What is the Pearl Experiment?

The Pearl Experiment is a thought-form experiment that started in 2007 during a paranormal convention at the Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, California. 

A group of paranormal researchers, psychics, and mediums came together to manufacture a ghost using the Philip Experiment as a guideline. 

The Philip Experiment was a 1972 parapsychology experiment run by the Toronto Parapsychological Research Society. Dr. A.R. George Owen led a group of ten people through a methodology to create a fictional ghost and then attempt to communicate with it through séance. 

Their process included curating the life of a character named Philip Aylesford. His back story consisted of both actual and fictional events. The group made sure to mix up timelines and create obvious contradictions in Philip’s backstory to see how they manifested in real life.  

Here is Philip Ayelsford’s backstory: 

Born in 1624 in England, Philip joined the military at a very young age and then was knighted at age sixteen. During his military career, he acted as a spy for Charles II and fought in the English Civil War. While doing errands for the King, Philip met a woman named Dorothea, who was the daughter of a nobleman. He found her to be very very sweet and attractive. Later, he married her. 

After the marriage, Dorothea turned on Philip and became cold and disagreeable. Her violent temper came out and she continually started arguments with her husband. Philip soon fell out of favor with the marriage and looked elsewhere for solace. He would avoid going home by riding his horse through the forest.  

During one of his rides, he came upon a band of traveling Romani people. He gazed upon a woman named Margo who had the most piercing blue eyes. The pair fell into lust with each other almost instantly and did not want to spend another minute being without each other. Philip took Margo to his family estate and hid her until he could figure out what to do with his wife and his failing marriage.  

 Dorothea knew something was up and found the Romani woman’s hiding spot. Angry and wanting revenge, she accused Margo of witchcraft and had her arrested. Afraid of what to do Philip stayed quiet during Margo’s trial and silently watched as she was burned at the stake. Heartbroken over the situation, Philip committed suicide. He died at the age of thirty.  

After the life of Philip was created the group would come together and ask the ghost to show himself. They would meet weekly around a table and meditate together. The rules were the group had to stay lighthearted and have an absolute belief that Philip would eventually appear to them. The group did this for a full year without any demonstrative evidence.  

Frustrated, the group decided to change up their meetings and instead use typical 19th-century séance and table-tipping techniques. After four sessions, the group finally had a hit. After one of the members called out to Philip the table vibrated and there was a distinct knock.  

The group set up a knocking protocol. One knock indicated yes, and two knocks indicated no. They asked questions about the backstory they had created for Philip, and he answered 100% correct. The ghost was very successful with table tipping and as the group believed in Philip more the paranormal activity became stronger. Soon, Philip was able to tip their table, levitate objects and mess with the lights.  

Over the next four years, the group came together to interact with Philip. They conducted table tipping sessions on television and a slew of interviews. Even though the group had much success with their experiment, Owens considered the project to be a wash because they never were able to conjure up Philip as a full-bodied apparition. Many theories have been thrown around, but most believe that the “evidence” of the Philip Experiment can be explained away by psychokinesis.  

For the Pearl Experiment participants decided to use the already rich haunted history of the Glen Tavern Inn to construct a faux background for a fake ghost including ways the entity would show itself.  Then share the fake ghost story with other paranormal researchers to see if evidence of the haunting would materialize. 

Here is the process by which the ghost was created:

It was established early on that the thought form would be female since “Philip” of the Philip Experiment was male. Also, there were some high-energy female ghosts in the Glen Tavern Inn on the first floor. Their history could be borrowed for the creation of the new though form ghost. The group decided it would be a good feeding ground. 

The background of the thought-form ghost was incorporated into the already-established history of the location. The believability factor would be higher if her story matched or mimicked some of the ghost stories that already existed. 

The group collectively created the thought form by imagining her looks, what she wore, and her history. They decided to give her a grisly death to energize her story and make it more salacious.  Also, she was given sound cues for the sake of capturing EVPs including the clacking of coins. 

Everyone in the group agreed to talk about the new ghost thought form. To put her into articles or share her ghost stories as if she were always part of the history of the Glen Tavern Inn. This was to give her story some viability and get people interested in investigating her and hopefully catch evidence that would support her reality. 

Here is Pearl’s original description:

Pearl was a madame who worked the brothel here before 1920 

Her real name is Jane. She was a sturdy woman of French descent, who was murdered while counting her money. Pearl was a flashy woman, who had dreams of stardom but ended up on the seedy side of the entertainment industry. She had a hearty laugh. Visitors to the hotel sometimes report hearing her distant laugh in room 107. Pearl was not local and had no family. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Bardsdale. She had a habit of twirling her pearl necklace and it made a distinctive sound. 

