The Security Bank Building stands at the corner of Spring & 5th in downtown Los Angeles. Built in 1906, it was the tallest building in LA until 1911. In the late 1950s or early 60s, the financial district moved from the area, the bank closed and the building fell into disrepair. Designated a Historic Cultural Landmark in 2003, the building has since been renovated and now houses upscale lofts. However, the original bank vaults at the basement level were left untouched, slipping into dust and decay except for some modern plumbing, air ducts and electrical connections serving the lofts upstairs. It was into this tomb-like area that the LAGP descended late one January night, becoming the first paranormal group to investigate the 100+ year old structure. Joining us with our friend Susan who was excited as we were about an investigation in the bank building and offered to help us videotape.
After a tour of the level with the lights on to get our bearings and take photos — see the gallery below — we worked with the building’s security guards to shut off the power downstairs. One of them, Ricky, came down with us for a few minutes to check out what we were doing. When we turned off our flashlights to see just how dark it was down there, we heard a loud noise, which turned out to be Ricky rushing to put his back up against a wall! Ricky left us soon after, not wanting to be down in the basement in the dark. The guards and maintenance workers all had personal experiences down at the vault level, many involving the spirit of a banker who committed suicide during the Great Depression when he lost both his and many other clients money. It was his spirit we first set out to contact.
Outside the men’s bathroom where the banker’s suicide is alleged to have taken place, which also happened to be the furthest corner from the only entrance, we set-up our new toy: a green laser grid. Aimed at a thick metal door and the hallways on either side, it covered all three entrances to the area with a “mesh” of laser points. Turns out these are best viewed by the human eye as our cameras only picked up the brightest points. The idea is that if something solid or opaque crosses the beams we will see the movement. The grid was quite mesmerizing to watch in the darkness, something Susan offered to do while we conducted an EVP session in the bathroom itself.
The banker’s spirit supposedly is a bit of a trickster, liking to knock on closed doors, thus making the person present believe someone wanted in. The security guards told stories of a construction crew working in the area who often had this trick played on them. Unfortunately the building’s elevator shafts were in this area and they produced a very loud “ka-chunk-a-chunk” every so often. This had us jumping for a while before we got used to this noise.
We closed the main door to the bank area, which was in the laser grid and in line with the bathroom doorway, and we asked for the banker to knock. We may or may not have gotten a response: we are still reviewing all the media, but in person and on the video footage it sounds like someone knocked back, then knocked again when we asked it to. While sitting just outside the bathroom with Carol, Susan asked a couple of questions and they both heard a low, guttural reply. We will check the audio files and post if something does indeed show up. In this area we also had a couple of really random KII hits as well, for which we could not find a logical source. Nothing was seen in the laser grid, unfortunately.
After about 45 minutes in this area with little activity outside the first few minutes, we moved on to the side lobby. This was a room off the main lobby, separated from the main lobby by a sheetrock wall and door. As soon as we entered the lobby, I begin to get random KII hits again. The place was a vault, surrounded by marble, and we couldn’t find any electrical current sources outside of a low reading from conduit on the ceiling in a few places. So what was making the meter jump? It was quite puzzling.
This lobby was also the location of what seemed to be the creepiest room in the basement: the women’s bathroom. There was just an oppressive energy in the small room, with its intact mirror, two stalls and sharply angled entry. Susan & I ventured in….and came running back out a minute later after hearing what we think was a female voice. Feeling silly (there WAS a strange energy in there and it was making us nervous!) and gathering up our courage, we went back in. And then the KII hits began again. It appeared to be responding to our questions, so we invited our ghostly friend to join us back in the lobby. Here’s an early video excerpt of the type of “conversation” we were having:
The last incident involved the old “Shave and a Haircut” routine. I knocked the first part of the rhythm and we waited for a reply. Susan was standing just outside the side lobby area near the main corridor and she came running back in when she heard a distinct two-knock reply from the area to her right, just behind and outside the women’s bathroom. So we did it again, no reply. And then once more, with a distinct reply we all heard. Here’s the montage:
Wow. That was pretty cool. We’re working on getting more video of the investigation up on YouTube soon. We will update this page when we do.
Historic reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Street_Financial_District