By Rodney Grundmeyer
I have always been a skeptic when it came to the paranormal. I guess you can say that my skepticism was a direct result of my long career in law enforcement. I served over 22 years in the law enforcement career field. Most of which was served down in Louisiana. During my time in service, I had an experience that changed my life forever.
Pontchartrain Yacht Club
Before I get into that story, let me give you a little bit of background on what led up to that event. While working in Louisiana back in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit and left devastation across New Orleans and surrounding areas. I worked for the Mandeville Police Department, which was located approximately 30 miles north of New Orleans. Mandeville is located on the northern shores of Lake Pontchartrain. When the storm hit, it sent a 14-foot tidal surge towards the southern part of Mandeville along the lakefront. All of the businesses and residences along the lakefront were either damaged or destroyed. If the businesses and residences had two floors, the bottom floor was completely washed away. One business that was completely destroyed by the tidal surge was the Pontchartrain Yacht Club. It was a club that had been around since 1967.
The club was rebuilt in 2007 as a two-story structure, due to the new FEMA regulations for businesses located along waterways.
One night, at around 3:00 am, I received an alarm call from the new yacht club. The alarm activation came from the rear door of the business. When I arrived on the scene, I jumped the fence and proceeded towards the rear of the business to check the door. The door was located at the top of the rear staircase. As I reached the top, I placed my hand on the door knob and started to turn it. Just as the door started to open, I heard in a very loud, clear voice behind me: “Hello there!”. I immediately turned around and noticed that there was no one there. As I looked down the staircase towards the pool area, I started to hear loud voices mumbling as if a large party was going on. Needless to say, there were no other people there with me. I then tried to shake it off and told myself that maybe the voices were actually coming from inside of the business. After all, the alarm came from the back door and the back door was unlocked. Maybe someone was inside, and that had set off the alarm. Maybe they were still having a party in there. Either way, I knew it was time for me to call for back-up. When the other officers arrived, we went inside and started to do an interior search of the business. While searching inside, I proceeded to check the restrooms. As I entered the women’s restroom, I noticed the very strong odor of a fresh cigar. I searched the restroom and could not locate the source of the cigar smell. We then continued the search and could not find anyone else inside. Then, we secured the rear door and left the business.
Although I still consider myself to be a skeptic, I can’t deny the experience I had that night while searching the yacht club. I experienced something that was definitely paranormal in nature. I came to believe that since the new yacht club was built on the previous foundation of the club that had been destroyed, the energy from the people who used to visit that club, who had previously passed on, was still there. The voices I heard must have been from the previous (now deceased) club members who spent a lot of their time there. As for the smell of the cigar, it’s very possible that the location of the women’s restroom may have originally been the area of the smoking room in the building that was washed away during Katrina. After all, the building was established back in 1967, and smoking was still allowed inside during that time.
Muriel’s Restaurant Investigation
After my experience with the paranormal, I wanted to know more about what I had experienced. I then decided to join an investigation with a local paranormal group. The investigation was held at the Muriel’s restaurant in New Orleans that was located in Jackson Square. According to the staff at the restaurant, it was once a house back in the 1700’s and was later owned by Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan in the 1800’s. Mr. Jourdan was a gambler, and once wagered his house in a card game. Unfortunately, he lost the wager and lost his home. Prior to turning over the keys to his beloved home, Jourdan hung himself on the second floor of the residence near the slave quarters.
Fast forward to my investigation at Muriel’s. As myself, one of the male investigators, and a male cameraman entered the stairwell of the restaurant, the male investigator decided to deal out two hands of cards on the table in the stairwell to play a game of 5-card draw with Mr. Jourdan or his guest.
[Note: The table that he used was the one set up by the restaurant out of respect for Mr. Jourdan and any guest he might want to invite to dinner with him. The table would be set with two plates, a piece of bread on each, and two glasses of water.]
As the investigator was dealing out the cards on the table, he explained to Mr. Jourdan that he was giving him the chance to win his house back. While the investigator was dealing the cards out, I had my recorder on and audiotaped the entire event. Later, after the investigation, I went home and reviewed my recordings. While reviewing the part where the investigator had already told Mr. Jourdan that had a chance to win his house back, and the investigator was dealing out the cards, you can clearly hear a class “A” EVP of a woman saying “Thank You!” as a response to the investigator saying that Mr. Jourdan could possibly win his house back. This was the very first time I had ever tried to collect an EVP. Needless to say, I was completely blown away by that intelligent response.
As for a woman’s voice coming over on the EVP, I determined that it was a woman’s voice for one of two reasons. First, it could have come across as a woman’s voice to distinguish the EVP from the three men in the stairwell. Or, it could have been a female guest of Mr. Jourdan’s. Either way, it was the only EVP response we received during our investigation. Needless to say, my interest in the paranormal grew from there.