Mystery footsteps heard at museum in Templeton
By George Barnes TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
TEMPLETON — There were no rattling chains or shadowy figures wandering the halls of the Narragansett Historical Society building, but paranormal investigators heard enough two weeks ago that they hope to visit again.
“We caught a few clicks, bangs and thuds and two sets of footsteps that may be paranormally relevant,” Jason Stroming, founder of the New York Paranormal Society, told an overflow crowd packed into the upstairs meeting room at the society's headquarters Saturday night. “We'd like to come back.”
In a presentation to the Historical Society, Mr. Stroming and other members of his organization explained their findings from an investigation of the old building on Templeton Common, which has been plagued in recent years by odd and unsettling happenings.
The New York paranormal investigators brought their expertise to Massachusetts after Laura Pennance, one of their group, was contacted by her mother, Margaret Pennance of Paxton, who read a Telegram & Gazette article about the ghostly encounters in Templeton.
Mr. Stroming said their investigation, which they taped, got interesting results, but they would not say if there are ghosts in the building.
“We never claim anything is due to a ghost,” he said.
The investigators spent several hours in the Historical Society building late at night on Nov. 5. They were joined by society member Beth Arsenault, one of two members who say they have experienced repeated odd happenings in the building. Although they found no proof of a ghost, what they did find was at least interesting from a paranormal investigation standpoint.
“For us the most important pieces of evidence were the footsteps,” Mr. Stroming said.
The investigators heard three footsteps twice: First, when they were set up with one group on the first floor and another in the basement, Mr. Stroming said, they distinctly heard three steps upstairs. All heard the steps, and checking with one another were able to rule out anyone in the group walking around.
The investigators then relocated upstairs in what is known as the bridal bedroom and soon heard three more steps.
Mr. Stroming said what was interesting about the steps was that Historical Society members also said they often hear footsteps when no one is around. Mrs. Arsenault and Historical Society member Brian Tanguay were often alone in the building, but heard what sounded like someone walking around.
The steps were not all the investigators heard, but they were the only oddities that could not be explained by other factors.
One of the other odd things was a sudden power drain in a high-definition video camera set up in the kitchen. The kitchen had been cited by Mrs. Arsenault and Mr. Tanguay as one of the sites of strange happenings.
Mr. Stroming said he is not sure what caused it. It could have been a mechanical issue. It was just an odd thing to happen.
Working with Mr. Stroming and Ms. Pennance were Collette Povitch and Jimmy Bricks of New York. At one point during the investigation, the two were stationed near the Civil War room. They heard a clicking noise and Ms. Povitch called out, “Is there anything in this room that is yours?” She received an immediate response that sounded like keys jingling.
The investigators also had an odd case of camera shake. A stationary camera unattended in a room appeared to be lightly bumped twice. Mr. Stroming said there could be mechanical reasons for the shaking camera, or a bad tape, but no one was near it when the bumping occurred.
Mr. Stroming said that when investigators do an investigation, they are not ghost hunting. He said he does not like that term, and is not happy with shows such as “Ghost Hunters.” He said his team goes in looking to debunk. Team members attempt to find normal explanation for what may be causing what people say is paranormal activity.
“We come into a location not expecting anything, because that is mostly what we get,” he said.
Occasionally they are surprised by what they find.
Ms. Pennance said the strangest encounter she has experienced was in an apartment in East Orange, N.J. The people living there reported seeing shadowy figures in the room. In one room there was an ironing board next to the wall. As she watched, the ironing board began to wildly swing back and forth.
“It didn't tip over, but it was close,” she said.
The historical society is closed for the season.
“We haven't been asked yet by the society, but we would like to come back sometime in 2012,” he said.