By Trent Rosser
This article originally appeared in the Amarillo Pioneer on October 27, 2017
“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!”
That was a hit lyric to the song Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. It was also the theme song from the movie by the same name. Back when I was going to school, this was a big hit. 4 guys start a ghost hunting and ghost catching business in New York City. As the years passed more and more people actually became interested in ghosts and the afterlife. Many became authentic ghost hunters. There have been many reality t.v. shows documenting ghost hunts. One of them, called “Ghost Hunters” documented everything and they actually went back and tried to prove that a noise or a “Shadow” was something else. I thought to myself, who in the world would walk around in a dark building where someone has died or there have been strange things reported and ask a spirit questions. Who would be crazy enough to walk around a deserted building at 2 am with nothing but a camera? Me, that’s who, and Tonya Trimble.
I've been trying to keep up with the whole Halloween theme and I was needing a good ghost story. I wanted one that had a back story that actually happened in this area. So I reached out to Tonya Trimble, she runs “ Palo Duro Paranormal”. When we finally met I explained what I was wanting and she delivered! Oh boy did she deliver. My wife went with me and by the time we left, the hairs on all of our arms were standing on end!
With many investigations under her belt, I asked what kind of people would do these things. She informed me that her fellow investigators come from all walks of life. From a Police officer to a veteran and new members joining makes a new variety of people. All the investigators from her group do go through a thorough background check. After all “we are in people’s homes. We are there to help them not to steal from them,” they say.
They also screen the people that call them to come and investigate. They want to be sure that they will be able to handle the outcome of what they find, if they find anything at all. With that being said, I was very surprised to learn that only about 10 to 15 percent of the investigations reveal anything out of the ordinary.
I asked how they do the investigations, and she showed me a video of what they call a flashlight session. They have a flashlight on the floor or table and ask the spirit or ghost a question. The one that I saw, the question was, "I promise not to ask you to turn on the flashlight if you can do it one more time." The flashlight came on! Of course, I caught the back end of the video and there were more questions that I did not hear. Tonya did say that it was one of the best flashlight sessions that she has ever had. There are many other things that they do on an investigation as well. One of the buildings I was interested in was the Herring Hotel. She actually has not done an investigation there, but has been there and a couple of friends heard people talking that was not there! I would love to investigate the Herring Hotel. That and the old BSA hospital on Polk st and Amarillo blvd. Those 2 would be the places that I would do.
Now for the stories! Before I go any further, let me be clear on a few things. Names and places may have changed to protect the owners of the buildings. They may not want to know that there is, or is not a ghost or spirit in the building that they own. We will respect their privacy.
Tonya told of a place downtown (most of the best stories and evidence came from downtown), that she and her fellow investigators came across a couple of shadows. They all tried to recreate the shadows that were cast on the wall, but could not do it. They all had an eerie feeling all night long. They saw things heard things and something just did not feel right. They took a break and left to go eat early that morning at a 24 hr restaurant. When they came back, all of them, including the men of the group, just did not feel right walking back into that building. They stayed in their cars until sun up and then gathered the equipment and left. Tonya states that she will never step foot in that building again. When a professional “ghost Hunter” will not go into a building, you can bet that I will not go either!
There is also a building downtown that has a story of a janitor that died in the basement. This is the second time I heard the story. I thought that it would be like the school that everyone thinks is haunted. I have news for everyone. The school is NOT haunted. I have looked and there was no janitor at the school that killed 4 kids in the basement. There is no swing that swings by itself. Guess what, we live in the panhandle. The wind is always blowing. I can tell ya right now. The swing is being blown by the wind, not the spirit of a little kid! So when I heard about a janitor drowning in the basement, I tried to look it up. I could not find anything. Tonya was able to find something. According to the story, there was a leak in the basement, the janitor went down to shut the water off, but became disoriented somehow and ended up drowning. The only thing I found was that a homeless man was killed in the alley there. But, Tonya, not only found out that the janitor story was true, but she actually investigated there, also. Guess what, there is more than 1 ghost there. She said that there is a ghost of a little girl there too.
Not everything is downtown either. She has found things in the San Jacinto area and even something pretty evil in the Belmar area. Palo Duro Paranormal have gone out of town and done investigations in Pampa, as well as gone out of state. They do not charge, but do ask for help with travel expenses if needed. Now that I have talked with Tonya and thought about it for a little bit, I ask myself again, “Who would be crazy enough to walk around a deserted building at 2 am with nothing but a camera? Count me out on this one." I changed my mind. So, “If there's something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call? I'm calling Palo Duro Paranormal.
On a side note, I will already know who the ghost is that is haunting me. As I was writing this, in a dark room with the glow of my computer screen my only light, my lovely wife sneaked up and goosed me with my werewolf mask. Not once, but twice. One more time and I will kill her and I guarantee that she will come back and haunt me!
Again, Happy Halloween.