One of the most frightening and inexplicable occurrences we’ve encountered was in a deserted town off Lundy’s Road, just north of Napanoch, New York.
Excerpt from Ghost Investigator-Volume 1: Hauntings of the Hudson Valley
…When Bob and I first went to find the ghost town one winter’s night, the only information I had was that there was at least one haunted house way back in the woods. We turned onto Lundy’s Road and the cluster of modern houses there did not prepare us for what lay ahead. A short distance in, thick woods came right up to the road’s edge and the van’s headlights only managed to cut a narrow tunnel in the darkness.
After about a quarter of a mile we were sure the town had to be just up ahead. Half a mile in we wondered if we had the right road. We drove further and further into the heavily wooded blackness and finally the headlights caught the edges of a stone wall. Stopping the van, we saw that there was a beautiful 18th century-style stone house facing away from the road. We got out and stood in the enshrouding darkness and silence, feeling very much like we were firmly in the middle of nowhere.
That feeling was enhanced by the fact that with all the bags of equipment we brought, we had forgotten to bring a single flashlight! Fortunately, we had the infrared camera and the night vision scope, which has a high-powered infrared light. Letting our equipment see for us, we walked along the two sides of the house facing the road. High grass and uneven ground kept us from going around to the front of the house. (Normally, I would have attempted it, but while a twisted ankle is one thing, a twisted camcorder is not acceptable.)
We took quite a few pictures with the 35mm cameras and a conventional flash, and in the brief bursts of light we could see that every door and window was securely boarded up. It was clear that they didn’t want anyone to get in. Too bad they didn’t think about something that might want to come out.
After about ten minutes, we decided there wasn’t much else to see, and as absolutely nothing seemed out of the ordinary, we started packing up to leave. I was quite disappointed that after all the hype, nothing happened. This was the first time I used my new infrared camcorder and not a single drop of spirit energy had appeared. No lights, no sounds, no nothing.
My stubbornness kicked in and I decided that I was going to take the camcorder and go into the grass and weeds after all. Maybe the ghosts were all in the front of the house? I continued taping in Night shot as I started along the side of the house, and just happened to aim the camcorder towards the boarded up door I had previously photographed. I stopped dead in my tracks.
I was not looking at a closed door any more. Suddenly, I was looking straight into the house through an open doorway! The infrared pierced the darkness and revealed the rooms on the interior of the house. For a moment, it almost felt like the old house was beckoning me to come inside and I actually took a few steps forward. As I was being drawn toward the house, I realized that a minute earlier that open door was closed. It was very quiet there, there was no wind, and neither of us had heard the door open. Something was not right.
"Bob?" I called out. "Wasn’t this door closed?"
He replied that as far as he knew the entire house was nailed shut.
I taped for another few seconds and started to back away. Pulling out my 35mm camera, I took another picture. Then I thought it was time to leave.
When we got home, I immediately connected the camcorder to the television so we could view the interior of the house and try to solve the mystery of the opening door. The footage of the exterior of the house came out fine, but when the tape came to the section where I was looking into the inside of the house, there was nothing there. It was as if the camera stopped recording. There is blank tape, and then suddenly the recording began again once I came back to the van. My crucial camcorder evidence was nonexistent, I would have to wait for the 35mm film to be developed.
A couple of days passed before I went to pick up the pictures. As I stood in the store, I immediately flipped through the photos and came across the one I took when we first arrived. The door was solid and closed tight. Then I pulled out the last photo I took. Forgetting where I was, I expressed my shock out loud in words I normally do not use in public.
There was the open doorway, but even more bizarre was that only part of the door was open, and part of the board above the transom was missing!
In the days since our visit, I tried to make sense of what I had seen, that somehow a breeze we hadn’t felt or perhaps a squatter we didn’t see had managed to silently open that door while we were standing there. Now, however, as I looked at the pictures of the partially missing door and the piece above it, I had no explanation…
The photo of the closed door taken soon after we arrived.
Note that the door and portion above the transom are solid wood and securely closed.
The last photo I took showing the inside of the house through the open doorway.
