In the news

“WCAX: Group Hunts for Ghostly Activity Year Round”
October 28, 2010; Gina Bullard, WCAX
Click here for the link to the video

It all started in Cavendish Vermont. The Dutton family built their house in 1781. The house has seen a lot including being a store, inn, boarding house and tavern. By the early 1900s, more than 11 people had died in the home — and it was left abandoned for the next 40 years. It was then moved and donated to the Shelburne Museum….

….Now it’s said to be haunted.

Supervisor of museum security Dan Cole said, “People have had experiences here. There are several guides that will not work here. Some staff that are concerned about things they’ve seen or heard here”

Bullard: Those things people have witnessed range from footsteps and people in the attic to a girl crying at the edge of a bed. The Green Mountain Paranormal Society is now on the case and wants to see if they can see or hear any paranormal activity happening in the house…we went along with them for that investigation.

Cole: “Be careful it’s dangerous. The best explanation that I’ve heard that the people were upset the Dutton’s descendents or Duttons themselves are upset the house was moved from Cavendish.”

Bullard: “One woman who was training to be a tour guide here swears she saw a man in tattered clothing sitting in this corner right here, growling at her. After that experience, she said she would never enter back into the Dutton home.”

Bastian Gadouas says, “There’s stories surrounding the place and there’s a lot of history around the place so there’s potential of something of several eras to be here whether it’s hearing a sound or catching something on vid.”

The group uses what it calls scientific technology to hunt for signs of paranormal activity. Starting with quiet time, they break up and sit in different parts of the house and just listen. Then they report back on what they all heard.

Jennifer says, “The quiet time is for us to get a base reading of our natural senses of what the house sounds like quiet without people.”

Next they send groups into certain rooms for electronic voice phenomenon – EVP sessions — where they try to communicate with spirits.

Bastian Gadouas “First of all we could start out, what’s your name?”

Gadouas says, “These things are manifesting with energy. This reads energy, so if this thing gets close by it, the idea is that it will make the lights light up.”

Those lights did just that moments later in the green room. Was it a ghost? Only the spirits know for sure…

Gina Bullard – WCAX News

Ghost hunters say: Bring out your dead
By Stefan Hard Staff Writer – Published: October 25, 2009

Got ghosts?

That might be a good bumper sticker for the Green Mountain Paranormal Society, because it’s looking for your ghost. Not you, of course — you’re still alive — but any ghost that lives with you, or haunts your place of business or just shadows you.

“We want to help people and find answers, and for ourselves, too,” says Jennifer Perellie, of Warren, the case manager for the society, a relatively new Vermont-based group that’s hoping to make a name for itself in the crowded field of otherworldly investigation.

Fellow member Sherry LeMay, 38, of Moretown, doesn’t need a bumper sticker; she already has a personalized Vermont license plate that reads “SPOOKY.” If you have a ghost story, she wants to hear it. “OK, so at my house it’s Halloween all year long,” LeMay says with a chuckle.

But that doesn’t mean she and the other group members are determined to find what might not be there. LeMay is a sleep technician at a hospital, and she’s awake to the fact that sleep disorders can cause people to see and even feel things in the dark.

Perellie, 35, an artist and business owner, grew up in a strongly religious family that taught that the afterlife exists for all (even children) as heaven or hell. As an adult, Perellie is seeking alternative explanations for what happens after you die.

Monica Robayo, 33, of St. Albans, is a receptionist by day and is the most ardent skeptic in the eight-person group that formed last year when some of its original members broke away from the South Burlington-based Paranormal Investigators of New England. “We first try to find natural explanations for things,” says Robayo, who is the team’s expert in audio recording.

The group’s five other members are a diverse bunch: a firefighter/EMT, a hairdresser, a photographer, a retail buyer and a counseling psychologist.

This state has its fair share of legendary ghosts and hauntings, but they may be outnumbered by the investigators eager to meet them.

A group called Vermont Abnormal Metaphysical and Paranormal Research reports that it has completed investigations in Stowe and Barre; Vermont Spirits Detective Agency has focused on sites in northwestern Vermont and as far south as Vergennes and Crown Point, N.Y.; and Sights Unseen Paranormal lists investigators in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Cryptic Paranormal’s Web site claims the Vermont-based group has evidence of the famous ghost said to haunt “Emily’s Bridge” in Stowe.

Newcomers keep joining the scene. Vermont Paranormal Investigators says it formed just this year (its Facebook page locates it in Springfield). A couple identifying themselves as Ghost Hunters of Vermont offer a 15-minute introductory program on blogtalkradio.com.

Many of the groups have put out appeals through Facebook, newspaper ads, online forums and radio as they seek out properties with ghosts to investigate. And with the new movie “Paranormal Activity” well on its way to blockbuster status, ghosts in Vermont and elsewhere can probably expect even more investigators to come calling.

No ghostbusters

For the Green Mountain Paranormal Society, the first step is just the opposite of proving ghostly visitation.

“We go in to debunk, first,” says Perellie. “The other aspects of our approach are that we offer complete confidentiality, if desired by the client, and we don’t charge for our investigations.” The group has performed only a few so far as it gets going.

