Jason and Grant made their way slowly back the hallway, their sneakers barely making a sound on the hardwood floor. On the walls hung various shields and swords crossed as if in battle, and at various places along the hallway stood suits of armor representing many Medieval houses and battles. Even the darkness could not hide the grandeur of the small yet majestic building. As Jason swept his K-II meter back and forth, watching for EMF spikes, he turned to Grant and said excitedly, “This place is awesome, isn’t it, G?”
Grant turned and grinned at Jason, looking like a kid in a candy store. “Oh, man, this is great!” he responded, laughing. “I don’t know how I’m going to stay focused on the investigation with all this incredible stuff!”
TAPS was investigating paranormal claims at the Mayweather Armory, a building on the Mayweather Estate that housed a private collection of armor and Medieval weaponry. The owner, Lord Duncan McLeod Mayweather IV, was a rather eccentric man in his late 70s whose family had emigrated from England in the mid-18th century. Like his father and grandfather before him, he was very superstitious and claimed to be sensitive to the spirit world. For that reason, it was no surprise that he had always claimed to feel the tortured souls of those who had worn the armor or had fallen victim to the weapons he now displayed in the armory. At first he had welcomed the spirits, feeling a sort of comraderie with those who had lived and died during a time period that so greatly interested him.
However, after his most recent acquisition–chain mail, swords, and shields rumored to have been used by the Knights of the Round Table–activity at the armory had increased and had become unfriendly and even frightening. Staff at the Mayweather Estate had reported hearing blood-curdling screams followed by blasts of icy air that left their skin almost frostbitten. One security guard had had to be hospitalized after reportedly hearing the screams and then seeing a wispy, skeleton-faced apparition that passed through his body. The day he was released from the hospital, he had called the Mayweathers to tender his resignation, refusing to even set foot on the property again. This incident had finally convinced Lord Duncan to call in TAPS to either debunk the activity or to discover what was behind it.
“So what do you think, G?” Jason asked as they ascended a spiral staircase to the second floor where the newly-acquisitioned Camelot Collection was displayed. “Do you think this armor is really from Camelot?”
Grant chuckled and rolled his eyes as he scanned the area with the thermal camera, looking for fluctuations in temperature that might suggest the presence of an entity. “Sure, Jay. Just like that gingerbread you ate at lunch came from Hansel and Gretel’s cottage.”
Jason laughed, pulling out his digital voice recorder. Before turning it on, he said low to Grant, “Either Lord Duncan is easily duped, or he lives in a fantasy world.” He shook his head and snorted, “Camelot. King Arthur.” He turned on the voice recorder and began an EVP session. “Jay and Grant, Mayweather Estate at the Camelot display in the armory.” He paused for a moment, looking around. “Hello? Is there anyone here with us? My name is Jason, and this is Grant.”
“Hello,” Grant interjected with a wave, focusing the thermal on the chain mail.
“We mean you no harm,” Jason continued, shining a flashlight around the room. “We just want to know why you’re here.”
After a moment of silence, Grant asked, “Did you wear this chain mail or use these shields in battle? Did you die in battle?”
Several minutes passed, with the silence being broken only by Jason and Grant’s questions and their fidgeting as they watched the darkness for any light anomalies or shadow play. Grant leaned forward to peer at Jason around a suit of armor and asked, “What do you make of the claims that these entities are capable of giving people frostbite?”
Jason let out a long breath before responding, “You know as well as I do that human spirits usually can’t harm the living.” He shook his head skeptically and continued, “We’ve both seen what inhuman entities can do–scratches, bruising–but frostbite? I have a hard time buying that claim, and I really wish that security guard would have agreed to talk to us.”
Grant was quiet for a moment, processing Jason’s comment. Finally, he looked up, not focusing on anything in particular, and said, “Still, it’s kind of hard to argue with a man being hospitalized with frostbite-like symptoms, especially when those symptoms were confirmed and documented by doctors. Especially when it happens in the middle of July. Something happened here.”
“True,” Jason conceded, getting to his feet. Something had to cause those symptoms, but I guaran-damn-tee you they weren’t caused by a human spirit.”
Grant was about to respond when a distant, chilling howl echoed through the building. “What the frig was that?” he cried, getting quickly to his feet.
“It almost sounded like a really strong wind blowing down a chimney,” Jason replied uneasily, shining his flashlight around the room.
“Two problems with that theory, Jay,” Grant muttered, trying to figure out which direction the sound had come from. “One, it’s not windy tonight, and two, there are no chimneys here.”
Another wail, this time closer and with a definite human intonation, sounded from somewhere in the building. “That…wasn’t…wind,” Jason quavered, trying to see Grant’s face in the dark. He fumbled at his belt for his walkie, then spoke into it. “Jay for Steve.”
Steve’s voice crackled over the walkie, “Go for Steve.”
“Are you guys picking up these sounds over the equipment?” Jason asked as another voice wailed.
After a moment, Steve replied, “Affirmative, but I can’t figure out where they’re coming from. They seem to be everywhere.”
Adam’s voice came over the walkie next. “Amy and I are in the basement, Jay. We hear them too, but they aren’t very loud down here.”
Grant took a step and bumped into one of the displays of chain mail. “Holy crap, Jay,” he exclaimed. “Feel this chain mail. It’s ice cold!”
Jason reached out and laid his hand on the chain mail, and immediately drew it back. “What the hell is up with that? Get the thermal on it.”
Grant fumbled with the thermal and pointed it at the chain mail. “What the frig? What the frig?” he cried. “How is that even possible? This chain mail is thirty degrees colder than the air around it.” He walked quickly over to another set of chain mail and pointed the thermal at it. “This one is normal, but this one…” He walked back to the first display. “…Is still cold.”
“Well, I think we’ve found the source of the haunting,” Jason mused. “Whatever is haunting this place is likely attached to this particular piece.” He turned on his voice recorder again and asked, “Are you attached to this chain mail? Is that why you’re here?”
Both Jason and Grant reached out to touch the chain mail just as a blood-curdling shriek filled the room. Jason’s eyes flew open in horror as a glowing white entity with a skeletal face suddenly came through the wall and flew directly at the two ghost hunters. “G, look out!” Jason yelled, grabbing Grant and pushing him out of the way. Jason, Grant, and the chain mail display crashed to the ground as an icy wind enveloped them. Both men lost consciousness as everything began whirling and falling.
Back at Center Command, Steve and Tango both cried out as they saw an apparition attack Jason and Grant. They weren’t prepared for what their cameras captured next–as Jason and Grant crashed to the floor with the chain mail on top of them, the entity whirled around them before it vanished, along with Jason and Grant. “How can that happen?” Steve yelled, getting to his feet. “They just vanished!”
Tango whipped out his walkie and called for Adam and Amy; then he and Steve ran for the second floor of the armory.