My Last Victorian Experience

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The vibe inside the house was different from what I’ve always felt.

Usually they are happy to see us. They know us. They speak our names on our digital recorders and share some of their secrets. They’re usually very cordial. This time was different.

From the minute we walked through the doorway, we could almost feel them sigh at the sight of more people. It was as if they just wanted to be left alone.

Tina Aube and I had spent the day in Gardner, split between the public library and the local museum, collecting research about the mansion. Much of the history of the house has been misconstrued over the years and we both have a burning need to unravel the stories.  Since I’m writing a book for the owners on their experiences, I wanted to make sure I had all the facts correct.

We found out a lot, but there are still so many stories left untold.

We’d hoped to uncover a few. We’d recently learned more about Mattie Cornwell, the nanny who resided in the house, caring for the Pierce children. Evidence that she’s still in residence continues to this day. When Tina spent the night there with me over the summer, she captured an evp of someone telling Mattie to stop it. At the same time, Tina felt a finger press down on her face. This time, Mattie was nowhere to be found, but the others were present and accounted for.

I felt them swoop as we stood in the kitchen. Some of them were happy to see us after being alone for several weeks, but some of them felt otherwise. We immediately went up to the second floor landing, where we’re usually well received by the resident ghosts.

I was excited to talk to Eino Saari, the man who died of smoke inhalation in the 1960’s. His story is one that has been told incorrectly over the years. Having a record of his death certificate and a copy of his obituary, we now know that he died of smoke inhalation after a mattress fire and not of spontaneous combustion, which has been the lore for decades.  We also knew the names of his parents and siblings and wanted to tell him that information.

When I asked him if his father’s name was Matti, he responded on the Spirit Box with “Matti”. Click on the link below to hear the actual evp.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/einos-fathers-name-matti

I have been having a hard time getting more information about Ellen Pierce, so I went to the source and asked the resident ghosts.

“What kind of person was Ellen,” I asked.

The response blew me away. “Nellie,” a woman said. Most people don’t know that Ellen’s nickname was Nellie.

Click below to hear the actual response:

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/second-floor-landing-gb-what

I asked who was there with us and got a strange response. I’m including it here, because it is so strange. There are actually two layers to this response. There’s a woman’s voice that goes through multiple stations, saying something like, “The Bellaney’s boys are here now,” and beneath it, you can hear a child’s sing-song voice.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/whos-here-the-belaneys-boys

The next evp is the most compelling. I told them that the reason I was there was because I was writing a book about the Victorian and I wanted to get their stories right. The response was very clear. A male voice said, “Edwin.” People are always dismissing the Spirit Box, saying it’s just picking up stray radio voices. I think this response really puts that theory to rest. What are the chances of them saying an uncommon name like Edwin?

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/get-your-story-right-edwin

We continued up to the third floor and the energy up there was very different. We both felt as though they didn’t want us up there. They’ve seen a lot of investigators over the course of the past few years, not to mention the tours we’ve led through for fund-raising efforts.

We went into the cistern room first and almost immediately got this response.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/cistern-room-gb-getting-you

We didn’t hear the response at the time. It was spoken aloud on the Spirit Box, but we didn’t catch it until later when we listened to the audio recording. If we had, we might have left right away. Instead, we decided to move to the Billiards Room for one more quick session.

While we were sitting there, the feelings became so strong.

“We need to leave. I just feel it,” Tina told me.

I was getting a similar feeling, so we were packing up to leave when all hell broke loose. Water started dripping from the ceiling, faster and faster, until it was pouring buckets. We honestly thought we were going to witness a ceiling collapse. We raced for the stairs and then called Marion, who called the owners to alert them.  We did walk back in a few minutes later and were reassured that the ceiling was still intact.  Here’s the response, capturing our horrifying moment. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a ghost voice telling us to “get out” at .10 in the recording. Were they warning us to get out before we couldn’t?

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/billiards-room-when-the-water

After that, we packed up and left.  It was a sad moment for both of us.

The house needs a new roof, badly. I don’t know how much longer it will have before it’s too late to fix it. It might already be too late.

One thing is for certain. I’m not going to be standing underneath it when the ceiling finally decides to go.

It makes me sad because I love that house.

We all do.

We need a miracle.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a  free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Is Your House Haunted?

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Have you ever come down with an illness that starts slowly? The first symptoms are very subtle. You might feel tired and run-down. Days later, it might evolve to a sniffly nose or a cough. If you’re like many of us, you’ll be in denial for the first stage of the cold. You’ll attribute the tired feeling to not getting enough sleep; the sniffles could just be allergies. Like illness, a true haunting seldom comes without signs and symptoms

The first thing you might notice is a feeling of being watched. It’s that sensation you get when someone comes into a room quietly and just stands there. Sometimes it might take you a moment to realize they’re there and you’ll turn around with a gasp as you see them. A ghost might give you the same sensation.

You might also notice that items left in one place inexplicably show up somewhere else.  Or a light you turned off suddenly turns back on again.  You might also hear sounds that aren’t normal to the house. Sometimes the haunting will never progress beyond this, but other times it will escalate. Being aware and then taking action is important during the beginning stages.

