Call them ghosts or spirits, but they have made their mark in some of Valencia County’s most notable establishments. Many say they’ve seen or heard them, but are they really there?
Ronnie Torres had a few paranormal encounters during his time at the Belen Harvey House Museum.
About seven years ago, during the Festival of Trees event, Torres would go to the museum at night by himself. He would make the trek to the second floor to decorate the trees.
“One night, I was up there and I could hear some conversation and laughing downstairs. I thought somebody must have come in,” Torres said.
He thought it was strange because of the late hour, but he went back to his tasks, until he heard it again.
Torres couldn’t understand what was being said, only that it sounded like a couple of ladies conversing. He wanted to go downstairs and let whoever was down there know that he was upstairs so he wouldn’t startle them.
“When I went downstairs, no one was there,” he remembers. “The doors were locked, the lights were off, so I was the only one there.”
Torres said it wasn’t scary for him because he felt like there was good energy there.
“I said out loud, ‘If there’s anybody here, let me finish decorating the trees and then you can put the star on top.’” Torres said with a chuckle.
In another instance, Torres was upstairs again. At the time there were bars at the entrance of most of the rooms.
“I was standing there, looking at the shadow from the light, and the figure of someone walked across that shadow,” Torres said.
No one was supposed to be in the Harvey House at that time, so he went to the next room. Again, the room was empty, the doors were locked.
“It couldn’t have been a shadow from a bird or anything because we had the windows completely covered with Styrofoam,” he said. “The shadow would’ve had to been made from someone walking through the light in the room.”
Paranormal investigators have gone through the museum and confirmed the upstairs is a “hot spot” for ghost activity.
“There’s been quite a few people who have experienced something in there,” Torres said. “That’s where the idea for the annual ghost-hunting tour came from.”
Cynthia Shetter, the director of the Los Lunas Public Library, is no stranger to paranormal experiences at the library.
Shetter recalls a specific instance years ago during the summer when something unexplained occurred.
“One day, this Native American man came in and was wearing a duster (an ankle-length coat) with tall boots,” Shetter recalls. “He looked like he came straight out of a history book.”
Shetter started watching the man as he was sitting near the reference desk looking through books.
She said there was another man with him but the first man stood out to her.
“I saw them walk up and go to another room,” Shetter said. “When I got up to follow them, I could not find them. I came back and asked staff where those men went, and everyone asked, ‘What guys? We never saw anyone sitting right there.’”
Shetter didn’t think much of it until something similar occurred later, when another employee started seeing the same man with a similar description that disappears.
“We are the only two who have seen this man,” Shetter said.
Paranormal investigators have come to the Los Lunas Public Library to see if they can find evidence of spirits.
“They set up cameras and they caught orbs during the day,” Shetter said. “Then we did it at night and they caught a bunch of orbs. They said everywhere I walked there were several orbs following me.”
Orbs are circular particles on an image that can be created from a reflection, dust, water droplets or particles floating in the air.
In paranormal investigations, ghost hunters believe orbs that remain in a series of photographs can be manifestations of ghost energy.
For Halloween one year, Shetter and the staff decided to have paranormal investigators go through the building after hours to see what they found.
“Everyone is always freaked out by the teen room,” Shetter said. “They don’t like to be back there by themselves; staff doesn’t like to work in their alone; people hear books moving and things like that.”
The investigator did a walk-through of the building and was drawn right away to the teen room. The group of people there entered the teen room and stood in a circle.
“The hair on the my neck stood up and I got goose bumps and said, ‘Here they come.’”
Shetter believes everything she has encountered so far is good.
“It felt like a rush of puppies coming up to greet me. It was like whatever was there that night was happy to see me.”
There used to be a large tree behind the library building. Shetter said it had indentations from where a rope was — it was a hanging tree.
The investigator had an Ovilus, which is an electronic device used for paranormal research. It is a radio that can detect electronic voice phenomena (EVP), which allegedly record spirit voices.
“We’re in there and the Ovilus is picking up the words ‘upstairs’, ‘hiding’ and the name Rose.”
The site of the library was once the site of the 1875 courthouse. It was made of adobe and was a two-story building. Later, it was turned into a hotel once the courthouse moved.
“The person who purchased the jail and the courthouse was Diego Aragon,” Shetter said. “He had a daughter named Rose.”
Shetter has a theory regarding the ghost that supposedly haunts the Luna Mansion as well.
“There is a woman and they always say it’s Josefita, but she lived her last years on Coronado Island. So why would she haunt the mansion?” Shetter asked. “I think it could be Amalia Jaramillo Luna, who was Tranquilino Luna’s wife and one of the first residents there.
“It’s rumored that she committed suicide there, but she was buried in consecrated ground so that would rule it out, but they had a lot of money so we don’t know. To me, if she died in the house, she would be the one there.”
Shetter asked the Sullivans, who were previous residents of The Mansion, if they had ever experienced a woman in their home, and they confirmed to her that they had.
Shetter described an experience at the Luna Mansion during a dinner with colleagues.
One of the women went to use the rest room and was waiting outside of it.
“I go over and tell her there’s two stalls inside. She said, ‘Whenever I went to go in, someone pushed the door back on me.’”
Shetter opened the door and no one was in there.