Here is the original email that was sent to the original group members:

Hey Everyone,
Here are the words we used to thought manifest Jane/Pearl. To keep the momentum going, please recite these words at least once a day and visualize/meditate on Pearl’s life at the Glen Tavern Inn.
Also, please note that I’ve made a forum called, The Ghosts of Glen Tavern Inn. By the end of the week, I should have all of the ghost stories I’ve culled in the forum. Pearl/Jane is mentioned as one of the ghosts.
You may check it out here: (Redacted web address.)
This, hopefully, will catch on and give us someplace we can track sightings/evps/etc even after the Convention.

Pearl was intentionally mentioned in an article from the Ventura County Star along with some real ghost stories from the hotel. Additional information was added including her red lipstick and her red nail polish. This was brought to light through an automatic writing session. 

Additional information was added including her red lipstick and her red nail polish.  This was brought to light through an automatic writing session.

One of the seance rooms, on the first floor, was supposedly occupied by a madam Heather calls “Pearl.”

“We don’t know her real name,” Heather said. “She was of French descent. She wanted to be a star. She really liked her money and liked to count her money. She has a very hearty laugh.”

Heather said paranormal investigators call her Pearl because they believe she was strangled by her own pearls.

The other seance will be held in another first-floor room supposedly frequented by a 1920s prostitute that Heather calls “Rose.”

“Rose likes to open and close the doors,” Heather said. “She makes the phone ring.”

Heather and other members of The Real Deal say they have heard Pearl but have actually seen an apparition of Rose.

“Rose has a short bob, an olive complexion, dark hair,” Heather said. “Pearl has a broader nose, red nails, red lipstick.”

The perfume saleswoman that Heather believes she channeled through her automatic-writing session has been detected through smell, according to another member of The Real Deal, Chad Saunders of Ventura. Saunders said the overwhelming smell of perfume will sometimes permeate a hallway in the hotel.

“I want to say violets. It’s very floral,” Saunders said.

Here is Pearl’s original description:

Pearl was a madame who worked the brothel here before 1920
Her real name is Jane
She was a sturdy woman of French descent, who was murdered while counting her money
Pearl was a flashy woman, who had dreams of stardom but ended up on the seedy side of the entertainment industry.
She had a hearty laugh.
Visitors to the hotel sometimes report hearing her distant laugh in room 107.
Pearl was not local and had no family.
She was buried in an unmarked grave in Bardsdale.
She had a habit of twirling her pearl necklace and it made a distinctive sound.

Right before the thought-form activation ritual, the group got together and added more detail to the thought form’s back story. Pearl was attributed with a green dress and her cowboy killer and murder were rounded out. Her killer was very tall and wore a big cowboy hat. He had dark piercing eyes and a dark mustache. You could hear the clack of his cowboy boots coming down the hallway to kill her. 

Her cowboy murderer snuck behind her while she was counting her money. He grabbed her necklace of pearls and strangled her with them. Sometimes, you can hear her necklace breaking and the pearl beads dropping to the ground. 

 Pearl’s more in-depth description was posted in a booklet of haunted ghosts in the Glen Tavern Inn and circulated in the local paranormal community. In the booklet, a commons picture from the internet was used based on her already culled description. 

Please excuse the blurriness. The pictures were taken with a shitty phone camera in 2008 and sent through email. As of this article, a physical copy of this booklet has not been retrieved.  (If you have a copy or know anyone with a copy,  please email me: heather@thepearlexperiment.com)





The picture was one that was chosen from the internet based on the description the group culled together. Here is an excerpt from an email:

November 15, 2008″

” Please note the picture associated with Pearl. I found it online and it seemed like what Pearl would look like (to me) when she first came to the Glen Tavern Inn. Before the reality of show biz hardened her…”

The Thought-Form Activation Ritual:

 During the third week of July 2007, the activation ritual was performed in the lobby of the Glen Tavern Inn in the middle of the night. 

 There were eight original members: 

Heather Woodward, Amy Beauchamp, Chad Saunders, Bill Murphy,  Syd Shultz, Dave Davey, Maria Quijada, Kristin Ballmann 

 Led by Amy Beauchamp, the ritual started out with a circle and the invoking of the four corners.  The description of Pearl was read by every person in the circle. There were other invocations spoken to ground her into reality and bring her into being. A candle was lit. Then, the circle was closed.  

