Is Oil City’s National Transit Building Haunted?

| October 15, 2015

10408529_914270545277676_5766063574936525964_n1[1]OIL CITY, Pa. – The National Transit Building in Oil City has a deep history and hosted some of the most powerful men in the country that were titans of the oil industry.  Could they still be there?

(Photo by Timothy Rudisille Photography)

  On November 6 and 7, visitors will be able to explore the building with ghost hunting equipment to determine if paranormal activity exists.

The event is titled “Ghost Hunt” and is designed by Immersive Life, a Pittsburgh based immersive gaming designer.  Over an approximately 30 minute semi-guided tour, a “collecting crew” of up to 10 people will explore the building.  Individuals can reserve the time they will enter the building and each group will be armed with a ghost meter to detect activity and a video camera to capture it with the opportunity to explore different areas in the building culminating in the old executive offices.

“We look forward to what the crews can find and document, said Immersive Life co-founder Christopher Whitlatch. “We will post and compare the results of each tour on Immersive Life site at http://ImReal.Life.

The National Transit Building and its sister building known as the Annex is located at 206 Seneca Street in Oil City, PA and once was the hub of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Now under the ownership of the Oil City Civic Center, a nonprofit, which has transformed it into artists’ studios.  Immersive Life is donating a portion of the proceeds from the Ghost Hunt event to the Civic Center.

“The building is important to this city and region and is thriving again,” says Trenton Moulin, executive director of the Bridge Builder’s Foundation, which has offices in the Annex Building.  “This event celebrates the history of the building, raises funds for the future and will build awareness of the area to diverse new audiences.”

Whitlatch heard a second hand story of paranormal activity in the building and contacted Moulin about the opportunity to design an event.  “Visitors in the building often smell cigars and some have seen an apparition of a man in turn of the century clothing smoking,” said Whitlatch.  “Our own team investigated and heard both a man and a woman’s voice though no one was in the building at the time.”

Photo by Greg Knox of Bright Ideas.

Photo by Greg Knox of Bright Ideas.

The history in the building includes some of the most powerful men at the time.  “As part of Ghost Hunt, we will share some of the stories that we researched to create the experience,” says Whitlatch.  We were particularly drawn to Ida Tarbell, a journalist who with the help knowing or unknowingly of H. H. Rogers exposed the Standard Oil Trust’s practices, leading to regulation that ended its dominant hold on the oil industry.  It’s these stories that make Ghost Hunt such an interesting experience and we are excited to share this treasure of a building with others in a fun and entertaining way.”

Immersive gaming often creates an alternate world typically using virtual reality. “Though we use technology in many of our games, our players do not have to wear a headset as they do in virtual reality scenarios,” says Whitlatch.  “Rather, our players enter the story in real environments, and often that means an empty space that fits or enhances the theme of the game.”

Immersive Life works with building owners to create one-of-a-kind experiences that helps to bring awareness for the space as well as future development plans.  The company is currently working on a steam punk theme game called “Punk Wars” where players will disarm a doomsday device and “Santa’s Magic Clock”, a children’s game based on the legend of Santa Claus.

“Our games draw from many different experiences including quests, fantasy, sci-fi, reality, alternate reality, military and anything else that you can dream, said Whitlatch. “You show us the space and/or event and we can bring or build a game.”

Advance tickets, starting at $15, are now on sale at http://ImReal.Life/ghosthunt.

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