In a chapter from the “my life is staring to resemble one of my stories” file, I spent Saturday night traipsing around a haunted house with a pair of paranormal investigators—and a bunch of Down Right Creepy fans—looking for ghosts. I can’t say I found any, though some of the others seemed to maybe have better (worse?) luck, but it was certainly a rare experience.

The event was part of the promotion for Devil’s Due, which opened in theatres on Friday, though I haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet. (I was busy hunting ghosts!) My friend and I met the winners of the Down Right Creepy contest, as well as the owners of the place and the paranormal investigation team, in a familiar-looking office on the top floor of the 3rd Street Asylum in Bonner Springs. Familiar-looking, because it had been set-dressed to act as the backdrop for Joshua Hoffine‘s “Last Stand.”

It was my first time in 3rd Street Asylum, and I have to say—without any slight intended to the fantastic haunts constructed therein—that the building itself is as impressive as any of its contents. An old school, the building is actually constructed on top of a Native American burial ground and a cemetery where they moved the headstones but not all of the bodies, in a spectacular near-hat-trick of haunting set-up. The owners told us a little about some of the things that they’d experienced in the building, and some of the findings that other paranormal investigators had unearthed over the years. Later in the evening, we got to hear a recording of some EVP from a previous investigation. It’s probably good that we didn’t get to hear it until after we’d all spent a few hours wandering around the place in the dark, is all I’ll say.

still_3rd_street_asylum1

While the paranormal investigators did their stuff, the owners took us on a tour of the attraction, with the lights on. Even illuminated, it was easy to get disoriented in the twisting corridors, or to be spooked by whatever disembodied head or mutilated torso was lurking around the next corner. I can’t wait to go back when the haunt is actually running!

After that, they shut the lights out, and we all got to wander a bit with our flashlights or, in most cases, the assistive lights on our cell phones. However spooky the place was with the lights on, it was a lot spookier with them off, even without the possibility of paranormal phenomena. Like I said, I’m afraid to report that I didn’t encounter any unexplainable goings-on, though a few of the other guests seemed to have more success, and one room—the one full of creepy doll parts, naturally—seemed particularly active.

Sans any more direct haunting, the most exciting part of the experience for me was getting to go behind-the-scenes of a haunted attraction during the off season, something I’ve always wanted to do. Seeing the work that went into the construction of the haunts, the ways in which everything was hooked together, the secret passages that ran behind the public corridors, was all incredible. And rather than spoiling the illusion, it made me all the more eager to see the whole thing in action.

The paranormal investigators spent the evening recording, both audio and video, and they promised to deliver any findings they had here to Down Right Creepy, as well as to the folks at 3rd Street Asylum. So who knows, maybe we’ll find some evidence of some spectral party-crashers yet!