After the ritual, all members went to the conference and went about their business. There was not a lot of talk of Pearl for a few months. Nobody forgot about the forming of Pearl but the group collectively decided the thought form needed time to culminate energy and start showing herself. 

The First Evidence:

A few months after the ritual circle some of the original members tried to contact Pearl through automatic writing and a Frank’s Box session. Heather Woodward was able to contact Pearl through automatic writing, but she was trying to speak French. This was a curious development since the thought-form was supposed to be originally from France but nobody in the group indicated she would speak French. It’s like she decided to create that detail on her own. 

Woodward did not know French. Neither did anyone else in the room. So, what was written down were broken phrases. Here is an excerpt from an email dialogue between Heather Woodward and another member of the session: 

“je te meilleur francaise” that is what i got. except that te and je were switched because obviously I can’t speak French. LOL. If I was better at it, I could have probably detached my brain, but it was only my third time. *shrugs*  Also, “she” was giving me other words and speaking very fast, so I only wrote down the words that I caught the sounds of. So, this very well may have been a full sentence that I butchered.  Oh yeah, there was the word “vous” because I was getting the “Lady Marmalade” song in my head. The part about “vous le vous”. She was trying to get me to pick up on the “vous” with the “francaise”. So, it was something like “vous le vous francaise” or something like that.  Also, someone in the room was speaking French to me, and I was getting quick answers in French. So, these could have been parts of other sentences that I picked up on. 

So, yeah. I need to work on the whole automatic writing thing. But Pearl *would* say something like, “I’m more French then you, good evening” just because that’s such a pretentious “French” thing to say. 


 (Undisclosed Email) Wrote This Reply; 

So from last night, this is what I could remember enough to look up: 

je te meilleur francaise bon soir 

essentially is I better french you this evening, which can be interpreted by me (and your non existent knowledge of the french language) “I am better at french than you, good night” OR “I am more french than you, good evening” 

The first statement makes the most sense to me, even though it is a bit of jibberish…however, if it is cajun, I wouldn’t doubt that it could be that far from actual french. 

Here is the literal translation from the statement, “I am better at french than you, good night” = “Je suis meilleur en le français que vous, bonne nuit”  Now, “Je Suis” is the equivilent to saying “I am” and the verb “To Be” is the word “Etre” which you may have been seeing and hearing her say that instead of Je te.  It could have been “J’ ete” which means “I’ve been”… 

If that seems close enough, then it is french and she was just trying to communicate with your limited knowledge of the language, but if it is far off, I would guesstimate that it would be cajun.  Which I cannot find translations for. 

After this interaction with Pearl, the thought-form project went dark for a short period of time. Again, she wasn’t forgotten as much as group members were doing their investigation projects.  

In November 2008, original member Bill Murphy was approached by a couple who went to the Glen Tavern Inn and took a picture of a woman in a green dress who had an incredible likeness to Pearl. The couple had not heard of the paranormal convention, nor did they have any affiliation with any of the original members of the circle. 





The picture was taken in a walkway between two rooms of a mirror. In the mirror, there is a side profile reflection of a woman with dark brown hair wearing a green dress. She’s looking at the person taking the picture.  At the time the photograph was taken there were no other women in the room or even remotely close to the couple. In fact, the couple said they were alone due to the time of night they were investigating. To their knowledge and memory, nobody at the hotel had dark hair or wore a green dress.  

Murphy was shown the picture and immediately knew this was concrete evidence of Pearl the thought form. Here is the original email sent to Woodward:

Pearl Lives! 

BillM (Redacted Email) 

To(Redacted Email) 

See attached pic. One person who saw the pic asked if she was pregnant. They also have a pic that looks like an unborn fetus but that may be matrixing, I don’t have that photo. 

The pic of Pearl is zoomed all of the way in, the original is nearly wall to wall and they tried to duplicate the photo but every time they try the person relected in the mirror also shows up in the room. 

I am ready to throw all of my time and effort into this project and will make sure to sync my schedule with everyone elso connected to this case. 

In the attached picture, the woman in the picture had dark hair, a nose outline, wearing a dark green dress. She is looking straight at the camera, but her body is in profile. The dress blooms at the waist and she does appear pregnant. This is another detail the original group did not attribute to the thought-form. This was the second instance of Pearl altering her details and adding to her story.  

At the Glen Tavern Inn, there is a ghost tale of a woman who was having an affair with a married man. She became pregnant and killed herself. Could it be that Pearl decided to take aspects of other energies in the hotel?  





Here is a close-up of the original picture and the date it was taken.

