To myself, the idea of the paranormal as a “real thing” was nothing more than a way of entertainment that my wife and I enjoyed in the form of watching the “real” and “extreme” cable television shows. I was fascinated by the idea that ghosts (and other paranormal entities) could exist, but chalked them up to just a thing of fable and fiction. It wasn’t until the loss of a very beloved pet that a simple tattoo, and it’s encrypted meaning, would spark a journey into the very real world of the paranormal. What started out as curiosity, and a chance taken to participate in a “ghost hunt”, quickly turned into a labyrinth of riddles and questions about the afterlife that have turned me from a full-on skeptic, into a near full-on believer.
My name is Mario Bernal, and I am a paranormal researcher and investigator. The following series of events (though considered fate, or not) were the very foundation of what would become a head on dive into the paranormal. In 2010, our family was struck by the loss of our beloved dog (so loved that he will forever be considered family). That very same year, in his honor, my wife and I decided to get tattoos as a symbol of affection and love for our lost loved one. We both had his name written in the Enochian Code (also referred to as the Angelic Alphabet). We wanted his name to be represented in a writing style befitting of how we perceived him. Fast forward a few years, our family is again struck by the loss of others in the family (one of my grandmothers, and the patriarch of my family, my grandfather). The realization that death is a very real thing, especially when experiencing loss first-hand, was turning sparks of curiosity of the afterlife into a small flame.
The more I watched the various paranormal shows, the more I wanted to know about such things. It was around mid-2013 that my curiosity revamped on the Enochian Code, and in my search to learn as much as I could about it, I came upon the Haunted Orange County website. They were advertising lectures, with their historian, about the Enochian Code and Spiritualism. I immediately talked to my wife, and we both instantly agreed to purchase tickets and go to the lectures. As chance would have it, the owner of Haunted OC was there promoting a ghost hunt event at the Graber Olive House. It didn’t take long for my wife and I to jump on the opportunity to participate in something we had only been fans of for so many years watching it on television. It was an opportunity for us (and for me as a skeptic) to experience it ourselves.
In July of 2013, we attended our first ghost hunt at the Graber Olive House. We had experienced some feedback with spirit box communication, and my wife had claimed to see a shadow figure (commonly referred to by other veteran investigators as the “Creeper”), but I, in my skepticism, was not convinced that it was all paranormal. It wasn’t until we entered the area referred to as the “loft”, claimed to be haunted by the spirit of a young boy, that I experienced my first EVP. Our lead investigator set up his recorder in the center of the room, and after we all took turns asking a single question, the recorder was stopped and then hooked up to an amplifier. It was then that I heard, for the very first time, what appeared to be a spirit respond directly to my question. I was taken aback by this experience and I didn’t really know how to register what had just occurred. The skeptic side of me tried to convince myself that there was something logical that could explain the response, but I was left with too many questions.
The remainder of the evening offered up some eerie feelings of being watched, some random knocks and bangs, but nothing concrete that I could classify as paranormal. It wasn’t until the following day, when reviewing the audio recordings, that we found several other EVP responses. I scrambled my brain to debunk as many as I could, but at every turn I found that all persons were accounted for, and all sounds were tagged. What was left was pure paranormal EVP responses.
My wife and I were hooked, and since then, it has been an adventurous journey seeking out the paranormal. Each time we enter a new location, we are astonished by what we capture. It only fuels our fire to continue on in search for more answers to what lies ahead after we pass on…