The Hoaxing of Poasttown

If ghost hunters believe they captured evidence of the paranormal at a location they now admit was not haunted, what does that say about the evidence they captured at any other location?  That’s a question myself and a lot of skeptics are asking now that Poasttown Elementary has been exposed as perpetrating a hoax on the ghost hunting public.

Darrell Whisman

This past Saturday, Aron Houdini released evidence he had of Darrell Whisman, the caretaker of Poasttown Elementary, and Jay Lynch of Hindsight Paranormal, tricking paranormal investigators.  He claims to have personally seen Mr. Whisman “purposely set a door so that it would slam shut,” both Whisman and Lynch, “create shadow figures with flashlights” and “use their cell phones to create noises” that investigators would mistake for EVPs.  He also claims to have witnessed each of them stand in rooms “using open air vents to send noises to other rooms,” flip light switches and breakers on and off, and use night vision cameras to watch people in the dark so they can avoid being caught.  And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Several other people who have witnessed similar things have also released statements.

But perhaps the most stunning allegation to many ghost hunters was the information that no adult or child has ever died on the property.  This must come as a shock to the many who have seen documentaries from a pair of twins who have helped perpetuate this apparent myth.

Ghost hunters who have visited Poasttown have reacted in a variety of ways.  I have spoken to some who are acknowledging the fact that they were fooled and have vowed to cancel plans for upcoming investigations there.  Another team I know of had planned to stage an event there in the spring of 2013.  They have since decided to change venues.  Others are simply furious that a location they supported for years has turned out to not only not be haunted, but to have flat out taken their money and then lied to their faces.

But not all the paranormal investigators are withdrawing their support.  On the Poasttown Elementary Facebook group, I saw some who say they are confident in the evidence they found at the location, despite the recent allegations of fraud and trickery, and plan to continue investigating there.  Another stated that they will not allow one man (Aron Houdini, presumably) to act as judge and jury.

In a recent article I posted before Poasttown was exposed, I stated that the ghost hunters who have helped build the reputation of this location, largely through misguided, unscientific methods and a lack of skepticism, were just as much responsible for the hoax as were the caretakers.  If not for their lack of skepticism, this fraud would have been sniffed out long ago, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have paid to investigate there could have saved their money.

But I now go back to the question I asked to open this article.  If the ghost hunters who captured evidence or had paranormal experiences there (EVPs, EMF hits, creepy feelings, etc) are now admitting the location is a fraud and not haunted, what does that say about all the EVPs, EMF hits and creepy feelings they’ve gotten at any other location they’ve visited?  It’s a question they have to ask themselves, but I fear many will not.

The fact is that amateur ghost hunting teams copy their methods from television and have fooled themselves into believing they are acting scientifically.  They clearly do not know how to use their equipment, and seem to have very little idea about the natural means that explain EMF spikes and EVPs and, yes, even the creepy feelings.  Ghost hunters work backwards from a conclusion, going in believing there are ghosts present, then go about labeling any natural phenomena they can’t explain as proof of ghosts.  It is not scientific, it is not logical, and it is unfortunately all too common.

Aron Houdini

So what will become of Poasttown?  My guess is they will experience a fair amount of backlash for a short period, then things will pretty much go back to normal.  Many teams that have been there before will return, believing their old evidence to be legit.  And new groups will file in and out, finding what they wrongly believe to be evidence of ghosts as well.  The cycle will continue, if not at Poasttown, then at another location up the road.

Besides, does the fact that the people they trusted were fooling them all along really bother amateur paranormal investigators all that much?  The anger doesn’t seem to last long.  After all, TAPS was caught faking evidence on live television, and their ratings are as high as ever.

Thanks for reading.

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30 thoughts on “The Hoaxing of Poasttown

  1. Good article, Jason. Additionally, many believe in manifestation so theoretically, you can have a haunting anywhere… that YOU make up.

