“I grew up in a haunted house – that’s how it all started. It was really haunted.”
Aubrey Graves, 29-year-old paranormal investigator and author, recalls the last night she contacted a ghost in her San Jose home at 12 years old. She was using an Ouija board to talk to spirits when a sheet on a lamp shade, that she says had never gotten too hot before, set on fire. “It freaked my mom out so bad, and she wasn’t even much of a believer” she reflects.
Graves is 5’6” tall, has dark hair and green eyes. She lights up a conversation with a friendly personality and energetic laugh.
Now living in Santa Cruz with her husband and two dogs, Graves is working on her seventh book, The Haunted Brookdale Lodge. Set to release January 2014, the book is sure to clear up rumors surrounding the infamous local haunting.
She is also working on a website to go along with the book. It will feature interviews and EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), recordings of paranormal investigators she has talked to as well as photos, newspaper clippings and a timeline and history of the Lodge.
“I went into a lot of detailed research, trying to separate fact from fiction,” says Graves, but was unable to find any record of a Sarah Logan – the little girl who supposedly died at the Brookdale Lodge – who died in Santa Cruz County.
She says she could not find any record of a little girl dying at the Lodge, which debunks a similar myth of a little girl having drowned in the Lodge swimming pool in the 70s. “The coroners said they would have had to have a record of someone that died in the 70s – it’s not that long ago. So a lot of people say that story is a fact, but it’s not a fact.”
Despite the myths, Graves still believes in the little girl spirit. “I truly believe that she [Sarah Logan] did exist,” she says. “I don’t know if her name was Sarah Logan, but I truly believe there is a little girl that haunts there. I have spoken to her several times.” She says it is important to note that a spirit does not need to have died in a location to haunt it, and can haunt it without being stuck there.
Graves says she is intrigued by the energy of the hauntings in Santa Cruz. “When I first came here, I noticed the change of energy like crazy,” she says. “It feels like there’s a ton of energy. The veils are really thin here – you can feel and see things.” Graves describes herself as sensitive, meaning particularly in tune with spiritual energy in paranormal terms, and is working on developing her abilities.
Graves began writing books two years ago, partially prompted by the fact that she could not find any books on Santa Cruz hauntings in 1998. “I was starting to get really into the paranormal, went to the Brookdale Lodge a lot, and decided I was going to do it, [was going to] write the first book,” she says.
Her first book, Supernatural Santa Cruz, was released in 2011. It was the first book about paranormal phenomena in Santa Cruz, California. It contains stories of hauntings, crypto zoology creatures and UFO sightings in Santa Cruz county, but is no longer available for purchase. The second edition of Supernatural Santa Cruz, however, is available.
Graves has been talking to spirits on an Ouija board since age nine, but conducting official investigations for two years. “I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone,” she says about her investigations. “My main goal is to try and help the spirits.”
“They [the spirits] love their stories being told. They really like that,” she says. “Some of the ghosts that have their stories told are able to find peace because they’re finally being known. Sometimes all they need is recognition.”
Graves says that although spirits want to be heard, they don’t appreciate people bringing people and “having them ‘do their tricks’ for them.” She cites this as why she has not been bringing people with her on investigations.
“There are so many ghosts that are not heard, so I just want to help them. I think that helps the world, too, helps the spirit move on and not be stuck here,” she says.The Haunted Brookdale Lodge will be available on www.amazon.com. For local store availability, check her website www.aubreygraves.com after the release.