|The Rose Files
True Scary Stories from Life
The (Possibly Haunted!) Benjamin Abbott House
Part 2 – The Paranormal Investigators Arrive
~ Rose Titus ~
When we last visited the historic Benjamin Abbott House, we learned about its
history with the Salem witch trials, Indian raids, abolition, and earthquakes, and
that its current owner believes that the house is in fact haunted…
The owner of this historic home had been thinking of contacting paranormal
investigators, also known as “ghost hunters.” Finally, she got in touch with
North Shore Paranormal Investigations, as they would conduct a study of this
old house and attempt to contact its resident entity, or entities, if more than one
And so I pulled up into the unpaved driveway around 7:30 p.m. and saw their
SUV, which of course said “North Shore Paranormal Investigations” on it. When
I went in, they were already setting up their equipment. And what a lot of
equipment they had – four infrared cameras and tripods, along with computer
and digital audio recorders, all in order to possibly discover a ghost, along with
walkie-talkies to communicate with each other in the ancient house. They would
also check the house for magnetic fields, they said. Stephen, the technician,
was on the floor wiring things up, and the long wires were taped to the floor with
masking tape to keep people from tripping.
I introduced myself, and told them I was a writer for Blood Moon Rising, a small
independent magazine, and asked if I could hang around and take notes for an
article I was doing.
“You guys will get free advertising.”
“Sure,” they said.
“Thanks. I’ll try not to get in the way.”
One of the investigators said it would be a full moon, and joked that it might be
a “good omen.”
And then we saw the black cat. Yes, while looking out the rear window, right
there, in the tall grass of the backyard of the old house was a black cat. I
thought it was appropriate, as the house has an association with the witchcraft
trials that took place centuries ago.
Terry, one of the investigators, said it looked just like her cat “Boo-Boo Kitty”
that had sadly passed away recently. Both being cat lovers, we gazed out the
window to witness the mysterious cat apparition.
Next they explained about the infrared cameras, as it was easier to see a spirit
in darkness, and infrared cameras could be used in total darkness.
The computer was set up on a desk in a first floor room, which would serve as
the base of operations, and the video would appear on screen after cameras
were set up in various rooms by team members… “turn the camera to the left…
no, that’s too much… a little to the right… okay, you got it.”
I was then told, “It’s not like on TV. Don’t expect anything exciting.”
I said, “Well, nothing is like on TV, right?” I then imagined a new reality show,
“Paris Hilton and the Kardashians Meet the Ghost.” Now, that would really be
Jim and Terry let me follow along with them into an upstairs bedroom that was
a part of the old section of the house. There was a camera set up and all we
could see without a flashlight was the red beam from the camera. As there was
not much furniture in that room, we sat on the bed. Fortunately, the mattress
was of modern manufacture, and quite comfortable. Jim had digital audio
recorders, with which he would attempt to record EVP, or “electronic voice
phenomenon.” Apparently the living often cannot hear what a spirit has to say,
but a sensitive machine can record spirit communication.
The batteries died.
Jim explained that spirits drain the energy from electronic devices, as spirits
are made of energy, “or maybe they just weren’t charged up.”
Terry went back to base to get new batteries and began recording again.
And the batteries died again.
“So, maybe it is the spirits, draining the batteries?” I asked.
The camera had difficulties, also.
Eventually, more batteries were found and they began again.
We wait in the dark for something to manifest. There, in the dark corner of the
room, I see something, merely a shadow, move against the wall. But was it my
imagination? I cannot be sure.
Jim speaks into the recorder, “Is there anyone here with us tonight?”
Terry says her batteries are low again.
Jim keeps speaking, questioning the spirit, if it is present, “How old are you?”
Terry: “Can you knock on the door? Can you let us know you’re here?” She
continues, “Is Benjamin Abbott here tonight? Did you build this house? Did you
have a farm here?”
Jim: “If you’re here, can you let us know you’re here? Is there something you
need us to do? Can you tell us your name? Does it bother you that we’re
Terry: “Did you have a land dispute with Martha Carrier?”
Jim: “How long have you lived in this house?”
Terry: “Did you have ten children?” She is referring to the history of the
Benjamin Abbott Homestead, as it was said he had ten children, and had a
dispute with Martha Carrier, whom he called a witch.
Me: “Um… guys? I think I saw something… like a shadow move, against that
Jim asked, “What’s your name again?”
“It could just be my imagination,” I say, to stay rational.
Then we noticed we smelled smoke, which was unusual, as there were no
candles in the room, and no fire lit in the house. I wondered if the ghost smoked
a pipe while living back in the 1600’s… ? But Terry said it smelled like,
“someone building a fire.” I remembered that the homeowner said she
sometimes smells strange odors around the house.
Terry continued trying to get the ghost to communicate, “Can you let us know
if you’re here? Can you please show yourself?”