  2. i do believe there are spirits everywhere.because i see them.. and why cant there be? and even if i believe that and continue to do investigations// it still is amazeing to me as the day i first saw one theat they are here . i still am trying to prove on camera and video what i see.. its not that easy… never been to poasttown.. would like to go.. mainly i just am interested in private residences.. dont know if anything was faked or not.,. couldnt tell you that. but ive been doing this since i was a child and i dont work in a group anymore cause i cant believe the crap between some of the teammates. alot of good people out there.. and alot of idiots.. i do know one thing.. if your going to try to expose someone for being a fraud.. you better be ready with the evidence…. now ive klnown in the past of some people trying to fake a few things right in the bldg i do tours for.. i sat in the auditorium without them seeing me and watched them do this.. sad thing was it was one person doing it to the rest of his teammates.. i waited to see if he would fess up to it.. he never did.. i didnt say a thing.. thats on them.. it wasnt paranormal.. so it was actually only thier opinions.. nothing could be proven on tape… but i also believe that just because someone faked activity in a bldg..doesnt mean you could never catch activity there.. all ive heard for 2 days is how noone wants to pay to see a bldg thats not haunted… well what makes it that? i say there are spirits in everyplace. why do they all have to be haunted.. and who makes that call?.. i dont know… just my opinion..

    • Patricia, I’m a little confused by your comment. I’m not sure exactly what your overall point is. Can you help clarify things? Also, maybe you can explain why you’re having trouble capturing on film the spirits you see everywhere. If anything, it seems you would have the advantage. Please help me understand.

  3. Ghost Hunting is nothing more than pretend play “investigating” carried out by people who either have the inability to grasp the concept of critical thinking or simply ignore it. This is the kind of pseudoscience that keeps us in the stone age.

    I’ve often asked the people who walk around in the dark chasing dust why they do what they do. Many claim to be in search of the “truth”. What exactly is the “truth”? The truth for me is clearly not the same truth these people seek especially when I watch them walk around with uncalibrated gadgets spouting unfounded theories and simply “making things up” as they go along. These people have no concern for establishing protocols because if they did, they’d actually realise their “field” which is nothing more than a hobby, is complete nonsense.

    Another problem with these groups is their lack of skepticism. If someone mentions the popular “cold spot” theory do you immediately pick up an IR thermometer and begin experimenting and testing the theory? Or, do you question the theory, ask who is qualified to theorise about “spirits needing energy and using energy around them to manifest and therefor leaving a cold spot”? Seriously, every time someone mentions a theory they come to a complete stop when I ask where the theory originated, what foundation of factual evidence is it built on, does the evidence follow the protocols that qualify it as such, why they bother utilising equipment to measure a theory that has absolutely no foundation in fact, why they don’t calibrate their equipment and how exactly do you calibrate equipment to “find ghosts”. The usual response is “we’re just testing the theory”. Mmmmhmmm.

    People who chase ghosts already believe in ghosts. Thats a problem. Their “research” is nothing more than Google searches to reinforce belief and bias, their “investigations” are nothing more than outings, their “field” is nothing more than a hobby, their equipment is absolutely useless and their inability to accept the “truth” is alarming.

    I know all this because I used to associate myself with these people. It wasn’t long before I saw the cracks in the walls and when I asked a few questions, those cracks became gaping holes. I can remember going into the scene in the early 90’s having read about the theories and methodology of these groups. I found red flags around every corner. Not a single person to this day can answer a question without being defensive of simply stating a safety net excuse of “it’s just a theory.”

    It’s complete and utter bunk. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • “Many claim to be in search of the “truth”. What exactly is the “truth”? ”

      Any group that claims to be seeking the “truth” should be avoided as “truth” is subjective. You stated so with “The truth for me is clearly not the same truth these people seek”. Cold, hard logical FACTS are what any investigator should strive for.

      • Chris, when I read Jose’s comment, the gist I got was, “these ghost hunters are saying they are after the truth, but no one wants to accept the facts.” But Jose can correct either of us if he feels we misinterpreted him.

      • Chris, the “investigators” are neither qualified nor trained in investigative techniques so cold hards facts should be set aside until they get an education first. I’d safely assume, after a little training they’ll realise their endeavour for cold hard facts is a waste of time.

