The team arrived in town early so that we would have time to walk around and speak with the locals before we checked into our rooms. We wanted to have some time to do some research on the town, the story of Juanita, and the Downieville River Inn and Resort.

After taking a break for lunch we went down to the Downieville museum. The man working at the museum was able to give us some great information about Juanita and other events that took place in the town’s history.  We were also able to see some amazing artifacts from the town’s history.

After the museum we made our way to the Downieville River Inn and Resort in order to check in. The manager, Rebecca, was aware that we were there to conduct an investigation. We reserved one of the rooms that were reported to have the most activity. We also reserved the room across the hall in order to have another area to investigate.

We arrived in our rooms and decided we would set up one camera to cover room 1, one camera to cover room 2, and a third camera to cover the stairs that led up to the rooms . We were able to set-up our DVR system in a separate room connected to room 1 and use it as our base location.

One of the claims, in room 1, was that guests reported that it felt like someone would crawl into bed with them at night. We wanted to be able to detect any movement on the bed so we placed a geophone on the center of the bed. I was really excited because I had recently built a geophone, a device that detects seismic vibration, and I had wanted to find a situation that would allow testing of the device. I am happy to say that it worked incredibly well!

                                                                                      Room 2

                                                                               Room 1 Gertrude's Room

We had all our equipment set up and it was still too early to begin our investigation. We decided to take a walk to the town cemetery, about a ¼ of a mile away, to see if we could locate Gertrude’s final resting place.

The cemetery was located outside of town on a tranquil hill. It was serene and beautiful. The monuments that were erected, for the many who were buried there, were incredible. It seemed to tell a story of this town that saw so many come there for a chance to become rich with the gold that may be found near the town. After spending some time walking the cemetery grounds we were unable to locate Gertrude’s grave. We decided to make our way back to town.  

As we were making our way back to town a woman sitting on her porch, with her 93 year old mother, asked us about our shirts. When we told her we were paranormal investigators she invited us to her house to talk.  She was a wealth of knowledge about the town. When we told her we were investigating the Inn she told us that she knew Gertrude or “Gerty” as many knew her.  This information would be very important to us if we were going to try and connect with Gertrude’s spirit on a personal level.

We arrived back at the Inn and prepared for our investigation. Jim, Jennifer, and I set up in room 1, Gertrude’s room, while Anna, Roxi, and Faye set up in the room across the hall. Lynne took care of monitoring our video cameras.

We didn’t experience anything unusual until about 1 hour into the investigation. I was sitting on a chair in room 1 when I started to smell a distinct flowery perfume. As I smelled the perfume I began to feel something push on my shorts. I was sitting completely still at the time. I was a little shocked by what I had experienced so I told Jim and Jennifer what I was experiencing.

After some time in room 1 we decide to switch rooms with our group in room 2. They reported that they had some success using a K2 meter, a device that measures electro-magnetic field, detecting some possible activity in the room.

Jennifer, Lynne, and I moved into room 2. Lynne and I lay on the two beds in the room and Jennifer situated herself near the door.  We conducted an evp session, for a short time, with having no personal experiences. Suddenly, Lynne reported that she smelled a very flowery perfume. Both Jennifer and I didn’t smell anything. A few minutes later I began to smell the same perfume I had smelled back in room 1. At this point Jennifer didn’t smell the perfume and she never did the entire time we were in the room.

As I sat motionless, on the bed, I began to feel something on my leg. At first it felt as if someone was gently touching my leg. Soon it began to feel like someone was tapping their fingers. I announced to Jennifer and Lynne what I was experiencing. After a few minutes it stopped.

Personal experiences are always great, but if you don’t have hard evidence, like an EVP, to go along with the experience, it’s difficult to use it for proof that a location is haunted. They are pretty cool if you are the one experiencing them. During this investigation I was the only team member who had an experience like this.

We continued our EVP session with the hopes of getting some activity going in the room. Not much was happening so the team decided to head out of the resort and let our cameras record while we visited the location where Juanita was lynched.

We arrived on the bridge to conduct an EVP session in the hope that we could communicate with Juanita. The river that ran underneath the bridge was extremely loud as its current roared by. The noise made it difficult to hear anything. After about 45 minutes, on the bridge, we decided to move on to our next location.

Our next stop was the gallows located near the Sierra County Courthouse. The restored gallows was used in 1885 to execute 20 year old James O’Neil for the murder of his employer John Woodward. It was the only time the gallows was used due to the fact that the California state legislature, in 1891, amended the state’s death penalty statues and mandated that executions be carried out at the state level. Today, the gallows is a historic landmark. 

                                                                  Sierra County Courthouse Gallows

We conducted an EVP session for about 30 minutes. It was a little eerie staring up at the gallows, in the dark, and imagining how horrible it must have been to meet your end swinging from a rope around your neck.

By this point it was getting very late in the evening and the energy level of the group began to dwindle rapidly. We headed back to the resort to map our game plan for the last leg of our investigation.

We spent the last remaining time of the investigation conducting an EVP session and using our “Ghost Box”. The “Ghost Box” is a radio that has been modified to continuously scan thru channels. The theory is that the spirits can use the white noise to communicate. Since the radio is continuously scanning, you barely have time to hear a word from a normal radio station. When you are able to hear a word it usually spans several different radio stations so there is no way it could be confused with a local station. We have used this device with some success in the past. This session didn’t prove to be very successful.

After about 45 minutes we decided that we were going to wrap up the investigation. We were all drained and couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. We packed up all of our equipment and settled into our rooms for some much needed sleep.

After all evidence was reviewed we were able to identify a couple of EVPs from the resort and we even captured some from the area of the gallows. We didn’t have many personal experiences but all in all it was a great investigation. We feel fortunate that we were allowed to investigate and the manager was so supportive.

Downieville, CA is a beautiful small town with an amazing rich history. If you are ever in the area we highly recommend you visit for a day or spend the night at the resort. Who knows, you may run into one of the spirits that still calls Downieville home.