The Haunting of Standish, Maine

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The town of Standish, Maine, is ripe for a ghost story. Surveyed in 1750 by two captains, hoping to create a place for their men to settle, it would go through an evolution of changes before it became the quaint New England town it now is.

A fort was constructed in the place where the center of town now stands. A large red church was build, as was a house for the town’s first minister, Reverend Thompson. The original church was torn apart by the towns people, but a second church was built later for a Reverend Merritt. Our investigations would bring us to both the Old Red Church and the Thompson House, now known as the Maine Street Grill restaurant.

We met up with Barbara Williams, who runs a paranormal group in Maine, and who is also one of the most talented psychic mediums I’ve ever met. While we were intrigued by the locations, my friend Sandy and I primarily went to this investigation for the opportunity to spend some time with Barbara.

The first thing Barbara would probably want me to tell you about her is that she is NOT the psychic medium from Maine in my book The Soul Collector. I met Barbara shortly afterwards, as she helped me rid myself of another ghostly attachment.

I actually met Barbara while I was finishing the edits on my first book Lightning Strikes. She was doing a cleansing on me, pulling off all cords and attachments, leaving me feeling much lighter and freer than before. As she was working on me, she asked me if I had just written a book. I was a bit floored. She really had no way of knowing this about me. It wasn’t something I brought up and we weren’t yet friends on Facebook. I must have nearly jumped out of my seat before answering her question.

In the calm way she does everything, she quietly told me that I should get it published soon. That it would be a good time for it. She also alluded to the fact that my books would be very well received, and that she would one day be able to say she knew me before I was famous. I’m still holding onto this hope.

Since that time, she’s become my most trusted mentor. As I struggle to understand the clairaudient and clairvoyant abilities that I was born with, she’s been there to provide answers and confirm my suspicions. She’s taught me so much, but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can learn from her.

We started with dinner at the restaurant. As we ate, Sandy and I could feel several of the resident ghosts drift into the room. We often will get mind pictures of what they look like and use each other to confirm our suspicions. We are usually eerily similar. This time, we both picked up on a male and a female who were once brother and sister, possibly the children of an early home owner. While this was interesting, it wasn’t evidence.

We wouldn’t be able to investigate at the restaurant until after they closed. As soon as we finished eating, we headed across town to the Old Red Church to kill some time.

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The Old Red Church first opened in 1804 after being granted to the proprietors of The First Parish Meeting House for service to King George during the war of 1754. A second floor was added in 1848 to be used for the Standish Academy. It would later be used for the Standish High School before becoming a Historical Landmark. Originally painted brown, sun and weather oxidized it to a reddish hue, giving it the name.

The church portion of the building was set up in a very Puritan manner, with wooden sectioned-off areas for families. The families would purchase these areas for Sunday worship. After spending a few minutes on the hard wooden benches, you begin to understand more about life in the early 1800’s. You weren’t supposed to be comfortable. It was part of the process of worshipping. We conducted an EVP session in the downstairs level, but the acoustics of the church made it difficult to capture any responses.

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We meandered up to the second floor and took a tour of the school area. The room was set up like an old-fashioned classroom, complete with period desks and books. A mannequin, representing the teacher, stood at the front of the room. We spent a few minutes just taking it all in before the cold started getting to us. As I walked back down the stairs, I tried to imagine what it must have been like back in the days before central heating.  I thanked my blessings as I got into the warm car to head back to the Maine Street Grill.

By 11pm, the restaurant had closed and the last of the bar patrons were leaving. It was finally time to investigate!

Our team headed down to the basement for our first session. The basement has been known to be a very active location. Other investigators have experienced growls and loud noises, and often feel uncomfortable in the space. We set up in a storage room at the very end of the building.

