Paranormal activity plagues 85-year-old garage in East Brady

Ron Kirkpatrick in his garage in East Brady. Tuesday October 29, 2013
Ron Kirkpatrick in his garage in East Brady. Tuesday October 29, 2013
Photo by Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 10:03 a.m.

Butler County resident Ron Kirkpatrick never works alone in his garage along Third Avenue in East Brady.

Several spirits are said to occupy the 85-year-old garage, which formerly housed Quaker State and Atlantic service stations, according to Kirkpatrick, 46, of Mars, a retired member of the Air Force.

Today marks exactly eight years since Kirkpatrick purchased the building, which sat vacant for nearly a decade prior. It has yielded multiple, unexplainable encounters with the paranormal, he said.

“I'm not into the paranormal at all, but the paranormal is into me, I guess,” Kirkpatrick said. “There are people who have come in here and seen things and won't step foot in the building again.

“A lot of people have seen stuff, and it seems to go on all the time.”

Several unexplained events happen in the shop, from items being moved out of place, to the radio and lights being turned on and off, and the security system triggering randomly, he said.

Kirkpatrick said he's received reports of three full-bodied apparitions appearing in the shop — a man in a black duster, an older gentleman in coveralls and a man with a burnt and disfigured face.

During his lone encounter with a full-bodied apparition, Kirkpatrick said, he saw the man in the duster standing in the parking lot. When Kirkpatrick started walking toward the figure, he said it looked at him and vanished.

“It blew my mind because I'd never experienced anything like that before,” he said.

Although he cannot explain the man in the duster, Kirkpatrick said he found reports of two work-related deaths in the building.

In the mid-1950s, Kirkpatrick said an explosion occurred in the shop when a worker was working on a truck with a welding machine and the worker died. Years later, another worker was killed when the hydraulics failed on a lift, he said.

Mark Keyes, co-founder and director of the Lackawanna County-based Pennsylvania Paranormal Association, said paranormal activity has been reported throughout history, but there has been a recent surge in reports of hauntings.

“They're very common, and it might be because we're seeing higher quantities on television and more people are now coming forward to report activity,” Keyes said.

Paranormal activity can happen anywhere, but is most common where significant, emotionally charged events, both pleasant and tragic, occurred, Keyes said.

“These type of events can become embedded in the environment,” Keyes said.

In addition to reports of full-bodied ghosts, Kirkpatrick said, his security system frequently picks up paranormal anomalies, including orbs, mists and light rods, which are typically considered spirits attempting to manifest themselves.

Kirkpatrick said a team of paranormal investigators visited his shop several years ago and managed to take pictures of several orbs and record voices.

Keyes said orbs, mist and other anomalies could be byproducts of paranormal activity, but it is important to remain skeptical of photographs documenting these events.

“Most of what people see is just dust or other particles in the air and can be re-created on demand, proving it's not a spirit,” Keyes said. “Orbs and dust can be hard to distinguish because they both reflect light.”

Although most people are creeped out by the paranormal activity in the garage, Kirkpatrick said it's never really bothered him. Although he has no intention of selling the garage, Kirkpatrick said he's sure he wouldn't be able to find a buyer.

“I've had people who looked at it but won't buy it because of the stories they've heard,” Kirkpatrick said. “Someone who is interested in the paranormal might want it — they could have some real fun with it.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or

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