Investigating the Pride House

It was a cold October night. Everyone huddled around the campfire telling ghost stories.

These were not the tales repeated through the generations of blood roads and phantom hitchhikers to scare the living daylights out of eager listeners. Tales told this night were actual experiences of real life ghost hunters and those wanting to be.

About 20 people had gathered at the Pride House in Jefferson to take part in a paranormal investigation led by Upshur Paranormal. The Pride House is the first bed and breakfast in Texas and on a scale of one to 10 on the spook scale, it ranks about a 35.

Upshur Paranormal consists of two married couples, Mike and D.D.

McCaskill, Erin and Ian Powell and friend Ben Jones. They have

conducted many investigations at the Pride and have come to know it

well. In fact, Erin and Ian were married at the Pride.

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Three main spirits have been identified in the home. Jenny Brown, the daughter of one of the previous owners who died from burns received when her clothes caught fire from being too close to the fireplace. Coincidently, the current owner of the home is also named Jenny­. Jenny Lovelace.

John Bender was an owner of the home and could possibly be the spirit caught on the staircase in a photo taken by Rick Moran of the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomenon, Inc. (ASUP) in an earlier investigation by ASUP around the holidays. It is a very rare photograph capturing a manifestation. Taken in a series of three photos, nothing showed on the first and third frames.

A 7-year-old named Sarah is the only one of the three that has not been documented as living in the house, but is the most active of the three and can be quite mischievous. Jewelry tends to disappear if left out in the open. Lovelace’s wedding ring disappeared sometime ago and is yet to be found. Mr. McCaskill’s audio recorder went missing during the investigation.

Sarah graced the group with her presence through a K2 meter. A K2 is an electromagnetic field detector that has a series of five lights. The higher the EMF readings, more of the lights are illuminated. The theory is spirits can use the K2 to communicate by lighting it up to answer yes or no questions.

Participants were advised by Mike to “run lots of audio.” He said visual evidence at the home is rare, but EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) are almost guaranteed. That was good advice as Sherri Skiles, a member of the Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators (TSPI) recorded class A EVPs within the first four minutes of recording. A class A EVP is a voice that can be heard clearly on a recording and understood without any problems. A class B EVP is one where you can tell something is being said, but can’t be sure of what the words are. Class C EVPs are the most common and the hardest to identify. You can tell something not of the norm is there, but that’s about it.

Some of Skiles’ were easily Class As. First there was a “hello” and then “yes.” Skiles had recorded around 10 EVPs within the first 18 minutes, which was hours before the investigation started. It was also the middle of the afternoon, for those who think spirits are only active in the middle of the night.

At the Pride, you don’t always need a recorder to hear voices. Lovelace has audibly heard voices saying “hello” and “you hoo” while in the office, only to find no one in the house when she went to look for the owner of the voice. Skiles heard a woman’s laughter next to her the next morning at breakfast.

For the initial part of the investigation, participants were broken up into groups of four to five people. Each group proceeded to take turns doing 30 minute investigations while the rest of the group gathered around the campfire behind the house.

It seemed each successive group stirred up more activity. The first group started getting cold spots; later groups believe they were communicating with Sarah through a K2. They last group didn’t get anything. The spirits may have been tired of playing.

McCaskill then performed a Gansfield experiment in the parlor. This is where someone with a level of psychic ability blocks his vision and hearing to help focus their energies on the spirits around them. McCaskill lay on the floor and his wife blocked his senses by taping ping pong balls cut in half over his eyes and placing a red light above him so red is the only thing he could see, then placing headphones that were transmitting white noise. Gansfield experiments are just that – experimental. It is very new in the field, with most people not having heard of it.

At the very end of the experiment, the K2 went off and stayed active for about six minutes. It appeared to be Sarah coming to play. You can see video of the K2 at

The Pride is alive with activity, but there is nothing scary about it. It has a more playful, curious nature. What else would you expect from a 7-year-old?

Usphur Paranormal will conduct another investigation Nov. 21. Those interested in joining should call Lovelace at 1-903-665-8845 to reserve your spot. There is limited availability.

If you can’t make it, look for it on the Syfy channel in the future. The network is set to tape at the Pride in February.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.