Joining us were six other people. Keith Glen is an old friend of mine. We used to investigate together on a regular basis, but hadn’t seen each other in almost a year. He came to the event with his girlfriend, Deanna, a paranormal enthusiast herself. Also joining us were Brad and Breanna. It was their first investigation and they were enthralled to be there.  Two other men, known to us as “the dentist and his brother” were also part of our group for the basement, but left shortly afterwards. They didn’t stay long enough for me to catch their names.

We’d barely gotten started when I had an experience that would send me flying off the step-ladder I’d been sitting on. I felt the very distinct feeling of someone running a finger down my back.

I turned, fully expecting to find someone standing behind me laughing, but the back of the room was empty. Everyone else was in front of me. It really set the mood for the rest of the session. I would continue to look over my shoulder for the duration.

While we were down there, we captured several relevant responses.

The first came when Keith Glenn asked if the spirits were allowed to go to other parts of the house. There is a very soft whispered response of “yes”.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/basement-sb-do-you-go-to-other

The second response came through the P-SB7 Spirit Box, which scans through the stations on a radio at a rapid rate, only landing on each station for a fraction of a second.  The theory is that ghosts and spirits are able to use this to formulate words. We always enjoy using the Spirit Box because we get an instant response to our questions. While a true EVP is much more formable, we have to wait until we listen to our audio to receive the response.

I asked if there was anything in the basement we needed to be afraid of.  The response was quick. “Oh boy,” it said.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/basement-sb-anything-we-should

After about thirty minutes, we moved onto our next location, which wouldn’t provide me with any EVPs or Spirit Box responses. I wouldn’t get anything else until we stopped at the bar area on the third floor. Here, I received so many responses; I had to narrow them down and choose my favorites.

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(there seems to be a mist forming at the left side of the photo)

The first is an EVP, which is a ghost voice that wasn’t heard at the time, but was captured on my digital recorder. I was trying to get my Spirit Box set up and was having difficulties.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/bar-room-trying-to-get-the

The next one is another EVP, captured after Brad asked if they could tell us their names. The response is a very soft whispered “Yes.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/tell-us-your-names-yes

I had to laugh when I listened to this response. We didn’t understand what it said at the time, but thankfully I recorded the session and heard it later. “They sell beer!” someone says enthusiastically. The New England accent is undeniable.  Beer sounds more like “beah”.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-theyre-selling-beer

I’m hoping they weren’t talking about me on this next one. “That woman is evil!” This was from the Spirit Box.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-that-woman-is-evil

The last one is interesting because of the content. This is also from the Spirit Box as one of the ghosts informs us that “Jesus is coming.” Interesting.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/sb-jesus-is-coming

We ended the night by spending ample time with Barbara, talking about our abilities. Being a sensitive is often very frustrating. We know a ghost is there, but aren’t able to gather much more information. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a mind picture to go with it, but most of the time it’s just the cue and nothing else. For me, I hear a tone, similar to an ear ringing. Sandy feels a tingling on her head. Both of us also feel a sense of someone coming up behind us. Barbara helps us narrow it down.

All in all, it was a great night. It came with very little sleep, like most of them do, but it was enjoyable and rewarding all the same. We got to spend time with some old friends and met some new ones as well.

Happy hauntings.

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

The Haunting of the Purple Head Bridge

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The Purple Head Bridge is a narrow one lane bridge that connects Indiana to Illinois, spanning the Wabash River with barely a hope and a prayer. Driving across it is fairly precarious. While it’s structurally sound, it’s also only one lane wide. Drivers alert one another by flashing their headlights from the other side.

It’s also incredibly haunted.

Ghost stories abound, but pinning the legend down to just one story is difficult. It depends on who you ask. Some say that a man tried to commit suicide there, but something went horribly wrong. When he jumped from the bridge with a noose around his neck, he inadvertently decapitated himself. The sight of his floating “purple head” can be seen bobbing around the bridge. Others say Ku Klux Klan activity from the 1960’s causes the disturbances. Some blame it on fierce Native American battles as they defended their land. I’m not certain what the cause is, but the area is definitely creepy. I had one of my most frightening and perplexing paranormal experiences there several years ago.

