Malvern Manor Overnight Paranormal Investigation
Updated: Jul 14
On Sunday, April 11, 2021, Heartland Paranormal and Paranormania stayed overnight for a paranormal investigation at Malvern Manor in Malvern, Iowa. Here is a rundown of the history, ghost stories, and our personal experiences from our overnight stay.
History of Malvern Manor
Originally built in the 1880s as the Cottage Hotel, the building was 10,000 square feet and provided overnight accommodations for Malvern, Iowa visitors who arrived in town via train. The building was one of the first structures within the small town. In addition to hotel guests, traveling doctors who would stay for several weeks, set up small clinics to treat patients. A common practice when smaller communities did not have a doctor on-site at all times. The hotel was also known as a hub for readings performed by psychic mediums.
The hotel passed hands several times over the years until it was converted into a nursing home in the 1950s. During this period, the building was updated to accommodate nursing home residents, and additional housing, now referred to as the nursing home wing, was added. As the interior transformed, the building took on a more medical atmosphere, much different from the days of being a hotel. The nursing facility officially opened in 1956. Unfortunately, in the 1970s, the state of Iowa stepped in and closed the facility due to inadequate hallway dimensions for transporting beds. After being shut down, a staff member named Geraldine took over and converted the building into a care facility for the mentally disabled. Geraldine loved the place so much that she lived in a trailer behind the building. They housed people with varying ailments and disabilities such as down syndrome, alcoholism, multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, and even murderers. In the mid-to-late 90s, at the age of 87, Geraldine was forced to retire by the state of Iowa.
After Geraldine left, another gentleman took over. He was not well-liked by the community. He was caught stealing money and verbally and physically abused patients.
In 2005, the facility was officially closed due to neglect and abuse.
After a man purchased the building and lived in it for 6 months, he sold it to the current owner, Josh Heard, who has since opened the building for tours, events, and overnight paranormal investigations.
The Ghost Stories
After Josh purchased Malvern Manor, he conducted several paranormal investigations. While in one of the rooms, he picked up the name Gracie several times on EVP’s. During a building walk-through with a former nurse, the room was confirmed to have belonged to a patient named Gracie. Diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, Gracie was documented with having 13 separate personalities, could manipulate her voice to sound male, and repeatedly said, “The devil is coming to get me.”
Gracie’s spirit is particularly attracted to male visitors. If men sit in the wheelchair in her room or lay on the bed, they feel pressure on their legs, tugging on their pants, and grabbing of their privates. Her voice has been picked up on recordings during investigations. On one occasion, Josh exited her room and distinctly heard two loud bangs on the doorframe. He believes she wanted him to return to the room.
In life, Hank was a grumpy old man who would sit on the front porch and throw rocks at kids. He has a particular dislike for women. His spirit is frequently heard insulting and degrading women who visit his room. After purchasing the building, Josh found clothes in one of the drawers in Hank’s room. He left the clothes where he found them because they seem to ignite some form of animosity in Hank when guests mess with the clothes, wear them, or fold them nicely and put them back.
An attractive female patient in her mid-thirties was left to stay at the facility by her husband. She resided in Room 7. She would stand at the sink, looking into the mirror, and plucked her hair out one strand at a time.
Today people hear moaning and crying in her room. Many people also report smelling body odor at random intervals. The door is also known to open and close and the lights will turn on and off.
There is no documentation of what the attic was used for, but the painted walls would indicate it was utilized at some point for more than storage. The uppermost section of the building has an ominous feel. The spirit known to roam the attic does not enjoy the presence of people. On several occasions, guests have become physically ill and nauseous. As soon as the person experiencing these symptoms leaves the attic, the feeling will pass. Voices are heard telling visitors to leave and will also ask for alcohol or cigarettes. Growling is also frequently heard in the attic and on occasion scratching is heard from behind the walls. Josh has found several personal items such as playing cards, tobacco pouches, keys, beer cans, etc., in the crawl space of the attic.
Suzi was a middle-aged patient with the mentality of a child around 8 or 10 years old. In life, Suzi loved coloring with crayons.
Today, Suzi enjoys interacting with people. The room is full of coloring books and Suzi is known to turn the pages. The activity seems to be contained in the room. EVP evidence has suggested that Suzi remains in the room because she is afraid of something or someone in the hallway just outside her door.
Room 2 is at the far end of the nursing wing hallway. A tall, dark figure referred to as the Shadow Man is reported to peer out of the room before running full speed down the hall. He travels 40 feet within a second, leaving anyone who can witness the anomaly with no time to react.
Upon further investigation into the repetitive nature of the tall dark spirit, a nurse who previously worked in the facility confirmed that a 6-foot-7, non-verbal patient with serious mental disabilities resided in the room. Before arriving at the facility, he had committed a heinous murder. The nurse said that during checks and rounds, the man would come out of the room and chase the staff down the hall.
Our Overnight Paranormal Investigation
Right away, I had an odd experience. While conducting paranormal research at haunted locations, I rarely experience anything other than a normal sense of fear as a result of sensory deprivation. When a room is dark and I am alone, I feel a sense of anxiety associated with not being able to see. Malvern Manor was different. Right away, I felt a heavy feeling when walking into the building. I had a similar experience during an overnight at the Villisca Axe Murder House, which I associated with the unsolved murders that occurred within the home, not necessarily the presence of spirits. Malvern Manor felt different. I went in blind, without doing any research before the investigation. I did not know the history or the stories associated with paranormal experiences.
During the tour walk-through, I was standing in Hank’s room between his dresser and a cabinet. While I was listening to the stories associated with Hank, I felt tingling pressure on my neck. The sensation felt like a hand. I looked around, tried to find a source for the anomaly, but could not find any reason why this happened.
We started off our investigation in Hank’s room. I sat in the same place where I had felt the hand touch my neck. The area felt heavy and as I sat there, I felt off-balance. As if my equilibrium was off. While we were asking questions, Sarah saw a shadow pass right outside the room on the opposite side of the hallway. At first, we believed it could have been Jason. We found out that he was down another hallway on the other side of the building.
While we investigated the nursing wing hallway, we decided to sit alone in pitch dark near Room 2. While I sat, I heard a loud clack. The sound resembled that of two pool balls banging together. Jason heard the same noise during his sit. There is a pool table in a room off the nursing wing hallway, however, there are no balls on the table.
While Sarah sat in the hallway, we all heard a loud bang. It sounded like cabinet doors slamming together. We could not determine where the sound originated. Sarah also felt a negative gut feeling when she stepped into one of the rooms.
The area near Room 2 made me feel uneasy throughout the night. I am not saying this is paranormal in nature, only that it felt significantly more off-putting than any other section of the building for me personally.
My most significant personal experience occurred when I heard a male voice speak a few words I could not decipher, then a woman said, “Yeah.” The voices originated from directly behind me. Sarah was standing in front of me and Jason was at the opposite end of the hall. The voices could have originated from outside. However, it was around 1 am on a Sunday in smalltown Malvern. I won’t rule out the possibility, but the voices sounded like they were directly behind me.
We conducted the pendulum experiment in Tabitha’s room. I allowed a presence to use my body to answer yes or no questions. The sensation was incredible. I felt as if someone was pressing on the top half of my body. Although my body did not move much, the feeling of being pushed was present. While asking questions, we received answers that made it appear that we were speaking to a male patient who could roam freely within the building. When we first entered the room, before we began the experiment, Jason heard, “In here.”
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