The first thing you will want to do is rule out normal explanations. If you’re hearing footsteps in the attic, go up and look for signs of an animal. Has a squirrel broken through a vent? Do you see mouse droppings or chewed insulation? If you feel like you’re being watched, rule out high electromagnetic energy, which can often make a person feel paranoid, even leading to hallucinations. Bedside alarm clocks are often big culprits, as are ceiling fans, microwave ovens, or faultily wired electrical outlets or circuit breakers. If you don’t own an EMF meter, which most normal people wouldn’t, you can begin by narrowing down the area that affects you. Do you feel the sensation of being watched only while you’re in your bedroom? Try moving or unplugging items to see if it alleviates the sensation. If all else fails, an inexpensive EMF meter can be found on the Internet for under $50, or you could simply call your electrician.

If you’ve ruled out all normal explanations for the signs of a haunting, the next step is to figure out why your house is haunted.

  • Did you just move in? Chances are the house has been inhabited by an earth-bound ghost for a long time and is just letting you know they’re there. I don’t feel it’s ever okay to live in a house with a ghost. Even if it’s dear old grandma, she’s not in a place of rest and she needs to find her way to the next dimension (aka Heaven or The Other Side).
  • Did you just start a renovation project? This often will trigger a ghost to come out of hiding. Imagine being so attached to your house that you didn’t want to leave it after dying, and then watching some numb-skull rip out the beautiful kitchen cabinets you spent eight months building from scratch. You might jump in to complain too.
  • Have you been dabbling in the paranormal? Did you go on a ghost hunt and attempt to communicate with the dead? Something might have taken you up on this and followed you home. If you investigate, you should always, always, always protect yourself during investigations. I cover this in the last chapter of my book The Soul Collector.
  • Are you a sensitive? People who are able to sense and even possibly communicate with ghosts are more at risk for having ghosts follow them home. In the ghost world, sensitives stand out. A ghost might recognize you as someone they can communicate with and will follow you home. If you’re curious if you’re a sensitive, I wrote a blog called “Do you have a Sixth Sense?” that might help you.

The truth is:  ghosts are all around us most of the time. Being a sensitive, I can tell you that I’ve sensed them at restaurants, movie theaters, and at other people’s homes. While I was interviewing someone for my latest book project, I captured three very clear ghost voices on my digital recorder. One helpfully asked us if we’d remembered to turn off the light.

Opinions will vary on how to eliminate the haunting.  Here are the top suggestions:

  • Claim ownership of your space. Let them know that you live there now and that they need to move on. Tell them to look for the white light, which is a doorway to the other side, or to call for a family member who has passed on to help them. Being dead on our side of the veil isn’t a pleasant experience. They’ll be able to see and hear the things we do, but will have very limited abilities. If this doesn’t work, move onto the second tip.
  • Do a house cleansing. You can do this in a number of ways:
    • Ask your minister or priest to do a house cleansing.
    • Contact a trusted psychic medium to do this. How do you find this person:
      • Many metaphysical shops will have a list of psychics in the area.
      • The Internet – research this person thoroughly before inviting them in.
    • Do it yourself. Purchase white sage mixed with sweet grass from your local metaphysical shop or purchase it online.
      • Be calm, but firm as you do this.
      • If you have connected with your spirit guides or guardians, ask them to help you. Everyone has spirit guides, but might not have connected with them. Ask anyway. You never know who is listening.
      • Open a few windows in the house as you do it.
      • Light the sage and fill every room in your house with the smoke, starting with the outermost corner and working your way to the front of the house. Let the sage smoke cover every inch of space in every room, from floor to ceiling. Some say the smoke is calming to them, helping them transition to the next plane.
      • As you burn the sage, tell them you are filling the house with light and love and that no negative energy may remain. Tell them this is your house and you’re taking it back. Encourage them to find the peace and love they desire through the white light. Tell them it’s time for them to go.
      • When you’re finished, stub out the sage stick on the front walk.
      • Some people will follow this up with a ring of sea salt around the border of the house, or on the windowsills and doorsteps.
      • Others will also take a warm bath filed with sea salt and lavender, ridding their body of the energy.
      • Cut your ties. You can do this physically, as well as mentally. Cut the cords that connect you to this energy and then move on. Don’t think about it. Shove it out of your mind. Thinking about it could actually draw them back in, so avoid this as best as possible.

What do you do if your house is still paranormally active after all these measures have been taken? Some ghosts are going to be resistant about moving on. Typical measures aren’t going to work with them. You’ll have to move into a second phase.

