Searching for signs
‘Many of the owners described the strange things that go on here’
BY RYAN CLARK | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
MASON – Right there, Sally says, pointing to a spot on the floor.
That’s where it happened.
That’s where, more than 100 years ago, a woman was murdered, beaten to
death with wood from the fireplace.
Now, the spot is covered with tables and chairs.
Patrons come to drink tea and eat scones. And listen to Sally tell the
gruesome story. They hear what locals say happened after the woman was
buried. About the cemetery and the house.
Here’s a hint: They say the woman doesn’t rest in peace.
That’s what got Sean Feeney and Brandon Kurtz interested. Both 19, they
founded the Anomaly Response Network, a paranormal investigating group
based in Covington. They want to figure out what’s going on. Sally
tries to explain.
“I didn’t know the legend firsthand,” Sally Gasior says. She opened up
the Tea Roses Tea Room & Gift Shop at 101 E. Main St. in Mason.
But now, “We’ve got a lot of interesting stories about this place.”
Gasior had heard the story of 60-year-old Rebecca McClung, found dead
in her room in 1901. According to newspaper reports, McClung was a
beautiful woman who was known to wave to passers-by from her window in
the McClung house. It’s that house – a two-story brick structure with a
basement – that later went through several owners and uses.
Last spring, Gasior began renting the space.
“Many of the owners described the strange things that go on here,”
Gasior says. “I guess I was a skeptic. I thought people were just
“Now I think I’m a believer.”
So are her family and friends. Now they join those in town who talk
about Rebecca’s ghost. They celebrate it.
So when Gasior got the call from the Anomaly Response Network, she said
they could investigate.
After all, who better to find out more about a ghost?
ENTER THE NETWORK
Feeney opens the silver briefcase, which looks like something Will
Smith would carry in “Men in Black.”
In it are several pieces of equipment: a digital camera, video cameras,
recorders and a device that monitors electro-magnetic, radio and
microwave frequency readings.
Feeney grabs a camera and heads to the basement. The hunt is on.
A Holmes High graduate, Feeney takes computer engineering classes at
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., while working
He and his friends have long been interested in the paranormal.
“We were always interested in ghosts, UFOs, anything out of the
ordinary,” Feeney says, descending the stairs. “So we started the group
to try and investigate those things.”
He and Kuntz, a graduate of Scott High School, started the group in
middle school. Through the Internet, it has grown to about 40 members
Over the years, they have investigated about 10 sites, Kuntz says. But
few have provided the history and the number of witnesses that Tea
Many of the witnesses were here on a recent night having a tea party in
honor of Rebecca’s ghost. They gather and sip, chatting about their
run-ins with what they believe is her spirit.
Everyone has a story.
Gasior’s friend, Linda Wilt, says she saw a dark figure walking
upstairs. “Almost like a shadow,” she says. “But I was alone on that
Another friend, 15-year-old Julia Hall, says she was in Rebecca’s room
an object rolled across the floor and disappeared, then a chair fell
over. “We have no idea what that was or how it happened,” she says.
In just the few months since Gasior opened the tea shop, she has seen
enough to make her believe. Objects being lost, only to be found in
other places. Windows left closed, only to be found opened.
Two cast-iron grates covering fireplaces cracked and fell to the floor
– repairmen say they’re not sure how that happened. And motion detector
sensors have gone off at least three times, alerting police – even
though there was no sign of anyone entering the shop.
“We have a saying – ‘We give Rebecca the credit and the blame,'” Gasior
says. “We want to make it clear we don’t want to upset her. We like
her. We just think it would be nice to have something to point to, to
show everyone that yes, she does exist.”
Enter the Anomaly Response Network.
‘AN OPEN MIND’
Feeney and Kuntz set up their cameras.
One video camera is placed in the basement, another on the second
Audio recorders are set up as well.
They decide not to put a camera on the ground floor because of the
party. Too many voices. Too much activity.
Downstairs in the cold, concrete basement, they set up equipment
against the bare walls and explain why they hunt for the paranormal.
Kuntz says they were both about 13 and in the living room of his
parents’ home in south Covington when a freestanding lamp turned on by
The house has a history of strange occurrences, Kuntz says, but that
was the most unsettling.
“It wasn’t like it was a short in the wiring or anything,” he says. “It
had a knob that you twist to turn it on, and we heard the knob twist,
and the light came on.”
Shortly thereafter, the Network began. Being young is an advantage.
“Young people can see things with new eyes,” Feeney says. “They can
keep an open mind to things that adults may explain away.”
