Vienna Supervisor P. Michael Piper, last Thursday, denied a request by two members of the New York Pennnsylvania Paranormal Society to search inactive town cemeteries for ghosts.
NYPAPS founders and lead investigators, Noel Short and Dana Lasher, researched abandoned cemeteries in the Town of Verona last summer and would like to study old burial plots in Vienna this season. The two camp at The Landing on Fish Creek during the summer.
I'm not dealing no d**ned spooks, Piper told councilwoman Nicole Pilcher, who presented the researchers' request.
Pilcher, herself a member of a paranormal society, is a self-proclaimed witch.
This is a witch hunt, Piper said.
Excuse me, I'm the only witch here, Pilcher replied.
Pilcher explained that witchcraft and paranormal research are two unrelated fields.
Short and Lasher stake out abandoned cemeteries at night with tape recorders, cameras, electromagnetic frequency sensors, temperature gauges and low light video recording equipment in attempts to observe spirits of the departed.
Sort of like the Blair Witch Project, a low budget independent film that was all the rage in 1999. The film, made with hand held cameras and amateur video, starred three student filmmakers lost in the woods while researching a ghostly legend. They mysteriously disappeared and turned up dead.
I have never seen such a circus. I was just amazed, Short said of their rude treatment.
The two needed town board approval to investigate the cemeteries since by law, abandoned graveyards become town property.
Not long after they were denied a hearing, Piper called 9-1-1 to report unruly conduct during the town board meeting and several police cruisers showed up.