It all started with a trip to Indiana. My entire family, outside of my children, resides in this mid-western state, scattered mostly in the southern tip. When I return for a visit, there is almost always a ghost hunt set up and waiting for me.

Initially my family and friends were taken back by my ghost hunting, but after hearing about my adventures and sampling some of my tantalizing EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena, aka spirit voices) they wanted to experience it for themselves. Through this, I’ve gotten to investigate at several locations I would have never dreamed of pursuing on my own. The Purple Head Bridge is a good example.

Our group was fairly small, consisting of my younger sister, Leah, my old high-school friend, John, and his wife, Melinda. Leah had been ghost hunting with me before, but it would be John and Melinda’s first time. While Melinda was a firm believer in the paranormal, John was decidedly on the fence. He’d have to see it to believe it, which I can appreciate.

It was a muggy summer evening and the cool breeze from the Wabash River was a welcome relief. It had taken us several wrong turns to find the bridge, but once we did, we just stopped at the end and took it all in.

By all accounts, it looked like an old train bridge, but my sister assured me that it sees plenty of traffic since it is the only bridge in the area linking the two states. She told us that we were supposed to drive out to the middle of the bridge and turn off the headlights. If we were lucky, we’d see the purple head floating somewhere near the bridge.

As this turns out, it was nearly impossible and actually quite dangerous. As soon as we drove out onto the bridge, a car appeared at the other end, waiting its turn. Sitting in the middle with no headlights would be a very good way to get rear-ended by an unsuspecting vehicle. So, we moved onto Plan B.

We’d park on the other side and hike down to the river’s edge. Surely if the head floated near the bridge, we could see it from our vantage point below. The only problem with this was the bonfire and party going on nearby. Apparently the bridge is a local hang-out for teenagers in the area. So, we moved onto Plan C.

Being an avid Geocacher (go to Geocaching.com for more info, if you don’t know what this is), my sister knew of a location just ahead where a Geocache was hidden near a single-grave cemetery. She didn’t know if it was haunted or not, but it was worth a shot. We continued down the narrow road. The trees grew in a canopy across the road, providing a dark tunnel for us to navigate through. As we drove, the moon winked through the trees, setting the mood.

We found the area and pulled off the side of the road to park.  We stood for a moment and read the marker. The memorial park was set up for a man named James Johnston, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia, serving in the Revolutionary War.  He apparently survived the battle and lived out his final years in the Indiana/Illinois area. A sign directed us towards a long dark pathway, which would lead us to the memorial park.

The dirt path trailed deep into the forest, providing a perfectly chilling backdrop to what we would soon experience. We walked single-file down the trail, the light from our flashlights bobbed out ahead of us, illuminating swatches of the deep underbrush and the slip of trail that parted between it. A cadence of crickets and cicadas chirped from the depths of the darkness. An occasional car whished past on the main road, just to our right, making us giggle with thoughts of people reporting strange lights in the forest near the haunted bridge. Our smiles soon faded as we reached the end of the path.

The area was no larger than a standard-sized living room. It consisted of a park bench and a single grave, surrounded on all sides by the deep, dark woods. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. The trees barely stirred in the breeze and even the crickets quieted down as we arrived. It was as though the very woods itself was holding its breath, waiting to witness what would happen next.

I sat down on the bench, while the others stood nearby.

“I’m going to do an EVP session, so I need everyone to stand very still,” I said. “I’ll ask a few questions and then wait for a response. Then I’ll turn it over to the next person,” I told them. We’ve found that the best way to do an efficient EVP session is to set guidelines in advance. The first person asks as many questions as they want, before passing it to the person on their left. By taking turns, we never talk over one another, and it gives everyone a chance to participate.  I turned on my recorder.

