ABC57 explores 'stranger things' of South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- With season two of the Netflix mega-hit 'Stranger Things' dropping Friday, all eyes will once again be on the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. But you need to look no further than the real city of South Bend to find tales of the unexplained.

As the sun sets on South Bend, a different city emerges in the dark. In the shadows of the night, something changes. It's sometimes heard, occasionally seen, but rarely explained.

No one knows that better than Jeffrey Price.

“We have people calling us saying - hey I’ve got something in my house. My kids are uneasy. We don’t know what it is,” Michiana Paranormal Investigations Co-Founder Jeffrey Price says.

For the last five years, Price and the Michiana Paranormal Investigators have been answering those calls. They have done many investigations, but none quite like South Bend's famed State Theatre.

“We were there a few times in 2013 and 2014 and out of any place I think I’ve been to in my career of doing any sort of paranormal investigation that place I would say is number one on the list,” Price says.

During the investigation, the basement proved to be a hotspot of paranormal activity.

“We had a motion light that we put on one of the railings to signal a infrared camera we had focused on that so if something had moved passed that it would light up the light. We had the light fall off the shelf for no reason. We tried to recreate putting it there and falling off and we could not recreate it. There was no wind. You’re talking like the basement here,” Price says.

At one point, the investigation turned physical for one newcomer to the team.

“All of the sudden you can hear him complaining about something on his back. So we got him out of there and we went upstairs and if you looked at his back there were red scratches down his back. Everything lined up to say maybe we shouldn’t be here right now,“ Price says.

The State Theatre isn't the only stage in South Bend where the show continues when the curtain comes down. Just up the street at the Civic Theatre, it's a different cast, but the same plot.

“There was a report of someone from the people who were actors and doing performances seeing someone on this landing and they would go in and come back out and the person would be gone and it was always described as the same person,” Price says.

Price and his crew never found that person. Or at least, they didn't see them.

“We were upstairs in the balcony and we were talking and you heard this was like someone dropped something like right behind us, and again there was no one there. We couldn’t find out what it was and it was just weird. It was just very creepy,” he says.

A short walk down LaSalle Avenue will take you to a popular Notre Dame haunt, rumored to serve up a different kind of spirit.

“On the second floor of the building used to be a brothel back years and years and years ago,” Price says.

Back in 2015, ABC57 followed Price and his crew upstairs for their investigation.

“We heard noises upstairs and one of our team members at the time saw something and it’s just an amazing, amazing location because one the history behind the place and two the upstairs had been sealed off for so long,” he says.

But when it comes to the city's most haunted locations, perhaps none is more notorious than a late-night drive along Primrose Road.

“I think all of my friends at some point have gone out there and I mean you’re not a true South Bend resident until you go out to the Primrose area once or twice in your life,” Price says.

Primrose Road sits on the city's Northwest side. It's now home to new developments, but that wasn't always the case. The dark stretch of road was even darker and more deserted, not so long ago.

“Going out there at night is very eerie. The feeling in the air you can definitely feel there’s something. It’s not like walking down your normal block where you feel comfortable. It’s an uneasy feeling. You definitely feel like something is there,” ABC57 Producer Sarah Ward says.

It's that feeling that has drawn people to the area for the last several decades, including Ward, who made the trek as a young teen.

“You’re thinking to yourself, as soon as I can get a ride out there or as soon as we’re old enough to drive on our own, we’re going for Halloween,” Ward says.

For some, it proves to be just an ordinary drive down a dark road. But for a certain few, it's a journey to something that defies explanation.

“The urban legend that I heard was that Primrose Road, out in the country was haunted house out there,” Ward says.

“People seeing things in the woods. A rock that appears and disappears. A house that appears and disappears. People yelling and screaming in the woods at 2 a.m. when there should be no one out there," Price says.

For the ones brave enough to make the drive, the memories are clear.

“There was a van of us. I can clearly remember. We literally drove around for an hour, maybe an hour and a half and we just could not find this road anywhere,” Ward says.

And that's when the road, found them.

“All of a sudden the brakes are slammed. We all look straight forward and there’s a deer standing in the middle, staring at us, in the headlights. The deer turns its head, and there is the house we’ve been looking for all of this time. And we realize, we’re on Primrose Road,” Ward says.

The wooded road now shows no trace of an old house. But for those who were there that night, it was very much real.

“I will tell you that it’s something you’ll never forget. You know what I mean? I’m 35. And I was probably 16 years old. I vividly remember exactly what happened. So it’s something that sticks with you and it’s just the oddest thing I can’t explain it,” Ward says.

So, should you find yourself driving down a dark, country road on South Bend's Northwest side late at night, sipping on a spirit at your favorite haunt, or waiting in the dark for the curtain to rise, and you find yourself witness to something that just can't be explained, just remember, stranger things have happened.

If you are experiencing some strange things where you live or work, find more information on the Michiana Paranormal Investigations on Facebook. You can also watch some of their previous investigations here.

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