Clay Haus Investigation

Note: Although PRSNA does not usually use psychics in our investigations, we did invite a "sensitive", Marcia, to this investigation just to see what her impressions might be. Although we cannot prove her abilities, Scott Snider was quite puzzled and somewhat amazed with the personal impressions that she picked up on with him.

Location: Somerset, Ohio

Date: Friday, November 1, 2002, approximately 10 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Moon Phase: New

Solar Weather: M Class solar flares, geomagnetic field unsettled, geomagnetic storm two days prior

Investigators present: Hillary M., Shonda A., guest investigators: Marcia, Brad, and Andy

Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, Kodak DC280 digital camera, RCA digital voice recorder, Sony digital video camera with Nightshot, Pentax PC-550 35mm camera, Extech EMF meter, Olympus 2000 Digital Voice Recorder, Sony Digital-8 Handycam, Extech IR thermometer

History: The history of the Clay Haus building can be found on the restaurant's website at The Snider family bought the building in 1979 and renovated it into the restaurant that it is today. Both Betty Snider (the owner) and her son, Scott (chef and manager) have seen apparitions here. Betty was sitting in the basement one night with a friend, when they both looked up and saw three men standing at the bottom of the stairway, staring at them as if shocked to see them! Betty saw the men in detail, but her friend saw three hazy forms. Scott, while working in the kitchen one night, looked up to see a woman standing in the dining room waving at him enthusiastically!
Several other experiences have been had here by the Snider family and Clay Haus employees including flashes or movement out of the corner of their eyes, strange noises, and feelings of not being alone in the room. Even Shonda, on our initial visit to the restaurant, felt the doorknob to the ladies' room turn under her hand, causing her to jump back suddenly, thinking someone was trying to open the door from the other side. When we opened the door to see who was there, we found no one.
Scott said that the activity tends to increase immediately before general, or personal disasters. For instance, the Snider's experienced a week or heightened activity before a tornado passed behind the building in a freak storm. They also experience activity before a faulty electric coffee pot sparked a fire in the second floor dining room. As a matter of fact, an employee was alerted to the fire when she saw a white light move across the room. Because of these harbingers, Scott believes that the ghosts have accepted them, and even look out for them. He also stated that the activity was steadily increasing in the days before we showed up to conduct our investigation.

Investigation: We (Hillary, Shonda, and Marcia) arrived at the Clay Haus around 8:15 p.m. for dinner. Around 9:30, we headed over to the Zane Trace Guest House to get settled while Scott Snyder closed down the restaurant. While we were in the guesthouse, Brad and Andy joined us. Eventually we returned to the Clay Haus, where we took control pictures and swept the building for EMF and temperature readings while Scott gave us a detailed tour. We then sat down in the first floor dining room to interview Scott.
At 12:20 I set up my infrared video camera in the basement, and at 12:35, we went up to the second floor dining room for an EVP session. Six minutes into the recording session, I felt the room get very cold. Marcia explained that there was a young girl playing around me, so Shonda and Brad began to take pictures. They took several pics of orbs around me during this time. About three minutes later, Brad stated that he was cold, and asked Shonda to take a temperature reading around him. She got a reading of 49 degrees, which was 15 degrees lower than the ambient air temperature! We obtained several pictures of a pink orb during this session. In many of the pictures, the pink orb was moving! A short time later, Marcia and I began hearing noises along the wall behind us. Shonda's camera revealed that there was an orb there. Ten minutes later, Marcia got an impression that a man had just come up the steps to scold the young girl for playing with us. After that, we got no more orbs on camera, so we headed down to the first floor.
We spread out within the first floor of the restaurant at 1:45 a.m. and attempted to get an EVP for about twenty minutes. Not only did we get no EVPs during this session, but we also got very few positive pictures. We all agreed that the place felt "dead" so we headed down to the basement.
Once in the basement, (at 2:10) Brad and Andy stayed in the bar area, Marcia stood near the doorway, and Shonda and I sat down in the dining room. Almost as soon as we started the recorders, Marcia stated that a man was "checking out" Andy in the bar area. Then Brad revealed that soon after turning out the lights, he saw a male figure standing near where Andy had been sitting, and thought that Andy had actually stood up. When he took a picture, he saw, in the flash, that Andy was actually still sitting, quite comfortably, in the chair.
At 2:19, we all began hearing noises in the men's bathroom, behind the bar area. This went on for a few minutes until Brad and Marcia went into the bathroom to investigate. While they were in there, Shonda's camera stopped working. When Brad and Marcia came out of the bathroom, Shonda and I moved into the bar area to discuss what we heard. A few minutes later, Marcia said that someone was in the stairwell doorway behind her. When Shonda turned to look, she saw a quick shadow in the stairwell. After a quick discussion, we decided that whatever was in the bathroom did not want us down there, so we thought we'd try the second floor again.
At 2:45, Shonda set up her video camera in the first floor dining room, and the five of us headed up to the second floor. We began to get moving orbs on our cameras almost immediately. Brad, who was sitting in the same spot in which I sat previously, began to feel very cold, and Marcia explained that the young girl was now playing with him. Unfortunately, about five minutes into the EVP session, Brad ran out of memory on his SmartCard, so he and Andy went downstairs to download his pics onto his laptop. Although Marcia, Shonda and I remained on the second floor, we noticed no further activity. By this time, it was well after 3a.m., so we decided to leave the Clay Haus and move three doors down to the Zane Trace guesthouse.

Conclusion: Based on the incredible number of moving orbs, especially pink ones, that we captured on three different cameras, we have to conclude that something paranormal is definitely going on at the Clay Haus. In some instances, we were actually able to track orbs moving across the room from three different vantage points on three different cameras. We believe, based on the activity, experiences, and impressions of several people, that there are at least three entities here: a young girl, a little boy, and at least one man. We expected the areas of highest activity to be the doorway to the kitchen and the basement near the doorway to the stairs. Instead, we found the most active areas to be the whole second floor dining room (but especially the area straight ahead and to the left when you come in the doorway) and the bar/men's bathroom area of the basement. The Clay Haus is, indeed, one of the most active places we have investigated. While most of the entities here did not seem happy about us being there, at least one (the young girl, maybe) seemed to want to communicate with us. In addition, although we still may not use "psychics" in our investigations in the future, we were pretty impressed with Marcia's abilities. We hope that the Snider family will allow us to continue to study the Clay Haus in the future.

Thanks very much to Scott Snider and the entire Snider family for their incredible hospitality.

Submitted by Hillary Murdoch

For additional information and pictures from this investigation visit The official website for Somerset, Ohio.