Paranormal investigators look for ghosts at Heritage Farm

Paranormal investigators look for ghosts at Heritage Farm
May 21, 2009
By Melissa Martin
Brunswick Sun Times

Inside a dimly lit, second-story bedroom in the old Heritage Farmhouse and museum on Laurel Road, Debbie Andres places an audio recording device on the table in front of her and clears her throat.

She takes a deep breath and in a clear, calm voice asks, "Is there anybody here who would like to talk to us? All you have to do is talk into these little red lights and we'll be able to hear you."

On cue, Teri Bolton, sitting across from Andres, picks up a device commonly known as a K-2 meter and slowly stands up. She begins to walk around the room, gently holding the meter a few inches in front of her, and keeps a close eye on the two small, green lights glowing near the top of the device.

As she approaches various pieces of electronic equipment, including a computer, copier and an adding machine, scattered around the room, the device begins to light up like a Christmas tree.

The two original green lights on the device are now accompanied by brighter shades of amber, yellow, orange and red.

"Don't worry," Bolton says. "Theoretically, if there were someone or something in the room with us, the K-2 would light up just like this. But this isn't anything paranormal."

Although she's optimistic that someone from beyond the grave might be in the house with her that evening, Bolton quickly debunks the spectacle on the K-2 meter. In this instance, she says, the obvious culprit is the electromagnetic fields being generated by all of the electrical devices in the room.

A few minutes later, Bolton sits back down at the table, closes her eyes and listens to Andres as she begins to rattle off a series of questions.

"What's your name?" Andres asks. "Did you live here? Do you like all the work that's been done here? How old are you? Can you knock on the table like this?"

Seconds later, Bolton interrupts.

"I just heard a strange whisper in my ear about a minute ago," Bolton, a self-proclaimed "sensitive," says. "It was a short conversation between two men."

Although it was hard for her to make out what was being said, Bolton says she was able to decipher what appeared to be two names -- Samuel and Benjamin.

The conversation fades almost as quickly as it starts, but it's enough to intrigue Bolton and the two other paranormal investigators in the room with her. The threesome, along with nearly a dozen other investigators, eagerly spent the next four hours in the dark -- watching, waiting and trying to communicate with spirits they suspected might be lingering beyond the grave in some of the city's oldest buildings.

Amber Dalakas, president of the Brunswick Area Historical Society, says she's never heard any stories about Heritage Farm being haunted and has never had any personal experiences when she's been alone inside any of its buildings.

However, when she was contacted in April by the founding members of the amateur ghost-hunting team, Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits, she didn't hesitate to accept the team's request to investigate the facilities.

"Why not?" she said. "I think it will be pretty interesting."

According to founder Christopher Page, O.R.B.S. was founded in 2000 in order to find answers to all questions paranormal. Page, who works as a mail carrier by day, says his 18-member team is committed to organizing, documenting, verifying and debunking the paranormal, good or bad. He says O.R.B.S. has already investigated several alleged hauntings in Ohio and in adjoining states, and he says the team has the evidence, including videos, photographs and audio clips, to prove that ghosts really do exist.

Page says his team traditionally conducts its free investigations on an on-call basis and usually performs two to three investigations a month. The majority of its cases, he says, are residential haunts, in which the team is called in by the homeowners. During down times, however, he says the organization likes to schedule investigations inside some of the state's oldest buildings, which is what drew he and the team to Heritage Farm May 9.

Located on Laurel Road between Substation and Pearl Roads, Heritage Farm is made up of an old farmhouse, which is now a museum that houses artifacts belonging to many of Brunswick's founding families. Originally built in 1850, the house is accompanied by a barn, garage, corn crib, equipment shed, chicken house, milk house and granary, all of which were built between 1850 and 1940.

The farm, its outbuildings and the 32 acres on which it sits have been owned by the city of Brunswick since 1995. Since 2000, the site has been leased to the Brunswick Area Historical Society.

While Page admits there weren't any specific stories that drew the crew to Brunswick, he says there was plenty of activity on the premises during the night of the investigation. Split into three four-member crews, each team was instructed to investigate a different building at a time.

In addition to setting up several cameras in an attempt to capture any sightings as they occurred, the team also employed several pieces of traditional ghost hunting equipment, ranging from K2 meters and EMF detectors to cameras, radiation meters and even ghost radios, which the investigators say allows them to have a conversation with spirits in real time.

While his teams were investigating, Page and the two other case managers took turns watching a television screen set up in a remote locations viewing the images being recorded by the cameras inside all the buildings.

Page elected not to comment on any specific activity at the farm until all the evidence is reviewed by his team over the next week or two, but says that all three teams of investigators reported the most action in the equipment shed where an old tractor that once belonged to the Waite family is stored.

Not only did all four mediums and sensitives who work with the group report having personal experiences inside the building, but Page says the radiation detector the group used inside the barn "just went crazy in there."

Like the EMF meters, radiation detectors also measure electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies, Page says, but are not influenced by outside sources, including electronic devices, the way EMF meters are. In addition to pinpointing radioactive energy, he says, the detectors can be an invaluable tool when it comes to locating paranormal hotspots.

The only place the radiation detector activated, Page said, was in the equipment shed and particularly near the tractor.

Dalakas, who accompanied the team on the investigation, says the radiation detector substantiated the mediums' claims that there was activity inside the building.

"That was pretty convincing," she says. "I can't wait to hear what else they came up with."

Page said he plans to present all the evidence the team collected during the investigation to Dalakas and other historical society representatives in the next few weeks.

"There are many ghost hunters or paranormal groups out there and the majority of the groups you will run across come in, set up their equipment, tell you if you have spirits and take off. And you never hear from them again," Page said. "We give every investigation 100 percent. We try to find the five W's -- who, what, where, when and why spirits are there. Since we have members across Ohio, it may take 1-2 weeks to go completely through our evidence, but every picture, every minute of video and audio is gone through with a fine tooth comb before we contact you with any evidence we may have."

As far as evidence goes, Bolton says she's already found all the confirmation she needs.

Minutes after she overheard the alleged conversation between "Samuel" and "Benjamin," she walked downstairs and into the farmhouse dining room. Nestled in a corner, she found a plaque bearing the name "Elmer Benjamin," one of Brunswick's first residents.

"That's all I needed to see," she said. "What a validation."

Is Heritage Farm truly haunted? Stay tuned. O.R.B.S. has promised to reveal its conclusion along with all the evidence in the next few weeks and the results of the team's investigation will be published in an upcoming issue.

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