Kuntz says when faced with a paranormal experience, people choose one
of two paths.
“As you get older, you learn to either ignore it, or you get interested
in it,” he says.
And the two admit they would love to see something, anything, to prove
that ghosts exist.
But they have never caught hard evidence on tape – not even at Wilder’s
legendary Bobby Mackey’s Music World, known to be one of the most
haunted places in the country.
“We hope to capture something,” he says. But, “we want to be
They have seen some oddities – mists caught on video in graveyards, for
But nothing concrete, like an object flying through the air for no
Maybe this night they missed something.
The tea shop has several rooms for eating or sipping beverages with
friends. Gasior says the children’s room is popular for birthday
parties. But one of the most popular rooms is Rebecca’s. People know
the story, and they want to see where it happened.
According to accounts in The Enquirer, Rebecca McClung’s body was found
on the floor of her bedroom April 12, 1901. She had gaping wounds in
her head, and almost all the bones in her face were broken.
Police said her husband, 74-year-old John McClung, had blood on his
clothes and hands. Bloodstained pieces of wood were also found on the
But at the trial, many of his friends testified to his character. He
was found not guilty.
He died of heart disease at 78 and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery,
next to his wife.
Unlike most legends surrounding ghost stories, there is no doubt that
Rebecca’s murder happened, and the newspaper stories prove it. It’s
what happened after. As reports of strange things began to filter out
of the McClung house, many locals blamed them on Rebecca’s displeasure
at being buried next to her husband.
“Even those who work at the cemetery say they’ve seen a woman in
old-fashioned clothes walking around there,” Gasior says. “She has
asked where Rebecca is buried, but then she disappears.”
Walking around the rooms of the tea shop, Feeney monitors a device that
measures electro-magnetic frequencies.
“It gives us a true magnitude rating,” Feeney says. “If the needle
jumps, indicating a change, the theory is that could be an indication
of some ghost activity. But we’ve yet to catch anything that way.”
It doesn’t work this time, either. The needle jumps, but only because
of appliances in the kitchen.
Room by room, Feeney and Kuntz go, but nothing registers as strange.
Finally, they emerge from the basement. Nothing. They put the device
back in the silver case.
As the party continues in a dining room, Feeney and Kuntz walk to the
cemetery nearby to take photos of the McClung gravesite.
The entrance to Rose Hill Cemetery is foreboding, especially at night.
Marked by trees and stone columns, it doesn’t take long to find the
cluster of McClung graves.
After a few pictures of the modest markers for Rebecca and John
McClung, the pair heads back to the tea shop.
Feeney says he expects to be investigating these kinds of stories for a
He’s taking courses at college that could help – projects which could
develop computer software to aid in paranormal studies.
“My uncle got me into investigating. He started the now-defunct UFO
Investigations League. And my parents encourage this – they always say
‘Go out and catch something.'”
This time, Feeney and Kuntz might have been at the wrong place at the
‘THE PUMPKIN. IT MOVED.’
They walk in the back door of the shop. “You won’t believe it,” says
Sonya Hall, one of those at the tea party. “The pumpkin. It moved.”
In the dining room, where several people are still drinking team, she
points to decorative pumpkins on the mantle.
“One of them jumped into a woman’s lap,” Hall says.
Others say the woman was drinking tea when a pumpkin, placed almost
four feet away, fell into her lap.
They try to re-create a way in which the decoration could have fallen,
ending up such a distance away.
It can’t be done.
Feeney looks to Kuntz.
“I guess we should’ve placed a camera in here,” he says.
THE SEARCH CONTINUES
After several hours, the investigation is finished.
Feeney and Kuntz return home to check their tapes and pictures.
They hope to find some evidence that Rebecca’s ghost exists, something
they can report back to their Network peers.
They find nothing.
“In total, two hours of film and 1.5 hours of tape were recorded,”
“A careful review of this evidence came up with no results. The video
revealed no anomalies. The audio had to be dismissed due to the amount
of human-generated noise present in the house during our
But there is a caveat.
“However, based upon the interviews with the witnesses, we believe this
building warrants further investigation under more controlled
conditions,” he says.
Gasior says she doesn’t need any proof.
“I was definitely a doubter when I moved in – but people told me that
‘things just move around here,'” she says.
“They said we should just get used to it.”
But for Feeney, Kuntz and other members of the Network, they say
they’ll continue searching.
If they need to visit Tea Roses again, they will.
Maybe someday, they say, they’ll prove the existence of Rebecca and
Until then, the search continues.