Before I could begin to speak, I began hearing the sound of voices nearby. I paused, and asked the others if they also heard it. I wouldn’t know until later, but I recorded a very poignant EVP.

“I hear voices. Does anyone else hear that?” I asked.

During the break between my sentences, a ghostly voice says, “I hear annoyed.”

(click the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-1

We all sat quietly for a minute, but couldn’t hear anything. After a while, I pulled out my flashlight. While I’m not a huge fan of using a flashlight as an investigating tool, I will admit that it has its advantages.  Sometimes it comes on instantly when a question is asked. It also gives everyone something to focus on during the EVP session, keeping them both entertained and quiet as they watch the light.

“If there is anyone here with us, can you turn on the light?” I asked.

Almost immediately, I felt something whoosh in from the forest behind me. It felt like a small comet of cold air, blowing into me with a force that sent my hair flying in front of my face.  I jumped up from the bench, startled. As everyone goggled at me, I laughed, embarrassed to be so easily alarmed. Some fearless ghost hunter I was.

“Was that a bug?” my friend Melinda asked.

“No, I just heard something behind me,” I said, embarrassed at my jumpiness. What I didn’t realize, was that I had a very good reason to jump from my seat. The whoosh I felt wasn’t a cold breeze, it was a ghost. And he had a message for us.

“Go away!” he hissed, right before I jumped up from the bench.

(click on the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary

After composing myself again, I sat back down and asked  a few more questions, which went unanswered. I turned it over to the next person in the group, and sat quietly until everyone had a chance to ask questions. No more EVPs were recorded until we got up to move to the grave.

According to the psychic mediums I’ve spoken with, people are supposed to move into a white light when they die. The ones who chose not to cross over are often confused. Some don’t even know they are dead.  I knew there was a ghost nearby, because my ears were ringing, like they do when I feel a ghostly presence.

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I began talking about the white light. As my words came out, they almost sounded like a prayer. I told them that the white light was a place of peace and love, and that their families were waiting for them with open arms. I encouraged them to look upwards to see if they could see the light, and to then pass through it to find the solace and redemption they deserved.

As I finished, I promptly stepped backwards and nearly fell in a hole.

When I’m nervous, I can’t always count on my emotions to follow the rules. Sometimes I laugh when I’m afraid, and this was one of these times. As I giggled, you can hear a very distinct response. The most interesting thing about it is the accent. It sounds like it comes from someone with a very strong Southern dialect.

“I’m gonna get the light,” he says.

(press the link to hear the actual EVP)

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/vincennes-revolutionary-2

We spent a few more minutes there, paying our respects to the fallen soldier before heading back up the path to our cars. The full surprise of what we witnessed wouldn’t present itself until later, when I listened to the EVPs. Then, the full story was told.

I think there were two distinct entities in the woods that night. One wasn’t happy we were there. He swooped in from the very woods to deliver two messages he hoped would chase us away. The other was from a very kindly voiced man, who we hope took our advice and moved into the light.

Was the angry ghost the one who is known to haunt the Purple Head Bridge? It’s not something we’ll ever know for certain. As I left Indiana and headed back to my home in Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

I hope they both found peace.  I really do.

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

Can Pets See Ghosts?

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The dogs knew the house was haunted long before the owners did. Wendy and Nina, two tiny white Maltese dogs, would stand at the bottom of the grand staircase at the Victorian mansion and growl.

Edwin Gonazalez and Lillian Otero had purchased the gothic looking Second Empire Victorian mansion, also known as the S.K. Pierce House, months earlier and were eager to move into their beautiful home. Reports that it was haunted didn’t bother them, because they weren’t believers. This would change in a matter of months, but the dogs were one of the first indicators.

“They would wake up in the middle of the night, growling at the hallway, absolutely fixated on something I couldn’t see,” Edwin said. He’d open his eyes to scan the dark hallway, afraid of what he might find. On several occasions, he saw a black shadow mass move across the doorway, blocking out the lights in the hallway.

