Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spirits of the Springs

Visit to Aquarena grounds leaves lasting impression for paranormal investigators
BY ANITA MILLER, San Marcos Daily Record, Texas
Published: October 15, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas -- If spirits wander anywhere, why not among the towering pecan trees, sentinel cypress and cool clear waters of Aquarena Center?

After all, archaeologists have determined that the site is among the longest continually inhabited places on the North American continent; and more than one Indian tribe includes the area in their creation myth.

So it was a logical choice for Austin ghost hunter Amanda Foster, who founded Austin Paranormal last year.

''The place has so much history," Foster says of the complex at the river's head, an amusement park turned educational center under the stewardship of Texas State University.

Foster and others from her group spent the better part of two nights on the property earlier this year and -- while some of what they were seeking escaped them -- they didn't come away empty-handed either.

And the electronic voice phenomena (EVP) they were able to record actually seemed to represent the Indian presence.

Inside a changing room for divers, Foster's group recorded "what sounded like distant tribal drumming" that was so unexpected they thought at first it was a bass line from a car's radio passing by outside the park.

''We had an investigator go outside the door," she recalled, but "there were no cars with loud stereos going by. One of our investigators asked 'Are you the ones performing the rituals' and got a 'yes ma'am' response. That was something interesting."

Foster said the group heard other voices and distant conversations as well as experiencing the feeling of being watched. "We felt a strange presence near us, that type of thing," she said.
In the old pecan grove where a number of archaeological excavations have been conducted, Foster said the group felt a "cold spot" often indicative of a spirit presence.

Adjacent to the grove is an area where there used to be a mock Western village during the heyday of Aquarena Springs.

"That particular part of the park has been fairly active for years," Foster said. "People have reported strange occurrences there for years," she added, which included former employees who "have seen apparitions, heard voices and seen shadow movements."

Though the group didn't see anything there, they did record a voice.

Another voice, Foster said, was recorded on the wetlands boardwalk which stretches out over part of Spring Lake. As the group walked, quietly, a voice said "get up," as if someone had been lying down just ahead of them.

Also near the boardwalk, a member of the group photographed some glowing orbs. "We don't feel an orb is a spirit, we feel they're just energy in the air," Foster said.

The group didn't register anything at the building that used to house the hotel, nor near the site of General Burleson's cabin; however, members did hear a "rustling in the bushes" that couldn't be confirmed as an animal near an old greenhouse.

Even though the old frontier village has been torn down, Foster said she believes the spirits that used to wander there are still around, but have moved into adjacent buildings now used as offices.

''Any spirits that may have inhabited those old buildings have moved into the newer buildings inside the old conference center," Foster said.

''Who is really haunting Aquarena we don't know," she continued, but, she assumes that "spirits from the past like dwellings just like they had in the physical body. It makes you think they're more comfortable inside a building, that they miss their homes."

Another experience Foster and her group had was while taking a glass-bottomed boat ride. She had heard there was a woman who performed as an Aquamaid in the old Submarine Theater who had died of a heart attack during a show. "Every time I mentioned something about the mermaid, a breeze would come up.

There was no breeze otherwise."

Aquarena Director Ron Coley hasn't heard that story; but he did have a spooky experience one night in the old frontier village.

''One night we had a special event and I was the last person to leave," Coley said. "It was close to 1 a.m. and as I was going through the Texana Village there was this thing that flew past. It scared the bejesus out of me but I had a flashlight and hunted it down. It was an owl."

Though Coley said he's "heard stories" of paranormal encounters on the property, he's never felt at all threatened. "I've always felt this is was a very warm and inviting place," he said.

Foster agreed. "We didn't feel anything malicious or negative."

To listen to some of the EVPs the group recorded visit www.austinparanormal.com. Read more: http://www.newsok.com/article/3409263?searched=ghosts#ixzz0V8vEmlXo

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