Exploring the Unknown

Octagon House- Neenah, WI

Background and History:

The Neenah Octagon House was built in 1856 and is Neenah’s second oldest standing building.  It is the original home of Hiram Smith, a successful merchant, paper mill owner, stove manufacturer, and the founder of Chase Bank.  The house belonged to the Smith family for seventy years until a second family by the name of Quinn, purchased the home in 1923.   The Quinn’s lived here until they sold it to the Neenah Historical Society in 1993.

Investigators Present:

Vicky, Jim, and Scott.  Two members of the Neenah Historical Society were also present though had only limited participation.


This home had not been previously investigated.  Because it currently stands as a historical museum, mannequins, antiques and clothing that date back to the early 1900’s occupy the rooms.  Tucked away in an upstairs closet, clothes of the renowned Theda Clark Peters hang in silence.  Throughout the investigation, we tried to contact Theda, hoping that possibly she would still be connected somehow to her favorite dress, now faded and hanging alone.  It is believed, but undocumented that Vesta Olmstead Smith, Hiram’s widow passed away in the master bedroom at the top of the stairs.  A night vision camcorder was used in this room in hopes to witness Vesta reading in her original rocking chair, which still resides in the home.  This was a night time investigation that was conducted in May, 2011.  The weather was warm with clear skies.

Evidence Captured:


Note – Headphones are recommended when listening to EVP sound samples.  Spirits do not speak at the same frequency we do.



Within the first minute of the investigation, a taunting EVP is captured, “Make some noise! Ha-ha-haha-ha!”

Scott is explaining how the recorder works.  He states, “If you speak into it, we can hear you.”  It is unsure if there are two entities being captured or one entity trying out both Scott and Vicky’s recorders.  You’ll here, “Hey… Hey” (from Vicky’s recorder) coming from two different distances of the recorder.  Very slightly after the “Hey… Hey” you can lightly hear, “That’s very clever” (from Scott’s recorder)

Vicky is trying to find out who she is speaking to by asking personal questions and if he or she owned a foundry or mill.  An intelligent response is captured stating,   “Good times” The EVP is captured immediately after the furnace turned on, so this explains the sound disturbance.  Here is the “Good Times” (short version).

“Couch maker. I’d love to show you.”:  The same sound clip as above though caught on Scott’s recorder.  Vicky is heard asking what they did for a living.  A whisper responds, “Couch maker.  I’d love to show you.”  The whisper is followed by an odd sound.  Such odd sounds often preceed or follow EVPs for reasons we are unsure of.

Vicky’s flashlight begins to flicker and she then asks, “Are you trying to turn off my flashlight?”  Vicky then goes on to ask about entities being able to drain batteries for energy.  A response cuts in stating, “We don’t do that!” (full version).  Here is the “We don’t do that!” (short version).

Vicky just asked if there is anything else they would like to share and if they have any questions to ask that maybe she can come back to answer them.  A loud response unwelcomly states, “Go away!”

“Why don’t you cat nap?”:  Jim is on the 2nd floor taking photos.  Jim is heard asking, “Are you sure you don’t wanna sit on that couch?  It’s a pretty nice couch.”  After a beep from Jim’s camera is heard, a female voice responds.

“Comin up around you.”:  Jim on 2nd floor.  Jim is heard talking and then accidentally bangs his foot on a piece of furniture.  After Jim says, “Ouch,” a whisper is clearly heard.

“I don’t talk!”:  Jim on 1st floor.  Jim states he’s attempting to communicate and gets this response.

“You can do that…walk a little bit.” : Jim on 1st floor.  Jim is tagging the fact that he is going to walk a little bit.  A clear whisper responds.

“99…1899.”:  Scott asks “What year did you move into this house?”  A whisper responds, “Ninety-nine.  Eighteen ninety-nine.”

“Anyone contact me.”:  Another example of an EVP response BEFORE a question is asked.  This actually happens quite frequently.  Scott asks, “Has anyone tried to contact you before?”  Though before he says this, an EVP is heard saying “Anyone contact me?”  After Scott asks the question, another voice responds, “Everyone.”

“Ho.”:  Scott is in the basement.  Scott is heard asking, “Would you rather have us leave?  Tell me your opinion of this.”  A clear voice is heard, very close to the recorder.  It sounds to be an old man who couldn’t quite muster up the energy to finish the words.

“I think you’re cute. I love you.” -Scott hears it:  A very real personal experience occurs with this EVP.  Scott is in the basement with a member of the Historical Society conducting EVP session.  Scott is asking for a sign of a presence, like a “knock on the wall.”   During this EVP session, Scott heard this voice very close to his ear.  Scott stops in mid-sentence and asks the society member – who is approx 6-8 feet away, if he said anything, knowing he didn’t.  This is what was found when reviewing the audio of that moment.

“I wanna do that.”:  Scott is on 1st floor taking pictures.  Apparently, someone unseen is intrigued by it…

“I want to light a fire.”:  When this EVP was captured on his recorder, Scott is sitting in the chair directly adjacent to the old fireplace, no longer in working order.

“Scratch.”:  Captured within 1st 5 minutes of investigation.  Vicky is heard requesting a last name and a very odd scratching sound is heard immediately after.  Scott, hearing this, speaks of it.  A whisper is heard saying, “Scratch!” and another is heard saying, “leave now.”  Scott and Vicky continue discussing noise…

Woman cackling.:  Captured on 1st floor.  Vicky is heard snapping a picture.  Approx 5 seconds later, a woman is heard laughing.


Evidence captured leaves no doubt for the MPI Network that the past inhabitants of the Neenah Octagon House still remain very active there.  A vast quantity of audio evidence, as well as personal experiences of the investigators while in the home, in addition to captured visual evidence demonstrates a high energy level still is present.  Much of the audio evidence not seen here, including Hiram Smith himself introducing his wife Vesta Olmstead, would have been too quiet and inaudible to post online.  For those interested in further information and additional evidence collected during our investigation at the Neenah Octagon House, can contact us by email to set up a private evidence review with our team.

It seems quite evident to the MPI Network that the Neenah Octagon House and Museum remains a private home to numerous people still today.


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