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Monday March 8th, 2010

Posted at 8:32am

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Photo by Laura Berry. James Allison, co-owner of Abars on the River, socializes with customers March 4. Abars is rumoured to have spirits throughout the building. Its history dates back to the 1920s and 30s and includes rum-running and a rumoured suicide.

Paranormal investigators, Spectral Solutions, are examining the possibility of spirits haunting Abars on the River.
Spectral Solutions is a non-profit paranormal investigative group from Windsor. Its goal is to examine possible occurences of spirit activity in and around Essex County.

On Feb. 14, Spectral Solutions spent the night in Abars, a local bar at the intersection of Lauzon Road and Riverside Drive. The group formed approximately two years ago and has been growing in popularity ever since. Chantel Trudelle and Tony Bagnarol, members of Spectral Solution, said they have a growing fan base in the area.

“It started by word of mouth but I guess that word has spread,” said Trudelle.

Bagnarol, a self-proclaimed equipment geek, says the number of website hits has continuously increased.

“We now have about 2,000 hits a month on our site. I mean, we didn’t really ever plan on making one in the beginning. I just made one one day and it’s a good thing I did,” said Bagnarol.

The group uses digital thermometers, video and tape recorders, electro-magnetic field detectors, infrared cameras and digital cameras. They also sing songs, bang on surfaces in an attempt to taunt and provoke spirits to engage with them.

Spectral Solutions books appointments based on client calls, but many of their projects are self generated. Many of the Spectral Solution team have been following the paranormal for as long as they can remember. A few claim to have abilities that allow them to develop histories or images of the people that reportedly lived at the location they’re investigating. Trudelle said she has psychometry, the ability to read the history of certain objects by holding the object in your hand or placing it to your forehead. She said she has had the ability all her life.

“I have limited abilities to pick up impressions from the places we go and I’ve had some luck with contacting the spirits within the residence. It’s something I think I’ve had my entire life,” said Trudelle.

The group of nine investigators set up their equipment in Abars on Feb. 14 and waited until after close to start their investigation. The team follows a routine to ensure it can accurately record paranormal phenomena. After an investigation is over, their findings, recordings and video are posted online for the public to watch.

Each investigation includes an initial walk-through and a preliminary interview with the client. Only part of the team attends this portion of the process to eliminate bias. The fewer the team members know about the types of phenomena experienced by the home owner the better. The team prefers to experience potential paranormal activity for themselves and go over their findings later. This allows them to determine whether or not their findings are paranormal or technical error.

For the group, hunting spirits make their jobs exciting.. The group sometimes approaches contacts themselves to inquire about an investigation. Michael Ferri is determined to discover the truth behind life after death. He is interested in how the dead perceive the world.

“Do they see us as ghosts? Are they in a conscious state like we are? That’s what I want to find out,” said Ferri.

Abars was a location the group was drawn to themselves. Co-owners Corey Clarkson and James Allison said they have been witness to many unexplainable situations.

“There have been nights where either of us have been cashing out and something will move across the floor, like a shadow or something. That late at night there isn’t anything that could cause such a shadow,” said Allison.

Neither Clarkson nor Allison venture to the upper levels of the bar alone. A roumored suicide is thought to be the reason for the strange encounters the owners have experienced. Abars also has a rich history and is believed to have been involved in rum-running during the prohibition in the 1920s and 30s.

“From what I’ve heard, a man hung himself upstairs. We’ve had issues with the lights turning on in the upper levels after an inspector told us no electricity was running up there,” Allison explains.

There are also rumours that the figure of an old woman frequents the washrooms, and cubby holes in the walls. A bedroom upstairs remains untouched since the woman inhabited the building over a hundred years ago, employees said.

“I had a customer tell me she saw a ghost in the bathroom for the second time,” Allison said.

Others can verify strange and unexplainable experiences within Abars. Bartender Blaine MacNeil, who has been working in Abars for 35 years, said he always feels like something is present.

“It’s hard to explain. You always get the feeling you’re being watched. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember,” said MacNeil.

Spectral Solution team members said they acquired some interesting footage at Abars, but a second trip will be needed in order to decipher their audio and video footage. The date of the return visit isn’t known.

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For more information, please visit http://www.spectralsolutions.ca/

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