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Old Town Auburn home to ghoulish guests?

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The temperature drops to a definite chill as strange apparitions appear around familiar spots in Old Town Auburn. From the unexplainable to the spooky, local business owners and paranormal investigators said they have seen it all. In a town ripe with Gold Rush-Era history, stories of alleged hauntings and paranormal activity have surfaced often over the years. While some people fear the unknown, others like Placer High sophomore Connor Hopkins and Colfax High senior Brendan Jacob, seek it. After realizing that they have both had strange encounters with the paranormal, Connor and Brendon decided to form the Ghost Hunters Observation Study Team. Equipped with infrared cameras, electromagnetic field detectors and voice recorders, they try to make contact with ghostly visitors. Connor said the scariest encounter took place at an abandoned home in Auburn. According to Connor, neighbors told them a murder had taken place in the house years before. While the team didn’t want to break in, they did take a peek inside the windows. “I looked at the digital clock and it had a time on it,” Connor said. “Then the numbers changed into letters and it said, ‘help.’” What’s inside Utopia? Joey Sprawka, 27, owns Utopia Tattoos and Piercings in Auburn. He has heard ghost stories about his shop from long-time Auburn residents. “This was the house of one of the judges in town,” Sprawka said. “It was one of the judges at the courthouse that used to hang people. I think it’s cool I get to have my business in Downtown Auburn with all these old buildings.” When he was redoing the dry wall Sprawka said he discovered children’s toys and an inscription that said, “And the boy began to run” in the wall. For him, that gave a little more credence to the claims some of his tattoo artists had made about hearing the ghost of a child. When Connor and Brendan approached him about conducting an investigation, Sprawka was game. After spending hours locked in Utopia, the team reviewed their findings. One photo revealed what they deemed an unexplainable glow near a tattoo chair. Video and audio footage revealed the sounds of odd noises and pitches. Sprawka said while he still wasn’t sure if the place was haunted, he was glad he could support young people with a passion. “I’m glad they are hunting ghosts and not out doing drugs,” Sprawka said. “I don’t have an opinion on ghosts or hauntings.” Besides their investigation at Utopia, G.H.O.S.T has been contacted by some local homeowners and has even gone out-of-state on one project. One day, they hope to have their own paranormal investigation show on TV. Hunting hauntings Pat and Pete Enochs, who own Latitudes Restaurant in Auburn, also opened up their building to paranormal investigators. Pete has long enjoyed researching the building’s history. “Servers say they see things quite often, especially late at night. A lot of them won’t consider going into the basement when it’s dark,” Pete said. “I love to do research on it. Mr. White did build it. He was a black smith and had two children.” The basement of the building, which was built in the 1860’s, now houses Latitudes Bistro and Bar. Pat said she witnessed a table jacket suddenly fly off a table that she was sitting at down in the bistro. Placerville psychic Nancy Bradley and her husband paranormal investigator Robert Reppert teamed up to see what they could find at Latitudes. Reppert said they found a presence in the main dining room, along with one in the adjoining law offices of Patrick R. Little. Ethan O’Hagan, who manages Old Town Pizza, said the A&E TV show “Paranormal Investigators” staged a debriefing in the family-owned pizza place after investigating a home in Newcastle. O’Hagan said as far as he knows the Old Town Auburn business doesn’t have any history of being haunted. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ Make your own ghostbusting kit Infrared Camera- allows you to film in total darkness K2 Meter- detects electromagnetic fields Digital Thermometer- a baseline reading is 70 degrees on average. Anything below 60 degrees may indicate a spirit is near. Voice Recorder- enables you to make audio recordings of each paranormal investigation, perfect for capturing each spirit’s voice. Pen and paper- In case technology should fail, record your findings the old fashioned way. Flashlight: Use it to shine light in spooky spots -As told by paranormal investigators Placer High sophomore Conner Hopkins and Colfax High senior Brendan Jacob of the Ghost Hunters Observation Study Team.