Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our friend Sherri is in the Akron-Beacon Journal Today!

If you have the chance to go on a ghost hunt with Sherri, we HIGHLY recommend it. She is someone that explains the history of the location and not just a "ghost story". Plus, she's a great person to learn from. The following article appears in the Wednesday, September 3, 2008 Akron-Beacon Journal.
Ghost hunt delves deep into darkness

Canal Fulton woman takes riders on a paranormal adventure via bus

By Kim Hone-McMahan
Beacon Journal staff writer

POSTED: 12:14 p.m. EDT, Sep 03, 2008

At twilight on a recent summer night, three dozen people formed a half circle around the woman wearing a long cape. She placed a lantern on the ground, illuminating the faces of the curious.

Sherri Brake-Recco explained that 21 men died here in 1779. The place is Fort Laurens, in an area now known as Bolivar. Among the burial sites found on the grounds was a mass grave that contained the remains of at least 13 soldiers who were killed by Indians during an ill-fated wood-gathering party. Years ago, their bodies, and others, were exhumed and placed in the walls of the museum on the property in Tuscarawas County.

''Here lies the remains of American Soldiers...''

Pvt. Adkins

Pvt. William Cleveland

Pvt. Greenbury Shores

On and on . . .

''Some people say that on the site of massacres, there is an energy that's left behind,'' said Recco, a paranormal investigator who encourages the ghost hunters to explore the site.

Recco is the owner and operator of Haunted Heartland Tours, voted among the top 10 best ghost tours in the nation by those who submitted their favorites to New Orleans' Haunted American Tours, an online resource for ghost stories and other creepy things.

The friendly 44-year-old Canal Fulton woman is a combination investigator, historian and storyteller. Each year she averages about 120 events, which include presentations and tours offered throughout the year — not just at Halloween. And because preservation of historical sites takes precedence over everything else she does, a portion of her proceeds is donated to the various organizations such as historical societies that have helped make her presentations and tours such a success.

During a recent local tour, she explained to the more than three dozen men, women and teenagers on board a luxury bus that she began investigating the paranormal 26 years ago. But because she feared they might think she was evil, she kept it from her family and friends.

''Nothing could be further from the truth,'' she said, the cross, attached to her bracelet, dangling in the light of the setting sun.

As a small child, she had an invisible playmate. And when she learned to read, she loved books about UFOs, witch trials, ESP, magic, the paranormal, ghosts and folklore. As a young teen she dabbled in investigating haunted locations, documenting her first paranormal investigation at a house in Stark County in her early 20s.

''I approach everything from a rational standpoint,'' she explained. ''I love blending science into our tours and handing out investigative equipment for the participants to use. Even the skeptics love that.''

At the Massillon Cemetery, beneath a full moon, she told the group about dowsing rods. Ninety percent of people have the ability to use them, she explained, standing on a path she refers to as mausoleum row. Holding L-shaped rods, made of coat hangars, she offered them to the group.

''Whatever you are looking for you will find. If you are looking for water, you will find it. If you are looking for an underground cable, it will be there. If you forgot where you buried your dog, you will find the poor fella with a dowsing rod,'' she teased. ''But tonight we are not looking for those things. We are looking for bodies.''

On her Web site, Recco writes that there is nothing evil about the rods. They will not make you lose your hair or your job and there are no hidden powers, she explained. Instead, the user focuses on his own extra sensory perception. And when he focuses and concentrates, it's possible to accomplish great feats.

The anxious participants walked with a rod in each hand. Frequently, the rods crossed, presumably indicating that what they were looking for had been found.

''I'm going to make a set of these,'' squealed Malvern's Sherri Troyer.

The next stop was Rogues Hollow woods and Cry Baby Bridge in Wayne County's Chippewa Township. Before stepping off the bus, she gave eachsleuth an EMF, or Electromagnetic Field Detector, a modern-day ghost researcher's tracking device.

''No, these are not stud finders,'' Recco chuckled.

''They wouldn't detect a stud on this bus,'' quipped someone from the back.

The tour guide explained that the valley earned its name during the 18th century. Men who worked in the coal mines were famous for their barroom brawls and roguish behavior and spread rumors of wild goings-on in the area.

Among the undocumented legends is the story of a witch who tossed her newborn baby from a bridge that runs over Silver Creek. Another is the tale of a family crossing the creek in a buggy. One of the children was lost in the raging waters. And, thus, the rumor that on a quiet night, it's possible to hear the voice of a crying child.

Everyone listened. The rippling water of Spring Creek, and the noise from a nearby train, were the only sounds.

Recco told the group that there were paths leading into the woods that were lit by lanterns, but the deeper they explored, the fewer the lights. Anxious to test their detectors, the amused explorers scurried into the woods and nearer to the waters beneath Cry Baby Bridge.

The occasional screams and shrieks made Recco smile.

''Everyone have fun tonight?'' she inquired after her clients boarded the bus.

They vowed to return for another adventure.
Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or

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