  • Contact an established and highly recommended paranormal group to help you. Be forewarned that this will often increase the activity, but if the group is able to help you, it will be worth it in the end. When you reach out to them, ask for references from other clients they have assisted. A good group will not charge you for their services. If they do, you should probably run the other way. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer them a donation for the time and money they’ve spent helping you. Many won’t accept it, but others will. Offer anyway.
  • Contact a trusted psychic medium. Talk to your local metaphysical store for references. Ask for references of clients the medium has helped. A good medium will be able to remove the middle man and talk directly to the ghost, helping them to move to the other side much more effectively. Many mediums will charge for their services, but some will not.
  • Move. I don’t like this last option, because you are only leaving the problem for someone else to deal with. Or worse, you go through the effort of moving, only to discover the ghost has followed you.
  • Research the history on the house.
    • Go to your local town hall and research the census records and death records to find out if it’s a former home owner. Sometimes a tragic event could have caused them to stay behind. Or maybe they’re just attached to the house. Sometimes just knowing who you’re dealing with helps in moving them on. Talk to them by name. Tell them you understand why they’re there, but it’s your house now and you promise to take good care of it. Then, do the cleansing.
    • Go to your local library and read back issues of the newspapers. Find out if something tragic happened. Sometimes all they want is for someone to acknowledge what they lived through. Follow it up with a cleansing.
    • Do nothing. Allow the energy to calm down on its own. Don’t acknowledge them, don’t be fearful. Just go about your life as usual. Sometimes this simple thing makes a difference, but sometimes it just makes it worse.

All of these suggestions are just suggestions. Ghosts were people too, and not everything is going to work with everyone. The more resistant a ghost is, the harder they will be to move along. But always start at the beginning of the list and rule out normal explanations first. You will save yourself a lot of time and stress. When I went through this myself back in the 1990’s, I wasn’t sure what to do and resources weren’t as prevalent as they are today. I ended up moving out, leaving the energy for someone else to contend with. I later heard that the house was sold five times in five years and it made me feel very guilty for not pursuing it further.

Whatever you do, do it with a purpose and remain calm. Fear is never a good tool for working with ghosts and neither is anger. Most hauntings are human in nature and a sense of compassion will be your best ally.

What if the haunting isn’t human? Signs of a non-human haunting will range from foul smells in the house, to finding unexplained scratches on your body. If you suspect this isn’t human, find a professional to help you, whether it’s a member of clergy, a trusted paranormal team, or a good psychic medium.

And always believe it will work.

Faith and a firm sense of belief will carry you much further than doubt and fear.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Ghosts and Electricity

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I’ve often wondered about the correlation between hauntings and electricity.

As paranormal investigators, we know that ghosts can manipulate our electronics. We’ve seen it happen over and over again. Cell phone settings get inexplicably changed during an investigation and radios or television sets get turned on and off, just to list a few. But, what if ghosts can actually pull energy from these devices?

One of the most standard pieces of paranormal investigation equipment is the EMF meter. Simply stated, an EMF meter measures the changes of the electromagnetic field in a given area. There are various units, some more precise than others, but I prefer the Mel Meter, manufactured by D.A.S. Distribution Inc., because it is easy to use and also measures the ambient room temperature. If you hold one near a source of electricity, the reading on the meter will often increase. Electrical appliances such as alarm clocks, ceiling fans, and microwave ovens will cause an EMF meter’s readings to spike upwards. So, what does this have to do with ghosts?

Everything around us is made of energy, even our own bodies. When we die, where does that energy go? Does it get released into the atmosphere around us? Or does it stay encapsulated?

Theories abound. Since energy is neither created nor destroyed, it remains. Many paranormal investigators and psychics alike believe that the energy remains with the spirit. This is one of the reasons why investigators use EMF meters, hoping to detect the presence of a ghost. It’s not why I use one, though. I use it primarily to debunk a haunting.

We were called to investigate a house where the owners felt there was a ghost in the basement. They brought us to one particular doorway, telling us they always felt as though they were being watched when they stood there. It took me about five seconds to figure it out. Beside the doorway was a very large electrical box. I put my EMF meter near it and immediately got a very high reading.

High EMF readings can affect the human body in various ways. One thing it can do is give the person the feeling of being watched or the sensation of being fearful. People who have experienced high EMF over a period of time sometimes report hallucinations as well. Health-wise, it isn’t good either as it has been linked to cancer and sleep disorders, since it could reduce the melatonin levels in the brain, which is the hormone that stimulates sleep. It can also point to a very dangerous electrical situation. The owners were advised to contact their electrician immediately to prevent a catastrophic house fire. After they fixed the electrical issue, all the sensations of a haunting stopped entirely.

Whenever I stay at a haunted inn, I will walk around with my EMF meter and check the levels. In one inn, we discovered that a faultily wired ceiling fan was causing a high EMF reading, giving the people in the bed below it the sensation of being watched. Bedside alarm clocks are also prone to emitting high levels. Correcting these man-made issues will often eliminate the feelings of a haunting, so it’s always worth looking into.

But, what if there is already a haunting and the ghosts are just using the electricity like a feeding station? Most of us have encountered something similar in the field.

We call it “battery drain.” Prior to an investigation, we always check our batteries to make sure they’re fully charged.  Sometimes though, we’ll discover that our new batteries become instantly drained the minute we walk into a haunted establishment.

Many enthusiasts feel this is a ghost’s way of powering up. They will drain the batteries, and sometimes even the energy of the investigators themselves, in order to communicate or manifest. After living in a haunted house for 13 years, I can tell you that there is some validity to this theory.

