[b]sorry, this is kind of long guys[/b]
In 1999 I began working with a local paranormal investigation crew out of Durham, NH but near the end of 2000 the group had grown weary of my undying skepticism and I had grown weary of their eagerness to accept every speck of dust in every photo taken as conclusive evidence of ghosts. So we all decided that it would be better if I didn't work with the group anymore. Shortly after that I was contacted through a chain of people to do a sweep of a local apartment building while accompanied with a newspaper crew for an issue of the paper as the month neared Halloween. The building turned up entirely clean but the article went to press with all sorts of wild claims and out of context quotes from myself that made it sound as if the building was crawling with spirits. Following this event, I began getting phone calls from locals asking me to come and check out their house for one reason or another. Of the several dozen calls I received, I followed up on only two of them as they sounded most promising.
The first call was from a woman who claimed that she was being visited in the night by a black shape. Initial investigation turned up nothing. Not even a cold spot. No orbs, no EVP and some pretty standard EMF readings. I made a follow up call and was in contact with the woman over the course of a month. Her stories became stranger and stranger and it seemed to me that she was most likely insane rather than haunted. Her claims began to sound more like erotic fiction than ghost encounters.
The second call came from a woman calling on behalf of her brother, who had bought a house on Hampton Beach for his family to move into. Details were scant, but she did tell me that the family had been living in a motel room for the last week and refuse to go back home. She unraveled second-hand accounts about strange noises in the house, her brother's family seeing strange and distrubing things and a horrible odor that originated in the bathroom (har har har!). I decided to check this out and three days later, on friday afternoon, met with the family at their motel room. The vague stories his sister had told me were now fleshed out fully by the traumatized family, and let me tell you, this was some harrowing stuff.
They had closed on the house two months ago, and moved in fully one month ago. The only thing they knew about the house prior to their purchase was that it was a rental property since 1985 and that it was built sometime in the late 70's. As soon as they moved in, strange things began happening. The wife told me about her first encounter, their two daughters at school and her husband at work, she heard a woman's voice in the bedroom. It was muffled and she couldn't make out any words, but she went back to see if she had left the alarm clock on radio by mistake. She heard the talking all the way to the door of the bedroom, but when she entered, it was gone completely, as if someone had shut it off. She was also alarmed by a frequent knocking on the door. Every twenty minutes, there was knocking, but when she went to answer it, no one was there. This was November, and while it was cold outside, the house was properly heated and insulated, yet several rooms were chilled like a freezer while the rest of the house was fine. Both daughters reported seeing a man in their room and in the kitchen. One of the two girls, the eleven year old said that she woke up to see a man standing in the doorway to her bedroom. It was dark and she couldn't make out features, but she at first thought it was her father and tried to talk to him, but the figure in the door did nothing. It didn't respond, it didn't move, it just stood there. Her younger sister, the nine year old woke up when she heard sister talking to the man and also thought it was her father but after a few seconds understood that he was not. They became frightened and began yelling for their parents. Their parents jumped up, threw on the hall light and as soon as the light was on, the figure in the door was gone completely. The parent shrugged it off as a bad dream, but not for long. Not long after this encounter, the nine year old woke up early in the morning and saw a man standing in her kitchen facing the sink, looking out the window. She didn't recognize him, and found herself paralyzed with fear. The man at the counter made no indication that he saw her, he made no move, he just stood there. Eventually, she managed to back out of the room and wake her parents up, but no one was found in the kitchen when they all went in to check it out. Every member of the family recalls the sound of scratching from behind the walls. It would come and go, night and day. But the worst was still yet to come. The bathroom, despite being kept up and clean by the family, began to smell horrible and the stench would pour out into the hall. It was so bad that they began using the neighbor's bathrooms because the odor made them wretch. The smell came and went. One day it would be fresh and clean, the following three days it would smell like something had died under the house. They had hired a plumber to check it out and he had concluded that there was nothing wrong. He'd even checked out the piping under the house and found nothing wrong, nor had he found the carcass of an animal. Everything was fine, or so it seemed. All members of the house reported finding a spot on the carpet in the living room that appeared to be soaked with blood. It was wet to the touch, but would disappear as soon as they turned away from it. This, like everything else, came and went but always appeared in the same location. They alleged that the police had been called on their house twice by neighbors because of a domestic dispute. A quick check of the police log in the paper confirmed this. I would later speak with an elderly woman who lived in the cottage adjacent to the house and she told me of bright lights coming from all windows, shouting, sobbing and screaming coming from the house. The family confirmed the police, but said that they don't remember any lights or noise inside the house and that the police went away both times satisfied that no such activity was taking place at the house. The father had returned home from work one afternoon and went to the bathroom to take care of business. While in the bathroom, he heard something move in the tub behind the drawn curtain. He assumed it to be one of his daughters, hiding, so he hitched up his pants, threw open the the curtain and was shocked to the core when he saw not his daughter but a man standing in the tub. The man in the tub didn't seem to notice the father and he stepped out of the tub, out of the bathroom and out into the hall. The father eventually gathered his senses and charged out into the hall to confront the man, but found himself alone. The most chilling element of the story came next. The parents left the children at home with a babysitter while they had dinner together. When they came home, they entered the house and found the children and babysitter eviscerated in the living room. According to the parents, it was a complete bloodbath. They ran screaming from the house and called the police from a cell phone but when police arrived, they found the children in bed and the babysitter watching TV, quite alive and very confused. Police log also confirmed this call. The family grabbed some clothes, drove the babysitter home and then checked into one of the many motels on the beach. They also firmly refused to escort me into the house for my investigation. So I went in alone.
