Friday, February 4, 2011

True Tales of the Unexplained - and Uneventful!

Be careful what you wish for - or you might find yourself face to face with the ghost of Gertrude Tredwell as she floats down the stairs and into the front parlor to receive a caller.

Photo by Bob Estremera
Or maybe not. At least not this time around.

A few unexplained things happened as we went through the house room-by room (a few unexplained bumps and some EMF activity in the servants quarter) But we emerged from the night's work with nothing as spectacular as what's been gathered on previous investigations - 10 of them so far, with 7 yielding "convincing evidence" (a term that isn't employed often or lightly around here).

That's a pretty spectacular hit ratio as these things go. Investigation team leader Dan Sturges owned his EMF meter for two years and took it on numerous investigations of other "haunted" places - and in all that time, the needle never had the courtesy to move even a fraction of an inch. He was about to have it checked for defects when it went off in what we all refer to as Eliza Tredwell's bedroom (on the second floor of the Merchant's House).

Since 2007, other Sturges-led investigations have yielded crystal clear audio of voices giving what certainly seem like intelligent, interactive responses to questions and comments.

Not tonight, though. There was no "gotcha" moment where I could say for myself that those who once called this place home were still doing so. It's just as well. After I lobbied hard to get access to the house over the course of the next year, I told anyone who'd listen (and those who'd long ago stopped) how badly I wanted a real experience and how ready I was for disembodied footsteps and playful taps on the shoulder.

But the truth is, the thought of why I'm here and what I'm doing still scares me. Most unexplained things do. You too, I'll bet. So don't be so quick to label it a cowardly act when I tell you I didn't spend a single second of this night alone. I didn't even use the bathroom (having discontinued liquid intake several hour before start time). You know why.

We've all seen that movie, right? The guy's washing his face and he looks up at the mirror above the sink, and somebody's behind him when he knows full well that nobody's there? No thanks. I was not going to be that guy. At least not this time out.

Paranormal investigations, like the lost 19th century practice of "ceremonial calling," produce positive results when certain displays of etiquette are observed. But just because you've asked all the right questions and done so politely doesn't mean your calling card will gain you an audience with Mrs. Tredwell or Seabury or Gertrude or the servants or the caretakers or anybody else said to still inhabit this house.

Sometimes, the people you desperately want to visit with just don't feel like having company. The lights are on. Somebody's home. But nobody's answering the call.

At least not tonight. Now what happened in April, that's another matter entirely.

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