Our house sat under high tension power lines. When we sold it in 2000, I knew nothing about electromagnetic energy. I just knew our house was haunted. Items moved of their own accord, footsteps could be heard in empty rooms, and writing once appeared on a wall. I’ve lived in several other locations with ghostly presences, but have never had the same level of activity. Do the ghosts feed on the extra electromagnetic energy, giving them more energy to manipulate their environment? While it doesn’t explain every haunting, I think it’s worth considering.

Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, New York, is one of the most paranormally active locations I’ve ever been to. I’ve personally seen shadow figures wandering the hallways, heard footsteps and unexplained noises, and had the pleasure of having a ghost pass right through me. Every time I’ve investigated there, I’ve come away with countless class-A EVPs. I’ve also witnessed my EMF meter’s numbers rise on request. Why would one location be so much more active than many others?

Locations are usually haunted for a variety of reasons. If numerous deaths occurred there over a period of time, it would stand to reason that there would be more opportunity for a haunting. But what if there is another explanation?

I recently had a conversation with Sharon Coyle-Farley, owner of Rolling Hills Asylum to inquire about this theory.

Directly across the street from the facility is a power grid. Is it possible that the ghosts from Rolling Hills are using that energy to help them manifest and manipulate their environment?

Here’s what Sharon said:

“I hadn’t taken a reading from the power grid in ages so I went over to it. Its directly opposite the east wing (you can google earth it – 11001 Bethany Center Road, 14054) a 2 lane road – approximately 24 feet from the start of my land – and approximately 20 additional feet to the building itself (so approximately 44 – 48 feet away). The strongest hit is at the gate of the grid – varies with what I imagine to be power surges between 11.0 & 17.1 on the Mel. As soon as I take two steps in either direction – right, left or behind me it immediately subsides down to 3.0 to 4.0 on the Mel and by the time I am at the tall Cypress at the edge of my property (close to the road) it flat lines at 0.0 on the Mel. Which means – which is what I always knew (just couldn’t recall the stats) – that the power grid does NOT leak EMF into my building – which is why we get flat line readings of 0.0 on the Mel everywhere in the building -unless at a live power source – such as when the microwave in the green room is operating. So – the hits we are getting within RHA are true EMF spikes caused by spirit activity. Do I think the grid is an energy source for them – I sure do. I think they draw from it – feed from it – like going through a McDonalds for lunch – they come and go to it and it also draws other entities to it which in turn brings more entities/activity into RHA.”

This doesn’t explain every haunting, but it is something worth thinking about.

It could explain the “paranormal hangover” I always experience the day after an investigation. I’ve spoken to others who have felt the exact same way. I am just exhausted. Even if I’ve had enough sleep the night afterwards, I will always wake up the next morning so tired I can barely function. Depending on the location, it might take me days to build my energy back up.  Since I’ve learned the valuable lessons on how to properly ground and shield myself, some of this has lessened, but not completely. Are the ghosts using my energy to do the things I’m asking them to do? Does every EVP come at a cost?

Part of my fascination with the paranormal field revolves around the “why” factor. I’m interested in learning more, which will hopefully help me and others better explain the experiences we continue to have as we investigate haunted locations.

If you have a theory you’d like to share, please let me know.

Working together will help us answer some of the questions we all encounter.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Secrets from the Grave – The Haunted Victorian Mansion

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The Haunted Victorian Mansion has many secrets.

As I began writing a book for the owners, unanswered questions began piling up, one by one, making me realize there is a lot we still don’t know.  Finding the answers has proven to be very daunting because all of the residents are long deceased, and the historical trail they left behind is filled with gaps.

Here’s what we do know:

After becoming one of the wealthiest men in the county, furniture magnate, S.K. Pierce decided to build a house that matched his stature. He hired two hundred men to work around the clock for a year and a half . When the house was completed in 1875, it was a marvel to behold.

Standing three stories tall, the Second Empire Victorian boasted twenty-six rooms, including four bathrooms, two cisterns for running water, and a tower that provided grand views of South Gardner.

It wasn’t a happily-ever-after kind of story, though. Soon after the house was build, S.K.’s wife Susan died of a very painful bacterial infection that literally ate her flesh. He remarried two years later to Ellen, a woman who was barely older than his son Frank.  S.K. and Ellen had two more sons between them, Stuart and Edward.

By all accounts, the rivalry between the oldest son, Frank, and his step-mother was legendary. After his father’s death in 1888, the house passed down to Ellen, not to the eldest son, which was more customary of the time period.  His brothers Stuart and Edward left the furniture business to invest in car dealerships.

When Ellen died, the house was passed down to her three sons, who squabbled and fought each other in court for many years. The youngest son, Edward, ended up with the house and lived there with his wife, Bessie, and their daughter, Rachel, who turned it into a boarding house.

Tragedy descended upon the Pierce family once more, when 2 year-old Rachel died from Influenza. When Bessie died in 1951, the house fell into quick decline. The boarding house began developing a seedy reputation. There were reports of gambling and prostitution. When Edward allegedly lost the house in a poker game, a man named Jay Stemmerman became the new owner.

