Two-day investigation results from Dona Luz Street

The investigation took place October 31, 2021, beginning at 9 p.m. My co-investigator, Scott Geddes, met after I had taken possession of the rental and set up all the equipment. The plan was to sit, talk about Taos history and the paranormal, and generally stir things up like any normal visitor to the sweet little room on Dona Luz Street in Taos, New Mexico.

I had reserved the room for several months and was really looking forward to the investigation. The plans I had for how the evenings and investigations were to go changed over time because of Covid and that I had curtailed tours for the balance of the season.

At this point, I felt the best thing to do would be to keep everything pretty low-key, and the night started out pretty noisy with car sounds and a lot of activity on or near the Plaza.

At midnight, Scott and I set up the recorders and then left the building, locking the door behind us. I came by the next day and picked them up. They either ran out of recording space or battery. The MP3 audio recorder has space for nearly 6 hours, and the video camera for about 3 hours.

I downloaded the data, deleted files, recharged batteries, and Scott and I met again the next evening at 9 p.m., talked until nearly midnight, set up the recorders, and left, just like the night before.

We had a couple of anecdotal incidents (something happening without recorders operating), but each of them has been debunked. The first was when the tin cross hanging over my head started to vibrate, but it turns out a minor earthquake centered in the Estacada Plains occurred near that time (9:10 p.m.)

We thought something paranormal was happening when an ornamental wall hanging started to vibrate, but there was actually an earthquake at the same time. Predictably, both Scott and I got excited and kind of giddy, the way these things make a person, and it took a little while to calm down, but we subsequently feel it is debunked from being any paranormal activity. It is interesting to point out, however, of all the tin ornaments that were hanging on the wall, the tin cross pictured was the only one that made any noise.

Another is the sound of rustling but we determined that quiet guests in the next room were getting a snack and the noise we heard was from the packaging. It was intermittent and seemed to come from different places, but It was determined that’s just the way sound behaves with adobe bricks.

One anecdotal incident that isn’t so easily explained away is Scott reported feeling a cobweb feeling on his right cheek as we checked out the basement and the entrance to the tunnels. The thing is there aren’t any real cobwebs or anything there. It’s pretty clean for what it is, so perhaps there’s something to that. ghost presences or touches are often described this way.

Audio Evidence

As much as we’d like to present audio evidence, what we have is so slight and difficult to hear we opted to just tell you about it rather than enhance audio to the point of ridiculousness.

What I am willing to say is there were some familiar sounds that I had heard on a previous investigation and I was glad to be able to disqualify them as anything paranormal.

One of these sounds is the cyclic tone sound which plays for a few seconds, stops then is followed by a thud. After the several intervening years, somewhere there is a piece of equipment that cycles on and off, and the regularity has “refrigerator” written all over it.

Another sound that contributes to the overall difficulty in presenting any audio evidence is the regular sound of dripping water. People who are regular paranormal investigators are aware of how the presence of running water contributes to audio manifestations because of the human ear’s need to overlay or put a pattern where none exists. This phenomenon is called “auditory pareidolia.”

That being said, I want to describe the several things I thought I heard behind all that noise. To me and to Scott both we thought we could hear music and singing waaaaay back behind the white noise of the recorder’s micro-chip signal, water, and other ambiance of the basement tunnels.

To me, it sounded like a performance that begins at roughly the same time every night, but with slight variations. Like a setlist of a performer. The voice sounded like a tenor, and the singing was a little raucous in places, sounded almost drunk sometimes, and was in a singing style that sounded Spanish. At one place in the recording, I could almost hear the word “agua,” and the songs were many-versed and sometimes it sounded like other people were singing along.

There was also the sound of a piano being played, strumming and guitar finger-picking. At one point on the second day, I hear a man say “Jesus,” but I cannot confirm it because when I played it back for Scott he was unable to hear it.

