705 Grand Ave.
Shreveport, LA 71101
One of the things I have been the most proud of since forming Louisiana Spirits is the fact that we have been the first paranormal investigative group to be allowed into many of the state's most well-known and historic venues. In doing so, it has validated our credibility and proved what a good reputation we have earned throughout the years. To get some of the approval we have obtained, we have had to survive imposing interviews from government officials, town meetings with civic leaders and tons of other nerve-racking encounters. Once the deciding individuals quickly saw how reputable we were, permission was granted, making all of the work and persistence worth it. The feeling of bagging a big investigation is like a drug. I know in my case it often makes me say, “Ok, if I got this big investigation, what's the next one I can get?”
As I mentioned earlier, many of these locations that we have pioneered may not have a great deal of haunted history, if even any at all. Sometimes for the hell of it we will investigate locations simply due to the immense history and energy that it holds. Every haunted location started with the first ghostly encounter. Who's to say the first encounter cannot be experienced by yours truly? Many times, we come up short handed, leaving us to say, “Well that sucked!” Other times, we actually do find something, bringing another haunted location to the mainstream. I've always said, “It's not bragging if you can back it up!” We can proudly say that several of the most notably haunted locations in the state were introduced to the paranormal community by Louisiana Spirits. Sometimes we may not be given the credit we deserve but I'll save the sour grapes for another time!
One of the group's most crowning achievements was gaining initial access to the historic Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Strange tales of haunted encounters had existed but remained pretty low key prior to our visits. This was also early into our existence, before the ghost hunting craze had grown to what it has become today, when everyone who has seen one season of any given paranormal “reality” show now thinks they can form a group and have a producer knocking on their door within two months. Sad thing folks, is that this is a common occurrence, and even more sadly, this is how many of these television shows come about. People with no experience and no knowledge of the field that just so happens to have a particular look that a production company wants, whether it be a “tough guy” persona or an uneducated hillbilly with scripted dialect to portray themselves as if they just crawled out from a meth lab. Again, sour grapes to the side, but sometimes I just have to say what many feel. In the words of former WWE superstar C.M. Punk, “I'm just the voice of the voiceless here!”
Now that I have descended my fat rear end from the symbolic milk crate of irritation, allow
|Photo of the auditorium being constructed.|
The massive structure often referred to simply as the Municipal is a three-level tier system, capable of seating nearly four thousand people. The exterior is extremely ornate, containing intricate brick work and carved limestone. The interior is even more beautiful with decorative ceilings and acoustics that are said to be nearly perfect. Just recently, an extensive restoration was done on the Municipal, replacing the thousands of seats, along with other improvements to an already classy venue. Since its debut, the auditorium is most known for its former radio program, “The Louisiana Hayride”, which first aired on April 3, 1948. The program was a weekly showcase of up and coming musicians, soon becoming a huge success in the south, being surpassed only by the famous Grand Ole Opry.
|Beautifully decorated interior.|
We have all heard musicians being told to “knock em dead” prior to their performances as a way to wish them luck. That saying takes on a completely different nuance when applied to the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. You see, as musical greats in their infancy were electrifying the crowds with their gyrating hips, pelvic thrusts and lyrics of gold, the swooning teeny boppers had no clue that in the basement that sat under their tapping toes housed the locally deceased. Yes, while Johnny Cash was singing “The Caretaker”, the undertaker was down below preparing the bodies for embalming and burial!
With such a rich and amazing history, throw in a few ghostly tales from staff members and we
|Panoramic view of the stage which once sat atop a makeshift|
As the team began going through all the recordings, boredom began to set it. If you have never had the luxury of reviewing evidence from a paranormal investigation, you are truly missing out on a little piece of gold. It can be one of the most boring things in the world to do. No matter how alert I think I am, after five minutes of listening to the steady hiss of a voice recorder, I am immediately inclined to fall into a deep coma. The team began to lose all hope, as the only evidence recorded were the sounds of the claps, which were not that significant. One investigator began reviewing the audio from a voice recorder that had been placed in the area known as the Elvis Presley dressing room, which he is said to have used on numerous occasions. As the recorder played, one could hear a male and female investigator carrying on a conversation. They were the only two in the room. Suddenly, an extremely clear male voice whispers, “I love Johnny Cash!” Our mouths dropped when we heard this Class A EVP, as we knew no one else was anywhere near that room when the audio was recorded. To this day, the Johnny Cash EVP would be one of our all-time favorites. In two other instances, we captured a voice saying, "Time to get out" and "Get out of here!" Was it a deceased fan who lingered in the building, a former employee overly attached to their job, or a corpse from the morgue with a sense of humor?
|The Elvis Presley dressing room where captured our |
"Johnny Cash" EVP.
For the next couple of years, we would continue hosting public events at the auditorium, drawing more awareness to such a great venue. In 2008, we decided to host the very first paranormal convention ever in the state. Of course, we opted for holding it at the Municipal. We had over two hundred and fifty people show up, not only to hear lectures from some of the most respected researchers in the field such as John Zaffis and Loyd Auerbach, but the free jambalaya and equipment giveaways didn't hurt the cause either!
As I mentioned, the auditorium was heavily refurbished over a year ago. To unveil the revisions and refresh the community of the historical landmark, local preservation societies continue to draw awareness by offering tours to the building. Several months ago, we assisted in another public investigation of the Municipal. Roughly one hundred people were in attendance. Again, I had my doubts of ghostly encounters being experienced with so many people. Once again, I was proven wrong, as valid EVP's were captured, motion sensors were activated and shadows were seen by guests who were in isolated parts of the building. At one point of the evening, I was in the basement area and had made my way to a secluded maintenance room. The room was completely dark and had an extremely creepy vibe to it. I've been in pitch black rooms hundreds of times and none of them gave me the feeling I encountered there. It felt as if something was right in front of my face and suddenly swooshed right passed me almost with the intensity of feeling a breeze come over me. As sudden as the forced passed, so did the eerie feeling. To this day, I am certain that something ghostly was in that room with me for a short period of time and I have no clue what it was. As I've said before, as with the living, even the dead can only take me in small doses!
One of the individuals that was in attendance that night stated that he had been doing a lot of research on the building and the property. He claimed he had learned that prior to the Municipal being constructed in 1929, a small church and cemetery stood on the property. If true, I found this to be quite intriguing, as I had never heard such a rumor. What many do not realize is that the auditorium is built on elevated ground and even what is considered the basement, is still slightly above ground. The gentlemen stated that if one could access the small crawl spaces located in the basement, one could get to the ground and examine the ground further. What small space I could find that evening definitely could not accommodate my less-than-Adonis-like physique.
|Elvis has left the building!|
Today, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium continues to host various public events. Our northern chapter continues to do a great job assisting in preserving the history of the building, hopefully for years to come. As with many locations we have put on the paranormal map, television crews and other paranormal groups were not far behind. Fortunately, the auditorium has always been portrayed in a positive light and anytime such a historically-important building is given the attention it deserves, we feel that our years of hard work have paid off. This is another reason that Louisiana Sprits takes pride in being the echelon of the paranormal community. While some are passing fake evidence as legitimate, trying to make a dime out of everything they do and/or throwing their morals out the window in the hopes of getting the next television deal, we are educating the public while preserving and drawing awareness to our state's treasures. The “Gold Standard” known as Louisiana Spirits Paranormal Investigations says, “You're welcome!”