THE GHOST OF DEAD MAN'S PARK
Richard Mario Procida, Esq.
Richard Mario Procida, Esq.
Having paranormal experiences throughout my life, from premonitions and omens to visions and prophetic dreams, I have stories to tell. I told some to my six year old nephew Bobby and his eight year old sister Jacquelyn. They were skeptical.
Recently I began participating in ghost investigations. I showed Bobby and Jackie some of the evidence. Bobby became confused. My stories disturbed him. He didn’t know whether to believe me. Was I lying? Was I crazy? Was I still the uncle he knew, loved and trusted?
People say ghosts don’t exist. Bobby’s father, mother and grandparents worried. People at church surely discourage such thoughts. I imagine it bothers him when people criticize my stories. He knows me to be honest and sane, mostly. He looks up to me. He needed to know whether my stories were true.
One day Bobby asked if he could go on an investigation. When a paranormal investigation team scheduled an investigation near my home and not far from by brother’s house, I decided to take him.
The investigation would take place at Founders Memorial Park in Whittier. Founders Memorial park lies over two old cemeteries, Broadway cemetery and Mount Sinai cemetery. By the 1950s the cemeteries were visited no more. Vandals had knocked over the headstones, and it laid in disrepair. The city declared the cemeteries a public nuisance, removed all the headstones, and turned the cemeteries into a park. The graves were so old few people claimed the remains. About sixty percent of the bodies are still in the park. Locals call the place “Dead Man’s Park”.
The park is divided into two parts with a short street separating what used to be the two cemeteries. The walking path is laid over the original cemetery paths. If you look closely you can still make out the grave plots. The hardened packed mounds and lines in the grass still show where the new sod had been placed over the graves.
There are stories of a strange fog that sometimes lies over the park. Some say the fog is caused by spirits angry about the desecration of their graves.
The City created memorials with plaques containing the names of those buried there, but theplaques, possibly made of brass, were either stolen or taken down. The wood signs on the concrete memorials have deteriorated. The signs are in disrepair.
Bobby and I spent the day of the investigation together. I taught Bobby to meditate. We mediate prior to investigations in order to connect with the spirits and be more sensitive to their presence. We spent a few minutes quietly meditating while listening to New Age music. Bobby surprised me by how quiet he remained. We meditated for only a short time.
Bobby and I had planned this investigation for weeks. We both looked forward to it. But the afternoon of the event I received an email with a chilling story.
The day before a man had attempted to abduct a child near the park. The man abducted an eleven year old girl and threw her in the back seat of his car. Once in the car, the girl found another little girl weeping. The eleven year helped both escape.
Frightening even before we began, was this was some sort of warning? I resolved not to let it disrupt our plans. Unfortunately, I had to let Bobby know about it. I couldn’t afford to have him run away playing games because he doesn’t know why I want him to stay close. My brother and I showed Bobby the NEWS VIDEO. We were now ready to go on the investigation.
I borrowed my brother’s digital camera and we went to the park. We met up with our fellow investigators of Ghost 2 Ghost 40 Plus. They were excited to meet Bobby. The leader gave Bobby a flashlight as a gift. We split up to investigate.
Bobby and I walked through the park. We had only two tools: a camera and a flashlight. We went around placing the flashlight on trees, bushes and signs asking the spirits to turn the flashlight off. We did this about five or six times. Nothing happened. Then we went into an enclave of groomed bushes and trees off of the grass near the border of the park. We placed the flashlight on a small tree, stood back and asked the spirits to turn the flashlight off.
The flashlight started to flutter then turned off. Startled, I felt myself recoil as I put my hand on Bobby’s shoulder and held him close. Unsettled, I asked the spirit to now turn the light back on. The light flickered and then went on.
We were shocked. I struggled to think of questions to ask the spirit. Suddenly I felt a hot jagged ball of energy shoot through my left chest and shoulder. “I felt that”, I exclaimed as I turned to look behind me for whatever had gone through me. I took a couple of pictures.
Bobby then heard something. Looking behind him he said “there’s something here”. I snapped another couple pictures. By this time Bobby wanted to leave. I picked up the flashlight and we walked on the grass toward the pathway. The rest of the team was across the small street at the other end of the park. Later when we looked at the pictures we discovered a tiny orb floating over the bushes right
Then zoom in real close and you can see a face. The face seems to change when I first looked at it. At first it looked like an animal, like a dog. Then it rapidly changed to a demonic looking face. After that, no matter how hard I tried, I could no longer see the dog like image, only the demonic face.