Here’s a screenshot of the original picture:

Bill Murphy’s Solo Work on the Pearl Experiment:

Bill Murphy did put all of his energy towards the Pearl Experiment during a few solo endeavors. According to an article in the Santa Paula Times,  on March 23-25, 2012, Bill Murphy hosted an “Explore the Theory of Thought Form Manifestation” Conference at the Glen Tavern Inn where he highlighted the Pearl Experiment and unveiled the Pearl photo. 

Here is an excerpt from the article:

The Pearl Experiment resulted in a photographer taking a photo of the lobby of the Glen Tavern Inn and when it was developed later realizing that a ghostly image in the mirror hung in Enzo’s Restaurant must be Pearl, a character that had been the focus of a previous experiment in thought form manifestation (TFM).  

“She was even twisting her pearl necklace,” said Anita of the image.

It was eight months after the July 2007 Pearl Experiment was conducted at the Inn that photographer Jim Spann unknowingly took the only known picture of a woman that existed due to a combination of an experimental device coupled with group intention.

Bill said Spann approached him at a conference in Colorado and showed him a scrapbook of images he suspected might be spirits. 

“He asked me about mirrors and I told him about mirrors and their influences,” and when Bill looked at the image it gave him a start… the woman was not in the area of the lobby where she must should have been positioned for her figure to be reflected in the mirror. 

When told that the photo had been taken at the Inn Bill had another start when he realized the loosely organized The Pearl Experiment, those who talked about the woman, given her a life, told stories about, even dressed eight months before, had seen results.

The parapsychology experiment was conducted initially with the idea that there possibly could be a recording – audio or visual media – and Spann had such documentation.

And because the experiment was conducted at the Inn Bill said “We want to reveal our findings where it took place… on Saturday morning we’ll introduce Pearl. I really want to use this opportunity to launch this new experience that everybody can be a part of… as far as we know Pearl was made up by using protocols of other experiments and manifested as a thought form… we create the experiment through curiosity and now we have to understand it.

“It’s almost,” noted Bill, “like doing it backwards!”

Murphy was on Coast to Coast twice talking about the Pearl Experiment:

How the Living Influence Hauntings


“Murphy detailed his own Pearl Experiment in which he created a back-story for a non-existent ghost named Pearl and combined it with the actual history of reported hauntings at Glen Tavern Inn in California. Inserting a fictitious ghost history into a place does seem to have an effect on the outcome of an investigation, he suggested. As evidence, Murphy pointed to a photograph taken of the Glen Tavern Inn lobby on the day of the experiment. It shows a ghostly image in a mirror that appears to be a female form roughly matching the description made up for Pearl, he revealed.”

Slenderman Tales/Open Lines


According to his website, Murphy has been working on a paranormal documentary about the Pearl Experiment. None of the original members are affiliated with any of his solo work nor were they contacted to participate. 

The Pearl Experiment/Slenderman Connection:

Bill Murphy was on Coast to Coast on May 30th, 2014  talking about the Pearl Experiment. He mentioned the Slenderman phenomenon as a tulpa experience in the interview. On the same evening of May 30th, 2014, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser listened to that interview.  

After two failed murder attempts, Weir and Morgan, it seems, were spurred on by the Coast to Coast interview and decided that they would finally kill their friend, Payton Leutner in order to become proxies for Slenderman once and for all. Weier and Morgan lured Leutner into the Waukesha Forest and then stabbed her 19 times with a kitchen knife. They told the bleeding girl they would go and find help but instead walked 4.9 miles toward Interstate 94 where they were apprehended by the police. Bleeding and on the brink of death, Luetner mustered up the last of her strength and crawled to the edge of a road. A cyclist found her and immediately called 911. She spent six days in the hospital. The bloody knife was found in Weier’s bag. 

Here is the blurb from the Coast to Coast Website: 

Surprisingly, Redfern described earlier sightings of the same type of being going back decades before it was even conceived, and proposed that its form might be an archetypal character which tapped into our deepest fears and ideas of horrifying entities, and was already “primed in our subconscious.” He also described the phenomenon of the “manifested thought form,” sometimes referred to by the term “tulpa,” and how there is ample anecdotal evidence for the existence of these beings. In part of the second hour, paranormal researcher Bill Murphy described experiments he has conducted in attempting to create physical manifestations by mental power alone.” 

Did the interview with Bill Murphy talking about the Pearl Experiment, thoughtforms feed into the energy of Slenderman and the Waukesha attempted murder?

According to Nick Redfern in his book, The Slenderman Mysteries, yes, it is possible.

