Paranormal experts say the Old Hardy Hotel Antique Mall isn't haunted by one ghost -- it's haunted by many.
Investigator Alan Silva, founder of Arkansas Paranormal Investigations, traveled back to Hardy Sept. 8 to reveal his findings of the Aug. 25 investigation inside the old hotel.
"We're not out to call everything haunted, but with the evidence we collected we're pretty sure this building is," he said. "We allow the evidence we capture to speak for itself. I really think that with the proof we got there, that there is some paranormal activity going on."
During the seven-hour investigation, team members from API and Paranormal Studies of Arkansas set up the building with video cameras and sound recording devices. Team members also took 694 photos.
"We got a lot more than we expected to get," Silva said."
Some of it's still being analyzed."
The most sensitive members of the team sensed four to five spirits in the building. They were all playful and nonthreatening, Silva said. The strongest impression was from a young woman in her 20s.
"We even got the impression that some were happy to be there," he said.
Although some strange occurrences took place while the team was conducting the investigation at the building, nothing prepared them for what they would find while reviewing their equipment.
While reviewing the sound recordings, investigators heard something they didn't hear while they were actually conducting the investigation. They heard a woman call "Amy," one of the investigators names, Silva said.
The team also took photographs in which unexplained shadows appeared. Also a reddish haze was photographed in another room of the building, but the highlight of the investigation was found in video footage. An image of a human like figure appeared in the upstairs hallway of the building, Silva said.
"We're still not able to explain what that image is," he said. "It's definitely not normal, so it's paranormal. It has all the makings of being some type of apparition. It has all the makings of it, but we can't clean it up enough to say for sure that it is a ghost."
The building is owned by Steve and Marcia Weaver who contacted API after experiencing strange activity in the old building they have owned since April 2005.
The couple has often left lights on at night and when they return in the morning some of the lights have been turned off while others are turned on,?Marcia said. Also, the open and closed sign has been changed. They often hear footsteps upstairs after they close for the evening.
The Weavers thought they knew the reason for the strange occurrences -- the hotel was haunted.
Before they purchased the building, the couple learned it had been a hotel, a boarding house, a bordello and the site of a murder.
The Weavers heard stories that a soldier arrived in Hardy by bus and stayed overnight at the hotel in the early 1940s. During his brief stay, the soldier went to a nearby bar and got into an argument with some of the patrons. After he had returned to the hotel for the night, two men came into his room. The two men then beat him to death, Marcia said.
During the API investigation, the sound equipment picked up on heavy breathing while one investigator tried to speak to the spirits in the soldiers' room. Despite the heavy breathing, Silva said the team thinks the soldier's spirit has moved on.
Although the Weavers found out their unusual happenings weren't caused by the soldier's ghost, they say they couldn't be more pleased with the results of the investigation.
"It's unbelievable," Marcia said. "They said there are at least five spirits here. I still can't believe it."
Marcia said she and the investigators think the female spirits are likely those of young women who worked in the building when it served as a bordello. Spirits aren't always detected where a person was born or died, Marcia said. Spirits may attach themselves to places and things they loved in their lives, she said.
For almost two weeks after the investigation, something new happened at the hotel. A chandelier left on 24 hours a day began turning off sometime between when the store closed in the evenings and opened the next morning. That has since stopped.
"We think they were just letting us know they were there and that things are cool," Marcia said.
Marcia said she doesn't feel threatened or scared because of what may or may not be in her building. Instead, she is proud of the outcome.
"It's just too weird," she said. "The investigation gave it (all of the claims) some legitimacy. I'm glad of that."
Since word spread about the investigation, Marcia said more locals have stopped by her shop -- not necessarily to shop but to look around the old hotel.
Another visitor found more than just antiques and collectibles inside the building. One woman turned "white as a ghost" as she crossed the threshold into the building, Marcia said. After entering the store and getting her bearing, she said, 'I can't believe how many spirits are in here,' Marcia said.
The woman then entered a back room on the ground floor of the building and said spirits were playing cards inside and one of the players was going to get hurt, Marcia said. It just so happens, one of the reasons for the murder of the soldier is thought to be a card game; however, the game was thought to have taken place across the street at an old saloon.
Natives of Hardy have since told the Weavers that the windowless room was often the site for illegal card games, Marcia said. Because no one could see inside the room and it was accessible by a back door, it made for the perfect spot.
Silva said he is pleased with the outcome of the investigation. In fact the team wants to come back to the building in February or March for a follow up investigation.
"It was a very interesting investigation and we thoroughly enjoyed it," he said."This investigation yielded a lot more anomalies than most of the investigations that we've been on."
To see more information about the investigation visit the API Web site at www.paranormalbeliever.com. A video and additional photos are available at this site.