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The Eerie Case of the Haunted Museum
April 18, 2007

A Fascinating Interview with J. P. Green
Introduction: An Impartial Paranormal Perspective

There are believers in the paranormal and there are skeptics. One of the points of this particular interview is not to "prove" that ghosts or paranormal activity and anything "Beyond" exist, but to merely suggest the possibility. However, we can discuss logical explanations as well, so the readers can determine for themselves what is occurring regarding such peculiar phenomena. Therefore, no view is wrong or right here. We are simply observing and then sharing with the reader unusual circumstances that have taken place. The only premise I offer here is that things in life may not be as they simply appear. There may be more going on in life then we think. Or is this a very superficial world with nothing beneath the surface? We shall see.

Before continuing, let me say that certain names have been concealed for privacy reasons at the behest of the interviewee. The protection of individuals' rights of privacy is always important.

Disclaimer: Names of certain individuals have been concealed for privacy and legal reasons.

Part One: The Eerie Case of the Haunted Museum
Hauntings at the Pettigrew House

Stark: Alright. I'm going to interview a good friend of mine, J. P. Green, who has posted some poetry on the Bamblebrush site, and she has studied various mystical practices and traditions over the years, and it seems to me that she is "psychically sensitive," because she has seen some pretty strange things in her life. This particular event took place in her hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Alright, let's proceed.
Let me ask the first question here. I wanted to hear about the time when you perceived something unusual when you visited the Pettigrew Museum, which is a very old, ominous-looking, three-story mansion built out of quartzite, located in Sioux Falls, SD. Alright, to the best of your memory what took place in that old house? And did you go there more than once?

J. P. Green: Two or three times.

Stark: Oh, okay.

J. P. Green: The first time that we went it was Mother's Day, I don't remember exactly what year, I think it was 2002. It was just a spontaneous thing, we were driving past there, and T_ _ _ had not seen the Pettigrew House, so I thought, "Oh, that'll be cool. We'll go in there." Because I had lived in that part of town, and I had heard the Pettigrew story. So we went in and we walked around the museum and then they had one of the docents take us for a tour.

Stark: What is a docent?

J. P. Green: A docent is somebody who takes you around the museum. The docent took us around the house portion of the museum. I should say here that when I was a kid the museum was more just a hodgepodge and very disorganized, but it had absolutely fascinating stuff in it, that the Pettigrews, the two brothers and other people in their family and associates had collected over the years. But you were not allowed to view or to go through the house, because at that time the curator of the museum was allowed to live on the second floor.

Stark: Oh, I see.

J. P. Green: At the time when I was a kid, the story was that there were strange happenings or hauntings in the house, so there was always this kind of little mystery of the Pettigrew House. And it wasn't just something that only kids knew about; it was something that actually had been known and investigated by people through the years, except it was not accepted at that time to be questing after paranormal things. At any rate, so we started with the docent through the house. And as we went from the kitchen area and passed the stairs that went up to the servants quarters and passed into the dining room area, I suddenly remembered that the house was said to be haunted. And I thought, "Oh, well, that'll be interesting. We'll just keep an open mind about it." So the docent took us from room to room and explained how the Pettigrews had lived in the house and what the uses of the rooms were. As we went and looked from the dining room area into the center sitting room area, all of a sudden I began to receive these impressions. I would see the room but I would see it with a different light on it and I would see different kinds of furniture in there. And I could sense presences, not necessarily anything identifiable at that point, but I could sense that we were not alone.

Stark: So it was a visual impression, but it was a feeling too?

J. P. Green: I don't mean to make it sound like I saw the room shift, but what I got was an impression. I know how vision works, so I received an interior picture of what this room had looked like in a previous time.

Stark: Oh, I see.

J. P. Green: At the time I just thought, "Oh, that's real interesting." You can kind of see why people would get the sense that this was a haunted house. I didn't really think any more beyond that point. Then we went over to the front sitting area and she began to explain how this had been where Senator Richard F Pettigrew's body had basically lain in state while people came and visited and said goodbye, which was the tradition at that time for how families took care of the final moments of people's lives, where they would die and then they would put them in the parlor, and people would come and visit them in the parlor, and then the family would go bury the body. Now, this had always been known as the Pettigrew House, but before that it was the McMartins' house, which I found out about later. Because when the Pettigrews finished using the house as a house, they basically willed it or granted it to something like the Historical Society, but it became a museum almost immediately, basically because the Pettigrew boys had put an enormous amount of time and energy into collecting all kinds of artifacts and memorabilia and things from places like Africa and Asia, and there were dinosaur bones and examples of fossils and examples of everything.

