It was to be my fifth investigation at the Houghton Mansion, which meant that my intrigue level was fairly low. I was well-versed on the history and had a good idea what to expect. While I was excited to be returning to one of my favorite haunts, I was looking forward to the social aspect more than the actual haunting. I would be in for a shock. My fifth visit was a wild ride I will never forget.
On previous visits, I investigated with like-minded investigators, eager to seek out the truth and experience the haunting firsthand. I wasn’t disappointed. While conducting an EVP session in the basement of the mansion, I saw a partial apparition materialize before my very eyes before it darted across the room and disappeared. This trip would be different. I would actually learn something about ghost behavior.
The Houghton Mansion is a somber place with a sad story.
In the spring of 1914, A.C. Houghton took several friends and family members for a pleasure drive in their new Pierce-Arrow Touring Car. When the car hit a soft shoulder of the road, it tumbled down the steep embankment, rolling over three times, killing Houghton’s daughter Mary and her childhood friend, Sybil Hutton. Feeling immense guilt over the accident, the driver of the car, John Widders, a long time friend and servant of the Houghton’s, put a gun to his head three days later and ended his life. Mr. Houghton died ten days later, possibly from undiscovered injuries incurred during the accident. Most of them never left the mansion.
In 1920, Houghton’s surviving daughter sold the mansion to the Masons, who built a tremendous Temple behind the house. The mansion has been under the care of the Lafayette-Greylock Lodge ever since, adding another layer to the haunting.
Since my last visit, I began teaching a Paranormal 101 class in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts, located 75 miles west of the mansion. Through the classes, I’ve met several talented psychic mediums who agreed to attend the Houghton Mansion investigation with me.
I have a theory that the ghosts at haunted locations usually follow the strongest medium during investigations. If they wish to communicate, they have a better chance at cutting right to the source, instead of being forced to navigate through tricky equipment to get their message across. This proved to be true at the Houghton Mansion, as well. While our group experienced ample activity, the other group didn’t have the same experiences.
I co-hosted the event with Jason Stanton, host of Ghost Chat Radio and author of several paranormal books. Since eleven people showed up for the investigation, we divided into two groups. My group consisted of Ken Murray, a budding psychic medium with immense talent, Dianne Truax, an experienced psychic medium, as well as Barbara Niles, Patricia White, Chantel Szlesok, and Lynda Szlesok, who were all developing sensitives.
While we spent the night investigating all the hot spots and gathered ample evidence, the three locations where I actually learned something were in the basement, in Mary’s room and in a third floor room filled with lockers used by the Masons.
I knew there was a dark entity in the basement of the mansion. We encountered him there several times before and saw him in the form of dark shadows moving in the darkness. There was also supposed to be a little girl there who answers to the name Laura. While the Houghtons had a daughter named Laura who died at the age of three, many aren’t convinced this is the same little girl. They theorize that the mansion was built on an existing foundation, so the ghost of the child could belong to the first house that sat on the property.
As we came into the basement, our adrenaline was running high. The mansion’s basement is downright creepy. It looks like it could be featured in a horror movie without needing any additional props. We went to a central room to the right of the staircase where most of the activity has been reported. I started my recorder before we entered the room, knowing that I might catch the ghosts off guard.
The chairs are arranged in a loose circle, which makes it easy for conducting EVP sessions. As we selected our chairs, I captured this chilling EVP of an entity giving us further instruction.
Before beginning the session, someone in the group needed fresh batteries. It’s not uncommon for investigators to discover their brand new batteries drain down to nothing in haunted locations. It takes energy for ghosts to communicate, and they will often pull energy from the batteries in our equipment. While the investigators were swapping out batteries, I caught this EVP.
As we settled into the session, the mediums in the group could feel an energy building. The darkness grew to epic proportions, filling the room with a sense of anger and loathing that even the non-mediums could feel. At one point, one member of the group became so overwhelmed with the dark energy, she needed to remove herself from the building to recoup her energy.
Once the session started up again, I began seeing a dark shadow pacing back and forth in front of a doorway (pictured above). I called several other investigators over to watch it and they saw it too. Typically when this happens, the activity comes to a grinding halt, but this time was different. The dark shadow person continued to pace back and forth for a full five minutes, allowing all of us to witness it. Unfortunately, none of us had a night-vision camera to capture it with. I’ll be adding that item to my wish list ASAP.
While we had amazing experiences in all the rooms, perhaps the most interesting part of the evening for me was the exchange going on in Mary’s room. According to our psychic mediums, there were two women and a man in the room. The woman was fairly quiet, but the male was vocal. When Ken asked Mary if she rode side-saddle, knowing she was an avid rider, the male responded with “probably.” Then, he added an insult to the mix. “Fat bastard!” he said.
The insults weren’t contained to just Ken though. When Dianne asked who the woman was, the male spoke up again, saying, “slut.” Was he talking about the female entity or was his insult directed to Dianne?
Dianne commented that the woman was standing in the corner. She kept trying to get a reading on her, but the woman was illusive. Dianne knew she was an older woman, but she couldn’t glean much more from her. As soon as she made the comment, a male voice on the Spirit Box responded with, “It’s that poor bitch.” Was he talking about the female entity in the room?
When Ken mentioned that he no longer felt the male presence, but still felt the female, it appears that the male attempted to coach her. “You need to cloak,” he said clearly.
I find this interesting on several levels. First, who was the woman in the corner? When we detected the male, he quickly disappeared. I always thought that when they vanished like that, they actually left the room, but apparently I was wrong. Are they capable of cloaking themselves?
The second curiosity is the word he used: cloak. To me, it’s a word straight from an episode of Star Trek. I guess I figured that the afterlife would have their own special words for what they do, but this man was apparently once a Trekkie. Does this strike anyone else as being a bit surreal?
This brings me to the third interesting factor: the male ghost is probably not one of the Houghtons. For him to be aware of the terminology from a show that aired in the 1960s, he must have either lived in our time period or watched it on the mansion’s television. I might be making the wrong assumptions, but I just can’t envision A.C. Houghton camped out in the library room, watching old Star Trek reruns.
The Locker Room
There is a room on the third floor that’s filled with old wooden lockers. We were told by Dave, one of the mansion’s caretakers, that the Masons used to use the room to change into ceremonial robes.
The minute we entered the room, our two mediums felt a sense of anger.
“They don’t like us up here,” Dianne commented. Ken was quick to add to her statement.
“They don’t like any of us up here, but they especially don’t like women in here,” he said.
It made perfect sense. Since the mansion was taken over by the Masons in the 1920s, the majority of the house became a male domain. While females were allowed in some of the public areas, they weren’t allowed in spaces the Masons felt were sacred areas. This included the locker room where they dressed.
Chantel asked if they wanted us to leave and a male voice responded with, “If you could.”
One of my mentors told me that there are often layers in a haunted location. One layer might be from one time period, while another layer could be from a different era. In some locations, they interact with one another but in others, aren’t aware the other layer exists. This seems to be the case in the Houghton Mansion, as well.
While we were talking to the angry Mason, a little girl was trying very hard to get our attention. In the audio clip below, you can hear her saying “Yohooo!” If the Masons objected to female investigators in the room, why would they let a little girl run around unless they didn’t know she was there?
I love going on investigations where I learn something and the Houghton Mansion didn’t let me down. I will certainly return to the mansion again and again, hoping for more insight.
For more information about the haunted Houghton Mansion, please visit their Facebook page by clicking here.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 11 books, including Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World, Devil’s Toy Box, The Soul Collector and Bones in the Basement, all available on Amazon.com, as well as Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords. Click on any of the covers below to learn more about each of her books.