A Haunting in Hampton
When John and Ellen Hall bought their dream home in Hampton, CT., in the fall of 2009, they thought it would be the idyllic place to raise their growing family. The house was big enough for all of their four girls to have their own bedrooms and best of all from John's perspective; he had enough room on the property to build his dream garage; three large bays filled with body shop equipment, where he could pursue his passion of restoring vintage American muscle cars with his longtime friend and mentor, Lou. Little did they suspect their dream home would soon become a nightmare which would end in arguments, bitterness and divorce.
Hampton is a small, bucolic town in the far Northeast corner of Connecticut, far from the hubbub of city life. Historical roots run deep there with families living on the same land and in the same houses that generations of their ancestors did. Houses dating from the mid to late 1700's are common in every part of town.
The Hall's house is quite a bit newer than the others in town, built in 1979 in a more contemporary style; it stands out in a neighborhood of old Colonials, Federals and, the popular New England house of the 1700's, the Salt Box style.
Later, investigation would reveal another, much older house, stood on the property until the mid-1800, when local legend says it burned down.
The trouble began shortly after moving in. For no apparent reason, little disagreements quickly turned to full scale arguments with family members not speaking to one another, sometimes for days. John could not understand how or why his happy marriage of 16 years was suddenly on the rocks. A feeling of tension and anxiety permeated the house. John found himself wanting to stay longer and longer at work and began to take on extra responsibilities just so he didn't have to go home. His wife and daughters always seemed to be at odds with each other and he often found himself, unwillingly, in the middle.
The first clue they had that something paranormal might be happening was when things began to move around the house. Items would disappear and reappear elsewhere without human intervention. The sound of footsteps and coughing could be heard on stairs and voices and low mutterings would come from a downstairs bathroom in the middle of the night. Ellen's health was declining rapidly and her Doctor was unable to find a cause. She was losing weight at an alarming rate.
John hired a home inspector to examine the house. He thought there might be some environmental reason for Ellen and the girls to be acting the way they were. The inspector checked for Radon, mold, formaldehyde and many other things. He even had the electrical wiring checked by an electrician and the water was tested for toxins. All tests were normal. Hesitantly, John asked a local historian if he knew anything about his house possibly being haunted. His reply, in a sardonic New England accent was, "Sure, most houses around this area are haunted, especially yours." John didn't know if he should take the historian seriously and did some further checking, this time with the Town Clerk. He was astounded to learn that since his house was built in 1979, it had changed hands 14 times! The average length of time any family had lived in the house was less than two years, with most married couples who lived there ending up in divorce.
Then tragedy struck, John's friend Lou died of lung cancer, only a few weeks after he was diagnosed. The car they had been restoring together would go unfinished for a long time.
Just when he thought he couldn't take any more stress in his life and he was considering selling the house, Ellen filed for divorce. "She wouldn't listen to reason," John says, he tried to explain his suspicions about the house, that there was something or someone unseen who was causing there marital and family problems, but it was too late, her mind was made up. He almost greeted the news with relief, Ellen didn't want the house and John was thankful that she would be getting away from it. "Maybe," he thought, "she'll get better if she is away from here."
After the divorce, John found himself alone a great deal as his daughters were spending more and more time with their Mother. John missed his family terribly but he also saw that their physical and emotional health was improving in a different setting.
To pass the lonely hours at night, John returned to working on the car Lou had been helping him with before his death. He decided he had to finish it as kind of memorial to Lou, who had taught him so much about cars.
One night in the garage, John heard a noise behind him and before he could turn around, he felt a hand grip his shoulder. Not in an aggressive or frightening way, but in a reassuring way, like Lou used to do when John questioned if he was doing the work on the car the right way, the way Lou had showed him. Surprisingly, John wasn't frightened by the experience but took it as a sign that his old friend was still around, keeping an eye on things.
