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Joe busted out laughing. For once, Frank Hardy was the one who put his foot in his mouth and he was there to see it! Trying to help his brother recover from his embarrassment, Joe leaned in towards the driver side.

"That is us. I am Joe and this is my ever intelligent and very talented older brother, Frank," Joe exclaimed with a twinkle in his eye.

Frank picked up on his brotherís gloating. "Nice to meet you Professor Zane."


"I guess this is not a good place to exchange greetings right?" Professor Zane said with a chuckle. "Traffic is horrible at this time of the day. It is a lot better later on so donít get scared off of our downtown here."

Joe looked around. Traffic. He calls this TRAFFIC! This is a small town for a college. This traffic looks like a slow day in Bayport, let alone a place like New York City.

"Why donít you get in and we will give you a lift?" Frank said, hitting the unlock button on their father's sedan.

Professor Zane quickly hopped in the back and directed them through the labyrinth of one way streets to a big building that had McCracken Hall written on the outside of it. While Frank was extremely embarrassed over the professor seeing his little outburst, he was glad that he was there to give them directions. The boys were armed with directions, but Frank had never seen so many one way streets! The professor soon led the boys up to his office, which was just as cluttered as Joeís room at home. The professor led them back to a small couch that was next to his desk.

"Please have a seat. We donít have long until we begin," The professor said as he unpacked all of his things that he was carrying with him.

Joe looked over at Frank with a quizzical look. He thought that they would at least have time to enjoy the scenery of the area and take in some college life and college girls of course. But it seemed that Professor Zane had other plans. Frank just shrugged his shoulders and walked over to a small device on a table on the other side of the office.

"What is this?" Frank asked as he pointed to the device.

"That is an electromagnetic indicator," the professor explained as he booted up the computer that was half buried in paperwork. He even had to move over a couple of papers just to get to the keyboard. "You are going to be using that tonight as a matter of fact. They are easy to use. You just watch to see if there are any changes in the electromagnetic meter. Spirits release a magnetic field or waves when they are present. I use that machine to pick up on those waves. It works quite well along with the other equipment."

Frank was still checking the machine out when Professor Zane moved to the other side of the room and picked up another small machine. The machine was black and fit right into the palm of his hand.

"You will also be using this," He said, holding up the small device. "This measures temperature. Spirits can lower the temperature in the room when they are present. It also releases a laser light out of the top of it. That laser light will glow blue when it finds a cold area in a room and red for a hot spot. When you find a cold spot, you take the electromagnetic meter and read the signal. If it reads into the red zone, chances are there is a spirit present in that very spot."

Frank could not help but think that Professor Zane had too much time on his hands.

If proving ghosts existed was this easy, then we would know for sure if they existed! But the devices are neat. I canít wait to at least be able to tinker with them.

"Did you make those things?" Joe asked, walking over to Frank to take a look. Frank looked over at Joe and then chuckled to himself. He could tell that Joe was extremely interested in Professor Zaneís equipment and their uses.

"Yes I did," Professor Zane said with a proud smile. "It took a while, but after I spoke to some other colleagues on the subject, I was able to make my own tracking devices."

"So you go out and just track down things in the middle of the night?" Frank asked, his dark eyes studying the temperature gauge device.

"Sometimes. Lately I have not had much time with work though. My friend and coworker Kenny Grimes have been helping me. He was always a skeptic, but just recently he has really gotten into the study of the paranormal. He teaches physics and chemistry here at the college part-time," Professor Zane answered as he got out a small laptop computer, camera and a video camera. "You will need these as well. We have to hurry though! It will be dark soon and I will have to get set up here to prepare to read the results as they come in. Time is crucial!"

Again, Joe shot Frank a glance. What on earth is his hurry! It is only four! We still have to get something to eat. I am about to starve to death as it is!

Frank saw his brotherís look and returned it with the same look. Joe then knew that Frank was just as lost as he was at that point.

"I donít understand what you are talking about Professor," Frank asked. "Dad said you have been studying this type of stuff for many years now. Why all of a sudden is everything down to the wire?"