Going in alone lasted all of three seconds. They'd given me the key and I entered with my bag of equipment. The silence of the house was heavy. You could feel a tangible presence of dread as soon as you entered. Something in this house was seriously wrong. I stood near the door inside for a few seconds, heard a scratching noise and booked it out of there without even thinking about it. From my car, I called my wife and conned her into coming down to help me out. I told her the place was freaky and that it'd be a trip to check this place out. I didn't tell her about hallucinations of butchered children or a spectral man who wanders around in there. I also conned a friend of mine into coming down to help me take photos and readings. My wife arrived with a fat bag of white sage, we'd be needing that later, trust me. My other friend showed up and we all made the move to go inside. I gave them the run down as we set up the gear, leaving out the more chilling stuff because I needed some people in here with me if I was going to check it out. I just couldn't find it in myself to stay here alone. I told the owners of the house I would spend the weekend there. We'd set up in the evening on friday and break down on sunday. We did a sweep of the house with an EMF detector and found the readings to be fluctuating wildly in the 1-4 miligauss range. Particularly, the children's room, the bathroom and the parents bedroom were the hotspots. We also took some 35mm photos of each room from several angles, yet not a single photo turned up anything. I had a video camera on a tripod wired to a small monitor in the living room, which was the hub of the house. From where the cam was, we could turn it 360 degrees and catch any action that was happening around us. I also had a small handheld Digital Cam if we needed to move into a room quickly. At first we caught nothing out of the ordinary aside from the EMF readings, so my wife picked up the phone and called a local pizza delivery concern to have a little food brought over. What she discovered was that the phones didn't work. At least, there was no dial tone. There was, however, a voice coming over the phone. She turned white and handed the phone to me. I listened and could barely hear what was being said. It was obviously a woman's voice talking very quietly. It was hard to make out what she was saying, but it seemed to me as if it were a one sided conversation. She was talking to someone, but we couldn't hear that other person. The general gist of the woman's schpiel was, "Please, I want to come home. I don't want to stay here anymore. Please let me come home." Followed by what sounded like her crying. I put my digital recorder to the phone and recorded thirty seconds of this woman's pleading, but playback was very poor and you could only hear static when she spoke on playback. We hung up, chilled to the bone. We called on the cell, but reception in the house was terrible, so my wife called from outside.
We ate in the kitchen, where I began my video journal of what was happening around us. I picked up the phone to hear no dial tone, only a whispering. I held the receiver to the camera mic and you can barely hear the whispering on the tape. It was here that we had something signifigant happen. Every light in the house went out all at once. We figured a power loss at first, and had our flasflights on in a second. There was no way we were getting stuck in that place in the pitch dark. The chill washed over us when we realized that all light switches that were previously on were now in the off position, as if they'd been manually turned off. I entered the living room with the handheld cam in low light mode. Review of the tape turned up something moving down the hall when I entered the room. You can't clearly make out a form, but something is definitely moving there. Now was the time for the white sage. My wife placed some in a small censor hung from a chain and began "smudging" the house. Sage is burned when you want to cleanse a location of any bad energy. This place was soaked in it. It didn't seem to do much good. If anything, it was the trigger that kicked off the rest of the evening's menu of terror.
I had set up thermostats in every room and was doing a check before we crashed for the night. The bathroom and parent's bedroom were both unbelievably cold, as reported by the family. The thermostat read that the rooms were actually around 68 degrees, but this felt like it was in the 20s. I might as well have been outside. Also, the faintest hint of something bad could be smelled in the bathroom... and it was growing.
We were becoming more and more frightened as time went by and we had a buddy system set up for everything. No one wanted to be in this place by themselves, so during the sleep hours, one person slept while the other two kept each other company. We slept in shifts. We flipped coins in a tournament style in order to figure out who slept in what order. I won first and was out like a light. Two hours later, I was shaken awake by my wife. She shook me violently and I was up in seconds. Her gaze and my friend's gaze were fastened to something standing in the hallway. The lights were out, but the playback monitor was bright enough to light room up a little bit. I was awake in time to see the figure turn away from the living room and walk back into the hall. It was too dark to make any details out, but make no mistake, we weren't alone. The tripod cam captured a black, misty form in the hall but not what we had seen. Other times during playback, we saw the same form pass through the room around the time that the lights went out in the house. Needless to say, no one could sleep anymore. If seeing the vague shape of a man in the hall wasn't enough to freak us awake, the periodic knocking on the door and scratching at the walls was enough to keep us awake. I captured the sound on the digital recorder and this was one of the last things we managed to capture before picking up everything we could carry and getting out of the house.
So much for fearless ghost hunter Jones.
We packed everything into my car and then everyone got into their own cars. My wife and friend left, but I wanted to take another drive by to see if I could spot anything. The time was three a.m. and as I drove by, I did indeed see something. Every light in the house was on, just like the old lady said. I stopped across the street and opened the window to see if I could hear anything, but I couldn't. Shadows moved past windows and I managed to get some of it on the handheld cam, but playback revealed no such shapes. It did show all the lights on, though.
The next day, I met the owners at their room and reported my findings, playing back some of the tapes for them. My conclusion was that even though playback, digital recordings and photography turned up very little, that I had seen everything that the cameras weren't showing with my own eyes and believed them 100%. That place was crazy haunted and I can't blame them for bailing out. You couldn't pay me to go back in there. As a matter of fact, I left four thermostats back there, unwilling to go into the back rooms during our hasty retreat. A week later, I called with a follow up to see if they were still in the motel. They had checked out. I called their home number and found that it had been disconnected. Several weeks later, I drove by the house and found a realty sign on the lawn. It was up for sale again.
I pity the realtor who sets foot in that place.
epilogue: following this event, I found myself with a dwindling enthusiasm for paranormal investigation. I can't honestly think that I'd ever willingly subject myself to that setting ever again.