John would often sleep in the small apartment above the garage, especially while doing renovations on the house. After locking the downstairs door one evening, he went up to the apartment to go over some bills. Money had been very tight with alimony and child support payments to Ellen and he was struggling every month just to meet his necessary living expenses, a few days before, his electricity and phone had been shut off for nonpayment but he had managed to borrow money from a family member to get them restored. The mortgage on the house was late again and he was terribly depressed. He was working all the hours he possibly could at his job but it just wasn't enough. Dark, troubling thoughts raced through his mind and for the first time in his life he contemplated giving up. Financially and emotionally, he was at the end of his rope. Thoughts of suicide raced through his head when suddenly, the downstairs door slammed hard enough to shake the garage all the way up to the apartment. There had been several burglaries in the area, he heard heavy footsteps coming up the stairs and he was afraid. He was certain he had locked the downstairs door and now someone was inside, coming up to the apartment. He looked around for something to use to defend himself with. Not seeing anything, he ran to the top of the stairs to confront the intruder. Nothing. There was no one there.
"Oh, man!" he said out loud, "I can't take any more of this," and he collapsed into a chair. Again he felt the hand on his shoulder and he knew that Lou had stopped him from doing the unthinkable. He would go on.
John tried dating a few different women over the next few months and even let one, who he was especially fond of, Carol, move into the house. Almost immediately the old scenario started to play out again. She would become agitated over little things and began losing weight as Ellen had. Whenever John's daughters were visiting, there was always conflict. The relationship didn't last long and Carol moved out of the house after only two months.
A ray of hope
One day at an old style band concert on the town green, John met Linda. John describes it as, "Love at first sight." Linda had gone to Hampton that day on the spur of the moment to visit an ill friend. It was only by chance that she decided to stop at the Town Green and watch the concert before driving the 60 miles back to her house in Portland, CT. They hit it off immediately, had dinner at a local bistro that evening, and vowed to get together again the following weekend. John insisted on driving to Portland. He didn't want Linda coming anywhere near the house in Hampton for fear of ruining their new relationship. For the next several months, John made the trek to Linda's every weekend and sometimes during the week, if he could get out of work early enough.
John wanted to put his house in Hampton up for sale although it meant giving up his garage. Because of the recession and falling property values, John soon found he was, "upside down in the mortgage." In other words, he owed more money on the house than it was currently worth and selling it now would leave him essentially penniless. He contacted several Realtors and Bankers but it seemed there was no way out until the real estate market improved.
Linda was asking more and more to visit Hampton. What little she had seen of the town, she liked and she especially wanted to see John's house and meet his daughters on a weekend when they were visiting.
John knew that eventually he would have to tell Linda his suspicions about the house and his belief that Lou was coming back to see him. It was a conversation he didn't want to have. He was afraid he would lose her or at the very least, "She'll think I'm nuts."
John would be the first to admit he underestimated Linda. When, at dinner one night, he gathered together the nerve to tell her about the house in Hampton, she listened patiently and held his hand across the table. As he talked, it was if the flood gates opened and the secrets he had been keeping from her for the past few months came pouring out. He told her everything; about the feeling of tension in the house, how he suspected that something in the house had caused his marriage to break up and finally, about the suspected visitations from Lou.
When he was done, Linda looked at him for a long time and said," John, I love you. We'll figure this out together." John knew at that moment the love he had for Linda was not misplaced. He had been thinking of "popping the question" but not tonight, that would be for another, special time when everything to do with the house was hopefully, behind them.
The first time Linda stayed at John's house, she knew something was strange about it the moment she entered. In appearance, the house was beautiful; an oversized split level with large spacious rooms connected by a wide central staircase. The upstairs featured an enormous great room with a beautifully appointed kitchen. Linda, who has significant Native American Ancestry and is a very spiritual person, picked up on the feeling of the house right away. "I thought that maybe, with all John had said about the house, I was imagining things but… no, there was definitely something… I don't want to say creepy but that's how I felt. As if someone was going to jump out from around the corner and say, "'BOO!'" "All the time I was there, I found myself getting headaches and my shoulders would involuntarily go up, like I was about to be struck by something on my neck. It was really quite an uncomfortable feeling."
Linda decided to try a Native American cleansing ritual she had learned from her grandmother, many years before. She gathered together the necessary items; a bundle of sage, an eagle feather and pure water, collected near a waterfall. As she walked from room to room in the house, chanting the Cherokee cleansing ritual, burning the sage, spreading the smoke with the eagle feather and sprinkling the spring water into the corners of each room, a calmness came over her she hadn't felt since entering the house. She remembers thinking, "Maybe this is all the house needed… I hope so." She had no way of knowing that things were about to take a turn for the worse.
