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Paranormal activity haunts Ogden

By Tracy L. Chartier | sr. news reporter
October 31, 2003

Days are getting shorter, lurking with the nostalgic scent of burning leaves and the anticipated holiday for spooks, scares and haunted houses.

Halloween, one of the oldest holidays, is a
time when people get the itch to search out ghoulish creatures and scary ghosts. Haunted houses pop up everywhere claiming to deliver the best scare; and on occasion, these locations are not staged haunted houses. Sometimes the buildings, some say, are truly haunted houses.

According to Merry Barrentine, a paranormal expert with Utah Paranormal Exploration and Research people often ask the questions "Why do ghosts exist?" and "Why are houses haunted?"

"People think, well, they have unfinished business, or they are people who just got stuck between here and there," Barrentine said. "Well, I can only tell you what I think personally: When you die and your spirit goes elsewhere, where is elsewhere? Elsewhere could be right here. Why does it have to be someplace else? Maybe it is another dimension, another plane."

Barrentine said ghosts may stay in houses or particular areas because they died there."It may have meaning to them," Barrentine said. "They may be waiting for someone." Barrentine explained the possible, more logical reasons behind strange noises, cold spots and ghost sightings.

"An anomaly is something that you can't actually explain," Barrentine said. "If you were to see a ball of light coming at you, and there is no natural way to explain that ball of light given the circumstances, that would be an anomaly." These anomalies are created from or brought to people's attention by energy, according to
Barrentine."I think a lot of factors come into play," Barrentine said. "Do thunderstorms play a part in it? Yeah, I think so. They charge the air. The barometer drops. The air gets charged. That's energy that you can borrow. Why do more things happen in the wintertime? It gets cold. It stays cold. Everything builds up static electricity. Solar flares that bombard the earth and cause auroras also charge the atmosphere. We know these things from a scientific standpoint."

Barrentine said this paranormal energy is very high in the Ogden area. Many buildings are said to be haunted. Some places are known to the public; others are purposely kept quiet to prevent curious strangers from wandering about the premises and to avoid scaring
customers at local businesses. Among the known haunted areas are the Union Station, the old Godfather's Pizza location, Perry's Egyptian Theater, the Ben Lomond Hotel and Dead Haven.

The name "Dead Haven" not only sounds creepy, but also exists in a building with many chilling stories. Since the 1920s it has existed as a variety of businesses, and it is currently an up-and-running haunted house for the Halloween season. Barrentine said the building was once an old farm-implement store with apartments across the street. At the time it was built the area around the site was packed with crime, drugs, transients and death.

"It was a city within a city, an area where a lot of things happened," Barrentine said. "Ogden was a hub for crime."

This tragic history may have contributed to the negative energy and wandering souls in the area. Barrentine said the two apartments across the street burned down, and it was believed that one person died in each apartment. Transients traveling to and fro during the cold winter months may have camped under the dock to keep warm and perished. Barrentine said other accidental deaths and murders may have occurred in the building or on the grounds, and those spirits may still inhabit the area.

As one of the owners of Dead Haven, Warren Braegger has experienced many strange, unexplainable events in the building. "Last year, we tore some of the basement down," said Braeggen. "While we were working, I saw someone come and stand next to my friend, Jason. I saw the person's hand next to my friend's hand, and we were the only people here."

Braegger said on another occasion and the only person in the building when he was going through a box with some old records in it. He was halfway through the box and heard a growl in his ear. He backed up against the wall, startled by sudden and disturbing noise.

Karl Celli, Dead Haven security guard, told the story about his little girl seeing a ghost in the building.
"I brought my daughter into work with me, and one night she ran up to me saying, 'Tell him, Dad, I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!'" Celli said. "We walked over, and she said, 'There's the mean guy, Daddy!' and she was just pointing at the wall. I don't bring my daughter here anymore."  Celli said he has also heard children laughing at night during times when he knew no one else was in the building.

"Things hit the periphery of your mind," Barrentine said, "and people just think, 'Oh, it's just a cat.' Most of the time I think it's gone, and you don't even have the time to experience it. You may have had experiences you're not even aware of. Sometimes its just the things that go bump in the night -- just that,


The Union Station, in downtown Ogden, is one of the town's
many haunted hot spots