Check out the podcast interview here:

If you want to know more about the case check out this podcast series:

The Pearl Experiment Resurrects Itself:

In 2018, some of the original members got together to try and further the experiment. Their running hypothesis was Pearl might be a sentient thought form that could be taking on the history of other ghosts at the Glen Tavern Inn.  

The group had questions and wanted to know if she was happy or did she feel abandoned.  Did she evolve throughout the years or was she in a state of stasis? If she was still “alive” what was she using as an energy or “food” source? 

During the first get-together, the group performed a seance circle combined with an EVP session to see if Pearl would recognize the energy of her creators. The group also set up some sound triggers to see if anything would happen. One of the triggers was bells. If Pearl were around, she would create the sound of bells even though there were none in the hotel.  

The séance was conducted at a hotel in Ventura, California with most of the original members and some new members who were there for support. The original members included Amy Beauchamp, Heather Woodward, Dave Davey and Maria Quijada. 

Before the séance, members convened outside to talk and get acquainted. Everyone was nervous about what was about to transpire since the group hadn’t been together for several years.

While everyone was talking the smoke detector in the hotel room went off. Two members went into the hotel room with a video camera to document the high-pitched squealing alarm and investigate why it went off. There wasn’t smoke in the room or anything that could trigger the contraption. It left the group boggled but also curious.  Was the pulsing sound of the alarm Pearl’s way of showing she was there? It wasn’t a specific bell sound, but it did have markers and the thought-form has been known to create her own narrative.  

The seance was performed on the hotel room floor in a circle. The audio recorders were set in the middle of the circle. During the séance, EVPs of bells were captured. It was a sign that Pearl was eager to communicate with us. Circle participants believed Pearl did come forward during the séance and expressed some feelings of being abandoned and she stated she was unclear as to her purpose and why she was created.  

Here are some clips of the seance:





The members felt responsible for her sadness and did a second ritual to take her out of the Glen Tavern Inn and moved her into the ether so that she could create sentience outside of her birthplace to reinvent herself. There was a sense of relief and catharsis during this session. Tears were shed and a sense of redemption hung in the air. At the end of the séance, the group asked Pearl to keep communication by showing her name if she was around.  


During the next few months group members had continual synchronistic events with the name “Pearl” in different ways, in different situations, and in different scenarios. Some of the events included seeing actual physical pearls to hearing the name in weird scenarios to seeing the physical spelling on restaurant monikers and billboards. All members who had been at the séance had more than one experience with this phenomenon despite living in different cities or traveling to different states. 





Over the next year, the original group members got together for more seances to check in with Pearl and check up on her energy. She liked being out of the confines of the haunted history of the Glen Tavern Inn. From curated “conversations” via divination it seemed the thought-form was reinventing herself. The more the group contacted her the stronger she came in. So, the experiencers decided to try table tipping to see if she could start interacting with the physical realm and move inanimate objects.  





In the first session, the table tipping didn’t get too much traction. The movement was sluggish or non-existent. However, after many tries, Pearl seemed to get used to pushing the table and movement started as soon as the group sat together. The table tipping was more intense when the members were in good moods and the energy was lively. Members realized right away that success meant being in a high vibe belief state of mind.  




In one session, Pearl mentioned that she didn’t have a strong feeding ground and no “food” source because she was stuck in the ethereal realm. So, the group decided to create a sigil for her that way she was tied to a magickal energy system. Each participant drew a part of her sigil to bring in the part of Pearl they had originally created.  

The thought-form was also put into the Harry Potter Room of Requirement as a “food” source. The reason is the Harry Potter franchise has its own energy and could be considered its own egregore. The Room of Requirement gives you anything that you need and since Pearl was reinventing herself this was a good way to get her needs met without a lot of interference. She would always have the energy to draw upon.

The Pearl Experiment abruptly ended during a séance session in which Pearl asked to become sentient. She was tired of being a thought form and wanted to move into one of the experiencers’ bodies and feel what like to be human. This was territory the group did not feel comfortable moving towards. Mostly because the members had no experience with this sort of request, and nobody wanted to risk being possessed. There wasn’t any other way to let the thought form experience sentience without a physical form.  

The group decided to pull back and let Pearl hang out in her Room of Requirement without any interaction from its creators. However, she has visited during Estes sessions and other divinatory methods throughout the years without being summoned. Usually, to say hello or give awareness of other thought forms in haunted locations. She seems to recognize the energy signature of other man-made created ghosts and will always take pleasure in showing up and taking over sessions or giving her opinion on why a location is haunted. She has become a welcome interference.