My Buddhist Chinese friend, Bubba, tells me the most annoying thing about ancestor worship is that long after your Uncle Ping has died, he’s still following you around the house criticizing your every action. Bubba would rather avoid the spirits that trail around after him. The Seacoast Paranormal Research Group (SPRG) is hunting them down.

SPRG invited me to an investigation. I’ve read too many horror stories, as well as having read up on paranormal phenomena, so I was thrilled. The investigation was to take place on the 13th. I rushed to my calendar to make sure it wasn’t a Friday. It was a Saturday, but I realized I’d already gotten nervous and I hadn’t even met these people yet. I have nerves of steel if a kid’s on fire, but the idea of things bumping me in the night was a different matter altogether. I got the SPRG founder on the phone immediately!

To my happy surprise, A.J. Kitt � artist, Mensa member, kayak salesman, and ghost hunter extraordinaire � was a charming conversationalist and calmed my fears as he chatted away about past anecdotes and the business in general. Kitt, however, is also a fun loving guy and couldn’t let me off the phone without planting a seed of worry in my head. “Sometimes they follow you home.”

I live alone and don’t want a roommate I can’t see.

The investigation took place in Laconia, two nights after our nasty storm. Power was out all over the state and it made for a dark and creepy ride. I got lost on the way and had to be re-directed. There was an eerie meteor shower that night. A hawk crashed into the medium’s car windshield on the way. I talked one of the investigators, Mike Stevens, into riding along with me. Stevens is a great bear of a fellow, and quiet as a mouse, but he had no problem telling me in detail about the time he was standing alone in the middle of a room and got poked in the ribs. He also informed me that Kitt is a bit of a prankster, but Stevens promised not to leave me all by myself in a room.

Serious investigation

It was almost 9 p.m. when we first arrived. While the crew is a fun loving bunch, they take their work seriously. There’s an order of procedure involved that they adhere to. They save the historical research on the site for after the investigation so as not to go in with pre-conceived notions. They don’t share the property owner’s stories with the medium ahead of time. As a matter of fact, she’s only given the name of the town and a time to meet them there. Once she reaches the town, she calls Kitt and only then is she given directions to the building. The first people to enter the site on the night of the investigation are the medium, and someone to follow her through with a video camera while the rest of the crew waits outside. They want her first impressions to be untainted. She’s the one who gives them, among other things, directions for the best places to set up cameras and audio equipment.

After the medium, Isabeau Esby, and her faithful camera woman, Lorna Cayer, had finished the walkthrough and given set up directions, the crew swung into action. The first order on the agenda was to call the cops. The local constabulary needs to be alerted so they don’t drive by and have to investigate the flashing lights and odd sounds involved in an investigation. Also, “Cops know where all the haunted houses are,” says Kitt. “People call them and report break-ins and prowlers when they hear disturbances because they aren’t willing to admit it might be something else. They don’t want to think they’re crazy.”

Debunked and … Depends

I was fine until the lights went out. I kept trying to write it off as simply scaring myself, but over the course of the night, some pretty odd things happened in that house. Some of them were explainable, like certain events in the living room. Flickering lights and a running VCR were found to be results of faulty wiring. “I debunked something!,” was Anna’s gleeful cry as she hopped up and down. Anna Weaver works for the forensics department of the N.H. State Police. She comes to the investigations with an open mind, but she insists that the spirits just don’t like to hang out with her. “Some people attract them. I’m just the opposite.” Weaver said with a sigh.

The children’s room, one of the reasons for the investigation, was not so easily explained. While we all sat in the room, in the dark, listening to Esby recount her impressions of the other parts of the house, the room went deathly cold. Esby told Kitt that the spirit in that room didn’t like him and was getting very angry. Kitt reported hearing whispering and asked if anyone else could hear it. We couldn’t. We all had voice recorders strapped to our arms and when Kitt checked his, it had shut off. He reset it and it shut off again. Ours were running fine. He had someone else re-set it for him and it shut down again. He swapped it out with a fresh one in case it was faulty, and the new recorder shut down immediately. Weaver inched closer to me and I almost leapt out of my sneakers.

Kitt chuckled and announced it was time for the reporter’s diaper change. I insisted that being an adult, I required a pair of Depends, and made a mental note to ask my editor if I could expense out a new pair of Jockey shorts. (Editor’s note: Sorry, Lily, not happening.)

Lingering questions

When I arrived, I’d thought the strangest thing there would probably be my own imagination. By the time we left, I’d been given things to wonder about. Why couldn’t I look at the one area of the house I later heard was inhabited by a mean-spirited spirit? How did the medium know things about me no amount of research could turn up? How did the temperature plummet when we were all in the same room without a thermostat? How did the medium know so much about the family’s concerns when she’d been denied previous contact or information?

SPRG members may be able to answer some of these questions over the course of the next week. The investigation won’t be complete until they spend painstaking hours going over video and audio tape. They’ve agreed to share their findings as they sift through the data, and you, dear reader, will read their verdict in the final chapter next week.

The important thing, on a selfish note, is that nobody followed me home. I think.
By Lily Robertson [email protected]
December 20, 2008 6:00 AM
Writer Lily Robertson tags along for an investigation