While I am a practicing artist, I found myself becoming an amateur researcher in the paranormal following an experience I had in 2021 at a notoriously haunted house in Atchison, Kansas. As paranormal research continued to occupy my time I have found a links between my practice as an artist and a researcher. I realized  that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive and that art can another tool of experimentation and exploration of the paranormal. While the word research creates the expectation of evidence-evidence in this research tends to be relative, extremely personal, related primarily by anecdotes. This form of evidence is  easily discredited by bad faith skeptics and those threatened by this path of exploration. Evidence of the paranormal tends to be  hampered by the nature of the phenomena itself, it often tends to contradict itself,  proving to be inconsistent and undefinable yet paradoxically is the most consistent nature of the phenomena. Due to this “trickster” nature of the phenomena my goal is to not provide any hard evidence of the phenomena but offer a “deeply personal” experience through images, collected objects, sound, notes, and anecdotes. I am not concerned with concrete conclusions but rather exploration of the liminal nature of experiences that defy defined conclusions.

Assembled from the Sallie House in Atchison, Ks (This is What We Asked For), Caleb Harman and Zach Walker, Audio, 2024

April 2023
I have come to a strange point in my development as an artist where I have begun to accept that my work has been an exploration of my interests in the paranormal or the “Other” as labeled by Timothy Renner in his podcast “Strange Familiars” .
I’ve hesitated to openly confront this fascination in public for the same reasons that some academics may refuse to talk about seeing a ghost. I also think my hesitation derived from a lack of knowledge or awareness of what I am really interested in. Even now these terms seem insufficient expressions of my curiosity. I’ve decided that I must fully commit to my fascination with the paranormal and in committing I am completely bewildered at the next step. But I am certain that this journey will manifest through various means. I am also certain that no conclusions will be made, no information will be gleaned that won't be contradicted. I’ve slowly begun to accept that this is the nature of things-that the liminal does not want to be defined-only explored and is that conscious of its own nature and can that even be explained and does it need to be explained? I don’t know. All I can do is observe, act, and reflect.
I tried an EVP experiment. I hooked up an old radio and found a station of white noise on an AM station. I decided I would announce my intentions of exploring the audio files of the Sallie House with white noise being recorded and at that time any intelligence I encountered could feel free to communicate at that time. The event led to me realizing my headphones aren’t as sound proof as I thought where I could hear audio coming from my headphones in the recording. But this asks a question-I was not creating anything I was only searching. I feel like creation is more powerful than searching. Searching is goal oriented and I think might be limited in scope. I get the impression searching can be seen as consuming rather than creating is giving. Searching implies once found the searcher removes the item if interest, but creation offers so many possibilities for everyone. I think my first attempt I was stuck in technic-next I will try painting or drawing instead.
Resolving some personal problems to the best of my ability tomorrow I will try the experiment. I will go for a morning jog, walk the dog in the evening, and work with white noise (not a tone) tomorrow evening while maybe listening to music. I have charge my old iPhone (used in the Sallie House) and will use it as my primary recording device.
I did the experiment. I wasn’t sure what to expect and from the outset it yielded nothing. I worked for about 30 minutes and spent another 40 minutes mulling through the file. Most was just general noise from the static of the radio and me working, but there was a moment that stood out. Around 20 minutes into the audio file at the lowest audible register is what looked and sounded like a car driving by the house (I love on the corner of two streets both of which terminate in cul de sacs, our traffic, especially at 9-10 pm is very limited). When I isolated it the noise definitely sounded like a car but then what seems like music can be heard. It’s strange like it’s almost a pop song but not quite. I’m not willing to say it’s “something” but I don’t want to write it off either. It’s staying. I like it. Tonight I don’t work any more. I'm tired. I’ve been very tired lately.

Maybe I’m having a hard time painting the bridge because I’m trying to paint the bridge I think I’m seeing not the bridge that is actually there. It’s not two bridges that are next to each other-it’s one oddly built bridge in a strange landscape.
I recorded a voice memo I need to send to my email.
Back to Hellier.

Bridges Over the Kansas River, Acrylic on Wood, 12.25" x 11", 2023

4-25-23 EVP Experiment, Audio, 2023

Private Email About the Paranormal, 2023

Four Knocks in the Nursery at the Sallie  House in Atchison, Ks, Caleb Harman and Zach Walker, Audio, 2021

Distance of Sallie House from My Residence

The First Thing We Saw Entering the Sallie House in Atchison, Ks

The First Thing We Saw (Damaged), Charcoal and Mold on Paper, 2021/2024 (photograph taken in 2024 after discovery of damage)

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