HELPER, Utah — When Gary DeVincent first came to town, Main Street looked very different. Most of the buildings were empty and in need of restoration, and barely a soul could be found at night.
“I believe most of these projects, anyone else would have just torn them down,” said DeVincent, who has helped bring the street back to life with restoration projects that have attracted art galleries, antique shops and tourists. “It’s all about preservation.”
Still, in the quietest hours, as he walked alone in those ancient days, there was something remarkable and clear.
“Five or six years ago, obviously in every building, you could hear something coming out,” admitted DeVincent, who usually considers himself a skeptic when it comes to the unknown. “The whole town seemed to have this feeling—a kind of closeness.”
DeVincent said he’s never had an experience he could describe as paranormal, but his employees in recent years have told a different story.
“These guys are concerned,” DeVincent said.
Many restoration projects have left workers with experiences and emotions, but nowhere were they more different than the old Kiva Club, once a speakeasy, gambling den, and brothel with a checkered history dating back to the Prohibition era.
Locals told DeVincent that the club had mafia connections in the afternoon and that the club was the last place other people were seen.
“The story is that there were more cremations in this than in the city cemetery,” DeVincent said as he stood next to the old crematorium.
It shook as KSL-TV reporter Andrew Adams and photojournalist Jay Hancock toured the dark, cavernous area.
“Nobody ever wanted to work here alone,” DeVincent admitted.
Mark Montoya, who helps manage DeVincent’s Assistant properties, said it was a lot more than a dark feeling for him down there.
While others have reported incidents such as catching the wrong light in photographs, hearing voices when no one is around, and hearing rocks being kicked across the floor, Montoya’s experience was more personal in the basement of the Kiva Club.
“I felt something grab my arm,” Montoya said.
At that time, he said the woman who was with him screamed because she saw a shadowy figure behind her.
“Something doesn’t want you down there,” he said.
He speculated that perhaps working in those buildings long ago may have awakened the spirits that are shared with the buildings.
“When you start fixing buildings, you disturb the memories and the spirits and the vibe that is there,” Montoya said. “You kind of, in a way, have reinvented them and made them work again and I think that’s what’s caused the power to change a little bit—maybe some of the people who worked there before or used to work. Their favorite ‘destination’ has now become their real destination. They keep walking around and looking around, so to speak. “
With many experiences that have not been reported, DeVincent agreed to allow KSL TV and the Western Association of Paranormal Sciences to investigate the Kiva Club and another property on DeVincent’s recovery list – the Newhouse Hotel.
DeVincent said he was not aware of any experience of the article in the Newhouse building, so it had the potential to serve as a basis for anything revealed at the Kiva Club.
At least, that was the plan.
Kiva Club Research
On the night of Oct. 11, the WASP group, led by the founders of Chris Harmon and Chris Black, presented several tools designed to discover unquestionable evidence.
They brought along a team member and medium, Stephanie, who quickly picked up the building’s history without any prior research into it.
“I always see gambling, and I always see playing cards,” he said as he toured the main floor.
It was only a few minutes into the first research session in the basement before Black reported feeling like he had been punched in the chest. Around the same time, Montoya said he suddenly felt nauseous, and DeVincent said his wife, Malarie, was so affected that he thought it best to leave that night.
John Marchette, also a member of the WASP group, used several microphones in the building, and as a result, the group recorded many electronic voice elements or EVPs.
Among them were an unexplained whistling from upstairs, unexplained male voices saying “help us” and “help us,” and an unexplained whisper of the word, “child” when no one was standing near the hearth in the enclosure.
When the crew was conducting a taping session around the stairs, Harmon tried to lure in any potential ghosts by showing and explaining that he had a Barber quarterback from 1894.
An unidentified voice picked up by a voice recorder was later found to reply, “gift?”
This year, the team is also equipped with a structured light camera (SLS) built by Amitaf Paranormal Tech, a member of WASP.
The device, the researchers say, generates a grid of invisible infrared radiation to map the object in front of it. People mapped with this tool appear on the computer monitor as stick figures as they appear in the field of view.
During a research session on the bottom stairs—known to be one of the hot spots for work at the Kiva Club—Harmon sat down. He tried to communicate with any spirits or people in the building. The SLS camera suddenly detected a stick on Harmon’s shoulder that appeared to be moving in the direction one of the investigators described as kicking Harmon in the head. Harmon noted that he felt pain in his neck at the time.
After an unknown image appeared on the device for several seconds, it disappeared. The SLS camera did not pick up anything else of note for the rest of the evening.
Harmon later admitted that it was an amazing testimony, but perhaps not the most compelling of the night.
Newhouse Hotel Research
KSL and the WASP gang move into the old Newhouse Hotel to see what can be noted there.
Expectations weren’t high because there wasn’t much of a familiar history within the building.
That caused what happened to shock all who were there.
At the top of the building under renovation, the researchers deployed a sensor-activated music box, a device that sounds an alarm and rapid temperature changes, and a smartphone-based communication device that can see and project voices that are said to be spoken anonymously. entities.
After a few minutes of silence, the investigators heard three mysterious knocks coming from the back of the building. They also noticed an unexplained pulley noise nearby. During that time – and despite nothing passing in front of it – the music box started playing.
At first, it played out briefly as clever and obvious answers to questions.
“Are you happy to have people to talk to?” Harmon asked the room.
The music box started briefly.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said.
Black asked if there was one spirit in the room if he could pass in front of the instrument, and the music box played again briefly.
“Can you walk in front of it if there are many?” Black asked, referring to several spirits or entities.
Suddenly, the music box played again—this time continuously for 40 seconds.
“Can you move away from the weapon?” Black asked.
The music played for a few seconds and then stopped.
Black said, “thank you,” and the music box played again very briefly, apparently in appreciation.
Shortly after the music box went quiet, the temperature monitor suddenly began to repeatedly warn of changes.
After some responses on a phone-based communication device deemed unfriendly to anything in the room—including what sounded like a growl—the researchers decided it was time to leave.
Helper and Beyond
DeVincent was intrigued when he read about the extraordinary evidence recorded in both places.
He said he always approaches his restoration projects with great appreciation and respect for the properties’ histories and the people who came before him.
“I’ve always felt like I know why I’m here, I know what I’m doing, I’m trying to do the right thing,” DeVincent said.
He seemed unencumbered by any work or experience in old buildings.
“I try to stay focused on the positives, not let anything get in my way,” DeVincent said. “If dishes start flying around the room and stuff, yeah, well, I’m sure I’ll be singing a different song.”