After a storm had severely damaged the house Linda had been renting in Portland, she suddenly had to find a place to live while her landlord made repairs. It made sense to John and Linda that since they were planning on getting married in a few months, they should move in together in the Hampton house. It was a longer commute for Linda, but it would be a good opportunity to save some money before they married so they would be able to take a honeymoon. Except for a few instances, the house had been relatively quiet after the cleansing ritual.
Things went along fine at first but after a few weeks, John noticed a change in Linda. She seemed short tempered and moody. He hoped it was only the stress of the commute and living temporarily out of boxes and suitcases. One night when she arrived home, she went into the garage where John was working on "The Lou Project" as he now called the "memorial" car.
"You spend so much time in this damn garage and ignore me!!" she shouted. John stood looking at her in bewilderment. "I wish this freaking place would burn down!" John had never seen his mild mannered, gentle, fiancée talk like this before. Then he realized that Linda's ritual ether hadn't worked or had worn off. Now her moodiness and short temper of the past few weeks seemed to add up. He was momentarily confused as to what to do. Then he knew. He had to get Linda away from the house; there would be no reasoning with her while she was under its influence.
He said, "C'mon Linda, let's go for a ride." He took her by the arm, trying to lead her to his car. She had a wild look in her eyes and screamed at him, "Get your hands off me you bastard!" John remained calm, pleading with her, "Please, please honey, we have to get you out of here." John saw a flash of acknowledgment in Linda's eyes and she began to run to the car on her own." They drove to a nearby diner and parked in the lot. Linda began to sob, "Oh my God, John," she said, "I'm so sorry, Babe. I don't know what came over me. I've never been angry like that in my life. Please forgive me."
Once they had both recovered sufficiently from the ordeal, they went inside the diner to talk further and get a bite to eat.
John and Linda knew they had to come up with a plan if they were to stay in the house. Both were now convinced that whatever, whomever had affected Ellen and the girls had now turned its attention to Linda, somehow psychically agitating her and causing her emotional outbursts. They decided that as soon as they returned home, Linda would do another cleansing ritual and John would join in. That night, while lying in bed, both John and Linda heard a voice drifting up from downstairs. As they listened closely, they realized the voice was repeating back the Cherokee Ritual. "Oh, my God," said Linda, "it's mocking us."
Linda had heard about a psychic who had helped a friend with a suspected haunting. In the morning she would call Peggy Callahan.
Peggy Callahan is Irish and proud of it. Her ancestry stands out in her red hair, green eyes and thick Irish accent. A lovely, charming lady in her mid-forties, she became aware of her psychic gifts at a young age but felt it conflicted with her Irish Catholic upbringing and did the best she could to suppress her gifts until one tragic day in September of 1986. "I had just got to bed at my Mum and Dads house in Balgriffin. As I started to doze off, I had a dream or vision; it was a spaceship of some kind. It was shooting up into the sky and suddenly it blew up. I remember two parts of it looked like it shot off in different directions." She continued," I didn't know what to make of it. Living where we did, we didn't even have a teley so I hadn't ever seen something like that. Then a week later, I was in town with my Mum and I saw the newspaper, on the front page was a picture of the Challenger Space Shuttle blowing up at launch the day before and I knew that's what I saw." Peggy made a vow to herself right then and there, "I knew I had to use my gift to help people whenever I could."
When Peggy arrived at John's house, she sat for a long time in her car and watched the house, trying to pick up some impression from it. Upon entering the front door, she felt compelled to go downstairs to the area near the bathroom. After a few minutes she said to John and Linda, "There's a woman here. A very mean woman and she is beating a boy….all the time. She says, "'Don't judge me, you don't know what he did'." "She's very vicious." Peggy continued, "She doesn't like to see people be happy—she hates women—she wants to make them angry."
With that, Peggy began to feel faint and wanted to leave. "That's all I can really tell you, tonight. There is a group of people a friend of mine works with, G.O.N.E.R.S., they're a research group. I urge you to call them. Right away."