        If these people were indeed in search of the truth, they’d start from the very beginning; the theories. The theories the live, swear by and parrot without question. The very same theories these groups lack the credentials to theorise about.

        Ghost hunting is nothing more than pretend play science for grown ups.

  4. I have seen things I cannot explain (and be really hard pressed to)- and in one case- I did all the research I could (going to the actual area, etc where I saw what I did), and I am still as mystified as before I ever thought “paranormal” was a real thing. However- it is a rare phenomena. People running around in the dark with blinkie gadgets brings up thoughts of Egon and his PKE meter. I know that watching those ghost hunter shows can be a waste of time- but consider this: They ALL have the *same* results. Some evps, a couple ‘unexplained’ photos, and when ratings need a push, somene gets ‘attacked’ wholesale. I have not ever seen on the shows what I have seen in real life. Not even close. *I* havent seen but maybe a few solid, real non debunkable things (of course, I had no camera to even record photos with). I do not understand these people who see ghosts under every bed and in every closet. Do they need the emotional buzz? The ones who practially are screaming like girls who meet Beiber about their getting goosebumps- Really? Goosebumps are a scientific method of measuring crap? I can do better with chicken guts and a quartz crystal!

    My take: there’s paranormal things out there- but do not expect tv to bring them to you. Go find ’em yourself. Make it YOUR experience, not feed vicariously off of some overpaid lunatic.

    • Brian, what did you experience? And why are you sure it can’t be explained by anyone?

      Totally agree with your assessment of the paranormal television shows. It’s all nonsense.

  5. i myself went on a ghost hunt in my uncles workplace and i taunted and raved at what ever could be there and nothing happen to me how ever shockingly my uncle got scratched after that i already let that idea fill my head that there might be more then crazy ideas so i went in alone and looked around and this time i didn’t say anything i wanted to make what ever there feel like that had total control and something flew throw my head and into a oil drum i and others ran over checked the room nothing was there but the smash was like a hammer or something around that weight flew threw me and into the other room to this day it rattles me because i never believed in this and now i wanna know and see more might even kill me one day but if i unravel something never ever thought of before at lest it will get us all closer to find more truth and understanding and what really happens to us after death do we become a bump in the night or does something take are souls and make us into hunting raving spirits… please keep this noted in all ideas the people that believe hard into this stuff becomes the connection to this realm. anyone ever thought that we open a door into are minds are brains to yet them make use see what they want use to see. do they take control of are minds throw electric waves and plant them self in the back of head. in that idea who said that they art walking around or watching are every move maybe the end of the world will be form them maybe not maybe it will never happen. but would turn the tables wouldn’t it. i

  6. I’m all for exposing a fraud, and outting someone who is deceiving people (especially) for financial gain…but I guess I have one small issue with this – the evidence, or more precisely…the lack of any. Just from what I read in this article, I see the entire “case” resting on anecdotes (mostly from one guy). Where are the pictures or video of these caretakers in the act of faking events? It sounded to me like this was witnessed multiple times during “investigations”….did no one have a camera? (Odd for people attending a ghost hunt to NOT have cameras on hand). I bring this up, only because I never just take someone’s word for it when they’re telling me they witnessed a ghost or strange event. Why should we readily accept this eyewitness testimony …when we discount others?

    (And no, I am NOT defending this site as being “haunted”)

  7. Fair points, Kenny. This article isn’t making the case that Darrell Whisman, et al are guilty or that specific events at Poasttown over the years were or were not hoaxed. It’s more about examining the reaction of ghost hunters who believe that they are. Still, your questions are valid and I’ll give my opinion.

    I agree that it would be nice if there was video footage of people faking events. I don’t quite know how feasible it would be, but absolutely that would be great. However, this case is hardly predicated on the anecdotes of just one guy. Several statements have been released from people who witnessed the same type of thing, seemingly on different investigations. Former people who have investigated there are now saying basically, “yes, it all adds up. I agree we were duped. We are withdrawing our support from poasttown.”

