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A ghostly hunt





ELLIS -- Two paranormal investigators in this small, quiet town aren't afraid of ghosts -- but they do have a healthy respect for the unexplained phenomena they encounter.

"My wife always tells me: 'Don't bring anything home.' Every time," said one of the investigators, who wanted to be identified only by his first name, Steve, due to the nature of the story.

"We don't do Ouija boards; we don't do seances, anything like that," he added.

"We don't want anything to come touch us -- at all. Stay away," said John Kreutzer, who along with Steve belongs to the Kansas Researchers of the Unexplained Phenomena -- a paranormal investigation group formed by two Stockton investigators.

Kreutzer got hooked on ghost hunting by watching "Ghost Hunters" on TV several years ago.

"I've always had an interest in ghosts," he said. "That kind of got me more into it."

Both Ellis investigators aren't fans of "Ghost Adventures," another popular paranormal show on cable. It's a little over the top, what with those investigators inviting entities to come in contact with them.

"We do not want anything to touch us," Kreutzer said. "They're a little ridiculous."

The Ellis researchers take their investigations seriously, looking for ways to debunk anything they might capture on their equipment.

"When you first hear a voice or something, you get kind of excited," Kreutzer said. "But then you have to go back and think about it logically."

Still, there are some things that can't be explained.

In an investigation of the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum earlier this year, the investigators did pick up some unexplained voices on their digital recorders.

"In the bedroom downstairs, I picked up a growl," Steve said.

Dena Patee, director of the Chrysler museum, also was there the night of the investigation.

"I'm one of those skeptics, but I could hear the woman's voice, and I could hear clearly a man's voice," she said. "That night, I didn't hear it until you played it" on the digital recorder.

Lois Keller didn't hear voices, but she did have her own encounter with "something" approximately 14 years ago at the museum, when she was wallpapering a second-floor bedroom belonging to Chrysler's daughter, Irene.

Keller was working late at night in the house, which was built in 1889. She heard a sound, and at first thought someone was downstairs, but nobody was there.

"I had the room stripped and the walls prepared, and I began hanging this paper," she said. "I probably had three pieces up, and I heard this rattling in a certain spot in the floor. ... It just sounded like somebody knocking loudly on a certain place in the floor."

At first, Keller tried to find a reasonable explanation for it, but couldn't. She heard the sound again the next night.

"I thought it was somebody trying to play a trick on me, maybe somebody knocking on the outside walls," she said.

But nobody was there.

"The following night, same thing, same area of the floor," Keller said.

Keller then decided to work on putting the wallpaper up during the day the next time.

"It started knocking again, so I went and got a couple of the board members and made them come over and listen to what was going on," Keller said.

Keller said the board members heard the same knocking sound upstairs while they were downstairs.

"They were just as puzzled as I was," she said.

When Keller came back to the museum the next time, the noise was less of a knocking and sounded more like a cowboy boot "stomping on a hardwood floor."

Keller had heard enough.

"This was an obnoxious knocking; it was getting louder," she said. "I finally got so disgusted that I stood in the spot and said, 'Look, I'm taking that whoever occupied this room doesn't like what I'm doing, doesn't like the paper. I'm telling you I don't like it, either, that much. It doesn't look like a girl's paper to me. I didn't pick it. So, I would like the noise to stop, because it is irritating me a lot.' "

Keller listened.

"I don't believe in this stuff," she said. "But you know what? It stopped."