The creaks of an old building could be the settling of the floorboards, or, as some believe, the nighttime jaunts of a ghost.
To test what may be making nocturnal noise at the Southington Grange building on Summit Street, members of the New England Ghost Hunters Guild will make a moonlit investigation Saturday using their wits and a van full of high-tech equipment.
The Grange moved into its headquarters about 60 years ago, said President James Lamoureux, but the organization itself was founded 115 years ago. “People have a strong connection to the organization,” he said. That connection could mean friendly spirits want to stay in touch, Lamoureux mused.
“You hear creaks and the pipes go on. The curtains blow because the windows are leaky,” Lamoureux said. “I can’t say there is paranormal activity,” he added.
“We’re not going to catch Casper the Friendly Ghost flying around,” said Jay Palazzo, a Ghost Hunters Guild member from Plainfield. He said digital electronic equipment can record sounds that can’t be heard by the human ear and infrared cameras can spot movement in the darkest of rooms.
Palazzo said electromagnetic fields can be measured and could show a spirit is present. “We use five LED lights. The theory is, if a spirit is present, they can move the lights up and down,” he said.
Guild founder Cassy Pabst, of Chelmsford, Mass., started the organization when she was 19. “We saw shows like ‘Ghost Hunters.’ We noticed they were nonprofit and made up of kids like us,” she said. She’s done about 30 investigations since then and has learned how to help the folks who are worried about what they are sensing.
“Some feel they’re insane. I’ve heard it many, many times. I give them comfort. They are not insane,” Pabst said.
Both Palazzo and Pabst say the best paranormal encounter they’ve had came in an historic home in Warner, N.H. Pabst said an innkeeper asked the guild to investigate a ghost. The investigation showed the home’s former owner, known as Uncle Frank, was still around, they said.
“The owner thought it was so cool. They see Uncle Frank all the time. The innkeeper said (Frank) looks like an old man, which he was,” Pabst said.
“We called out, ‘Are you Uncle Frank?’ ” Palazzo said. “He answered ‘yes’, very distinct. It was an instant, intelligent response,” Palazzo said. “It was like they were protecting the home. It was Uncle Frank’s old home.”
Palazzo said they believe two or three of Frank’s family members are also present.
Paranormal investigations usually take most of the night, and the guild often visits the same location several times. “There is a fifty-fifty chance the first time they won’t communicate,” said Pabst. Another visit gives the spirit the chance to get used to the guild members, she said.
Palazzo said it will take about a week to compile the information from the Grange investigation. “We don’t know of any paranormal activity, but this is about curiosity,” he said.