    To me, it comes down to “extraordinary claims.” I never discount, as you say, eyewitness testimony of people who claim to have seen ghosts, just as I wouldn’t discount eyewitness testimony in a court of law during a trial. If I just discounted it, I’d be cynical, not skeptical. So I do think it is important either way and worthy of investigation. But eyewitness accounts can’t prove an extraordinary claim by itself. Claims of faking paranormal activity, however, is not extraordinary. There’s quite a long history of it, as you well know. So, for me, I feel like eyewitness accounts and the circumstantial evidence that have been accumulated in this case are enough right now for me to be comfortable with believing that events at Poasttown have been faked in the past.

    So, that’s my opinion. I was likely not going to be visiting Poasttown anyway, but I look forward to any new information that comes out about this particular case so I can sway my opinion if necessary.

  8. We have been making fun of this place and all the paraconners involved with it for over a year now. Our stance has been the same since we originally debunked it. http://www.arcohio.com take a look at our posttown page. Lol, we have no problems pointing fingers at garbage like “HoaxTown”.

      • Ok then, lets hear your review? We dont throw stones, just being honest. Poasttown has zero “evidence” that can hold up to any scrutiny. The place has been scrutinized by a few paranormal fraud investigators and investigative teams. If you think you can scrutinize our evidence, then lets hear it??? I love debating against biased ignorance! 🙂

      • Seems my response has been removed. Again, you shouldn’t throw stones. Non-human presence and goat spirits? Really?

    • Where to begin…

      1. http://www.arcohio.com/lick_road.html – apparently you’ve photographed “obvious structures in energy”? Well, what protocols did you follow to qualify that statement? Looks like someone breathing in front of a camera but you state it’s “energy.” What kind of energy. Energy is a unit of measure so simply stating “energy” is incorrect. You’ve simply stated it’s not smoke and instead identify it as “obvious structures in energy”. Things it could be are dust, breathing smoke etc etc. Yet, you’ve clearly come to a conclusion in your “evidence” page. Not exactly evidence now is it? Tell us about this “animal spirit.” You state “Next is the sequence of shots in which we call “The Goat Sequence”. This is an animal spirit caught in a sequence of shots that is impossible to even replicate! We have a clear image of an animal spirit that was caught amidst “energy moving” that is invisible to the human eye.” Explain such a fantastic allegation in your evidence page.

      2. http://www.arcohio.com/sedamsville_rectory_investigation.html – You say you smell smoke but there was no fire? How fascinating! I have no idea how this is evidence of anything other than you smelling smoke. Someone whispers in your right ear. How exactly does someone “whisper into your ear” when they aren’t actually there? If you’re hearing voices then it’s time to seek medical advice. Explain why exactly you choose to shoot in an ultraviolet environment?

      3. http://www.arcohio.com/bobby_mackeys_investigation.html = You “theory” for using a dog whistle for the purpose of “electronic harrassment (SP). get them active, and get them moving and finally to create a decoy for electrostatic overload.” So what credentials do you possess to “theorise” about such a method? What exactly are you harassing? The neighbour’s dog? Get what moving? There’s no such thing as a “decoy for electrostatic overload.” I think you need to understand ESL before you claim to use it. Do you realise that we all cary static and enough of a discharge to damage electronic components? Please explain how your dog whistle contraption creates ESL that relates to damaging electronic components. Please explain the methodology behind the use of such a tool.

      You claim to feel “powerful forces” in that location. Really? Powerful? The it “leaves” the room? Remarkable. Explain. Explain the use of Paraspectrum Cameras. You seem to use it a lot. You take a shot into a mirror and claim to have an anomalie. You state it should be visible in the mirror yet fail to notice the angle in which the camera is facing in which case, a reflection would be out of shot. The you state “PARTIALLY MATERIALIZED BEING OF NON-HUMAN ORIGIN.” Seriously? That’s a fair leap from reality. So you send the photo to “skeptics” and didn’t like their response? Why? Did they have trouble with the PARTIALLY MATERIALIZED BEING OF NON-HUMAN ORIGIN theory? I wonder why.

