Connecting with a Life Lost Helps others find Closure.
Story by Cameron Kern
Photo By Magdalena Bleu Briggs
A two-story house with an American flag flying out on the porch stands proudly on a street corner in Lake Elsinore, California.
Many who catch a glance of the residency could agree on its ordinary features and regularities in structure. But, when the sun sets and the lights fade, what remains in the home could be viewed to some as supernatural or extraordinary.
Two women sat in the center of the living room, shrouded in a thick layer of complete darkness. A fluorescent light peered with a subtle hue from the corner of the next room. Broken purple and green dashed from its all glass, religious artistry displayed on the lamp cover.
They sat holding what is known in the ghost hunting community as a Spirit Box, which is used to communicate with apparitions through supposed radio frequencies.
It’s a line of connection between the living and the dead.
“Who is here,” one of the women said.
The reply was a symphony of mumbles and random guttural phrases, which is said to be emitted from the Spirit Box, kept in the vernacular of a lost soul confined in the brick lined walls of a house that has survived a lifetime.
A family surrounded the women and peered with intensity and concern. The two women sat equally invested, believing they stand as the only source of communication between a grieving family desperate for closure for the deaths of two loved ones who both died in the home.
Cathreena Garrett, alongside her partner Carrie Trimble, have been professionally communicating and excavating spirits as a team for the last two years. The GHOST Rescue CREW specializes in empath healings, clearing negative spirits and using the modern technology to capture evidence of paranormal activity.
“I’m a facilitator between worlds,” Garrett said. “Others (spirits) feel like they have something to say to a loved one, or they may be ashamed of what they’ve done in their life and they think they’re going to go to hell. So until then, many are going to stay here.”
According to CREW, their latest paranormal endeavor came from a local, Guy Swenson. His daughter Christian Swenson died in the home due to an overdose on drugs in 2012, and his mother Judy Swenson also died in the home in 2003.
Guy owns the home and rents it to tenants in the area. He said that he hasn’t had traumatic ghost-related experiences, but his tenants often complain to him that there’s something here.
“I once heard something. It sounded like someone was dragging a body or something in the kitchen. I got up, and there was nothing there,” Guy said.
Garrett and Trimble, who have been bus drivers for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District for decades, became compelled by the story of the haunted home. They now rent and live in the house, hoping to find the truth about possible spirits that reside with them.
After spending time in the home, they believe spirits remain ‘along with something evil.’
According to CREW, William Suff, known by many as the Lake Elsinore Killer, gained infamy from his slayings of young women. It’s estimated that he murdered more than 12 people.
The GHOST Rescue CREW believes that some of the remains of his victims could be on the land.
“The timeline really works out to where we think there might be something buried underneath this house,” Garrett said. “And we’ve had several psychics come and say the same thing. And I’m a psychic medium too, and I’m feeling the same thing. They just want closure. They want people to know this happened. At that point we’ll take care of it from there and help them cross over.”
To excavate the spirits, the pair uses various means of equipment, ranging from traditional tools, such as the Angel Board, as well as modern technology. They most commonly use Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and Spirit Boxes, which both are meant to capture the disembodied voices on microphones.
Guy sat with Garrett and Trimble in the stairwell in the hallway where they reportedly have had success in reaching out to the spirits that linger in the house.
“If someone is here, show us a sign,” Guy called out.
The invitation was followed by silence shrouded in the shadowy maze-like architecture of the house.
Then a loud bang erupted from a different room. The team cheered as they equated this to a new piece of evidence in their arsenal.
But, some may disagree with their findings.
Professor of Anthropology Brian Pierson has worked in a morgue studying dead bodies for decades.
“I’ve got skeletons of humans in the back room all around me all the time. I study them constantly, and I have been for years. Have I ever seen a ghost? I have not,” Pierson said. “I’m terrified to death because I don’t believe in an afterlife. If I saw a ghost, I could believe in an afterlife.”
Pierson said there are certain elements in psychology that debunk many of the leading ghost hunting technology used by the GHOST Rescue CREW and hunters around the world.
“It’s fundamentally nonsense noise,” Pierson said. “Humans love to put things into categories. The biggest one that we do is we like to find patterns in things. We will find patterns in clouds. Every time you look up at a cloud, you see something. The Grand Tetons are a name for three big boobs. That’s literally what they call it, because they look like breasts to somebody and it’s not.”
Garrett and Trimble welcome these sorts of criticisms and think that the things they do make it hard to deny there evidence. Their Facebook page has more than 1,000 followers, and their live streams of ghost hunts earn hundreds of views.
“We get so much evidence. I’m not just saying that because it’s us, but we get a lot of evidence where people are asking us, ‘Is this real? Are you guys editing it?’ And it’s why we go live on Facebook. So people can see it firsthand,’ Trimble said.
According to Garrett and Trimble, their overwhelming amount of evidence of the paranormal gained such credibility that they were given an official license from the Irvine Police Department to work on investigations and counseling.
“We work with a lot of children and we do a lot of healing. That’s another side of what we do and I love what we do. We’re helping children sleep at night, Trimble said.
Garrett and Trimble concluded the investigation at the Lake Elsinore home after many hours of what they said was communicating with the spirits.
Guy doesn’t know for sure if what the GHOST Rescue CREW did will stop any further paranormal activity, but he is at peace having the closure of saying goodbye to his mother and daughter for the last time.
“I felt them leave. It felt like a sense of relief. I feel like they are fine now and in a good place,” he said. “They let me know that when no one else could.”