Jay was a wealthy man by his own right and would bring another layer of intrigue to the Victorian. After he abandoned the house in the 1980’s, the house sat empty for nearly twenty years. When the next owners purchased it in 2000, some of his odd paintings still graced the walls. Portraits of half-woman/half-beast, as well as full blown orgy scenes were depicted on the canvases. Due to the graphic nature of the paintings, many people wondered what else transpired during that time period.

The current hauntings only make the story more complex.  Having so much of the history at our disposal, we thought we’d be able to identify the ghosts who still linger there. Unfortunately, there are many we can’t identify.

Like, who is the little boy who has been seen in the windows and on the grand staircase? There aren’t any reports of a young boy dying in the house? We’ve asked many times, getting different responses.  Here’s one response we received while doing an EVP session in 2012.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-little-boys-name-franklin

And who was the full body apparition who appeared at Edwin’s side as he worked in his home office? Was it the ghost of Eino Sauri, the Finnish WWII veteran who died in the house in 1963, some say by self-combustion? Or was it the man who died of a heart attack at the pizza place across the street just before the ghost appeared?

And who is the evil entity in the basement?

Some psychics feel it’s Frank, the eldest son, who battled with his step-mother. Others say it is Edward, the youngest son, who lived in the basement after losing the house. Still others feel it’s a demon, brought in by an investigator with an Ouija Board. What does the house say?

Listen to the EVP by clicking on the link to find out.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/billiards-room-ghost-box-1

We have asked this question numerous times, getting different responses many of the times. While in the basement, here’s another response we received.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/name-of-sks-son-im-different

Probably the biggest mystery of all revolves around the tunnel in the basement. Why would S.K. Pierce build a tunnel to his factory across the street? I’ve spoken to two separate people who have confirmed that the foundation of the building across the street has an identical blocked off opening. Although the original factory burnt to the ground in 1938, it was very likely that the new building would have been built on the existing foundation. If there was a tunnel, it has long been collapsed. Only the entrances remain.

What was the tunnel used for?

As I reached out to various people who have investigated there while researching my book, I heard various opinions. While tunnels of this sort were typically used for home heating, capturing the steam from the factory, opinions differ. Almost every psychic feels like it has something to do with children. Several have voiced an opinion that children were often used to work in the furniture factory across the street, which would make sense considering child labor was legal in the late 1800’s.  Another psychic suggested something even worse happened to children in the basement, alluding to physical and sexual abuse. Still another psychic thought that dark magic was practiced in one of the rooms at the factory across the street and that the tunnel was used to spirit them across unseen. Much of this will probably go undiscovered. Even if we were able to track down descents, no one will willingly provide this kind of information if it did indeed happen. The only hope we have is for the ghosts themselves to finally tell us.

One thing is for certain: some of the Victorian ghosts want help.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/help-me-help-me

And we won’t stop digging until we find the answers.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

To read more about the Haunted Victorian Mansion, check out Joni’s book Bones in the Basement. Click on the photo below to learn more about Edwin and Lillian’s harrowing experience in the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion.

Bones in the Basement front cover 3

Paranormal Addiction

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Have you ever felt so drawn to a place, you just can’t stay away?

For me, this place is the S.K. Pierce Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts, also known at the Haunted Victorian Mansion. The three-story Second Empire Victorian Mansion sits on the corner of West Broadway and Union Streets, looking every bit the haunted house. The first time I saw it, I felt my breath catch in my throat.

The windows almost look like eyes, dark against the pale golden exterior. Every time I’d drive past, I’d look up, wondering if someone was looking back at me. The house seemed so out of place, so foreboding and omniscient. It looked like a house you’d see on a movie set, not something you’d happen upon in a blue-collar town like Gardner.

When I saw it on Ghost Hunters years later, I was entranced. Not only did it look haunted, it was haunted. It would be several more years before I’d find a way inside, but once I did, there was no going back. I was addicted.

I started off investigating there as part of a paranormal team. This lead to three more investigations before I volunteered to help with a Halloween event they sponsored in 2011. After that, I found myself a frequent fixture at the kitchen table, listening to the wonderful, terrifying stories Edwin and Lillian had to tell. I’d tell them I needed to leave by ten pm, only to find myself still sitting there at 2am, wondering where the time went. Others found themselves in the same predicament. We laughed, calling it The Table That Time Forgot. In all honesty, it probably had just as much to do with the company as it did with the house. We were all brought together for a purpose. We all felt it. The house chose us.

Fast forward to two years later and I find myself writing a book about the mansion. I’ve been spending most evenings on the phone interviewing people who have gone there, both as investigators and as guests. The stories have been surreal.

Three separate investigators have reported being pushed on the grand staircase. Two others have been scratched there. Several people have encountered Maddie, the nanny. Every psychic has described her exactly the same, with dark brown hair and a friendly, but no-nonsense demeanor.  I also found out from multiple sources that most people have felt the negative entity in the basement. While he doesn’t usually scratch, he does sometimes growl.  When he’s had enough of you, he surrounds you with a black cloud, using intimidation like a weapon. For reasons that escape me, I’m usually the first to volunteer to go down there. I feel as though the negative spirit and I have an agreement. When he’s grown weary of me, he lets me know and I leave. It’s just as simple as that.

