Weed's Black Butte Saloon subject of paranormal investigation

Skye Kinkade
Psychic Chantal Apodaca uses dowsing rods at the location where a man was found dead at the bottom of the stairs decades ago during a paranormal investigation at the Black Butte Saloon Nov. 9. A team of investigators and psychics, including “esoteric detective” Paul Dale Roberts from Haunted & Paranormal Investigations International spent an entire evening at the Black Butte Saloon, conducting research and holding a seance.

A team of professional ghost hunters traveled to Weed and spent a night at the Black Butte Saloon earlier this month searching for spirits that call the historic building home.

Paul Dale Roberts, an “esoteric detective” from Haunted & Paranormal Investigations International, said there is no doubt in his mind the saloon, built by the madam Miss Georgia Clark in 1917, is haunted.

Roberts said he and his team captured 26 EVPs, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon with a digital recorder. They also heard unexplained noises and voices during a seance conducted in the back of saloon, which is an old poker room.

Roberts and his team, including psychics Chantal and Breanna Apodaca and lead investigators Deanna Bailey and Sheri Aresta also said they captured “designer orbs” in photographs – further evidence of paranormal activity, he said.

The evidence Roberts collected will be contained in his next book about paranormal investigations.

Property manager Deborah Hart and Stephanie Shaver, who now runs the Black Butte Saloon as an event hall, were also on hand to tell the investigators the things they’ve felt and seen there.

Shaver said she’s always felt an “overwhelming welcoming feeling” at the Black Butte Saloon, and loves learning more about the building’s history and Miss Georgia Clark.

“My experiences haven’t been scary, or visual, or anything of the spooky sort... just plain and simple, welcoming and wanted,” Shaver said.

Hart, who lives in one of the upstairs apartments, said she’s heard voices and felt strange things since she moved there in 2007. She contacted HPI to conduct the investigation on Nov. 9.

The investigation

Roberts and his team first toured the Black Butte Saloon to get a feel of the more “active” spots, including the boiler room, which was once the entrance to a tunnel which connected the Black Butte to other drinking establishments and cathouses in Weed, said Shaver.

Several upstairs rooms were also sites of interest, according to both Breanna and Chantal, who saw things out of the corners of their eyes and felt a presence touch their shoulders and legs.

Using digital voice recorders to capture EVPs, night vision goggles, cameras and dowsing rods, the crew spent hours conducting a search for spirits.

At larger investigations, Roberts said the crew would include a videographer and more technical equipment, including K2 EMF meters to detect fluctuations in the electromagnetic field and temperature gauges to confirm the location of otherworldly entities.

The investigation at the Black Butte Saloon was conducted with a smaller crew, but they were still able to obtain evidence of paranormal activity, said Chantal, who has been working with HPI since 2005 and has logged more than 400 paranormal investigations. She recently recruited her cousin, Breanna, who is also sensitive to paranormal phenomena, she explained. Though they’ve both seen and felt many spirits, Chantal said she’s not scared of ghosts.

“They’re just energy, nothing to be afraid of,” she said.

The evidence

Among the paranormal evidence found at the Black Butte Saloon is an EVP of a man’s voice, captured at the bottom of a stairwell where a man was once found dead, as well as what sounds like a small child crying on a recording underneath the hotel’s stairs, said Roberts.

Designer orbs were also captured in the building, Roberts said. He explained that often, orbs in a photo can be explained as dust, lint, skin flakes or moisture, but sometimes if they are enlarged and enhanced, investigators can see faces of entities in them.

“Designer orbs are as original as snowflakes,” said Aresta, who is talented at obtaining EVPs and often posts them on the HPI website.

Roberts explained that if investigators can show an orb as intelligence by telling it to appear in different places, the evidence is even stronger.

“This place is validated as haunted, due to the EVPs we obtained and the disembodied voices we heard with our ears,” said Roberts after his stay at the Black Butte Saloon. “I have no doubt that ghosts of the past – residual and intelligent – haunt this incredible establishment.”

More about Roberts’ investigation and photos of Black Butte Saloon can be found online here