When Work Follows You
As a paranormal investigator sometimes your work will try to come home with you.
At Spellbound Tours we have a reputation not just as being the best ghost tour in Salem, but for setting a professional standard in paranormal investigation. We get invited to check out high profile locations, and have seen and proven eerie things. I enjoy it. Most of our investigations are about documenting occurrences, and checking historic fact. When we enter a supposedly haunted location our goal is to confirm that it does indeed have supernatural (“ghostly”) energy, or debunk the case as misinterpreted natural phenomena, or sometimes expose it as an outright hoax. We are researchers, basically paranormal detectives. It pays to be skeptical, and we manage to explain away the majority of our cases, but the rare few that turn out to be authentic hauntings make it all worthwhile.
In the spring of 2012 my business partner and Spellbound team member Nichole Ferree and I were asked to scout locations for one of the big television ghost shows. They wanted leads on sites in the Salem area that were not so well known, not necessarily connected to the Witch Trials. One of the first places I thought to recommend was a particular university which will not be named. I actually attended the school and had heard rumors of its various ghosts since I was an undergraduate. Like many universities it has its share of legends and stories, the suicide haunting dormitory, the usual theater ghost, but the area that interested me most was an administrative building they call the alumni building. It was a little away from the main campus, up on a hill. Honestly, it looks similar to the Psycho house. Before it was absorbed into the current school campus, it was part of a convent. It is a stark, creepy looking area that we thought would be very telegenic, and of course there were the persistent rumors that it was haunted.
Under the cover of night we drove up the long driveway curving around the hill to the old convent. We were loaded up with cameras mainly going up to get atmospheric photographs to present to the television producers. This was a preliminary mission, we were not prepared for a full investigation that night. Nichole is a good investigative team member, very professional, skeptical, and not easily rattled even when it turns out that something supernatural is happening. We got up the hill, parked the car in front of the building and got out, quickly snapping many pictures, it was a spooky looking place.
After a minute I noticed Nichole was not taking pictures any more. She was standing still, not making a sound. She looked disturbed and said we should leave. I asked why, she said it did not feel right and we had to go. I suggested we stay. Now it was getting interesting, it was more than a photography mission now, there might be something here! She said she was leaving, and I could stay if I wanted to, but since she had the car I reluctantly got in. Nichole was already in the driver’s seat. I opened the passenger door and sat down, as I sat the strangest sensation happened. I felt something brush behind me, and it felt as if a third party had entered, the car abruptly lowered as if someone had plopped down in the back seat. Nichole sped out, driving quickly around the alumni building, and down the hill to the street. I could have sworn there were people watching us as we made our exit.
We drove back to the office mostly in silence. The sensation of someone sitting behind me did not abate. You know the feeling. Even if your eyes are closed you can tell when someone is sitting too close. It felt like that. There was someone in the back seat. I did not want to say anything. It would sound crazy, unbelievable. We are professionals, we make every attempt to be as scientific as possible! I did not want to admit what was right behind me. Even worse as we drove I started seeing a clearer picture of the phantom passenger in my mind. Nichole was also silent and tense.
When we pulled into the driveway at our office I exited the vehicle and reflexively opened the door for the phantom passenger in the back seat. I just felt like the right thing to do. We went inside and wrote out our reports. When we conduct an investigation it is important to make separate reports, to ensure that we do not confabulate and influence the other party’s recollection of events and accidentally create a false memory. Our reports both matched. But at the end we both had written something to the effect of “I know you will think I am crazy, but- it felt like there was someone it the car with us, right?” and we both described how in our mind’s eye the spectral passenger was a teenage girl in 1940s period attire and hair.
It sounds ludicrous. But we both “saw” her. But why? It did not make any sense! As far as we knew that part of the university had once been a convent filled with elderly nuns, today it is part of a modern college campus. A girl in 1940s attire would not make any logical sense to be haunting that location. I started researching everything I could find about that old convent and school. Nothing made sense. Finally I found an archive of old photographs of the university’s history. One photograph was taken from the same vantage point where we had been when things started to get weird. It showed several girls in World War Two era clothing and hair sitting on a bench, looking disturbingly like the one we thought we imagined hitching a ride with us! Further investigation showed that during that time period the convent had been a catholic school for girls! It seems one of the was trying to make an escape almost seventy years later.
Some time later we returned to the site. This time we were prepared for a bigger investigation. There was energy there alright. We were able to get a few anomalous photographs, an few little surges of energy on the EMF detector. But we never encountered our hitch hiking friend again. I wonder if she reached her destination.