Lead Investigator's Statement
"John took Peggy's advice and called me at Ghosts of New England Research Society the very next day. I agreed to meet with them at the Aero Diner on Main St., Hampton, the following Saturday morning. As John told me about the suspected paranormal activity in the house, his experiences with his family and later with Linda in the house, I began to wonder if maybe he was right. There might be something in the house of a paranormal nature influencing people, especially woman, to express hostility. John told me of Peggy Callahan's visit and this appeared to confirm this hypothesis. Several things that impressed me the most during our talk; John told me how the house had changed hands 14 times since it was built in 1979. Unusual, to say the least. John and Linda had asked to meet me at the diner instead of at the house because they were fearful of talking about the house, in the house. I was also very impressed by John and Linda's demeanor. They struck me as two very honest, sincere people who were really at their wits ends because of their experiences in the house. We set a date for the G.O.N.E.R.S. Crew to investigate."
Ghosts of New England Research Society takes a two pronged approach to paranormal investigations; An electronic, high tech method which covers the subject location with a variety of stationary and portable Night Vision Cameras, Audio Recorders, Motion and EMF1 Detectors, Geo Phones2 and Laser Grids, set up and monitored by the G.O.N.E.R.S. Crew. All this equipment is used in an effort to capture, even if only for a second or two, any type of paranormal activity that may occur during an investigation. The second method is a purely psychic and spiritual method. While the results of this part of the investigation can be more subjective, it is no less important than the electronic method, especially with a Medium like Karen Hollis on the team. Karen is a professional Clairaudient3 Medium and known the world over for her remarkable ability and accuracy while using her favorite tools, the Tarot Cards. Her insight often confirms preliminary research and investigation findings.
At the beginning of the investigation, the Crew, consisting of Pat Murphy, Tom Hummel, Mike Ahern, Tony Pappa and Kellie Gilbert were briefed on the information about the house. Karen Hollis would arrive later. All of the crew, except Kurt who was observing the DVR monitor in the G.O.N.E.R.S. Van, conducted an EVP1 recording session in the hallway adjacent to the downstairs bathroom. Later, during analysis, the recordings wound reveal the sound of several coughs as well as labored breathing. (Note: Later investigation of public records revealed a house had burned down on the property. The house appears on a map of Hampton, dated 1841) During the investigation, the sound of footsteps would be recorded in the same hallway. A stationary night vision camera would also turn, tripod and all, shortly after two investigators had passed by. It is very unlikely anyone could have tripped on the camera cable since it was taped to the floor and not in an area the investigators were walking.
When Karen arrived, she and Kurt entered the house and Karen, like Peggy, was immediately drawn to the downstairs hallway and bathroom. Karen looked around for a few minutes and said to Kurt as she received several impressions; "Oh my…..this is not good…….very bad……someone being hurt… I don't like this." "What do you think it is?" Kurt asked. Karen continued, "I… smoke… fire… Oh!… coughing, someone trying to get out. How could you? How could you do this?"
The images passed and after Karen regained her composure she said," A boy and a woman. The woman is very evil. She beats the boy all the time…..mercilessly. She doesn't want anyone to be happy here and she hates women. Maybe her husband left her for another woman, I don't know for sure. The boy burned the house down. They both died… awful… terrible."
Kurt said, "That would certainly explain a lot about the history of the house, why it's changed hands so many times and why people, women especially, feel anxiety and tension here." "Oh, yes" Karen continued, "This woman, if it still is a woman, is very strong, very powerful. She could easily influence people to be angry, cause arguments, maybe more." "More?" Kurt asked. "Maybe even kill." Karen replied. "I think the only reason it hasn't is because it feeds off anger, negative emotion, it wants people to fight, to argue. Causing someone to kill would be like a parasite killing its host. It needs to make people angry to exist, to feed." "What do you mean, "' If it's still a woman?'" asked Kurt. "It's turning into pure evil, the more it feeds the stronger it gets. I don't know if the spirit of the woman is still here or if it's been absorbed by something else but whatever it is, it's dangerous and I wouldn't stay in this house without some serious spiritual intervention."
Karen, Kurt and Investigator Tony Pappa next went to the garage and asked John to join them. The G.O.N.E.R.S. Crew has found that they often get more evidence during an investigation if the occupants of the home are involved. The reason is quite simple; whatever is present in the location in the form of spirits is used to the full time occupants and is more likely to communicate with them present.
