UPDATED: Includes electronic voice phenomena (EVP) sound clip!
The Cellar hosted a paranormal investigation last night, just in time for Halloween, and it turns out the place really is haunted. Well, I'm convinced, anyway. The ghost hunt was led by Erik Vanlier and Jay Stone of Valley Investigators of the Paranormal--a newly formed paranormal group based in the San Fernando Valley.
I decided to do a little research before I sacrificed myself to the potential ghosts of the Cellar, and what I found on the investigators' website about a previous investigation there was slightly alarming:
One of our members got touched by a hand and arm that came out of a wall. This same spirit tried to pull the spirit box out of this investigator's hands.
A male presence was sensed in the female restroom.
But I still wasn't sold on the whole idea--until last night.
Read on for details about our possible paranormal encounter and why, if I ever need to go when I'm at the Cellar, I'll just hold it.
My disclaimer: I really, really like scary movies, so maybe I set myself up this--I wanted something creepy to happen last night.
The Cellar already has a dark, cave-like atmosphere and is located in the basement of the historic Villa Del Sol building. The entrance is well hidden and you have to walk down a long staircase to enter this fine-dining establishment.
The walls are made to look like an underground wine cellar--the concept was designed by the same people who created the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. The large, black booths and red-and-black chairs add to the dark vibe of the place, especially when the event begins at 11 p.m.
The group of nearly 20 people sipped on red wine and feasted on hors d'oeuvres served by the Cellar's manager, Sara St. Pierre, prior to the investigation. Erik and Jay began with a brief presentation that included telling us to imagine a white light surrounding our whole body and to pretend that we were wearing a hood with a zipper on the back of our head for protection. My first instinct was to look for the nearest exit . . . What had I signed up for?
It was time to split into two groups to investigate both sides of the restaurant separately before switching. My group was led by Erik and started with the dining area to the left of the kitchen. All lights were all turned off except for a few emergency exit signs that kept the group from running into everything. We gathered in the main dining area and waited. And waited. After recording the sounds of the space in hopes of capturing electronic voice phenomena (EVP), and a few failed attempts to taunt the spirits out of their hiding spots, I was getting discouraged that anything creepy would actually happen. A few people mentioned they felt a cold spirit sitting next to them, but I waited, unconvinced, until I could experience something firsthand. Finally, a sign. I was sitting in a chair with my arm resting on the table next to me when it felt like someone slapped the table causing it to shake underneath my arm. Hmmm, things were getting interesting.
We switched to the other side of The Cellar to continue the investigation and things picked up a bit more. It was now time to either prove or disprove the theory that there was a male spirit in the women's restroom. Erik entered the women's restroom with a male and female volunteer (keep in mind, the lights are off there too), and emerged after a few minutes later feeling that the presence was there and wanted to be alone with the female. Creepy.
My friend and I volunteered to be the guinea pigs for the men's restroom. We stood inside in the dark for a few minutes without anything happening. Suddenly we heard a whoosh, like someone took a deep breath and blew the air out in front of us. I felt the ice-cold air brush across my left cheek. We both screamed, cursed and got the hell out of the restroom. We were holding Erik's digital recorder at the time, so my shrieks of terror should be echoing across the Internet sometime real soon. It was in that moment that I became a believe that The Cellar is indeed haunted.
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UPDATED: Find the electronic voice phenomena (EVP) sound clip here:
lookedatthem.mp3. You can hear "looked at them" whispered as we left the men's restroom.
You have one chance left to experience paranormal activity at the Cellar before Halloween--the last investigation will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26. RSVP before space runs out.
The Cellar, 305 N. Harbor Blvd, Fullerton; (714) 525-5682; www.cellardining.com. 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. $29, includes wine and hors d'oeuvres.