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Hunting Ghosts (the Academy, Pt. 3) - Buffalo, NY




If you happened to jump directly into this part of the "Hunting Ghosts" series, the premise is that I first worked on a Ghost Hunters live broadcast on Halloween for two years, then joined the spinoff show "Ghost Hunters Academy". This post details our fourth stop along the way: Buffalo.




This has turned into a real adventure. On the way to our destination, we have to stop and assess whether or not the RV will fit under a train bridge. The clearance noted on the vehicle is the same as what's posted under the bridge. Our GPS units aren't entirely reliable, so we aren't exactly confident that rerouting around the problem is the answer. We decide to move forward, inching along, with spotters ahead of and behind the RV.... The vehicle eventually emerges from under the other side of the bridge entirely unscathed. Hooray!

With it being a travel day, we get to ease into the new destination and rest up before the next investigation starts tomorrow night.

Buffalo Central Terminal during the day - photo by KilmerMedia

On investigation day 1, we arrive at Buffalo Central Terminal in the early afternoon. There's a lot of prep work necessary before dark, including taping up some damaged equipment that will be seen on-camera. Hopefully it's done right, so that no one but us will never, ever know. Ssshhhh!

Gorgeous day.... but with rain in the forecast, as night falls, so does the temperature, and a bitter wind flows through the corridors of the old train terminal. There is no escaping it. I shiver in the dark, waiting for any requests to pipe through my earpiece, be it fresh camera tapes or batteries, water, snacks, you name it - that's why I am here.

The low temperature tonight is 41° F (5° C). We must have reached that point long ago. When we flip on flashlights, especially the headlamps, the warm air from one's breath swirls around in the beam. It's especially blustery when you can feel wind gusting down the corridors.

Occasionally, and to stay awake, I do a little exploring, yet never stray too far, knowing the walkie talkies have limited range in this huge building with thick walls. It feels like there's an element of danger, as well, since some modern clothing and trash are in the basement, indicating people might be living here. The "KISS rules" graffiti on one wall makes me think some parts of this building haven't been touched for a long time. I would really love to climb the stairs up into the tower, but there probably won't be time for that.

Trying my best to be stealthy behind-the-scenes, I have really become adept at creeping through the darkness, despite wearing heavy, steel-toed boots. A couple times now, I've unintentionally startled a coworker after slipping back into the equipment room and for him to discover my presence after turning on a flashlight for a moment. So far, I've been asked "How the hell did you get in here?" and "How long have you been sitting there?"After the second time, he gave me the nickname "Creeps". Normally that would seem derogatory, but it seems like a badge of honor when your job is to pretty much be like a ghost.

Sometimes, the investigators have spooky encounters in the moment; at other times, it's discovered the next day, while sifting through hours and hours of footage. As for me, I've had weird encounters before but not at this location. Hopefully someone does, but I haven't gotten "that vibe" here at all. The vibe the building does give off comes from its crumbling architecture and knowing a little bit about the history. Sitting in the darkness late at night, it's easy to close your eyes and imagine the energy here during the Roaring '20s - the bustling corridors, the vendors, the noise, and the smell of food. It starts to feel real, then you wake up, and none of that is in front of you. It brings to mind the part in Forrest Gump when Jenny, dressed in all white, eerily disappears while walking across the front lawn.

On a day off, most of the crew visits Niagara Falls. Along the way, one of my bosses (everyone is a boss at this point) asks "Where do you think it is from here?" "Over there," I answer, pointing to a wispy part of the sky, where it looks like rain falling below." "Kilmer, you are a genius," he responds. Hah!

American, Bridal Veil, and Horseshoe Falls comprising Niagara Falls - photo by KilmerMedia

We (I think) all get along well so, later in the day, many of us reconvene and head out to get dinner at the place that lays claim to inventing the Buffalo chicken wing, Anchor Bar. There, we order and share a massive tray of 50 wings, and I can't resist also trying a weck sandwich. It's a local specialty: thin, slow-cooked roast beef on a kummelweck roll, which is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds and comes with nice, gritty horseradish (the real stuff) on the side. I love roast beef, but part of my curiosity also stems from knowing that the chicken chain BW3 (now "Buffalo Wild Wings") used to be short for "Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck"... They stopped selling weck sandwiches before I ever got to try one. Now, I'm glad to have a chance. It's unique and delicious. The bun is soft, and the roast beef practically melts in your mouth. Mmm, mmm, mmm. In the end, though, I've gorged on too much, and all that goodness at Anchor Bar leaves me feeling miserable.

In this city, some of us have a zany, crazy, unsettling, weird night out. Honestly, I've never been more uncomfortable, anywhere, in any situation, in my entire life. I am more than ready to move on to the next city.

Up next is St. Augustine, Florida - meet me there!


Coming Up:

St. Augustine, Florida (Pt. 4)

Cedar Grove, New Jersey (Pt. 5)


Wilmington, North Carolina (Pt. 1)

Warwick, Rhode Island / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Pt. 2)


"Hunting Ghosts (the Academy, Pt. 3) - Buffalo, New York" (2009) Written by: Justin Kilmer Edited by: Janine Kilmer

Unless otherwise noted, all media and text on this page are copyrighted © by Justin Kilmer.

The image "Beef on Weck - sandwich and horseradish" is courtesy of Nick Gray, used under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license. The image hasn't been modified for this use.


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