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Paranormal Activity at Pabst?
A camera and SB7 contraption captures something supernatural at the Pabst executive offices.

Photo by Mark Wahl

A videographer contacted me and said because I was a historical “dork” like himself, he had something I might be interested in.

I graciously accepted the compliment.

Michael Brown has spent two years compiling scenes for a historical/haunted documentary called Haunted State: Whispers from History Past. He, along with a group of intrepid ghost busters, visited the old Pabst executive office here in Milwaukee and caught some startlingly ambiguous footage on camera. A few weeks later, he was ready to show the evidence to Pabst’s Best Place owner, Jim Haertel, so I tagged along. Jim told me he had only one stipulation for the ghost busters: “You can do this as long as you don’t upset them, because we’ve been getting along great.”

Technical difficulties.

Best Place was filled with tour-goers when we sat down to take a peek at the recording. The computer started to freeze, and the volume wouldn’t work. Only certain scenes would play. Michael said this was a first for him, that he had replayed these snippets earlier with no problem. Sometimes the paranormal can manipulate technology, causing issues, Michael said. Maybe so? Forty-five minutes of frustration later, it worked.

Paranormal activity.

Picture it: In the bowels of the iconic Pabst executive suites, dating back to the 1800s, the ghost busters wander through dark hallways with an SB7 channel radio device. Minus the hum of the radio and shuffling footsteps, it’s bleak and quiet. Questions are asked aloud, and at the most arbitrary times, something appears to communicate through the channels. Mist-like figures appear before the lens.

As Jim watches the screen replaying some of these scenes, I watch Jim, taking notes on his reactions.

Michael asks the iconic Pabst brewery slogan aloud, “What’ll ya have?” Two distinct answers are heard: “Pabst” and “Pabst beer"

Jim looks up, smiles and laughs, and a smoky figure comes into the screen.

"Looks like the first image of a little ghost," Jim says.

The purported apparition makes a sound over the channels that could be interpreted as saying, "Be gone!"

Jim shakes his head and moves closer to the screen, then looks at Michael and says, "I told you not to piss them off!"

In summation.

As the unnerving footage concludes, Jim admits that he’s an “open-minded skeptic,” and that Michael Brown and Co. have captured evidence nobody else has before. First Best Place employee Cheryl Komp also watched the flick and agrees that something is definitely down there. Michael asks Jim whether he was leery of the possibilities of paranormal activity at Best Place. Jim’s response? “They’re OK with us, but they might be angry with you.” 

After more than two years in the making,
Haunted State: Whispers from History Past will premiere at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (400 W. College Ave., Appleton) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29. 

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CB Posted: 6/14/2014 9:13:06 PM
 0   17    

I also did not join the project for monetary gain. It's been a curiosity of mine for as long as I can remember and I've loved every investigation that I've been on. I so regret missing the one at the Pabst... If " Berith" feels the need to rain on someone else's parade, belittle others, make assumptions and be a high and mighty jerk, let him... Something tells me he's rather good at it... His username pretty much sums it up. Michael Brown is a good man. Always willing to go the extra mile and that holds true with this film. This is his dream, his passion and I'm happy to help and participate any way I can. Can't wait for the finished product!!
Berith Posted: 6/15/2014 1:36:10 AM
 11   6    

Replying to: CB
"Go the extra mile", huh? After reading the comments here, that may actually be true. But if that were the case, why did you fill my ears with all of what I quoted you on (almost verbatim) below when you got bailed on for months? Were you just butthurt because he was just butthurt? Look, I deal in truth, and Ive memorized that fake dumbfounded face you make when confronted and caught in a lie long ago (practice makes perfect). Way to throw me under the bus, CB... In true CB fashion. You truly need help.
Berith Posted: 6/14/2014 10:00:07 PM
 16   1    

Replying to: CB
Hey "CB", who ever said I was a man? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy...
RadioTodd Posted: 6/14/2014 6:33:32 AM
 2   15    

I can say that I never join the project for money. Just for an opportunity to to investigate with some old friends and some wonderful new friends. I may not get the chance to see you guys often, But know that I cherish the opportunity to hang with you and be a part of the investigations. Hope to see each of you soon...sorry I couldn't make the Pabst investigation!
Berith Posted: 6/11/2014 9:31:14 PM
 72   57    

Shame on you Aimee for not only allowing yourself to get suckered by this scam artist , but also for squandering the funds of the loyal subscribers of Milwaukee Magazine. Ive read many of your prior articles, and this (along with my 10th year of paid subscription) will be my last. This sociopath has been scamming people out of money for years with his smoke and mirrors parlor tricks bent on exploiting Wisconsinites and the venues they are loyal to. Shame that there are still enough suckers out there to feed such an obviously fraudulent grifter. This "man" uses donated funds solicited solely for the production of this film for himself to pay personal bills, and NONE of the funds have gone toward compensating his cast and crew. Always an angle to be worked with this bottom feeder. Do you do any research prior to covering a story? If ever this MOCK-umentary sees the light of day (there have been numerous "last chances" to "donate" (i.e. to pay Mr. Browns utilities, rent, etc) for over a year), it will without question leave nothing but a black eye on the countless good people that dug deep to help produce a "film" that will end up looking like a you tube video shot by 8 year olds. Again, FOR SHAME, Aimee!
AFlunker Posted: 6/13/2014 3:41:57 PM
 3   19    