We went to investigate in another room, and Jim left a recorder behind before
heading downstairs in almost total darkness, as some parts of the house have
Terry began telling me about some research they were doing in Salem,
Massachusetts, and they went to the registry of deeds to search property
records from the 1700’s. Later, she and another investigator went to look
through the local cemetery, saying, “I wish we could find that person’s grave.”
And suddenly, as they turned a corner, there it was, they found the headstone
right in front of them.
“Sounds like the person’s spirit was reaching out to you, maybe,” I said.
We sat on the antique furniture in the downstairs parlor and they re-attempted
communication with the resident spirit…
The batteries died once again.
And we heard footsteps, although we weren’t sure if they weren’t the echoes
of people walking around upstairs, “That sounded like it was down the hall over
there,” said Jim.
“Is there anyone over there?” I asked, “I mean, like, live people… over
“Don’t think so.”
Then it sounded like a door creaking shut.
They noticed I was taking notes, “You can write in the dark?”
“Yeah.” I suddenly realized that up until this dark night, I believed everyone
else could write in the dark. It was easy, as you just let the pen feel its way
across the page… “It’s not hard.” They turned on a flashlight, and my darkness
handwriting was as neat as the handwriting that most people scribble in
daylight. I discovered I have a talent I did not know I had! I can write in the dark
when no one else can! Wow.
I also discovered I could sit in total darkness in a haunted house and not freak
out. Wow again.
Terry told the ghost he didn’t need to be shy and kept asking the ghost to
communicate. I didn’t know if the recorder was getting anything, or not. Later
she reported she thought she might have heard someone humming or singing in
We then went into the dining room and left the recorder on the couch… In the
dining room, there was an old lantern, the type that held a candle in it. I swear I
heard it vibrate and shake, but didn’t see it move. Jim suggested the cars going
by on the street might cause it to vibrate, but I recall it was vibrating when no
cars were heard to go by.
We then returned to base, and one of the team members who had been
upstairs says he saw a ceramic dish move around on its own, “It was like it was
vibrating,” he said. They watched the video screen on the computer and
discussed whether a door shut on its own upstairs, “Was that left open? Or did
somebody shut it?” They would review the video for that later.
And then people began to once again complain their batteries kept dying.
Suddenly the room became very cold. I felt an ice-like chill go right through
me. And then it was gone. I remembered once on another occasion hearing a
radio show psychic say that ghosts can make you feel cold… !
I told the others in the room, “I feel cold, you know, all of a sudden,” but they
didn’t seem to notice. Maybe it was only me?
The homeowner was in the kitchen eating one of the pizzas I had brought with
me. It was a large kitchen with an old fashioned black stove, which seemed to fit
the rest of the house quite well. She said she has lived in the house about “six
or seven years,” and that she “hears sounds in the house,” like someone is
talking, “but I can’t understand what they’re saying.” She feels they may be
talking to her, and would like to know what they are saying. She continued on
saying she smells odd odors at times, such as smoke, and doors close by
themselves. She added that most of the activity occurs between ten and eleven
o’clock at night. The previous owners of the house left and abandoned it, and
went to live far away, apparently paying on two mortgages at the same time,
until she moved in. She considers selling also, but because the mortgage is
quite high. The house was empty when she moved in, and so she collects
antique furniture that looks like it would go well with the old house… She
reports she also hears “someone walking around the house.” The spirits don’t
seem hostile or aggressive, but sometimes, “it’s annoying.” She even reports
that sometimes she smells horses, as the barn was attached to the house. She
is not sure if there is just one, or more, ghosts…
“Do you like having a ghost?”
“It’s annoying,” she repeats.
Back at the base I look at the computer screen, which now is showing the four
rooms where the four infrared cameras are set up. I ask Melissa, one of the
group’s founders, how they got started?
“Each of us had experiences in the past,” she said. The group was started
three years ago, and now has six members. There is no formal training, as the
group trains the people who join.
I look at the computer screen again and mention I see orbs on screen, as I
have read about orbs before, that orbs of light are associated with the spirit
world, so I was curious.
“Orbs have their own flight path. They’re balls of energy, and where there are
orbs, there are usually spirits, but they are not the same thing as spirits.” She
said they might be just dust floating in front of the camera. But I keep watching
the screen, watching the orbs float about… Just dust? I tell myself. Yeah.
Another of the investigators tells me that ghosts don’t know they have passed
on and feel, “this is their home.” He has not come across any hostile entities,
and that many people contact the team for “a cleansing.” That is, they want the
“Sometimes a cleansing works, sometimes it doesn’t. They get freaked out.
Fear of the unknown, you know.” He believes people can learn to, “you know,
He continued explaining that spirits can take the energy from batteries, but
also from living people.
“I gotta ask you something.”
“Do you think a ghost would drain a car battery?” I had to ask.