Day 1 – October 31, 2021:

Ghost Radar Classic Words

Ghost Radar is an application you can download on your phone. The app looks at readings that the phone can detect, based on the GPS or the FM receiver that’s built into all cell phones — if there’s any fluctuation of the baseline, the theory is that there’s a paranormal entity out there that is trying to manipulate the sensors on the phone so that it could somehow communicate.

7:30 p.m.: Trunk, TV, Best, Feed, Alike, And, Minerals

9:25 p.m.: Develop, Jump, Spain, Go, Fought, Richard, Race

10:48 p.m.: We had three different Ghost Radar applications going. We specifically asked for anyone’s story, if they had one to tell.

IPhone: Labor, Friendly, Central, Not, About, Courage, Coat, Johnny, Cell, Sail, Russia, Ann, Offer, None, Listen

IPad: Cross

Blackberry: Mail

Day 2 – November 1, 2021

This seemed like a quieter time. there was no giddy immediate experience which always tends to set the energy higher. This evening the town was quieter by far. Scott and I sat up in the guest room until 11:30 p.m., then we set up the recorders and left the building. I returned the next morning and packed up the equipment and checked out.

Day 2 – November 1, 2021:

Ghost Radar Classic Words

iPhone: David, Ship, Billy, Elephant, Sam, Brother, Conversation, Can’t, Fight, Massage, Pencil, Rome, Aware, United, Sent, Peter, Length, Driven, Clothing, Of, Don’t, MR.

iPad: Dear

Blackberry: Property, Specific, Military

Conclusion:

The two-day investigation did not yield any particularly spectacular evidence, but it sure was fun to hang out for two nights and see what we can see. I may try to do it again next year. I’ll be investing in some better equipment because, we all know, more gear means more opportunity for SPOOKINESS!

Stay spooky, my friends!!

Halloween Investigation at 108B Dona Luz

We are embarking on a paranormal investigation at 108B Dona Luz for Halloween and All Saints Day (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2021). The investigation has been in the works for several months.

Our original intention was to have tours earlier in the evening, break for dinner then for a select set of investigators, set up equipment at one of the more heavily haunted locations in the Taos Historic District.

Covid, of course, changed all that, so instead of a giddy group of investigators, it’s going to be me and my good friend, Scott Geddes. This is actually going to be more favorable for the actual investigation part, although I’m sure a larger group would have made it fun, for sure.

The address actually has access to the legendary Taos Tunnels, which are a network of undercrofts and basements, seamed together with tunnels, which were dug in the early 1700s to hide from raiding Commanches. They were subsequently used for all sorts of illegal and nefarious activities, including smuggling booze during the prohibition, illegal card games, hiding prostitutes, and a lot of activities that will, hopefully, never see the light of day.

There used to be a bench across the street from 106 Dona Luz. It wasn’t easy to sit there after dark without the sense of being watched.

I’ve been involved with other investigations at this location, and I was lucky enough to gather some evidence that was surprising.

While you’re waiting for me to process tomorrow’s data and reveal what we find, have a look and listen to my other investigations at this fabulous, haunted location.

An artist’s rendition of the Taos Tunnels

Underneath the plaza and stretching in all directions is a network of tunnels. Many of these tunnels are mere holes dug in the ground. Others are part of more elaborate networks which have since been turned into storage areas, filled in with dirt or blocked with masonry and shelving.

There are some stretches of the tunnel that have not seen the light of day since the time of their digging. Whatever, or whoever walks there, walks alone in the dark of a thousand fears.

The tunnels were dug in the 1700s to hide from raiding bands of Commanches whose loosely drawn mission statement was to devil all the Spanish outposts and colonies in what is now the American Southwest.

The Comanches were known for their relentless cruelty toward captives.

It’s dark down in the Taos Tunnels. You’d better bring a good light.

