Life After Paranormals: Season 5, Episode 9
What happens when you find yourself in a living (or is it undead?) reenactment of the 1871 Warren Wagon Train Massacre?
We spoke with Cheri Goltl about the bizarre happenings of Paranormal Witness Season 5, Episode 9: "The Ranch."
Before all this started happening, had you ever had a supernatural or paranormal experience?
Yes, I grew up in a 'haunted' house so the paranormal was fairly normal. When the girls were very young, we had a number of things that happened in some of the various places that we moved to and from. No place was as active as Abilene, before or since.
Have you ever had a moment where you tried to think up non-paranormal explanations to what happened?
When something out of the ordinary happens, the first thing that runs through your mind is: Did that really just happen? You try to find logical explanations. You run through a list in your head of possibilities, but when you run out of logical options you have to consider the illogical. If enough things happen, you add the paranormal to that list.
We had a picture hanging in the kitchen and one day it just slowly slid down the wall. We sat there watching it and I was thinking, "How in the world …?" I remember getting up and examining the back of it to see what the hook looked like, checking the nail in the wall and running my hands down the wall. And then I just hung it back up.
When you found the jaw bone, how did you first realize it was human and what was your first impulse?
At first I thought it might be a raccoon, so my first impulse was 'Be careful, rabies!' But after Andie had washed it off and we looked at it more closely, the teeth were not animal. We could tell it was very old. I wasn’t sure what to do. We believed it was Native American. So we reburied it.
The night you saw someone from the shower, can you describe your experience?
At first I thought it was Todd, so I asked him to get me a towel. When he ignored me I yelled, thinking he couldn't hear me over the shower. He still ignored me. I could see him moving around by the sink. So I slid open the shower door and no one was there. I got out of the bathroom in a hurry.
When the house began coming alive and leading you through it, did you suspect it was connected to the experience with 'Mr Warren' and the experience with Gaye?
We did suspect that it had to do with Gaye. We were familiar with [paranormal investigators] Lorraine and Ed Warren so we thought that she was referring to them. It didn’t make any sense because at the time Ed Warren was still living. The fact that she had invited 'someone' in was something that chilled me to the bone. Exactly who had she invited? As more time passed, it became clear that someone had come in.
After Gaye passed, the experience with the cigarette smoke and the painting - how did you explain this to yourself?
Whenever we would smell or see the smoke, we would just say "Gramcracker is visiting." At first it was a comforting sign, but as more and more things happened, it began to feel less like her and more like an evil presence. I believe that whatever it was, it used things that we would interpret as from Gaye to gain a stronger foothold in the house.
The barn and the garage seemed to be an area with increased activity. Why do you think this is?
The house was on a raised foundation, so maybe that had something to do with it.
Can you describe the face you saw in the window?
Scary. It was scary. Long, dark hair. The face was also dark. It was narrow with high cheekbones and the mouth was wide open. It was gone in a flash. It was so fast it made me think I was breathing in too many paint fumes. The window was high enough that the person would've had to have been on a ladder or about nine feet tall. That was all the painting I could do for that night. I did make Todd go out and check to see if anyone was in the back yard. There was no one and no sign of ladders or anything that someone could have been standing on.
While at the library, you discovered that there was a real Mr. Warren and a connection to Native American history. What went through your head when you pieced it together?
It was actually kind of cathartic. Even though it was still paranormal, it was also logical. I think that even if something out of the ordinary happens, we still want answers. Why us? Why this house?
When you finally left the house, what did you feel?
I think we were all happy to be leaving. I know that as we were pulling out, Andie had one last thing happen. She turned to look at the house and saw someone watching from the window. By the time I turned to look, it was gone.
Has anyone ever expressed skepticism in the story? What do you tell them?
People either believe in the paranormal or they don't. Those who don't are always skeptical. There isn't much you can tell them. Sometimes even if they have had strange experiences they tell themselves all kinds of things to explain it.
Did you ever experience any kind of paranormal activity after all of this happened?
Yes, but not as frequently or as much. When the girls and I are together, more things seem to happen. One time the three of us were sitting at the table, different house, and the kitchen faucet turned on by itself. Andie just got up and got me a glass of water and we kept talking.
What kind of advice would you give someone in a similar situation?
Proceed very carefully. Get professional help if you can. There really are things that go bump in the night that can hurt us.