The first thing Perellie does as case manager is decide whether to pursue an investigation at a particular site.

“We ask a lot of questions before we go in,” she says. “We need to get a feel of the people, first, the layout of the place, how many people we might need on site to investigate …” Sometimes, the group decides not to investigate.

And sometimes the folks with the ghost back out. This happened in Springfield to Robayo last year, when she was beginning to investigate a report of an apparition of a young girl who would approach, then disappear into the floor. It was determined there used to be a staircase in the area where the ghost vanished, but further investigation was halted when the clients canceled, she says.

“Some people want us to get rid of their ghost,” says Perellie. “We don’t do that. That’s not what we’re about.” In other words, the group’s members are not ghostbusters. And they’re not ghost promoters, either. They’re just as happy to prove that wasn’t a ghost you heard at midnight in dear deceased Grandma’s attic, but just a loose roof shingle.

And if they think there actually is a ghost?

“When we do find a home to be haunted, and the family feels uncomfortable, we first off just try to be a support system for the family in any way we can,” says Perellie. Just the fact that outsiders believe them can help the situation, she adds.

“Really, the one thing we always advise in this situation is for the entire family living in the home to stand together in one room,” says Perellie, “and talk out loud, being stern with the entity. We tell them to say, ‘We do not want you here, this is our home, we want you to leave, you are not allowed here anymore.'”

Get the goods

Perellie and the rest of the group would love to talk all night about your possible ghost, and even have you talk to it, but don’t think they’re going to leave it at that. They’re serious about the science of paranormal investigation and using technology to capture tangible evidence of hauntings, which they believe are essentially energy anomalies caused by, for example, some kind of trauma that took place.

“We always have a minimum of four cameras …” Perellie says of their investigations. Members take baseline measurements of normal audio levels, electromagnetic fields and ambient temperatures. They deploy motion sensors and, sometimes, motion trap cameras.

The group members say they strive not to let their expectations or preconceptions affect their perceptions.

“We go in with an open but skeptical mind,” says LeMay. “It’s not a blind faith.”

A case in point was a recent investigation they did for a family in Vermont that was complaining of a feeling of heaviness in the home. “They felt that maybe the spirit of someone who had lived and died in the home, which was fact, was still there …,” says Perellie. She notes that guests expressed their discomfort without knowing the family also felt uneasy.

“When we did the investigation, we noticed extremely high (electromagnetic field levels) in the home, which can produce all kinds of symptoms, anything from the feeling of being watched, to seeing dark shadows, to feeling like there is a heaviness in the space.”

Perellie says the family requested confidentiality, so all she’ll say is that further investigation revealed two obvious reasons why EMF readings were so high, and the family is looking into fixing the problems in the home.

Currently, the society is working on a case in central Vermont where an apparition of a woman sitting in a chair in a home has been seen on multiple occasions, Robayo says.

Still wondering

The group’s first outing proved that ghosts, if they exist, don’t respond to high expectations and publicity. Several members went to Fall River, Mass., to investigate the home where Lizzie Borden was believed by many to have hacked her father and stepmother to death with a hatchet in 1892. To aficionados of ghosts and the macabre, a trip to Fall River is like a UFO buff visiting Roswell, N.M.

“We kind of went just for fun,” says LeMay. But that still meant bringing all their recording gear. The group also set up a live webcam and online chat room for its stay. And then nothing happened.

That wasn’t the case in East Bridgewater, Mass., where the group next cut its teeth. Some folks who worked in the Town Hall were getting seriously spooked by strange goings-on. The select board gave the paranormal society the green light to investigate.

On two occasions, says LeMay, she saw sparks shoot into the air “like those Fourth of July sparklers.” Once, teammate Spryng Benjamin reported seeing them too. Robayo, staring at an open staircase in the building at around 3 a.m., saw the outline of some dark mass rising just above the banister. She says it looked like a human figure had been sitting on the stairs and suddenly got up to peer over the rail.

“I actually believe less now than I used to,” says Robayo. “But after your hundredth hour sitting in the dark, sometimes every now and then you experience something that makes you wonder.”

Locals Visit The Lizzy Borden House
By Jennifer Perellie- Published: March 5, 2009

“Local members of Green Mountain Paranormal Society conducted an overnight investigation of the Lizzie Borden House in late January of this year. Local members include Jennifer Perellie of Warren and Sherry Lemay of Moretown. Rumors of ghostly activity have plagued the site of this unsolved Fall River, Massachusetts double murder case for years. The house, now a bed and breakfast retreat, was made famous by the 1892 trial of Lizzie Borden who was accused and later acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe. The ten-member investigatory team approaches each case from a scientific and skeptical approach. The group recorded over 130 hours of video and 80 hours of audio during their visit and recovered several interesting pieces of paranormal activity on the property. They plan to return next year with the hopes of gathering more evidence. To find out more about Green Mountain Paranormal Society, or if you would like to schedule a confidential investigation of your property, please visit their website at http://www.greenmountainparanormal.org.”

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