Casefile: Pennsy Caboose

October 3rd, 2008
7:00pm - 11:00pm

Investigators Present: Rob, Ilka, Don, Patty, and Amanda

It was a chilly early autumn evening when we met up with the members of the Trotwood Historical Society at the Iams Homestead. A very thorough tour of the entire house and barn lasted nearly an hour and a half. After a brief discussion of the house, we adjourned to the caboose that sat about a half mile up the road at the corner of Broadway and Main Streets.
The unassuming train car sits kitty-corner on some tracks behind a replica of an old depot station. Ralph Kuester of the Trotwood Historical Society unlocked the caboose then stood and eventually sat on the steps and proceeded to talk about what he knew had happened while they had possession of the caboose.
After receiving it in 1992, they made some attempts to paint the inside after fully restoring the exterior. Something apparently went wrong in this process because when they tried to apply paint to the western part of the car, it would flake off. A man (Gene Whipp) was called in to sandblast the inside so they could start the process anew. His claim was that there was a spirit attached to the caboose which he knew because he could communicate with Spirit.
Some fuss was made, someone from the Dayton Daily News got wind of the story (but it was never printed), and Chris Woodyard came to investigate the car with a few friends. According to Ralph, they weren't in there very long when one of them came stumbling out claiming she'd never step foot in there again. They picked up on a man...angry man, and they said you've got to get rid of him--and gave instructions how to do it. Gene heard them saying this and disagreed. The spirit was waiting for some celebration before he would go.
Needless to say, I was apprehensive about investigating a rail car because it's so small and confined. Ralph, Ilka, and I went in for the first hour of investigating. I was doing EMF sweeps when I came upon a spike of up to 4mg on the meter. This only happened in the western corner, right where they claimed the ghost was. Ralph called for the rest of the historical society to come see, "They've found the ghost!"
I continued with the investigation, taking notes on the EMF spike (everything else was flat) as well as temperature changes. I had Ilka take some photos, but the camera failed (needed a "reboot"). I grabbed my infrared handicam and made a sweep of the interior after which I sat the camcorder down, facing the EMF spike corner.
Turning on my digital audio recorder, I urged Ilka to start asking questions. Unfortunately, due to the close proximity to the road and traffic noise, nothing of value was picked up on any audio. It wasn't very long before Ilka and Ralph left and Don, Patty and Amanda came in along with Phillip Kleinhenz. During the brief time I was alone in the caboose, I asked a couple pointed questions of the spirit, hoping to receive some answer but got no responses.
The second hour revealed a smaller EMF spike near the pot belly stove and a very interesting temperature fluctuation in the EMF Spike Corner. The temperature went from 70° to 44° in the matter of one minute. Photos were snapped (with more, dust), and an EVP session was started by Amanda asking some questions.
Overall, this investigation came up empty. Aside from some weird EMF and temperature, we only have Patty's "cold chills" during the EVP session when Amanda asked the spirit to touch one of us to go on. It would be nice if we could get back in there and do another smaller scale investigation much later in the night where traffic noise wouldn't come into play.
As of this writing, Don has still not heard anything from CSX on the history of the caboose. In an email from the makers of the rust dissolving product, they claim that there is no reason for the paint to chip. [We already knew this.] According to DOW Chemical, an electrical charge on the metal can, over time cause the paint to flake off. This could be one possible explaination of why the paint is flaking.