When preparing this article I decided to lighten the picutre and increase the constrast, because the picture was dark as I took it at night. This is when I discovered another face in the picutre. Look to the right, behind and below the angry image and you will see a man with a mustache wearing a hat. It almost looks as if he is wearing military like uniform and is pointing a gun at us from his right hip. It's an apparition within an orb.
Bobby then began pointing to places where he thought there may be ghosts. Orbs appeared in some of those pictures. Later, when I returned to the park for another investigation, I would have an even scarier experience.
A few months later I joined the Los Angeles Paranormal Society for an investigation of the park. Only its leader, Al Garzon, and I conducted the investigation. We walked around the park getting pictures of orbs. Is the orb next to Al's ear communicating with him?
Then we came upon the enclave of bushes and trees off the side of the park. Approaching the location, Al sensed something there. As I tried to point the area out I became disoriented. I pointed my finger then realized that the enclave was about forty feet to the right. It was as if it moved right in front of me. This is how I sensed the spirits.
We entered the area placed a flashlight on the ground and asked the ghost to turn it off. This time I had a digital recorder and my smart phone. I began to video the flashlight just in case it turned off. We continued attempting to contact the spirits.
What you see in the video is the flashlight. The little orange light is my digital recorder placed next to the flashlight. The moving red light is Al’s directional temperature gage. Al is talking.
Al unintentionally provoked the spirits. He began talking about replacing the grave markers, something we cannot do. We don’t have the authority to replace grave markers in a public park, and we are unable to identify who the spirit is anyway. The suggestion angers the entity or entities.
As you view the video and listen to the audio you will hear me groan as I feel energy go through my left shoulder and chest, this time from the back. At first I’m determined to stand my ground. This may be my only experience of the night, and I want to see if anything else happens.
Suddenly I feel another sensation go though my back, then my right thigh, my lower back, my right shoulder, and my left arm. I feel myself balling up as I attempt to run away screaming as tingling vibrations shoot through me. I see my glasses go flying off into the darkness. Then I’m either pushed down or I slip and fall to my hands and knees. As I’m falling the sprinklers come on.
Listen to the video. You will hear the sprinklers come on toward the end. This demonstrates that we were not spooked by the water coming on. It’s possible the spirits intended to push me down and take my glasses just before the sprinklers came on. They intended for me to get wet.
I don’t know why I laughed. Perhaps it’s relief. This was one of the craziest experiences I ever had. It was exhilarating. I laugh after being scared at haunted attractions during Halloween, too. But now, I couldn’t leave until I found my glasses.
We looked and looked for what seems five to ten minutes. I was soaked. Frustrated, I finally exclaimed: “Where the fuck are they?” I looked down and there they were right at my feet where I had been looking for them all along.
This ghost has the ability to teleport objects, making them appear and disappear in different places. My glasses flew off into the darkness and reappeared at my feet. The audio you hear is from the digital recorder lying on the ground next to the flashlight which remained on the whole while.
Al felt that he had been scratched. He seemed eager to leave the park. We walked across the grass past the pathway and across the street. When he lifted up his shirt there were drops of blood on his back. I warn you, the picture is disturbing.
We walked around the park down the short street that cut through the center of the park where we parked our cars. Still shaking, Al took a bundle of sage out of his trunk to cleanse us and our vehicles. Burning sage for cleansing is called smudging. It’s a Wicca practice. Al lit the bundle then had me stand on the side walk with my arms spread apart. He took the burning sage and passed it around my body, in front of me and behind me. He asked me to do the same for him. I did. He then blew smoke into our cars. He filled both cars with smoke and closed the doors. We waited about five minutes talking about our experience.
Al said he hadn’t expected this. He felt unprepared. He was worried. Spirits can attach to people after incidents like this.
Afterwards paranormal activity increased in my condo. Previously I heard knocking and sensed movement. I’ve been touched and kissed on the cheek. Now I heard knocking every night. Spirits began to rouse me in my sleep. Lying in my bed, a surge of anxiety would wake me followed immediately by a knock.
Al came over to perform a cleansing. He had me take a cleansing bath. He had me use a mixture of herbs and sulfer which turned the water an opaque shimmering black. The black represents the darkness being washed away. Meanwhile, Al smudged everywhere, sprayed blessed water on the walls, and spread a line of salt along the walls and around my bed and night stand. For many nights afterwards I heard no knocks and sleep well.
After events escalated the second time, I am hesitant to return. I don’t know where I stand with the spirits there, and I’m not interested in bothering these spirits, especially since they may be demonic. Al returned with other investigators but didn’t have an experience.
After leaving the salt on the floor for three weeks, some of the activity has returned.