In keeping with the season, Paranormal Activity 2 was the winner at the box office this past weekend. I didn’t see it. Didn’t need to. Cia and I and about a dozen others were engaged in a paranormal activity of our own, for real.
On Saturday night, a crew from Nightfall Paranormal appeared at Sawyer House on Main Street, under a full moon. Equipped with crates of gear, they came prepared to perform a full-on “paranormal investigation” at the home of the Bolton Historical Society. It’s all very scientific, they said. We look for evidence. A half-dozen Society members hosted and assisted.
NP’s preliminary review of the ancient buildings and grounds had concluded that some midnight monitoring might well be productive. Their preparations included a long-distance consultation with a psychic in Utah, the details of which were a little vague, who divined that something bad once happened in the dungeon. Dungeon?
All houses—and especially old ones—have some kind of spirit. Mark Twain knew this.
“To us our house was not unsentient matter–it had a heart & a soul & eyes to see us with, & approvals & solicitudes & deep sympathies…we could not enter it unmoved.”
And you’ve got to admit, there is something sentient about Sawyer House. Not scary, exactly, or sinister or malevolent. But there is something about the place. I’ve always felt that. Maybe it’s the old photos and diaries that live in the archives, their creator’s spirits still with them. Or those stern Peckham portraits that seem to watch you.
Or perhaps it’s because this old house was once part of another building long ago. In fact, it was originally the ballroom wing of the old Holman Inn, a stage stop dating back to 1767. In 1874, the inn was to be torn down but the ballroom was spared and moved a few hundred yards down the street to its present location. It later became known as Sawyer House. Maybe the separation from the old inn was unwelcome and violent, and Sawyer House lives on with its wounds like some severed appendage that has survived the body to which it was once attached….
With the house dark and curtains drawn, teams of investigators roamed the rooms and halls with an air of practiced purpose, calling out to the spirits, taking readings from K2 EMF detectors (electromagnetic sensors), holding out their recorders in hopes of capturing EVP’s (electronic voice phenomena), and snapping night-vision pictures. Another group similarly explored the barn and grounds, imploring the invisible entities to reveal themselves… “Show yourselves to us, we mean no harm!”
As for me, I remained safely in the command center with some of the NP crew. Our job was to stare intensely into an array of video monitors. We leaned toward the screens and strained to see and hear—movement from a hanging light cord, a changing shadow, an apparition, a footstep or a cry, orbs, some –any–sign from the “entities” that were most certainly out there. Once in a while the roaming investigators would float through a camera’s field of view. What was that?! Dust drifting past the lens. There, look there! Umm, it’s a mouse.
I thought of Arthur Conan Doyle’s line about the difference between seeing and noticing. I was probably the only one who noticed that the monitors lit the room just enough to reveal the eyes in those creepy portraits on the walls.
From the basement to the attic, no cobwebbed corner or dark recess of the old place was left unexplored. So, did Nightfall Paranormal find anything at Sawyer House? Did entities reveal themselves? Did the dead communicate with the living? Were there phenomena that could not be explained away? EVP’s? Cold spots? Cries in the night?
Well, I’m not saying. Nope, not going to talk about it.
But I will say this: the NP crew wants to come back.
Below, Tim Fiehler, president of the Historical Society, leaves Sawyer House in the wee hours after the investigation concluded. He doesn’t look too shaken up, does he? Or does he.