Every night when he got ready to go to bed, Hawkeye baseball player Trevor Kenyon usually left his TV on the Big Ten Network. One night, he decided to fall asleep to FX.
When he returned to his room after brushing his teeth, he discovered his TV had been changed to BTN. Kenyon turned the TV off and put the remote on the floor next to his bed. When he rolled over, he discovered the remote next to him on the pillow. After that, Kenyon turned the TV back on to BTN and let “Tim” watch sports as he fell asleep.
Kenyon, along with five other members of the Iowa baseball team and one club hockey player, recently learned they might not be the only ones living in their house on North Dubuque Street. A local paranormal-investigating task force claims to have confirmed the residents have two spirits in their house. One, an older, grandfatherly figure — whom the guys have named “Tim” — roams the halls and rooms of the three-story house. Another, a younger girl, stays put in one particular room of the house.
“We’ve lived here over the past two years,” junior pitcher Aaron Smit said. “But over the past few months, we noticed things getting a little bit weird. We had a kid in here who thought he saw a ghost — a shadow in a form of a human.”
That experience made Smit, and the rest of his roommates, think about some other not-so-normal things that have happened in their residence before.
“We thought about how [baseball player Taylor Zeutenhorst] said he saw a little girl in his bedroom,” Smit said. “There was a time in the morning where someone was slamming the door, and we heard sprinting up the stairs. Everyone assumed it was me, but I told them I was in bed.”
One of the more peculiar stories comes from a room in the attic of the house. Kenyon, a junior catcher who has lived in the furnished attic all year, said that for whatever reason, there were times he couldn’t find the energy to leave his bed or his room.
“I never wanted to leave the room. I had no motivation,” he said. “I usually have high energy. I would get depressed — be in there moping around, wondering, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ ”
Other teammates who have lived in Kenyon’s room in the past have told him they experienced similar things and feelings of exhaustion while in the room.
The baseball players said they were puzzled by all the strange happenings, and it wasn’t until they had an unexpected visitor to their house that they thought of the possibility of a ghost.
They said one day, a man around 50 years old showed up at the house, saying he was a former tenant there who wished to walk around. As the guys were showing the man the house, he said it had been a funeral home in the 1920s.
“Things had been happening for a while, so after that, we decided to call someone,” Kenyon said.
The Davenport native scoured the Internet for someone who might be able to confirm or deny the presence of a ghost or otherworldly spirits in their home. He came across the Facebook page of Paranormal Activity Support Team. The group of four women, three with jobs working in labs in the area and one a business owner, investigate paranormal happenings for free in Iowa as a hobby.
“We did an interview first,” group member Lacy Benter said. “We thought, ‘Is this for real? They might be yanking our chain.’ It was a group of college guys, after all. But we went there, and they were all excited about it; they were pumped. Everyone had a story.”
All four members of the paranormal group entered the house with their equipment to see if they could confirm or deny the presence of a spirit, or spirits, in the house. The tools they brought included thermometers, infrared cameras, voice recorders, dowsing rods, and equipment to detect electromagnetic fields.
They said that the temperature drops dramatically in a room if a paranormal spirit is around — the reason for the thermometers. The recorder is for catching sounds they may not have heard while conducting an investigation, but for this case, group member Sandy Marler said, the dowsing rods were the tools the members used most.
She said they had some of the members of the house hold a rod in each hand and ask a supposed spirit a question. If the rods crossed, that meant a spirit answered the question with “Yes,” and if the rods moved apart or outward, that meant “No.”
“We did find there are two spirits staying there,” Marler said. “We got information that there was an older, grandfather-like gentlemen and a little girl around the age of 10, but they were not related.”
Kenyon told them about the problems he was having in his room, and they had a simple solution: Ask the spirit to stop stealing his energy.
“I don’t think he was trying to take his energy to be mean,” Benter said. “Sometimes, to get attention, they take energy. It can be harmful to people; they can get ill or be overcome with severe depression. I don’t think this one meant it to be harmful, but some do.”
Dowsing rods in hand, Kenyon asked the spirit Tim if he would stop draining him of his energy. The rods crossed “Yes,” and Kenyon said he hasn’t had a problem with a lack of energy since.
“Before, if I didn’t set an alarm, I wouldn’t get out of bed until 2 p.m.,” he said. “Now, I don’t need to set an alarm. I can get up at 8 a.m. naturally.”
The paranormal group members determined that the spirits are not out to harm any members of the house. The baseball players decided that they have had enough of the paranormal, though, and decided not to renew their lease for next year. A new group of young men will be tasked with sharing the house with two apparent non-rent-paying entities for at least the next academic year.
The players could take measures to rid their house of the spirits, but because no harm has been done, they have decided to let their guests be.
“I’m on Tim’s good side,” first baseman Brian Niedbalski said. “I want to leave it that way.”