Stark: Really!

J. P. Green: They just had an enormous collection of stuff. At any rate, as the docent was talking about the front parlor, I got an interior picture of this whole thing, and quite a strong hit or emotional sense of Senator Pettigrew, and I could kind of feel his energy in this place, and how I knew it was his energy as opposed to somebody else's, I don't know. But again, I didn't react to that or see him or anything, but I could sense his presence. And we turned around and behind us there was the entryway area with a fireplace. And this little fireplace had a column next to it with a bust of Senator Pettigrew's brother, and I think his name was Frederick. And I got a huge hit off the statue! It was almost like this person, this individual was there. I mean, it was very very strong. The docent explained how part of the mystery of the Pettigrew House was that this brother Frederick had been with the Pettigrews at one point, I think he was visiting, and he had stepped out onto 8th Street, which was cobblestone at that time, and there were horse-and-buggies riding up and down the streets. Somebody came by, as he was standing out there having a smoke or whatever, and the thought is that they threw a stone, which hit Frederick Pettigrew and killed him.

Stark: Yikes.

J. P. Green: I had not heard that story before, but I thought it was very interesting. But the question remained, the docent said, whether or not Frederick Pettigrew had been murdered, because Senator Pettigrew was a pretty controversial person. Then she started talking about the area under the stairs which was a little washbasin area and how visitors would come and that would give them a place to wash up before they went in and spent time with the family. She explained more things as we went through the house, and as we went up the steps we approached the landing area where there are some stained-glass windows, and that's where I saw the first vision or impression of a woman coming down the steps. She was probably in her late 40s or early 50s. She was not fat but she was not heavy.

Stark: Did her clothing depict a certain time period?

J. P. Green: She was wearing what looked like a velvet gown with a kind of dusky purple- gray. And I got this hit, this feeling, how much she loved the grand entrance and how much she loved coming down the steps for a party, and how much she loved this house. And I thought, "Whoa!" Then that impression was gone and we continued up the stairs. And the upstairs had a lot of activity, a lot of feeling about what had happened there, and a lot of impressions, one of which there was a room that I later found out in my investigation had been kind of a storage room for the museum. But before that the Pettigrews had actually blocked it off because there were things that happened in that room that people didn't like or couldn't explain, so they closed the room off. The room basically had a rope that prevented people from going into it very far. So I stepped a couple steps up to the rope, and the room that I was seeing was not a room that I saw in my mind at all. In fact, later when I went back and checked it out on my second and third visits, I was amazed, because the room that I saw was kind of a minty-green color and there was a bed in it and there was a little boy who was obviously gravely ill.

Stark: This is the impression that you were receiving? Not actually happening.

J. P. Green: This is the impression that I received. He looked like he was on the verge of death. There was a man that I felt in the vision that was the doctor and a woman who was a significant woman in his life, his mother or aunt or something. Then the rest of the furnishings in the room were extremely different from what they were from when I went back. And I thought that was really something. And meanwhile the docent was just telling a story that I'm thinking just doesn't fit with my impressions. But the Pettigrews did not have children in the house, they were older. And this woman that I saw with the little boy, about nine or ten, she was probably in her early to mid-30s. At any rate, I just went on to the next room and the next and the next. I saw things about each room that were slightly different than what was strictly there. We finally got to the back porch area which had been converted into a walkway passage back into the museum. But at the time it was a back work area for the servants, and an area where there were chests of drawers and things for storage of the family clothing and items it carried. I turned this little corner and I looked and saw not what was there, but I saw a chest of drawers, probably from the 1800s, and it was fairly tall, probably six drawers high, and there was a servant girl in front of it. There was a basin and the servant girl was rinsing out a bloody cloth. And I thought, "Boy, what is that all about?" And I kept waiting for the docent to give the information that would explain that this is what had happened. And the only thing that I could figure was that somehow I was receiving impressions of things that had happened in the house.

Part Two: The Eerie Case of the Haunted Museum
Researching into the Unknown

Stark: Right. I wanted to ask, do you think these were imprints? Psychic recordings?