Can our pets actually see ghosts?

Christina Tregger Achilles, co-founder of New England Paranormal Observation Science Technology (NE POST), had a similar experience at the S.K. Pierce House with her dog Sierra, a tiny fawn-colored pug.

“Our friend Ben caught her on camera, reacting to things that were happening upstairs. She would be sleeping soundly, then would wake up and stare at the third floor stairs just before something would bang or bump,” she said after touring the mansion with co-founder, Chris Cox.

“She continues to sense things. I catch her watching something as if she’s watching a tennis match,” she added.

Are they seeing or hearing something we can’t? While there aren’t any hard facts to support the concept that dogs and cats can see ghosts, it has been documented that they do have much keener senses, making one wonder what they are capable of picking up on.

While it’s not proof, their vision is very different from ours. It is geared towards movement to assist them in hunting, also allowing them to see better in low light situations. Cats also have a better grasp on colors at the red end of the spectrum, allowing them to differentiate between blues and violets better than we can.

Also consider the use of full spectrum cameras on paranormal investigations. Researchers using these cameras, which photograph a broader array of the color spectrum than what can be seen with human eyes, often capture strange shapes and anomalies in the photos. Is this what our pets are seeing?

And they can also hear better than we can, lending more truth to the concept.

A dog can detect sounds that are well beyond the spectrum of human hearing. While humans typically hear sounds from 12Hz to 20,000 Hz, a dog can hear nearly four times greater, in the 40Hz to 60,000 Hz range. If you don’t believe this, just blow on a dog whistle or download an app for your smart phone and test it yourself.

When I tried this, I was dismayed to discover that I could only hear up to 12,000 Hz. But when I pressed the button at the 20,000 Hz range, every pet in my house sat up to look at me. Is it possible that spirit communication transpires in a frequency that is either above or below the range we can hear?

It has long been speculated that ghostly phenomena exists at a different plane of existence. Researchers collecting EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomena) will often record spirit responses on digital recorders that cannot be heard by human ears at the time they are recorded. A true EVP response will not be heard at the time the question is asked, but will be captured on a digital recorder, suggesting that spirit communication is conducted at a higher or lower range of the audible spectrum, something we as humans cannot hear, but our pets might be able to.

People have been reporting this occurrence for years.  Nick Mantello, co-founder of the Berkshire Paranormal team, is one of the caretakers for The Houghton Mansion. Located in North Adams, Massachusetts, the three-story mansion has been featured on many paranormal shows, such as the SciFi Channel’s Ghost Hunters, as well as the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. When he visits the mansion for routine visits, he often brings his dog Kronk with him.

Kronk often stares at the corner in the Masonic Temple, a building that is still used by Freemasons of the Layfayete-Greylock Lodge. Kronk often stares and then barks in areas of the mansion where paranormal activity has been captured. One of his least favorite areas is a corner of the Lodge in the Masonic Temple.

“I’ve told people this story about the corner of the Lodge. The dog just don’t like it,” he said. He captured Kronk’s reaction on the video link below.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151817479741042

The stories are endless. Sandra Chase, an avid paranormal enthusiast had an experience she recently shared with me. Her husband passed away in 2007. He was fond of playing computer games and would often pet their dog while he was playing.

“About three months after he passed, the dogs and I were in the living room. Rags was sleeping on the rug. All of a sudden, she got up and went over to the computer chair, put her head under the arm, and started wagging her tail,” she said.

Is this proof of paranormal activity?

Unfortunately it’s not, but it’s something pet owners will continue to pay attention to. Until dogs and cats are able to tell us what they’re seeing, we’ll always be left guessing. Some of us don’t need proof to understand what is happening.

“They just know,” Lillian Ortero said.

I have a tendency to agree with her.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of The Soul Collector, which is an account of her most terrifying paranormal experience.  Find this book and her others on Amazon.com