They began an EVP recording session with all the lights off as Kurt recorded the scene with a night vision, video camera. At this time, Karen knew nothing about Lou or that John suspected he was being visited by him.
Suddenly Karen said, "John, someone comes to see you here… he comes to check up on you." Shocked, John replied, "Yes, there is someone. Can you tell me his name?" Karen began to move her arm, drawing letters in the air, "Its, U?… no… straight up and down and then…" Karen formed the letter L in the air in front of her. "Louis… Lou… his name is Lou?" "Yes!" John fairly shouted. "Oh my God, I thought I might be crazy." "No," Karen replied, "You're not crazy. Lou… he's showing me things… it's like a Jeep but not… he used to drive here to work with you and park there." Karen waved her hand at a corner of the yard. "Lou drove a Bronco," John interjected. Karen continued, "He's wearing a plaid shirt and a hat, like a baseball cap. Something bad in his chest… his heart… no… more than that." "Cancer—lung cancer," John said. Karen continued, "He protects you, John—he tries—but that thing is too strong. It keeps him away from the house."
Just then, both Tony and Kurt observed a ball of white light, a little smaller that a golf ball, shoot down from the ceiling and bounce up into the air behind John. Kurt told Karen what he saw. "Yes," she replied, "Lou is here with us now. He loves you John… like a Father loves a son." John, who was visibly shaken, said, "I love you Lou, you were…you are just like a Father to me. Oh, God Lou, I miss you so much." With that the ball of light shot up the stairs towards the apartment door.
The following week, the G.O.N.E.R.S. Crew met with John and Linda and revealed the findings of the investigation to them. They listened to clips of the EVPs intently. Karen and Kurt told of their experience in the downstairs of the house.
Soon, John asked the obvious question, "So what do we do? Financially, we can't move right now and even if we could, I wouldn't feel right about selling this house to some unsuspecting family, only to have happen to them what has happened to us and everyone else who lived here."
Kurt began, "John, Linda… I wish there was some magic that I could do that would make that thing in your house go away (Kurt snapped his fingers) just like that. But there isn't and anyone who tells you that there is just kidding you."
Kurt continued, "Karen and I have talked this over a great deal and we both believe that if Linda continues to do her Cherokee cleansing ritual on a daily basis, you may just weaken it enough that it will lose interest and move on."
Karen began, "Remember, you cannot argue in the house, especially if you feel yourself getting angry for no reason, you'll have to realize it's probably 'the thing' trying to instigate a fight."
Kurt continued, "Express your love for one another openly and often, be as kind and considerate of each other as possible. If you find tension building, go for a drive. Talk things over. This may sound kind of silly but make sure there is laughter in the house, even if you have to leave the Comedy Channel on TV when you go to work. Without anger to feed from, 'the thing' may just decide to leave. As far as Lou goes, he is here to protect you, both of you if you'll let him. You may also find that when you solve the problem in the house, Lou may also fade away. I know that will be a sad day for you John but it's the natural order of things."
Six months later
Because of Linda and Johns love for each other and dedication to following the plan laid out for them by G.O.N.E.R.S., the house is finally quiet and the feeling of tension and anxiety that once permeated the house is gone. John's daughters visit often and get along very well with Linda who is teaching them about her Native American culture. There have been no outbursts of anger, the footsteps and voices from the downstairs have stopped and Linda and John are planning a Spring wedding.
1EMF detectors measure ambient (surrounding) electromagnetic fields using antennas or probes that do not disturbe the electromagnetic field into which they are placed. EMF measurements can determine whether or not you have faulty electrical wiring that may give you a sense that "something is watching you," or, where wiring is good, may detect paranormal activity that is creating a channge in the ambient electromagnetic field. Return
2A geophone is a device which converts ground movement (displacement) into voltage, which may be recorded at a recording station. The deviation of this measured voltage from the base line is called the seismic response and may be used to detect movement of the geophone by paranormal means. Return
3Clairaudient – To be able to hear the dead speak. Return
4EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomena, voices picked up on sensitive digital recording devices that may or may not have been heard during the investigation. Return
This story is based on true events in the life of the client and the investigation by Ghosts of New England Research Society LLC, Middletown, CT. USA.
All names, except those of the G.O.N.E.R.S. Crew, have been changed to protect their privacy.
Written by Kurt Knapp