J. P. Green: Not so much as ghostly presences, but the impressions of the vibrations of what had happened in the house. Again, I got a hit from this servant girl that she was basically disgusted that she had to rinse out this very bloody rag, whatever it was.

Stark: Right. This could have happened a hundred years ago?

J. P. Green: It could have happened back then. The house itself was built in 1889, not by the Pettigrews, but by a family called the McMartins, Thomas B. and Jenny McMartin in fact. They had been an up-and-coming young family in the Sioux Falls area, and the reason that I ended up knowing about that family, not so much from what the docent said or much information about them from that side of things, but I did some research at the Minnehaha County Historical Society and looked into who had lived there, who were these people, and I had talked with the head director of the Society, and he had given me access to what records they had. I had to check these out and sit right there in the research area to look at them and I had to be extremely careful with the pages because some of the documents were fairly fragile. At any rate, after my experience at the museum I had then gone to see if any of this rung true or was valid. Because the docent was talking about the Pettigrews, these wealthy powerful people, but some of the things I was seeing did not have anything to do with wealthy powerful people, it was more like just a regular family. So in my investigation I found some possible links to the things that I had seen. So I found out quite a bit about the McMartin family. Anyway, I went back to the museum a couple other times, and the docent herself had heard and seen things that would be considered ghostly, but they were pretty much told not to bring this up unless somebody directly asked them about it.

Stark: So there were other people that had seen these ghostly things?

J. P. Green: Oh heavens yes! Over the ninety or so years since the house was built, there had been a lot of documentation, and there had been a visit by a local psychic, D_ _ _. The director of the museum suggested that I go talk to her and go see if anything that I had seen or heard that rings true to what she had seen or heard. So I called and talked with D_ _ _ and she verified a lot of the things that I had seen. But the vision of a young boy who was gravely ill, she had not seen that. But she said that "It sounds like you were picking up on the echoes of experiences that had happened in that house rather than ghosts."

Stark: Right, echoes, or imprints.

J. P. Green: But her word for it was just memories, I think she said, or experiences of things that had happened in the house. Oh, I didn't mention that the young mother had ended up killing herself and then shortly after that the father and the boy who was their only child had moved back to I believe it was Wisconsin. But what did come out in my research is that they had had a baby before, so there was a child. It was Thomas B. McMartin who built the house with his young wife, Jennifer, or Jenny. And their first child had died, and the records said that their first child had died of TB as a baby when it was just within a couple weeks old. The county had recorded it as a death from tuberculosis. But what I found funny was that I think they were basing that on the fact that when you went to the cemetery, and the marker is still there for this child, it says, "T.B. McMartin," and I'm thinking, "Do you think that they thought that TB was a diagnosis?"

Stark: (Laughs)

J. P. Green: Because it would be rare for a baby to die from TB, considering it still would have its mother's immunities from so short a time after birth. Anyway, when the second child was born, he had been named Thomas, and the middle name was the mother's maiden name, Byron or something, but I can't remember it right now. At any rate, it began to really fill my mind up, thinking about why Jenny had killed herself. So I began to get a lot of hits at times from just what she had experienced.

Part Three: The Eerie Case of the Haunted Museum
Analyzing the Impressions

Stark: Did your investigation reveal anything else, historically especially? Or any other impressions you received?

P.J. Green: Well, I still am very curious if there is any information about why Jenny McMartin killed herself. At one point I received a kind of a picture as I was looking into one of the rooms of her standing by a window, pushing the drapes aside with one hand, leaning her forehead against the window casement, and looking down past her I could see the buggy in the street with her husband and her son apparently leaving.

Stark: You actually saw them in the buggy leaving?

J. P. Green: Yeah, I saw them getting into the buggy and leaving. I got this sense of sadness and grief from her, and one can only guess what was going on there. But I know that in my research I had found out the family had a turn of finances sometime after the 1890s when there was a big economic downturn in society, and Thomas McMartin's business dealings had not gone well. And I think that's the point where he decided to go back to Wisconsin.

Stark: So he was actually leaving her? Or was he just going on a trip somewhere?

J. P. Green: I don't know. You can only conjecture what was going on there. I tried not to put too much interpretation on things, because to do that you inject yourself into it. If you can look at something and say, okay, this is what I think this is as opposed to this is what I saw. This is the detail that I saw, this is what so-and-so was wearing, this is what their attitude was, this is the emotional vapor, or whiff of the person's emotion. The more you can do that, the more objective you can be, the less of yourself you're imposing on the picture. So that's something that I learned from that experience, is don't stick yourself into the picture, don't make your sadness their sadness, or whatever.

Stark: So it sounds like you feel that all these impressions really weren't your imagination, that you were really seeing these things, that you were actually receiving valid impressions of something in that house.

J. P. Green: At the time I was kind of amazed by it all, sort of blown away by it and I thought, "Oh, this is really cool." And as I got more and more obsessed with it, it kind of like stopped being cool and then I was just confused, because I don't know. Was this real? Did I imagine it all and create this whole thing in my head?

Stark: Yeah, the doubts come in.

J. P. Green: Or, in the light of the fact that the psychic, D_ _ _, confirmed a lot of things that I saw and that my own research confirmed some things, I have to just place it in the category of: this is something that I experienced that seemed to be validated afterwards, and who knows what this was? This may really be some kind of connection to this early history of Sioux Falls.

Stark: So when these impressions came, it was more spontaneous, not like you planned to see anything.

J. P. Green: No, it wasn't like I said, "Oh, well, let's set this all up." As I crossed into the dining room I just said, "Well, let's just be open to whatever." And even at a certain point, I think it was probably in the dining room I asked the docent, "When I was a kid they said the house was haunted." And she got kind of a funny look on her face, and that's when she explained that they're not supposed to really talk about this.

Stark: Because it might scare people away?

J. P. Green: No, actually the opposite. People come in droves and they all expect to have ghostly experiences.

Stark: Wow.

J. P. Green: and she had been a docent there about five years, and she basically said that people come and this weird stuff happens, and if they don't have weird stuff happening, they say, "Well, where are the ghosts?"

Stark: You'd think there would be more of a fear factor there. But I guess not.

J. P. Green: Not really. It's more that crazies come, people who area little off-balance and read everything that happens as being a ghostly experience. But she had explained a couple of her personal experiences, like something upstairs, hearing thumping coming from one of the rooms, and just things like that that were unverified.

Stark: So I reckon you could officially call this a haunted house if people actually saw these things.

J. P. Green: Oh yes, it's considered a haunted house. Yes, absolutely. In fact, there's a trolley tour that goes around Sioux Falls before Halloween, and they charge something for it, but it fills up very fast and it's called the Haunted House Tour, or something like that. And it takes people to a variety of places, including the Pettigrew Museum.

Part Four: The Eerie Case of the Haunted Museum
Echoes in the Ether

Stark: I want to ask about your impression on what you called echoes, or memories, or imprints some call them. Do you think that when you see this, if it is one of these echoes, you think that maybe they are caused by some kind of extreme emotion? Or could it be just any old thing happening? What would trigger this, so that you could see such a profound vision or impression? Could anything cause it?

J. P. Green: It's just my opinion, but I think that, based on the things that I was saying, they were visions of pretty much everyday life. They did not seem to be extreme experiences, except for one or two of them, but basically they were just scenes of everyday life, and who knows why that is what I picked up on.

Stark: Okay. So it's not necessarily true that something highly emotional, like a murderer or something could've caused the echo?

J. P. Green: Like the build up of energy that you pick up on?

Stark: Yeah, the emotional energy that causes the imprint.

J. P. Green: I have heard that postulated as a theory through the years, and that is possible. But the things that I was seeing would not necessarily verify that. The things that I was seeing were emotional but not rising to the degree of something like a murder or a rape or something like that.

Stark: So the extreme emotional factor does not necessarily hold true.

J. P. Green: Well, in my opinion. Again, who knows? Who knows why I saw those things rather than the more dramatic events that happened in that house, I don't know. Because there were a number of other deaths in the place, but they were deaths like from tuberculosis, or just people dying in the normal course of their lives, like Senator Pettigrew. But I finally had to let it go, I had to turns loose of it. I still had all my notes and everything, but at a certain point it became too much of a passion for me to think about. I had better things in my life to think about and to take care of. At any rate, that was the McMartin/Pettigrews House experience.

Stark: Alright, that wraps up this interview. But the question remains, folks, when you visit a haunted house, and if you're picking up on weird ooky-spooky paranormal activity, is it due to actual ghostly presences at the moment, or just old echoes from yesteryears? Or are you seeing both? Perhaps an expert psychic can tell the difference in such cases. But from what J. P. Green has relayed in her fascinating account, it seems many of the impressions were indeed echoes from the past.

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