At this point in time, there are no schematics of all the places the tunnels go. Different homes and buildings in the Historic District have entrances to what’s left of the tunnels. People report all sorts of weird paranormal phenomena, including noises, voices, sensations of being watched, and contractors who have their tools relocated while they are down in the area.

There are also legends about a creature who, if he encounters you in the tunnels, will decide if you are Native American enough to be allowed to live.

Spooky Stays

Ghosts of Taos podcast, Season 1, Episode 3: Spooky Stays

Haunted Hotels and Inn in the Historic District of Taos. Here are a couple of stories about our more active properties. So often I’ll get the question, “what’s the most haunted hotel in town?” and I would be hard-pressed to have a concise answer because so many of the hotels have a reputation of one degree or another. The center of town is a good pick, but other places, quaint little B&Bs have had their share of stories. Here are just a few.

Gearing up for the season

It’s not our imagination! The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. that means it will be Halloween soon! Be sure and plan your autumnal vacation in Taos to include a ghost tour! We need 24-hours notice, and there is one evening during the Halloween weekend we will not be available — the Friday, the 27th of Oct. Wednesdays are also not available, but everything else is open as of today.

Sunset from the entrance to Governor Charles Bent's House

Memoirs and ghosts

I have worked on a couple of books that have originated with friends that have passed away. While I am working on them I feel the presence of the person, not only through the papers and note we made while they were living, but I hear their voices as I read the words and compile all the steps it takes to get the manuscript through all of its phases.

memiorsI’ve had Tally Richard’s memoirs for ages – not the ultra limited edition printing she did a few years before she died, but the original manuscript. There is no end to the wisdom she had about the town and people.

Each time I delve into them, it is as if I can smell her cigarettes and the instant Nescafe she used to drink. Dear Tally, you are loved and missed. You were so fun to be around in those days. How wonderfully you took me under your wing.

In this journal entry, she is talking about Dennis Hopper and Tony Price.

From Tally’s Memoirs
October 5, 1970
(46 years ago)

It’s difficult to understand why in a brief meeting, one can feel such warmth and goodwill towards some and a coolness and reserve towards others. I suppose if one could figure that out and control it all wars would cease and man would discover the true meaning of brotherhood.

I also enclosed a catalog on Tony Price’s work. Though obviously not the most saleable work I’ve come across, it’s undoubtedly the most original. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of someone who will buy his sound sculptures, made from discarded parts from Los Alamos, or a place that would be right for them.

With 80 speakers atop Tony’s Piano Box, it seems the perfect place would be the natural echo amphitheater belonging to the government and north of Albuquerque – or is it south of Cibola? I think that Tony would even trade the piece for an isolated place to work – his sounds are drifting down the Rio Grande causing a little concern to some of the residents along the river banks.

Dennis Hopper has Tony’s Atomic Reject – an enormous thing that looks like a thirty-piece orchestra without men. It’s under Dennis’s grape arbor in his front yard.

I spent a very weird evening at Dennis’s house, which is still called the “Mabel Dodge Lujan House.” I find him very magnetic and feel lucky that his girlfriend, Michelle, arrived the next day. Gordon and Virginia Wagner took me over and Dennis seated me at the head of the table next to him! I was so embarrassed and felt so conspicuous. Later he took me outside and “played” Tony’s Atomic Reject, which made strange, mysterious sounds in the night. I suggested he borrow the Santa Fe Opera stage for a performance. I can see it all now Saki and I have made up and broken up a couple of times lately. He was in his glory in September with the D. H. Lawrence Festival since he has so many of Lawrence’s paintings. He didn’t even charge admission to his office to see them.

– Tally Richards

Full moon fun on the tour

full-moonGhosts of Taos tour guide Melody Romancito had a group of ghost hunters, mediums, and sensitives for last night’s tour. It was a delightful sharing of stories and a real pleasure to spend the evening with Seth F. and friends from Manitu Springs, Colorado. We’re sorry we don’t have a photo, but everyone left their cameras in the car :)