Over the course of the past three years, I’ve investigated there literally dozens of times. Whether it was with a paranormal team, as part of a meet-up event I helped coordinate, or just as a guest with a digital recorder at the table, I’ve spoken to the dead there more than I’ve spoken to many of my acquaintances. I feel comfortable with the resident ghosts. I know their names and they know mine. The saddest part for me is the amount of children still trapped there.

I think it would be horrible to be trapped as an earthbound ghost, being without your human body and everything that goes along with it. You’d try to talk to people, but would have no voice. You’d try to touch them without any physical hands. I’m sure as time goes by you would learn to harness the energy and manage something physical, but it wouldn’t be as easy as being alive. So what keeps them there? Why do they choose to stay?

I feel like the more I hang around, the closer I will come to finding the answers. I always ask them what Heaven looks like and try to guide them towards the white light, but I seldom get a response to either request.

I’ve seen dark shadows in the basement, and have been touched many times as I’ve sat quietly conducting a respectful EVP session. Several times they have even followed me home.

Sometimes I wonder why I was lured into this house. Was it by my own curiosity, or was it due to something else? Did the spirits call to me?  As I interview people for the book, I’m finding more and more people who say the same thing. They felt compelled to go there and wanted to return the first chance they got.

Is it a paranormal addiction? Or is the paranormal addicted to us?

I hope to one day learn the answer, one way or another.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Discovering Your Sixth Sense

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Having a six sense doesn’t necessarily mean you can predict tomorrow’s lottery numbers; nor does it mean you will necessarily foresee a future catastrophe. Sometimes it’s as simple as trusting your intuition.

Do you often know who is on the other end of the line when the phone rings?  Do you meet someone and know instantly whether you like them or not? Do you sometimes have the feeling that you’re not alone, but nobody is there?

Learning to develop this additional sense isn’t for the impatient. It involves slowing down and paying attention to every detail of your life, listening to the strong impulses, and understanding that most of the things that happen to us aren’t usually coincidence.

Tips for unlocking your six sense:

  • Understanding your sixth sense – Abilities come in all shapes in sizes. Some people have the ability to sense or communicate with ghosts. Others get visions of future events before they transpire. Some people have an uncanny ability to read other people, knowing what they’re thinking or feeling without having been told first. Some are more subtle. One of my friends is a very dedicated pet sitter. She will often know that something is wrong with a dog before the owner does. This could be a very useful tool in her field, providing the pet parents buy into what she is telling her.
  • Believing your abilities – My mother didn’t think she had a sixth sense until I pointed it out to her. More times than I could count, I would pick up the phone to call her, only to find her on the other end as she attempted to call me at the same exact time. She also has an uncanny ability to always find a front row parking spot. Sometimes having a six sense isn’t as prevalent as being able to predict the sex of someone’s unborn baby. It might be as simple as trusting your intuition and not trying to push it away. It’s a special gift that was given to you at birth. Embrace it and use it.
  • Meditation – spend a few minutes a day going deep into your mind, allowing the rest of the world to fade away. You can do this all by yourself with little instruction, or you can utilize one of the many self-guided meditation videos on the Internet. It allows you to hone your thoughts down to the bare essentials, discovering a place in your mind where the clatter and bustle of everyday life can’t touch.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings – watch other people’s reactions to the things you do and say. Understand how body language and eye contact plays a key role in how we interpret how other people are feeling. Really try to tune into what they’re telling you. Crossed arms might mean they are closing themselves off from the conversation, an inability to maintain eye contact might mean they aren’t comfortable with what is being said. Watch for the non-verbal cues and see if they match what your mind is interpreting. People with empathic abilities often feel what other people are feeling, sometimes even physically, and have an uncanny ability to understand other’s moods and thought processes. Learning how to live with the ability could be a blessing, if you are able to handle both the good and the bad. If someone is angry with you, it gives you a chance to unravel the anger before it becomes an issue.
  • Believing in yourself – do you sometimes get a strong feeling about something for no apparent reason? Have you ever woken up with a strange premonition? Pay attention to the outcome. If you find some truth behind the impression, you will learn to trust it more.  Many people believe that we are all born with the sense of insight but leave it undeveloped, having been told as children that we “have an active imagination.” It doesn’t mean that the abilities disappeared. It just means we’ll need to dig a little deeper to find them and nurture them back to a useable level. Others feel that abilities are usually passed down through families. Sometimes the gift is hard to distinguish, like the case with my mother. More than likely, she was born with similar abilities as mine, but didn’t pursue them and allow them to develop.
  • Find validation – if you have a strong sense that something has happened to someone, ask them. Follow the clues to see where they lead. This involves being curious enough to find the answer. I would often get impressions about people, but never had the courage to follow it through by asking. One day, I simply took a deep breath and asked, only to find out that my intuition was right. It gave me the faith to keep trying.
  • Develop a relationship with your spirit guides or guardians– everybody has them, but not everyone is aware of them. They could be there, whispering in your mind, guiding you through the day. I didn’t believe in them until I experienced it firsthand. I was driving along a highway, when the image of my late grandmother popped into my head, telling me to slow down. Seconds later, my front tire blew out. Had I not slowed down, I probably would have been badly injured, if not killed. Find yours through meditation or just ask for a sign that they are there, then follow your instincts.
  • Document everything – keep a journal and write down the things that come to you. Did you have a strange dream that a friend was going to have a difficult pregnancy? Or did you get an odd feeling when you met a co-worker for the first time? Being able to go back and track this is very helpful. Make sure to record the date it happened, the time of day, and even things that seem trivial at the time, like the mood you were in, the cycle of the moon, or the type of weather outside.
  • Research – my sixth sense involves communicating with ghosts and spirits. It took me a very long time to trust that what I was feeling was more than my imagination. I read every book I could get my hands on and took several psychic awareness classes. Every piece of information brought me closer to understanding my abilities.
  • Share your experiences – most people are afraid to talk about these things. They’re scared that other people are going to make fun of them or think they are crazy, when in truth, many other people have these feelings as well. Find someone you can trust to talk about it. If possible, find someone who is going through a similar situation, or someone who has mastered the skill you are seeking. Finding a good tutor might make the difference between wondering and knowing.
  • Understand that everyone is different – several of my friends are also sensitives. They know when a ghost or spirit enters a room. My cue is audient. I hear a tone as they swoop in, which is also accompanied by a sense I can’t explain. I just know someone is there. One of my friends feels a tingling on the side of her head. Another friend’s finger’s tingle. Just because you don’t feel the same cues, doesn’t mean you aren’t experiencing something. This also means that no one can tell you exactly what you need to do to develop it. This is a case where practice makes perfect. Talk with other people about what they’re feeling, but don’t expect someone to hand you a magic wand and enable you to become a psychic medium overnight. You will have to figure some things out on your own.

