By Rosa Garcia/El Inde
In the middle of the night, Becky Mckiddy-Gydesen walked down a partially dark hallway inside her childhood home. It was an old home made out of wood in a normal neighborhood. The floor made an old creaking sound as she walked through it.
Suddenly, an old family picture frame mysteriously flipped upside-down on a wall, causing the glass of the frame to break. This took Mckiddy-Gydesen by surprise, although the constant feeling of being watched and followed around had always been quite a familiar feeling. She started noticing that when the door to her room was open, someone would look in — or so she thought. She started to experiment with leaving her door open more often or simply walking from one side of the house to the other at night. The feeling would never go away and she had grown to ignore it.
The old house in Toledo, Ohio, where a then 27 year-old Mckiddy-Gydesen lived had always felt different. The things that happened in that house were the first of many encounters with the paranormal world; these experiences would then lead her down an interesting and unexpected path.
The idea of owning the Tucson Ghost Company tour and the Tucson Ghost Society group of paranormal investigators was something that Mckiddy-Gydesen never imagined for her future.
“You know, it just kind of fell in my lap to be honest with you, it wasn’t really something that I set out to do. It was just something that came to me and it was an opportunity that I felt I couldn’t turn down,” Mckiddy-Gydesen said.
It was an ordinary Saturday when Mckiddy-Gydesen and her husband, Will Gydesen, were on a ghost tour in Bisbee when a woman approached them, and they talked about their common interest in the paranormal. The woman let them know that she was retiring her ghost tour company in Tucson, and she then proceeded to ask them if they were interested in taking it over. Without hesitation, she and her husband accepted the offer and then they became the new owners of the Tucson Ghost Company.
“I put an ad out, basically, I just asked if anyone else was into the paranormal and if they would want to volunteer their time to help people with paranormal concerns.,” Mckiddy-Gydesen said.
Not only did Mckiddy-Gydesen and her husband decide to take on the ghost tour business, but they also decided to create their own group of paranormal investigators which investigate cases involving unexplained activity in certain locations and homes. The company itself already came with the ghost tour business and Mckiddy-Gydesen put together the team of paranormal investigators to help her investigate allegedly haunted locations. Since its start, all of the members that helped run the ghost tour business decided to pursue full-time jobs that did not involve the paranormal — except for one.
Mckiddy-Gydesen has not always had a pleasant experience running both the tour and the group. She has had some struggles along the way trying to figure out how to use certain devices like the EMF meter (which determines the amount of energy in a room).
“I’ve had a lot of people come and go, but I have had one person that has been with me since day one. Her name is Mayela. And she’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly through it all. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been definitely worth it,” Mckiddy-Gydesen said.
When Mckiddy-Gydesen bought the ghost tour business, Mayela Lopez-Ford, now the manager, decided that she would continue devoting her free time to it. Although the members of the group do not work for Mckiddy-Gydesen’s company, they are passionate enough to use that extra time they have to help those that have negative encounters with the paranormal or those that want their businesses investigated. Lopez-Ford was willing to continue her journey with Mckiddy-Gydesen because she could see how willing she was to learn and help people with these problems.
Lopez-Ford learned how to be a proper paranormal investigator from the previous owner. When Mckiddy-Gydesen took over the company, Lopez-Ford helped guide her in the right direction. She was one of the investigators that helped Mckiddy-Gydesen understand what it meant to be an investigator and the steps that she had to take to determine whether or not locations are haunted by ghosts and how to debunk it.
Often times, the crew waits to receive calls from haunted locations and sometimes they have to reach out and hope that they are able to investigate these places.
One day last October, the Tucson Ghost Society paranormal investigators received a call. Usually, Mckiddy-Gydesen answers the phone but this time Lopez-Ford took the call. She was quite surprised that they had been asked to investigate a well-known active location in town. She settled on a day and time with Bobby Sutton, the manager of The Slaughterhouse, and Lopez-Ford let the rest of the team know the news.
“We typically make the calls when it comes to well-known places like Old Tucson, for example,” Lopez-Ford said. “Becky made the call for that but for the Slaughterhouse, the manager called us, and we just had to say yes.”
The investigators went to the former slaughterhouse, and as they were making their ways into different rooms, two of them walked into a barely-lit room and looked for somewhere to sit. One of the investigators, Reina Robles, set up her equipment and started asking questions. The equipment lit up every time she asked a yes or no question and in that particular moment, she made a simple joke. She let the entities in the room know that if she were to fall, she’d give them permission to laugh at her. As she made her way out after 10 minutes of the active investigation, she was not expecting to trip over absolutely nothing.
“There’s no reason for me to trip over air and I was like, ‘Okay, what was that?’ My teammate was behind me and she goes, ‘What was that, what’s going on? And basically, that’s what happened. So, it was kind of a fun experience, you know, if we could really prove it. We didn’t catch anything on camera. But yeah, that was my, one of my first experiences,” Robles said.
When going to places that are known to be very active, the investigators take their time and let the entities know that they do not want to be followed.
Both Robles and Lopez-Ford admitted that they had never experienced the feeling of being followed. They have a ritual that, according to them, always works. Before beginning their investigations, they address any and every person or thing that is listening and tell them that they are not allowed to leave with them. That they are not afraid of them and that they are not welcomed.
“You are not allowed to scare me and you’re not allowed to follow me home. No, you don’t have to stay here but you can’t come home with me,” Robles tells the spirits that may be present.
Now, Mckiddy-Gydesen’s two daughters are experiencing what she once experienced in that haunted house in Toledo, Ohio. Instead of feeling like they are being watched or followed around, a presence makes itself visible to them.
Late on a school night this past fall, Mckiddy-Gydesen’s daughters were asleep. They suddenly woke up, feeling like they were being watched. There she was, a little girl, watching them. A loud yell woke Mckiddy-Gydesen up and she ran to her daughters. It was not a dream. She saw her too, she said, she still does. The little girl finds comfort in them and they do too.