Investigation at the Old Montana
Territorial Prison - April 16th, 2006
with West Coast Ghost Hunters
In September of 1999 in a city in western Montana Tortured Souls Investigations was formed. That city is Missoula and it's home to over 100,000 people and years of old west history.
TSI was Created by a father and son with an avid interest in the paranormal. Their names, Erik and Kris Bratlien. They started out watching shows like Sightings on Sci-Fi, Unsolved Mysteries, In Search of and anything related to ghosts. There has never been a question in their mind if ghosts exist or not, it's been a part of their every day life for the two paranormal enthusiasts.
In May of 1998 Erik's father passed away from cancer, and that's when the paranormal became more than just a hobby. Minutes before his father's passing the clouds parted and two sun beams came down to the porch of his parent's house where Erik and his Mother were taking care of his father. After his father took his last breath of life, the angel wind chimes hanging across the room started to move and make noise. There were no open windows, nor was the wind blowing outside.
On September 18, 1999 Kris turned 13. That night the two set out across town to St. Mary's the oldest cemetery in Missoula. They snapped some pictures took some video and they were hooked on the adrenaline rush. Every Halloween Erik and Kris would make a cemetery for decorations for their house . In 2000 Erik took a picture of the decorations and there was a shadow in the pictures that seemed to move in every picture but you could see through the shadow.
On Christmas in 2001 a picture was taken of the family and there is a reflection of an extra person in the TV that wasn't on at the time.
In 2003 Kris did a report in his US History class on ghosts. For his report they did a lot of research and spent a lot of time at St. Mary's. During all that research and time spent they took some pictures that turned out rather intriguing. They looked like light ropes that were strung up across the cemetery before the picture was taken. That's what really kept the two going. Just recently the group learned that the light anomalies in the first set of pictures could have been caused inadvertently by the camera but the debate still goes on.
The final copy of Kris's report was over 30 pages of stories, with local and national and pictures. The next semester Kris did a follow up report and interviewed some people in the community that have had experiences.
Kris had attended the Festival of the Book with his English class that same year and there was an author 'Ellen Baumler' from the Historical Society doing a reading from her latest book "Spirit Tailings." After the reading Kris introduced himself to her and showed her his pictures and from then on the kept in touch. Now, that Author Ellen Baumler is the Historian for TSI. The group continued there studies for the next year . In 2005 Kris planned to make a video on the paranormal for his psychology final. Kris called his father's best childhood friend Adam Rush to do the narrations for the video and he became a member of TSI. After months of research and planning investigations they went to their first location trying to find a reasonable explanation to anything paranormal they might find featured in the film located in Hamilton, MT.
In 1886 one of the original copper barons of Butte mining Marcus Daly, bought the mansion from Anthony Chaffin. The stories ranged from seeing Mrs. Daly walking the halls in a white dress to the smell of cigar smoke and the scent of roses in the winter. The group was able to capture a shadow pass in front of one the night vision cameras in the same place where Mrs. Daly is said to walk the halls. They also captured three orbs on video coming out of the wall and then disappearing again.
The next investigation featured in the film took place in Missoula, MT at Main Hall on the campus of the University of Montana. Founded in 1893 the old building has over 100 years of history. Some of the stories range from toilets flushing by themselves, hearing footsteps and practical jokes. There was even a security guard that states that he saw a guy walk out of the wall through a closed door. He no longer works there, he turned his equipment in the same night that he reported seeing the apparition. TSI went in and came out with and EVP and video footage of their motion alarms sounding by themselves with no one there.
The last investigation that appeared in the film happened to be the best. It was the Old Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, Mt. It was Built in 1871 by convict labor. Some of the roughest out laws in the wild west spent time there. There was over 80, 000 entrances over the 108 years that it was a functioning prison. The prison walls saw every emotion imaginable.
The TSI crew had no idea what to expect the night that they entered the Old Prison . As the night progressed there were two alleged attacks and half the team was plagued by intense migraines. Adam, Erik, and Erik's daughter Brooke, and Adam's son Tim captured a women's voice on audio in Maximum Security along with three orb's appearing out of nowhere then disappearing into two separate cells. Ironically Max used to be the women's section until 1959.
Kris and Cody witnessed and video taped a door open and close by itself there was no wind blowing at the time. The night proved to be a big success. After the video was completed , Ellen Baumler wanted to do a chapter of a nation wide anthology called "Ghostly Tales from America's Jails" The Old Prison ,and TSI decided to do a guided tour at night with a paranormal emphasis called "old prison ghost tours". They have been an overwhelming success, and will continue on into 2008 and beyond.
After an article about TSI came out in the University paper around Halloween, a local Archeology student contacted them with a story regarding a personal experience he had in Main Hall on campus. TSI met with him and Invited him along for our 59' Riot Anniversary Tours last April. After showing such enthusiasm with the group and dealing with unreliable members they asked David Dick to join TSI as the Tech Manager. David has a background in audio and visual technologies. Connie Burk from Butte went to almost every tour at the prison and always kept in touch with the group. Kris had brought up with his dad the fact that Connie is always at the tours, very enthusiastic and would be a great addition to the team so why not give her a shot. Right before they left for their Anniversary Tours the asked Connie to be TSI's Case Manager. Erik was put in touch with one of the newest members of the group by his boss from his day job. Kyle Solum is a very quiet but extremely intelligent not to mention hilarious. He came to TSI not really believing in the existence of ghosts, but after a few investigations and personal experiences under his belt he is a little more open minded now. TSI is in the Process of inducting a few new members Mike Nason and Hank D. Mike is a psychology major and will be a good addition to the team in scientific sense. Hank is the man behind the website and online ventures. All will be great additions to the team if they are inducted to Tortured Souls Investigations.