Replying to: Berith
I am a proud producer and cast member on this project. I wish you would have done some research before commenting. If you did you would have talked to some amazing people honored to dedicate time for this film. You also would have found friends and family members that believe in what we are doing and were able to donate. Thanks for your concern and all but it's not necessary. We're good!!
JFreeburg Posted: 6/12/2014 5:50:02 PM
 6   59    

Replying to: Berith
I just came onto this project as a producer. I only know Michael Brown and his crew professionally, and they have proven themselves to be exactly that...professional. There have been no misappropriation of funds. The fact that this team has been able to create the movie they have with a budget under $5000 is impressive. For an independently made documentary to take two years to film is perfectly normal as well. And I know that none of the members of this crew ever went into this hoping to make money. They want to tell a story and be part of an experience that is cool. How sad that you would take the time out of your day to write such a nasty, hate-filled (and false) message. Didn't your parents ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all? Shame on you, Berith (whoever you are)! To the crew of Haunted State...let it roll of your backs. You have done a great job. I'm proud to be helping with the final phase of this film!
920MichaelBrown Posted: 6/12/2014 2:35:19 AM
 20   65    

Replying to: Berith
That’s your first comment in 10 years of being a subscriber? That’s truly amazing. You would think you’d have a lot to comment on in 10 years ... Also, you’re hiding behind a screen name, which remains anonymous. I am the filmmaker you're slandering above. If you want to contact me directly I will be happy to have an open dialogue with you. I do feel bad for you that you are so angry and I’m sorry you feel the way you do, but what you're saying is far from the truth. We have had two crowd-funding campaigns. We made about $1800 (after fees) from our Kickstarter campaign last spring and $1400 (after fees) with our Indiegogo campaign that just ended Sunday (and we do have not any funds from that yet). If I am paying my bills with $1800 FOR A YEAR (like you said) that’s pretty remarkable. I wish my bills were that low. To be frank, we spent most of that on insurance to protect the cast / crew & liability to protect the venues we are “exploiting” along with some small equipment for the film. I want to point out that the vast majority of the money donated to this project was from my family and my friends, (not Milwaukee Magazine subscribers like you said). They are people who I all know personally and believe in me and this project. Making a film like this is extremely difficult with the tight budget, getting everyone’s schedule in-line to film along with the venues that we want to cover. That is why it has taken as long as it has. I am editing the film, planning the location shoots all alone (on top of being a single Father and working for a living), and I have two producers that I work with on music and interviews. Making film is my dream and I doing the best I can. We aren’t making this film for profit .. we will try but that was never our objective. We are planning on running it through the film festival circuit to share our journey. We have a percentage based plan in place for all cast/crew if it is successful and compensation is not an issue. Not sure where you are getting you information from, but it’s not from myself or any of my producers. Again, I am truly sorry you feel the way you do and I look forward to talking to you to address your harsh accusations.
Berith Posted: 6/12/2014 6:41:35 PM
 63   55    

Replying to: 920MichaelBrown
How nice of you to take time from "working for a living" to reply to my post at 2:30 a.m. on a weekday, and for giving ample ammunition to the people that are far less than pleased with the way in which you've stiffed them and abused their generosity. I wasn't suggesting that Milwaukee Magazine subscribers were foolish enough to fund your silly little fiction film masquerading as an historical piece , I was saying the subscribers of Milwaukee Magazine who play a large part in funding the publication are wasting their money if it is to be used to cover a "story" that is akin to a fairy tale. Since when has this reputable publication become a source for fiction? I guess since June 11. For shame. Anyway, there is no evidence of any insurance policies, no evidence of any compensation plan for the cast and crew, no evidence that said cast and crew believe in you or your project any longer and no evidence of slander on my part (as one has to SPEAK falshoods about another). Perhaps instead of scamming friends and family out of money with your silly interpretations (i.e. subjective validation) of AM radios, "orbs" (retroreflection) and cliche nightvision mumbo jumbo you could get a grasp on your native language? Once you do, youll realize that even the title of your mockumentary is laughable. History... Past? Redundant much? People are on to you, Michael.
920MichaelBrown Posted: 6/12/2014 9:53:45 PM
 4   25    

Replying to: Berith
Thanks .. I edit the film late at night when my son us sleeping. Like I said, when you stop hiding behind your screen name I'll be pleased to talk with you. Your accusations clearly are based on something more personal ... Sticks N Stones.
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