      Then this “The crazy thing is, after we left Mackey’s that night. Without knowing if we caught anything good or not, we knew there was something powerful there. Something non-human we believe because of the power it gave off when we were alone in the “wall of faces” room. Human entities aka “ghosts” just dont put off energy like this, we know better.” So…something non-human. You mean like a bug? Squirrel? Hedgehog? Wait…you don’t mean…*gasp*…a demon? Seriously, that’s in your evidence page.

      Then in “The basement shot down again” we see a few photos of what could clearly be reflections. You can clearly see someone holding a camera and an LED active on that camera. Yet, you failed to notice and now it’s on your evidence page.

      4. http://www.arcohio.com/poasttown_investigation.html – The BS meter. Because clearly stating non human presence and clearly stating reflections as evidence didn’t trigger your BS meter right? I find it hypocritical that you can make an allegation of non human presence and powerful forces and then claim another group trigger your BS meter. If you ask me, you’re both guilty of speculating and pretend play.

      So please, explain this fascination with infrared and UV? I’m dying to hear it.

      I need to take a nap. You page is pseudoscience-a-plenty.

      • Yes, I am serious! Sorry for the delayed response since I have not been on my pc all week. Ok Jose, you have to understand that the entire paranormal field is nothing more than speculation and theory. There is nothing else to it than that alone. There are no professionals and there are no experts in the paranormal field. Nothing but theory and speculation. The only proof positive in the paranormal field comes from “personal experiences”. Since personal experiences cannot be studied or evaluated by groups of people or by “group think” therefore there is nothing “scientific” about the paranormal field of study at all! No group anywhere in the world is doing anything “scientific” at all, nor should that be claimed by any paranormal researcher. Now, to me there are two types of skeptics. There are skeptics like myself, then there are biased skeptics like yourself. A biased skeptic firmly believes that there is nothing paranormal/spiritual at all. And that no such “evidence” exists anywhere. Now understand, I like biased skeptics. Biased skeptics are usually the guys doing the “paranormal fraud research”. And, I would personally site with a biased skeptic before a biased believer anyday. An example of a biased believer is like someone who takes images of dust particles and claims they are “spirits”. There are actually so-called “psychics” that make these claims! I understand that you may also associate this as similiar with my claims. But, it is nowhere close. I am not a biased skeptic nor a biased believer, but I would side more with the biased skeptic most of the time. I see the study of the paranormal field as the study of the spiritual realm. With that being said, I can honestly say that the entire field of paranormal study IS A JOKE! See, we can actually agree on something there! I have always seen K2 meters, voice ovulus’s, and spirit boxes to be nothing more than entertainment in this field of study. And that is all they are, just here to break up the boredome of “ghosthunting”. Those devices mean nothing, and they DO NOT validate any haunted claim! Understand paranormal research is in it’s infancy. As a biased skeptic YOU CANNOT debate my speculation and theory with the fact that it is not “scientific”. This is already known, there is nothing scientific about or being used anywhere in this field of study. You would have to debate with your own speculation and theory. But, since you dont acknowledge any of this “stuff” therefore you have nothing to speculate or theorize on. Right? Hopefully nothing will ever been done “scientifically” in the study of “spiritual realm”. Just look what damage groupthink science has done to biology and ecology alone! Really think science needs understanding of spiritual matters? This division is for a reason. Look, paranormal research is simply just speculation and theory. Not a pseudoscience. Want a real pseudoscience to tear apart? It’s called “Religion”. As far as the non-human stuff goes, “I have always said that if a chair moves on it’s own with no visible force in a room with you alone, does that make it a ghost”? The answer is NO. What makes you think that invisible force is from a human spirit? The very definition of “ghost”. But, it is the norm in this field and everything strange is a “ghost”. Just my speculation and theory. Just remember, bias is ignorance! And bias marches on….

