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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sierra Sky Ranch

I was privelaged to be able to accompany a group of students last Saturday, Oct. 4, up to the Sierra Sky Ranch. A friend of mine, Jennifer who took the class two years ago, went with me and we arrived there around 6:30 or so. Most of the students were already there and were wandering the ground taking pictures and getting a feel for the place. I ran into the instructor, Jackie Meador, in the main room and asked her if there was any recent activity. She told me that the security cameras had been picking up balls of light ascending and descending the stairs in the main guest area. They haven't put it on tape yet, but I'm hoping to get a copy soon. Also there was a new night desk person who had a recent encounter. One night he was sighting at the desk doing some paper work when he felt a presence behind him. He called out for it to either show itself, or to "get the hell out of there". As soon as he said that the paper shredder turned on and the lights began to flicker on and off. Frightened he left his post.

After hearing the latest news, I went to the main living area where a group of students were gathered listening to one of the night workers tell some of the things that happen to her.

Phylis the head night person recounts some of her stories. The
decorations are Halloween only, not year round.

The things she has witnessed were voices, movement out of the corner of her eye, nothing extraordinary. But these occurrences are pretty constant.

Unfortunately dinner was pushed back a few hours due to a sudden dinner rush and the staff being down a person. This did allow people to investigate the grounds some more, though nothing worth noting happened. Finally at 11:00 we were ready to meet and go over things for the night.

Meador going over instructions before she sets the groups lose.

The group I was with started off on the outside. We started in the front first and I let the group investigate on their own, not wanting to taint their findings with what I had found in the past. After about ten minutes I got a call that someone's camera batteries were now dead. I noticed the person was in front of the pear tree. This tree has had a lot of weird occurences in the past trips up there. I was with one group and all four of their cameras failed at once at this tree. Three batteries were drained and one just shut off and had to be restarted. Reason I mention this, is that there is a theory that ghosts will sometimes drain batteries for energy to make their presence known. I myself didn't get anything in front of the tree that night, but hopefully someone else did. Also, for what it's worth, there was a sensitive with us and she said she was feeling some sort of energy around the tree.

The pear tree.

After we left the pear tree I took the group around the rest of the front of the grounds. When I was hear last fall there was a guest staying at the Ranch the same time we had the group up. She was interested in the subject and was allowed to tag along. She told me she was sensitive, but as always I'm a bit skeptic. We were in the front by a huge tree with a swing hanging from a branch. She said she was feeling something and to start taking pictures. Few people got some mist in their photos. And no it wasn't breath, we tried to recreate it and couldn't. So the group I was with, I told them what happened and we started taking photos. I myself didn't get anything, but wanted to post a picture of the swing. I can imagine the ghost of a child swinging on this late at night.

The swing.

After the swing, we were done in the front area and proceeded to the back part of the Ranch. The only real area of interest in the back is a tree that has been labeled "Elmer's Tree". The story has been pretty much the same over the years. When the Ranch was still an actual cattle ranch, it began to sell of it's land to pay for debts. Finally the ranch itself was sold and the story goes that a ranch hand by the name of Elmer was distraut over this and was out back by said tree one day chopping wood. Mid swing he slipped and the ax hit his leg, severing the artery. His cries for help were never heard and he died on that spot. In death though, Elmer wanders the ranch, making sure the place is still being kept and everything is in order. Some people have felt a cranky pressence, but nothing bad or ill tempered. Just like someone is wondering who they are. We took photos and did a bit of EVP but I didn't get anything.

Elmer's tree.

Before we headed back inside I took the group back around to the front where the dining room was at. One time a patron said they saw a person peek their head up from underneath the window, then moved back down to hide again. This happened several times, and each time it happened someone would go out to look but never find anything.

Outside the dining room.

Finally we were able to back inside and the group decided to head to Sarah's Room first. The story behind this room is that during the early part of the 20th century when the Ranch was a TB hospital (this was after it had been sold off as a ranch) and there was a nurse by the name of Sarah. In her charge were two children who eventually succumbed to their illness. Soon after Sarah herself passed away. Several people over the years (including my sister), who knew nothing of Sarah, would see a woman peeking out of the window. Was she looking for the children? Or is she watching over who is staying at the Ranch now? It's hard to say really.

Sarah's room, newly renovated.

Most of the spirits at the Sierra Sky Ranch don't stay in one space, and the children are no exception. Several guests have complained over the years of hearing children running up and down the hall in the middle of the night. The guests would complain the next day to the front desk to find out that there were no children staying there that night.

The hallway to most of the rooms at the Ranch.

We then decided to check out the Honeymoon Suite, which is directly under the library. The first time I was at the Ranch, there were two psychics with us and the both picked up a man in the bedroom portion of the suite. He was hiding in the corner and seemed very anxious. Not much else was discovered about him, but over the few times I've been back up there people have felt anxious in the room. When I was there with the group, the sensitive in the group didn't feel anything in the bedroom portion but did feel something in the living area. Perhaps the spirit had decided to move.

The corner where the spirit is supposed to be hiding.

After we were done with the Honeymoon Suite it was about 1:00 in the morning. It was at that time that we were asked to go back up to the front lobby area. Turns out that the kitchen, which is the main hot spot for activity at the Ranch, was still being cleaned up from the long dinner rush. They wouldn't be done until after 1:30. As neither myself nor Jen were staying the night decided to end our part of the investigation at this time. I was a bit dissapointed as I was looking forward to taking the group into the kitchen and seeing what they got.

The first time I was at the Ranch, the group I was with was resting in the dining room when we heard this banging coming from the kitchen. We rushed into the kitchen, where all the equipment had been turned off for the night, to find the deep fryer had somehow been turned on. Apparently this had happened before and the owners had the wiring checked to make sure it wasn't faulty. Even now the equipment sometimes turns itself on at night when no one is around.

The kitchen is an odd area. The first time I went in there, the air was heavy like there was a presence in there. I was soon told there were two spirits in there and it is believed they are two cooks and they do not like each other. One stays in the main kitchen area and is very territorial. The other stays mostly in the pantry area and doesn't like it when anyone goes back there. I went back there once ahead of my group and felt a pressure on my chest as well as losing my balance. It was an odd sensation, but I stayed steady. Others have felt the same there.

The Sierra Sky Ranch is definitely haunted. I didn't get much evidence, though I did get this possible mist photograph which I am posting. The only problem is that it was extremely cold that night and breath was an issue. But I make a conscious effort to hold my breath during shooting to be sure. I even did a photo where I purposely breathed to check and it was different. This shot was taken at the infamous pear tree. Honestly I think it's just breath but wanted to post anyways.

A ghost or just me breathing?

I hope to go back again, I know the next trip is in March. But honestly I would love to investigate with a group of six or so. I always seem to get better results in a small group. The nice thing about this place is they are very open to their paranormal history, and if the staff aren't busy they are more than happy to answer any questions. Plus it's a nice place to have dinner and spend the weekend.

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