Unlocking this six sense could change your life in many ways. It’s a matter of taking a natural gift and exercising it until you’ve built it into a powerful asset, but you’ll never know until you’ve tried.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

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Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

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 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm

Captain Sibley’s Haunting

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Riverside Cemetery is nestled in a forest at the end of a one-lane dirt road in the heart of a ghost town. It is both haunting and haunted, two traits that make it hard to forget.

My friend Sandy and I stumbled across it almost by accident several years ago as we explored the dirt roads that laced through the woods just outside Barre, Massachusetts. Somewhere in the wooded acreage, the remnants of the lost town of Coldbrook Springs could be found. We hoped to find an old foundation, but what we found instead was a piece of encapsulated history.

Coldbrook Springs was once a bustling town with two hotels, a bowling alley, a blacksmith shop, post office, billiard hall, a box mill, school, and nearly 35 houses. It was removed in the 1930’s as part of the Quabbin Reservoir project. The state bought all of the buildings and demolished them to provide a clean watershed for the Ware River, which flows into the Quabbin Reservoir and provides drinking water to Boston and its suburbs. People were relocated to nearby towns of Oakham, Barre, and Hubbardston, and the town simply ceased to exist.

Besides a few foundations, the cemetery is virtually all that remains of the old town. We walked the grounds, taking in the mixture of old and new headstones. Birds chirped in the distance as the wind rustled through the tops of the tall pines. At the back of the cemetery we found a monument to the Naramore children, who were killed by their own mother in 1901.  We spend a quiet moment reading the inscription.

Poverty stricken and living with an abusive husband, Elizabeth Naramore went to the town for help. When officials visited the residence, they determined that the children would need to be put into foster homes. Before they could do that, Elizabeth killed them, from oldest to youngest, and then attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. A monument was erected in the 1990’s to remember the lost children. It’s hard to stand there and not feel a rush of emotion. Over time, the stone has gained a collection of toys and small cars, left by saddened visitors.

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As we walked back towards the entrance, I was drawn to a group of three tombstones.

They were old and faded, the words difficult to make out on the worn slate stone. The first stone listed the name of a Catherine Sibley, who lived from 1805 to 1874. Beside her grave was the grave of her husband, Captain Charles Sibley, who lived from 1808 to 1849. And sadly, beside his was the grave of their four children. This was what caused me to pause.

They were listed, one after another, telling a heartbreaking story.

  • James died on October 9th,1843, at nine months old.
  • Catherine died on September 19st, 1847, at 6 years, 5 months.
  • Mary died the day after her sister, on September 20th 1847, at the age of 2 years, 7 months.
  • Charles died the day after Christmas on the same year, December 26th, 1847, at the age of 12 years, 7 months.

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We just stood there, taking it all in, trying to wrap our minds around the tragedy of losing four children, two of whom died within a day of one another.  How did they die? Was there a horrible disease that swept through the area, taking their children one by one, teasing them to believe that one would survive, only to have him taken from them the day after Christmas? My heart went out to their parents.

I am always very respectful of the dead, and with this comes a sense of compassion. As a paranormal investigator, I know that not all of the souls pass on like they’re supposed to. When faced with a tragic death, some lose their way and become earthbound. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t the case. We pulled out our digital recorders and conducted a short EVP session.

“Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Sandy asked.

The response was heart wrenching. “Yes, Heaven won’t take me.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/captain-sibley-yes-take-me

The EVP is faint and must be listened to with headphones on high volume. For reasons I can’t explain, the audio has faded over the years, perhaps from being transferred too many times, or possibly for other reasons. Maybe I was the only one meant to hear it.

After listening to it, I couldn’t stop thinking about this poor family and the possibility that the father was still lingering around his grave over one-hundred and sixty years later. I went back to his grave the following week.

In the quiet of the cemetery, I sat beside his headstone and just talked to him. I didn’t know if he was listening or not, but I wanted to help him if I could. I told him about the natural process of what happens to us after death.

“When we die, we’re supposed to cross over into the white light, moving to the place where we’re supposed to go. Some people call it Heaven,” I said. I looked around at the quiet bank of trees, wondering if he was there, or if I was simply talking to myself. I had to continue though.

My voice sounded like a prayer as I began speaking again. “Look for the white light. It’s right above you. All your family is waiting for you. Call out to them to help you cross through.” I took a deep breath and then added something I hoped would help. “God loves you and welcomes you with open arms. Go find the peace and serenity you deserve.”  And then I cried.

I went back several weeks later to see if he was still there. I turned on my digital voice recorder and asked again. “Captain Sibley, are you still here?” Later when I listened to the recording, all I heard was the sound of birds chirping in the background. If he was still there, he wasn’t responding.  I hoped he’d listened to my advice and found the peace he so deserved.  For insurance, a year later I brought a psychic medium to the cemetery and he crossed over five souls. My hope was that if Captain Sibley hadn’t crossed over initially, that he’d gone when the psychic medium gave him another opportunity. Either way, I truly feel he finally found his way.

The story would have ended there if I’d been able to let it go. Thoughts of the Sibley family haunted me. I couldn’t get them off my mind. I reached out to a friend who has a knack for researching and she was able to provide me with more information.  She filled in many of the details for me, fleshing out the bare-boned tragedy and giving it life.

The Sibleys had a long history in Massachusetts. They arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1629, quickly becoming a very prominent family. They boasted statesmen and soldiers of the Revolutionary War, as well as being prosperous business owners.  An early relative of Charles Sibley’s was Mary Woodrow Sibley, who allegedly showed Tibuta and Indian John how to make the urine cakes used to test for witches during the Salem Witch Trials.

Nearly two centuries later, Charles Sibley was born in 1808, the youngest of five siblings. The family relocated to Barre, Massachusetts while he was a child, setting up a homestead just outside of Coldbrook Springs. When he was 25 years-old, he married a woman named Catharine Brigham who was three years his senior. He was listed as “Captain Sibley” on his gravestone, but no information could be found about any military services. In colonial times, this was often added to the name because of the family’s past military service.

They were married for two years before having their first child, a son they named Charles, after his father. Three years later, they would have another son named Nelson. Daughter, Catherine, was born two afterward, named after her mother. The following year, they would add another son, James, to the family, but he would die of whooping cough before his first birthday. In 1845, they would have a second daughter they named Mary. And in 1848 they would have their last child, who they would also name Charles.

They would lose all but two of their children soon after to dysentery.

Dying of dysentery was a very horrible way to go. An inflammation of the lower intestines would lead to a high fever and painful, never-ending diarrhea. Left untreated, the victim would become dehydrated and eventually succumb to the infection. It is often caused by consuming contaminated food or water, or from poor hygiene.  Charles himself would die two years later from Typhoid Fever, after being sick for eight straight days.

Charles’ wife, Catherine would live to be sixty-nine, dying in 1874 in Boston. Her death certificate listed paralysis as the cause of death, although I’m sure there’s more to the story. Sons, Nelson and Charles (the second) would survive both of their parents. Nelson married in 1870 and died in 1900. Charles married in 1882 and died sometime after 1930 in Highgate, Vermont. His occupation was listed as a paper carrier.

There is still so much I don’t know about the Sibley family, and I’m certain this won’t be the last time I’ll think of them.  One thing is certain, I feel as though I was led to his grave for a reason. Maybe it was just to remember them, like they should be remembered.

Or maybe it was to help.

Either way, I’m happy this family found their way into my life.

Heaven will take you, Captain Sibley. You just have to ask again.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Many thanks go to Marian King for her valuable research. You gave me some much needed closure.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

The Soul Collector – The true story of one paranormal investigator’s worst nightmare

http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Collector-ebook/dp/B00EIHG90Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381464557&sr=1-1&keywords=joni+mayhan

Image

 

Angels of Ember trilogy – After a devastating virus nearly wipes the world clean of people, 16 year-old Ember Pain grows tired of running and hiding from the bad men who hunt her and her younger sister, Elizabeth. Fighting back becomes a necessity, even if it threatens her very life.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=angels+of+ember+trilogy&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Aangels+of+ember+trilogy

Image

 Lightning Strikes

Ember Rain

Angel Storm