Editor’s Note: This is the first article of two about alleged paranormal experiences from people in your very own Magic Valley. We’re still collecting stories from residents. If you’ve had a weird experience, something you consider paranormal, we’d like to hear from you. Type “Ghost Story” in the subject line and send it to Andrew.Weeks@townsquaremedia.com

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Some people do not believe in ghosts or anything related to the paranormal. That’s OK. But there are others who, by personal experience, stand at the other end of the spectrum. While they might not have full answers to what they claim to have experienced, they know it was something that could only be described in the context of the paranormal.

In the spirit of Halloween (pun intended), we decided to gather personal stories about the supernatural from Magic Valley residents to share with our readers. Not all of the stories are scary, of course, because not all alleged paranormal experiences are spooky. But they are “ghostly.”

In this article you’ll meet the spirit of a deceased gentleman who still visits his wife when she least expects it; and you’ll read about the more unnerving experience of a man who summoned the spirit of an early 1900s murderer.

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A Comforting Ghost

Not all ghosts frighten people.

For Kimberly resident Melodi Brown, the supernatural experiences she’s had in her nearly 45-year-old home are comforting; they let her know that a loved one who passed away this past summer is still very close to her.

Her most recent experience happened earlier this month on a sunny Saturday in late October (Oct. 20), a blue-sky day in a month that is known for gray skies, ghostly stories, and Halloween scares. The experience Melodi was about to have didn’t turn out to be scary to her at all.

As Melodi busied herself with her usual morning routines, which included making coffee and booting up her laptop computer, she heard something in another room. She left her laptop, still turned off and unopened on the dining room table, and went to see about the noise. She found her answers soon enough.

The noise came from the printer, which had turned on by something unseen. But what surprised her even more was what it printed – a poem she had written for her husband, Jim Hall, who passed away earlier that summer, on July 4. Melodi wrote the poem and shared it at his funeral service, but the one that printed now was not the same one saved on her computer – the computer that was still left off and unopened on her dining table. The printer didn’t recall a previous request, because the poem was not something she tried to print recently; and the copy that printed was formatted differently than the one she had saved, with additional changes to it.

Did this experience scare her, make her feel uneasy?

“No,” she said – and it’s not the first time she’s experienced paranormal activity in her home. Melodi says supernatural occurrences have been happening at least once, sometimes twice a month, and when she least expects them. She doesn’t guess from whence they originate; she claims she already knows. It’s the spirit of her deceased husband.

“It’s actually quite comforting when they happen,” she said, “because they let me know that he’s still there.”

The Flying Chocolate Syrup Bottle

Jim Hall built the house he and Melodi lived in some 45 years ago. He built the house, lived in it, and eventually died there in his favorite chair at the dinning table. He liked his house, and he liked to fill it with items that could possibly be used at some undetermined time down the road.

Or as Melodi says of her late husband: he was a bit of a packrat, having some hording instincts. But what was she to do with all of that stuff now that he was gone? She discussed the topic with her daughter and son-in-law one time at the house not long after Jim’s body was laid to rest. They talked about getting rid of some of the clutter.

During the course of their conversation, which was at the table where Jim had passed, a bottle of chocolate syrup flew off the top of the refrigerator where it was stored. Melodi says it didn’t just fall to the floor, but flew across the room and landed on the counter opposite the kitchen’s stove.

The family knew right then that Jim was displeased with talk about getting rid of his belongings, and so for now at least, Melodi has kept the items and the topic of getting rid of them has never been brought up again. At least not in the kitchen area.

As for the significance of the syrup bottle, Melodi says her husband loved chocolate and used the syrup often.

“He was a chocoholic,” she said.

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The Scary Side of the Supernatural

Twin Falls resident Carlos Vera had a supernatural experience years ago that wasn’t happy or comforting, but it has taught him a lesson: don’t mess with a Ouija board, it’s not just a game.

It was a night in fall 2006 when he and his now ex-wife, living in Boise at the time and wishing for something to do, decided to “mess around with a Ouija board,” he explained. Using the planchet, he asked the spirits if anyone wished to speak. The planchet moved, spelling the word “jerk.” Vera said what he voiced apparently came from the netherworlds, because he started to say that he was the spirit of someone else, a person named John Jerko who lived in Twin Falls in the early 1900s. The spirit voice said that Jerko had killed a friend and, for his crime, ended up in the Idaho State Penitentiary.

Later, Vera’s wife decided to do some research to see if there really was a John Jerko. What she came up with was, yes, there was a John Jerko who, much like the Ouija had said, killed a business partner because of a dispute over a woman. Vera said Jerko was tried in Twin Falls County, and eventually taken to the state pen.*

At the time of the Ouija board experience, Vera didn’t know he was being used as a conduit for the unholy spirit. To this day he wonders what really happened that fall night 12 years ago when he and his then-wife, being a little bored, turned to another kind of board that very well may have channeled a spirit from the dark place.

“Did I make it up? Did I inadvertently channel this spirit?” he said. “All I know is I will never touch a Ouija board again. To try and put the spirit at rest we went and visited his grave in Boise. It was a rather spooky experience.”

* A reference that a quick search on the Internet provided came from HistoryLink.org, which in an article about another criminal activity explained that a man named John Jerko died on the gallows at the penitentiary on July 9, 1926.