“No. Haven’t seen that happen.”
“Good. Because I wanna be able to get home tonight.” I was listening to
people complain about ghosts draining batteries and wondering what would
happen to my poor little Saturn coupe out there…
I am sitting in a darkened corner of the room, staying out of people’s way, and
still taking notes.
“You can write in the dark?” This was the second time my strange exotic
talent was commented on. I was now very proud of my supernatural abilities.
“Yeah.” I made like it was no big deal, which, really, it wasn’t.
“I’m sure I don’t have any ghosts,” I continued on, “My house was built in
1978. And no one died in it.”
Melissa said that any house can have a spirit, “You don’t need to have an old
house to have ghosts,” she said, “You could have the spirits of people who lived
on the land before the house was built, such as Indians,” and also, “Spirits can
attach themselves to a person, to a loved one.”
Slightly after eleven p.m., people gather downstairs and discuss the night’s
activity, and I mention about the lantern. They think a door may have shut itself,
but they need to go over the video recordings to be sure. They will go home for
the night, and later, analyze their data and report back when they are done.
“Okay, everybody, let’s wrap it up. We’re done.”
They collect their equipment, put their stuff back in cases, and load up their
truck. I enjoyed seeing how a paranormal investigation is done, and like Jim
said, “It’s not like on TV.” But I was tired, and needed to go home to my normal,
un-haunted house to sleep.
But before everyone left, they all got together with the homeowner for a group
photo in front of the big colonial era fireplace.
And they would know the results by the end of next week…
Jim and Melissa returned the next Saturday with a small laptop computer and
large headphones. I handed them a draft of this article, and provided one also
to the homeowner, whose name will not be printed in order to protect her
privacy, nor will the address of this location be printed, “All kinds of nutty people
out there, you know. Don’t want strange people coming up to your house
bothering you.” I am and always have been a firm believer in the fact that real
life human beings are far more terrifying than anything supernatural. One only
needs to open up a newspaper to see proof of that.
Jim set up his computer on the antique desk where he had set up a much
larger computer the week before, “We did not get much on the video, but we did
get audio recordings.” Then he asked the homeowner if anything happened
“Yes,” she said, during the afternoon, “a door shut by itself.”
“What about the orbs?” I had to ask.
“They were just dust,” Melissa said.
Jim handed the headphones to the homeowner, and she listened, “Oh, wow.”
“Hear anything?” I asked, “Anything interesting?”
She handed the headset back to Jim, and he handed it to me. It was the
recording from the digital audio recorders, where previously the investigators
asked the spirits questions out loud and hoped the machines would record a
“Can you tell us your name?”
“Carl,” the voice said.
“Can you knock on the door?” “No.” The voice had a tone as if expressing
not that the spirit could not knock on the door, but that the spirit did not want to.
“Is Benjamin Abbott here tonight?” “Yes.” Was there more than one spirit?
Was there a Carl, and a Benjamin?
And then there was a whispered, “What?” and an odd recording of footsteps
from a room that they were sure was empty, as they left a recorder behind when
leaving the room.
I put the headphones down, “It sounds like someone whispering.”
“Well,” said Jim, “Ghosts don’t have the same energy we do.”
They gave the homeowner a CD with the recordings copied, and were on their
“Well, that’s really fascinating,” I said, “There definitely seems to be something
here,” and then I wondered, “Why do some spirits remain here on earth, while
others go beyond, you know, go to the Other Side?”
“That’s what we would like to find out,” said Jim, “Maybe we won’t know until we
get there ourselves.” And they got into their SUV and were gone.
After they left, it came to me that Benjamin Abbott was the cause of Martha
Carrier being executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Could that be
why he isn’t able to move on from this Earth? Because he knows that he
caused the death of an innocent woman? Or perhaps his spirit, along with
another, or perhaps even many others, simply still linger on in this world, for
reasons we cannot comprehend?
I sat a while with the homeowner, “Hey, you really do have a ghost, huh?
“Yeah.” And she said she tried not to believe in it, as she is a physicist, and
kept telling herself it wasn’t real, there was a logical explanation for everything,
but, “things were always happening.” Things that science and reason could just
Then I heard a tapping sound, “Did you hear that?”
“Was that your foot?”
She laughed, “No!”
I heard a sound above our heads and looked up. The chandelier was
swinging back and forth. “Look at that,” I said.
It wasn’t scary, just odd.
“Maybe it would be cool to have a seance,” she said.
“Yeah. If you ever do that, let me know. I’d love to come. I’ve never been to a
“Okay. Cool. I’ll let you know.”
I went to leave, but the lock on the door wouldn’t work, “They don’t want me to
She got the door open and let me out, “Well, hey, that was really interesting. I
guess you really do have a ghost.” And before I left, I looked behind her, looked
at nothing that I could see, and said, “Bye ghosts. I believe in you!”