“I’m getting triggers all over,” she said, referring to some of the technology equipment designed to pick up on static and electromagnetic fields.

“This is an unusually active space,” said Dave Juliano, the group’s director. “I’d rather come back here than Eastern State Penitentiary,” the much-studied historic site in Philadelphia.

To investigate Cadiz’s claims, the group set sensors along the hallway where Cadiz had been walking and one on the door he saw shaking.

When a pod lit up, suggesting some energy or static had passed through it, Juliano turned on a radio to try to launch communications.

“Would you tell us your name?” Marti Haines of Burlington asked. “Say your name for us three times.”

The radio static paused for a moment - what could have been interference - but several people in the group were sure they heard, “Ed, Ed, Ed.”

A few of the investigators said they saw a shadow where “Ed” was standing, and one described him as a short, older, Hispanic man who was having trouble breathing.

Not everyone was convinced. John Dombkowski, another security officer, escorted the group around the old jail and skeptically watched all of this unfold. When the city had a bad snowstorm and Dombkowski had to sleep in the building overnight, he went up to the sixth floor, knowing it was the darkest spot.

“Nothing woke me up. I didn’t see or hear anything,” he said. “I just don’t believe in this stuff.”

Inside the jail, which covers most of the sixth floor, the ghost researchers got to work, having numerous side conversations. Haines said she communicated with a soft-spoken woman in the recreation room and encountered a man whispering profanities near the old showers.

“I know if I was a spirit, the last place I’d want to hang out is the prison I was in, but maybe they did build friendships or bonds here,” said Juliano, who runs the Ghost Hunters store in Mount Holly.

The 23-member group does about 100 investigations a year, specializing in historic buildings. It also does home visits.

“Most of the people who are terrified, we’re able to show them there’s not a reason to be terrified. In a lot of the cases, it’s the fear of the unknown,” Juliano said. “They’ll watch scary movies, and there’s never a nice spirit. We can go in and show them that it might even be a relative. They might just have a house guest who doesn’t pay rent.”

Juliano compares the investigations to a fishing expedition:

“You could be just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. You could be in a boat surrounded by fish and they’re just not biting, or you could be in a place where there’s one fish, and you cast it, and you hook it.”

He also said there was a difference between a place with spirits and one that’s haunted. It usually takes several people experiencing something for a place to be deemed haunted, he said.

Camden City Hall went from one person - Cadiz - to at least 10 investigators.

“In the beginning I felt like, if it’s just me, if I talked about it, it sounded silly, but if they sense it, too, it’s more comfortable,” Cadiz said. “I can get used to it, and it’s less scary because now I know his name.”

___

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, https://www.inquirer.com


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide