Old Okeechobee Bank
March 26, 2013
After OPI conducted our initial investigation of the Old Okeechobee Bank last year, we knew we wanted to come back! There was definite paranormal activity, verified by our ovilus and cameras. This time, the whole team was there, and we had more equipment. The bank had been renovated to some degree. Beautiful murals decorate the windows and doors, depicting life in the first half of the 1900s. The storefronts show what was there at some point in time: bank, grocer, jeweler, and seamstress. The interior has been cleared of much of the debris, and the force has changed somewhat. There is more activity! At the start, Angel and I did our sweep. The Mel meter registered a 12.4 passing by the lights. Walking throughout the stores, our Mel meters spiked at 5. 0 in the back room, once occupied by the oil company. In other parts of the space, the Mel meter showed readings up to .9. I felt like I was being followed! Other than that, readings were 0.0 or 0.1. We set up cameras in the front office of the bank, the upstairs conference room, and two of the storefronts. I felt a touch on my face as I stood at the teller cage!
Dawn almost immediately felt drawn to the last storefront, the one that had no electricity. There was an angry man there, she told us. Angel was drawn to the closet, vault in the president’s office. We found a jug in there; giving validity to Dawn’s feeling that bootlegging was somehow involved with the old bank. Curiously, my EVP session in there yielded nothing! My camera recorded video, but no sound!
Dawn and I began our EVP session in the dark room while Greg, Beau and Angel took photos and Rob manned the monitors. In response to my query, “Is someone else here?” our EVP’s yielded the answer, ‘Yes, ma’am, someone.” Dawn believed a little boy named Francis was there, and that he was scared. She saw a man, too, and she didn’t like him. The ovilus voice the word: trap, flour, and dust. These were relevant due to the darkness of the room; the probability this once was a grocery store, and the very dusty surroundings! The ovilus also said ”loud” and it was indeed loud from the traffic going by. I spoke loud so as to be heard!
I decided to use the flashlight. I turned it on. When I asked if Frederick was with me, the light went out! During our conversation, another voice was heard on the camera. “Feel the power!” Was he the man Dawn saw? Dawn gave Frederick a piece of candy. We asked him what his favorite kind of candy was. When we asked about peanut butter and chocolate, the light responded “yes.” I asked him where he was from, but couldn’t get a clear answer. We asked about his mom, and he wouldn’t respond. When we asked, “Does it make you sad to talk about your mom?” the light turned on as a “yes.” During our conversation, Dawn ascertained the presence of another child, a little girl. She was Frederick’s twin sister. Frederick told Dawn he would like to cross over, with his sister. Our EVP gave us “little sista” in a young male voice! I assisted Dawn in the crossover, which only took a couple of minutes. The flashlight faded and went off, then on again, and then faded once more. I felt a touch on my wrist.
Other EVPs gave us the name Veda, the word or name Autumn, and “Get away!” When we asked if there were any women spirits, the answer was “No.” However, we did hear female voices in later sessions! When asked, “How many spirits are here?” someone replied, “She sent ‘em all away.” Clearly, not all of them were gone, or we wouldn’t have continued getting EVPs! Someone was perhaps trying to mislead us. When I asked, “How many of us are in the room?” our answer was “One boy.” Beau and I were together at the time, but I guess she wasn’t counting me!
The Mel meter chirped a bit, indicating a possible disturbance. When I asked, “Did you do that?” the response from the Spirit Box was “Maybe.” Another was “Not me.” As I ended the session, I asked as usual, “Do you have anything else to say?” Two voices retorted “Crap” and “F – – – – you.” Sessions wouldn’t be complete without a few of those!
Dawn told us she thought the bank was somehow involved in bootlegging, so we asked the spirits about it. “No!” was our answer from one of them. “What’s your favorite drink?” I continued. “Water! I want water” was the joking response! In the storage closet/vault in the president’s office there was a jug that might have held liquor at one time. We questioned the purpose of the room, since it had very thick walls. My EVP session in there gave us no answers since the sound somehow didn’t come through!
In the bank vault, I asked, “Can you see me in here?” The counter was, “No, ma’am.”
The Spirit Box gave us the name of John Ashley, leader of the gang that is said to have robbed the bank in the 1920s. He was something of a folk hero in the early 1900s, and nicknamed Swamp King. We did ask if any members of the gang were present. We also heard the names Robert and Bobby, another member and John’s brother. When asked if the girlfriend was here, we heard a male voice say, “My girlfriend, Go get ‘er.” A woman replied, “OK.” Laura Upthegrove was John Ashley’s girlfriend. There was some controversy about the death of the gang members at the time. I asked, “Is it true you were giving up your weapons?” “She knows,” was the answer. The gang was then laid out on the main street of Fort Pierce.
When I asked, “How many of you are here?” I had three responses: ” We’re not sure what to make of that. When asked if they like visitors, we hear “I’m not sure,” and “Come back.” “Tip off” and “Johnny’s” which are clues either to the Ashley Gang’s involvement or the bootlegging! Then there are the usual “F” words. I said, “What a rude thing to say!” We hear laughing on the Spirit Box!
In the office, I asked, “How many of you are in here with me?” “All of us,” was a female voice’s retort. When asked if anyone was here because of the bank, several voices responded “Not me.” We also heard “Get out,” and a woman said, “No.” Beau’s whistling got a “Got it and a “yeah” from two male voices. Also, “Go, Beau,” and “Stop it.” We asked for a name. “No.” “Give us any name,” we insisted. “OK, Cowboy.”
Clearly, there are many spirits present in the old bank and its satellites. We connected with some who let us know they were there and then left. There are bright orbs in many of the photos, including one that Dawn claims is angry. Maybe it’s the man from the last room, where Frederick and his sister were. We hope to return again to unravel the mysteries in the building that was once such an important part of the community.