Emily Hawkins –
A normal five year old rides bikes, watches cartoons, and plays video games, but when Chris Fleming was five, he was hanging out with ghosts in his bedroom.
Even scarier was when the same ghost ripped his sheets off his bed, causing Fleming to run out of his room and into his father’s room. His dad shooed him away, leaving Fleming to see more and more ghosts each night and to run repeatedly to his father’s room in fear. His father denied he could see these ghosts, but couldn’t get Fleming to believe they were not real, so his father told him to “let them know you’re not afraid”. Soon after, Fleming knew when to expect these ghosts, and right after hearing his father’s advice, Fleming told them he wasn’t afraid.
While before he understandably dreaded seeing these ghosts, Fleming developed a curiosity; why are these ghosts here?
The more he got used to them, the better he was able to communicate with them. He discovered that these ghosts have unfinished business, whether it be that they do not believe in an afterlife, they are lost, they want to stay and watch over loved ones, or are afraid to go “into the light.”
As Fleming was telling us all about how he got into paranormal activity, he reiterated one thing: he is not here to try and persuade us that ghosts are present, he is here because this is something he’s known all his life and wants to tell as many people as possible about his experiences. Clip after clip, Fleming showed ghost “photobombers,” pictures he drew of ghosts he’s seen, and even played audio clips of things he has heard while delving deeper into the paranormal world.
At the end of his presentation, the first 30 people into the show got to go on a “Ghost Tour” with him around campus. Starting in Cummings, Fleming pulled out his “spirit box”, a device he uses to communicate with spirits, and asked if any spirits were there. He received an answer, a “yes” that was heard by everyone. Soon, we discovered that more than one was answering our questions.
We unearthed a story of a man who died in a fire, a fire that could be connected to the burnt down Memorial Gym in the early 1800’s. Fleming then turned to the audience to ask the spirit box a question, to reach out to someone they knew who had passed. Many students came forward and spoke to the ones they lost, from grandmothers to fathers. The spirits present were fairly benign, until we got to Memorial Gym.
The group had barely stepped into the basement of Memorial when Fleming said he could sense spirits lurking in the dark. Using his ever present Spirit Box, Fleming asked if they wanted to talk. He received no answer but could sense their reluctance and pushed farther. The longer he talked, the more we realized these spirits were not like the ones in Cummings. Then the words “get out now” and “leave” were heard from the Box. Fleming questioned these words and learned that this spirit was angry because he was trapped, unable to leave Memorial.
Fleming helped the spirit cross over, ending the tour in exhaustion.
Since his discovery of his ability to see ghosts and spirits, Fleming has been on multiple TV shows such as Ghosthunters, Dead Famous, and Ghost Adventures. On and off these shows, Fleming has been possessed, grabbed by ghosts, thanked by those he’s helped cross over to the other side, and has been a part of exorcisms. He’s been talking to colleges since 2006 and also helps develop new technology for communicating with ghosts and spirits in his spare time.
Emily Hawkins, from Belvidere, Illinois, is a senior majoring in English with a Creative Writing Concentration with a Psychology minor. Emily is a Features Co-editor and writer for The Rambler, and plays softball.