Note that only part of the wood door is open, as is part of the area above the transom. It is not as if the door was just opened, it is simply gone!
Home for Aged Women
In March of 2002, we investigated a former "Home for Elderly Women" in Port Jervis, NY, and many bizarre things occurred that night. One inexplicable phenomenon involved a video monitor. We had Mike’s camcorder in the basement, with cables running upstairs to a monitor. Three times the monitor went blank for no reason, and only came back on when we returned to the basement.
…This time Mike and I headed down the stairs, and as soon as we reached the basement, Bob yelled that the picture had returned. We yelled back that we hadn’t done anything, yet. We were still fifteen or twenty feet away from the camcorder, which was in the furnace room off to our right. When we reached the camcorder, everything was running and recording just fine. As we were trying to solve what we thought was a technical problem, there was a sound behind us that made us freeze in our tracks.
Back by the staircase we had just come down, there was a loud scraping or dragging sound. Mike said it made his hair stand on end, and I could feel the goose bumps springing up across both of my arms. There we were in the darkness of the basement of a house where many elderly ladies had probably passed away, and something unseen was dragging a heavy object across the floor just a few yards away from us…
Later on that night, we were upstairs and I recorded a strange voice.
…Marie (the owner) had told us an interesting story about one of the large bedrooms on the second floor in the main section of the house. For some reason, every time she brought her little daughter to the house, the girl would run up to this bedroom and close herself in the closet. She wasn’t interested in any other closet in the house, just this one. She would spend long periods of time inside laughing and playing by herself. When a friend brought a small boy to visit, he also ran upstairs and closed himself in this same closet. What is the attraction here? When the children are laughing and talking inside, are they truly alone?
We photographed the closet in infrared and in regular light, and we took EMF readings and the temperature. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. With a complete lack of any physical evidence, I came to the conclusion that sometimes a closet is just a closet. Then in August, as I prepared to write this story, I played back the audiotape from the tape recorder I had carried around the house. I hadn’t listened to it sooner because I usually rely on video for both images and sound, and just use the tape recorder as a hands-free way to keep notes during an investigation.
On the tape, Bob, Mike, Marie, her mother, and I were speaking about the closet in that room. As Bob took some digital photos, Mike left to get his camcorder. We are all speaking in normal voices—if anything, a little louder than normal as we were not standing close together. Marie was about fifteen feet from me (and the tape recorder), and just as she is commenting, "If there is someone in the closet, it must be someone friendly," there is a whispered voice very close to the tape recorder. It sounds like a female voice whispering, "There she is."
I was startled when I first heard it. I played it back over and over again, and tried to reconstruct the scene of who was where at the time. Bob, Marie and her mother were near the closet. I was at the other end of the room, and Mike was in a different part of the house. No one was whispering, and no one that I could see was near me.
A popular trend in ghost hunting in recent years is EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena. I think of it more as Erroneous Voice Phenomena, as computer-enhanced hisses and scratches on audiotapes are interpreted as coherent sentences. There are many web sites on the Internet that contain examples to which you can listen, and they not only give the sound, they provide their "translation." Feel free to knock yourself out and listen to a few hundred examples, but I have yet to hear a single one that sounds like legitimate spoken words. Like computer-enhanced images, my feeling about EVP is that if you don’t get a clear voice on tape that doesn’t require any manipulation, you don’t have valid evidence.
That being said, could the whispered voice that I think is saying, "There she is," be the result of brushing the microphone of the tape recorder against something, or just some static or inconsistency in the tape itself? Possibly. However, in all my years of ghost investigating, I’ve never recorded anything like this. Without any enhancing or manipulating, and doing nothing more than hitting the Play button, it sure sounds to me like a woman’s voice whispering.
If, then, we go on the premise that this was a voice, and it did say, "There she is," it begs the questions who is she, and where is she? Not to mention who was it that spoke the words. The fact that Marie was talking about the possibility of someone friendly being in the closet, tends to make me think that the voice and the closet are connected. Was a helpful spirit pointing out a woman or female child in the closet, one that we were unable to see? Or was the voice pointing out one of the living women in the room, which at that point was either Marie, her mother, or me...
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