DPM After Dark details paranormal activity

Julie Percha uses her flashlight to look at exhibits on the After Dark tour at the Dr Pepper Museum on Monday evening. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

In an after-dark tour of the Dr Pepper Museum, participants were able to tour the three-story building and learn about the paranormal activity that has occurred on all three floors.

The Dr. Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute’s DPM After Dark event took place Monday from 10 p.m. to midnight. Participants’ personal flashlights were the only light source available in the pitch black building.

Associate Director for the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute Joy Summar-Smith led one of the tour groups, starting with the outside of the building and the impact of the tornado that hit Waco in 1953.

“As you look at the corner of the building here, you’ll notice that there’s two different colors of brick,” Summar-Smith said while indicating toward the side of the building. “This is evidence of the 1953 F5 tornado that came through downtown Waco—Killing 114 people in its path.”

While no one died inside of the Dr Pepper building during the tornado, an employee that was taking care of pulling the trucks into the sheds never made it back inside, Summar-Smith said.

“The tornado came through and while he was sheltering some of the trucks against the wall, the wall came down and they were able to find him finally three days later having lost his life here on the property,” Summar-Smith said.

The first “spooky spot”—or area of paranormal activity shown on the tour was on the first floor near a staircase.

Summar-Smith told participants that in 2009, the Dr Pepper Museum had the McLennan County Paranormal Investigators come in and set up microphones and video cameras all over the building.

At the first-floor stairwell, the paranormal investigators had spotted two plasma orbs that seemed to appear from the window and follow the stairs up to the second floor, Summar-Smith said.

“True plasma orbs will normally have a more solid center without any spokes radiating from the center and emit their own lights—Which these did,” Summar-Smith said.

On the second floor, the “spooky spot” was in the 7-Up display case. According to Summar-Smith, in the upper right corner, the paranormal investigators caught a movement of light on videotape. She compared this light to that of a passing car. However, since the location is on the second floor, it is unlikely that is what the light came from. This was also the only time that light movement had ever occurred.

On the third floor, the paranormal investigators had recorded a female’s voice that seemed to say, “Here comes the train.” Shortly after, the audio recording also picked up the train whistle as it came through the downtown Waco area. The entire floor had been vacated at that time, Summar-Smith said.

“That’s probably the best story that came out of all of the investigations that they did in 2009,” Summar-Smith said.

Since then, the Dr Pepper Museum has had other paranormal investigation groups come in to do various recordings in different places, Summar-Smith said.

Sophomore Katie Long said that the tour was a very informative and interesting experience.

“I was actually here earlier today doing some research so this is definitely a different experience seeing it in the dark with none of the information lit up,” Long said.

After the tour of the building, participants were invited into the soda shop to enjoy Dr Pepper floats and view a compilation of the 2009 paranormal investigation findings. According to the video, the three main pieces of evidence were enough to lead the McLennan County Paranormal Investigators to name the Dr Pepper Museum a certified haunted location.

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