  9. The hoaxing scenario is pathetic for those of us that take the field seriously. What is more pathetic however are the stereotypes about paranormal investigation in general by people that clearly have no clue what they are talking about. There are many of us out here that go in skeptical. We expect to find nothing, and most often that is what happens. Very occasionally however, we have witnessed and heard things that would take ones little myopic skeptical view and turn it upside down however. THAT is what we’re looking for, that is what cannot be explained. I’ve seen a ‘person’ as solid as you or I disappear right into a wall. I’ve watched doors slam on command. I’ve heard voices come out of thin air in direct response to a question, the list goes on. This stuff is real folks — whatever ‘it’ is, I do not know. Time slips? Alternate dimensions? Our own mind power? Dead people? Maybe all of that and then some. One thing I’ve learned though, is that some people can’t handle it. It rocks the psyche too much for many, as its easier to live life with a compartmentalized viewpoint. Thus a blind skeptic is born, etc. Just remember, there are ‘scientific beliefs’ that were held just 100 years ago that we laugh at today. They’ll be laughing in 100 years too. If you look at history, it is most often those that were laughed at or shunned initially that ended up being pioneers. There are many worthless teams of investigators out there to be sure, but we aren’t all naive and crazy. Don’t let yourself stereotype, it is a fool’s practice.

    • E, this is not a field. It’s a hobby. An area of interest. It does not follow the protocols that qualify it as such and it is in no way associated with any genuine study in science.

      If you’ve watched doors “slam on demand”, “seen a ‘person’ as solid as you or I disappear right into a wall”, “I’ve heard voices come out of thin air in direct response to a question” then forgive me if I start to doubt your skepticism.

      I struggle with your “blind skeptic” and I really struggle with your misunderstanding of what a skeptic and science actually is. A scientific “belief” isn’t laughed at 100 years down the line. If it is indeed scientific, it will follow protocols and a hypothesis will be tested. That hypothesis may be proven incorrect. That’s the beauty of science. It’s not something that is laughed at. Scientists welcome scrutiny and peer review to test their hypothesis and conclusions. People in this pretend play paranormal scene don’t.

      The paranormal isn’t a science. It’s pseudoscience.And those who partake in this pretend play hobby who use skepticism as a front are most suspect.

  10. I had never heard of this hoax, but interesting. Not sure why Jason thinks that ghosts would only haunt a place where someone had died? If I come back as a ghost I plan on haunting my workplace and a few other choice locations.

    This is one of the problems with this ghost hunting hobby (I agree with Jose). Until there is proof of life after death, then it is just pretend science in the dark. There have been (and still continue) studies into life after death, and guess what, nothing has been found. Read “Spook” by Mary Roach. Real scientific research is being done, but when someone uses the word “ghost” as a possibility of whatever they saw/felt then they have failed at that moment. You cannot claim it was a ghost until you have some kind of proof that ghosts exist. If they do, then there should be some kind of measurable structure to them, are they made of air/gas/solid/vapor what? Words need to be defined, “energy” is just a word thrown about by these investigators to mean whatever they want it to mean.

    When people talk about being scratched by a ghost, how do you know they weren’t scratched by a demon, leprechaun or witch? Or more likely scratched because they leaned against something poky? Or even possibly did it themselves (the ends justify the means)?

    All of this talk is just unicorn wings. I think Asimov invented that phrase. The idea is that people argue if unicorns have wings or not, but the question should be “what proof do we have that unicorns exist at all?” (North Korea BTW thinks they have evidence of unicorns)

    Is it possible for there to be life after death? If we use Occam razor then the discussion is over.

    Also if these paranormal researchers want to be taken seriously, they need to work on their presentation. I’m not one to throw stones at bad grammar and spelling, but if what you are writing is nearly unreadable to the average person, then you need to sit down and re-think your priorities. Maybe instead of “haunting” schools with flashlights and recorders, you might reconsider and start haunting night school and get your education in order.

    Sorry if I’m derailing this thread, but seriously people.

    • Susan, I don’t think ghosts would only haunt a location where they died. Read that paragraph again and you’ll see I was referring to ghost hunters being surprised, not myself. I’m with you. If I could be a ghost, the last place I’d hang out would be the place I kicked the bucket.

      • Ahhh my bad. Still don’t understand why they have this privileged information? How do ghost hunters know where a “ghost” would haunt? They have a lot of explaining to do, looks like they just assume a lot.

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