"OH! Your father must have forgotten to mention everything to you," the professor said as he finally came to a stop. Both boys looked at him. "I have been trying to get the university to take my studies seriously. This equipment is not only expensive, but it is way outdated. I need new equipment to continue my study and with that I need money. The university offers a grant each year to a professor that is studying something new and different that can help boost interest in the university as a whole. I am hoping to get that grant this year."

"Shouldnít you have enough data to have a good chance?" Frank quizzed the professor. Years of studying and collecting information had to stand for something, he thought to himself.

"I have a lot, but it is circumstantial so to say. It was before I had use of the equipment too. I have many tapes and rolls of film with bizarre things on them, but the university needs scientific proof. I need numbers, computer printouts and most of all; I need pictures to back up the findings. That is where you come in."

"What are we going to do?" Joe asked, even though he had an idea of what the answer was going to be.

"I am sending you to the Former State of Ohio Insane Asylum to see if you can find some date for me. I hear that it is very haunted so to say and the state finally granted me permission to go into it for one nightÖ tonight. We have to be out by eight in the morning. That is when I have to turn in the key! It took me two years to get this chance and I need for you boys to go up there and get that data. The instruments will be linked to my laptop and it will send me a continuous feed of what you are seeing," Professor Zane said excitedly.

"But I still donít understand exactly how we do this?" Frank asked.

"I DO!" Joe piped up. It felt great to finally have one over on his older brother. Especially since Frank was the electronic guru so to say of the brothers. Frank could handle anything electronical or computer related, while Joe was able to fix anything on wheels. He looked over at his older brother, who was standing there with a "well tell me" look on his face. Joe could almost swear he was smirking at him. "Well my dear brother, you go into the suspected haunted place and look around using the electromagnetic thingamajig. You watch the readings and when you finally get one or something that looks suspicious, you pay close attention to the temperature in the room. You can also shoot the laser to the area where you think the ghost is to see if there is a color change. It will not show the ghost so to say, but it will show an aura like thing. Then you try to either catch it on film or take a picture to see if something shows up on it later."

Frank just looked at his brother. This went far beyond Joeís old imagination with the supernatural. He knew that Joe didnít read anything that he did not have to read for school, so how did he know so much about the subject. The blond haired boy just stood there with a grin. His grin grew wider after Professor Zane nodded in agreement with Joeís explanation. When Professor Zane turned his back, Frank just rolled his eyes at his brother.

I canít believe I am going to spend the night in some psyche ward chasing cold spots and waves of mist! Then to top it all off, my little brother is some ghost expert.

"So where did you learn all of that at?" Frank asked his younger brother.

"Off this TV show on MTV called "Fear". They go in places to see if they are haunted," Joe explained, recalling the TV show that aired every Sunday night. He never missed an episode. While he did not know if it was all fake or not, it entertained him! Frank just once again, rolled his eyes at his brotherís answer.

"So where is this asylum?" Frank said with a sigh. The professor led them to the window. The view of the campus was beautiful and the Hocking River that bordered the campus shimmered in the sun. Frank could tell it was a very shallow river. Then a building caught his eye. On top of the hill, overlooking all of Athens was this breathtaking brick building with white steeples. It looked just like one of the universityís buildings, except its towers made it look more like a castle. But he did not see anything that looked like an old asylum. "So where is it? All I see is college buildings."

Professor Zane pointed to the "castle" like building on top of the hill. "There it is. The famous Southern Ohio Nuthouse."

Frank could not believe his eyes nor could his brother who was peering over his shoulder at the building. The castle like building that looked like it belonged to the university was actually the old building that they were going to be spending the night in.


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hardy boys fan fiction


The Hardy Boys belong to Simon and Schuster and the Stratemeyer Foundation. The Hardy Boys Fan Fiction author(s) of the Hardy Detective Agency have just borrowed them for an adventure or two. The author(s) promise to give the boys back when they are done with them. The authors do claim copyright to any original characters in their stories. Please do not borrow original characters without express permission of the author(s) in question.