Oct 26, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Are there ghosts and haunted buildings in Skaneateles? The members of the newly established Empire State Paranormal Research Society have heard stories and rumors that there are.
While there have been no investigations so far, they hope to begin soon.
“I’m kind of surprised we’ve never been contacted by anyone in Skaneateles,” said Steve Brewer, paranormal investigator and ESPRS founding member. “We have received tips and reports about the Sherwood Inn as well as some houses in town.”
Empire State Paranormal Research Society, based in Auburn, is a nonprofit organization that uses science and history to investigate claims of paranormal activity in the Finger Lakes and Central regions of New York state.
ESPRS currently has seven members: Steve Brewer, Cathy Davis, Shawn Davis, Dan Edersheim, Brendan Granato, Richard James and Michelle Renslow.
All the members have full-time jobs outside of ghost hunting, and all previously belonged to other paranormal research groups before forming ESPRS. As a nonprofit organization, the group does not charge any fee for its services.
“We do this because we like helping people, and all of us have had some sort of childhood experiences with the paranormal,” Brewer said.
The ESPRS was formed this past August, and already has investigations completed or scheduled in Auburn, Binghamton, Jordan, Oswego, Palmyra and Weedsport.
“We receive a wide variety of reports,” Brewer said. “Most people just want to know what’s going on in their house, to know they’re not crazy, and sometimes to try to have the spirit removed.”
The ESPRS, like the crew of the popular television show “Ghost Hunters,” enters into an investigation with the intent to disprove rather than prove paranormal activity, Brewer said. They use infrared cameras, parabolic microphones, Mel Meters (EMF and temperature gauge) and other technological devices to assist them. They also look into the history of a location because they believe that history influences the paranormal and can cause activity.
So far in their work, the members have experienced a number of paranormal phenomena, Brewer said. They have heard noises, seen apparitions, been scratched and pushed, watched their equipment be moved and received sound responses to specific questions.
“It’s more exciting than scary,” Brewer said. “I don’t think any of us have ever been scared yet on an investigation.”
Lucinda Ryan, who has worked at the Sherwood Inn front desk for the past 16 years, said while she has never experienced anything supernatural herself, she has heard numerous first-hand stories of others who have.
Ryan said the Sherwood Inn was used as a hospital during the influenza epidemic of 1918. One time she spoke to a couple who had to have sleep apnea apparatus operating in their room throughout the night. When the couple checked out the next morning, they were not disturbed, Ryan said, but they wanted her to know that they had woken up three times during the night because the machine kept getting turned off and “there was a child sitting at the end of the bed.”
Some of the Inn’s night auditors have seen an Asian man sitting on the sofa in the front lobby late at night; and the kitchen staff have experienced some strange phenomena and even “sitings” in the basement storerooms, Ryan said.
A few years ago, some paranormal researchers came to the Sherwood to look around and said they definitely sensed something upstairs, Ryan said.
“I think there is definitely activity here, but nothing to be frightened about. Everything reported has been absolutely benign,” Ryan said.
Brewer’s best experience so far was during an investigation of a historic museum in Port Byron. He and a team member were both in the kitchen when he felt his identification badge, which was pined to his collar, being pulled by an unseen force. At the same time, his fellow researcher saw a figure walk right past Brewer. “It happened one right after the other,” he said.
While investigating a house in Auburn, Brewer watched as his identification badge separated from the lanyard around his neck, slowly slid down his short front in an unnatural way and then fell to the floor.
In addition to investigating possible paranormal activity in historic buildings, ESPRS also works with the historical community to raise money for the maintenance, restoration and operation of museums and historical societies throughout the CNY region.
The group has investigative/fundraising events upcoming on Oct. 29 at the 3 Bears in Ovid, N.Y., and on Nov. 4 at the Erie House in Port Byron. They also have a ghost dinner scheduled for Oct. 30 at the Springside Inn in Auburn.
”It’s going well so far,” Brewer said of the group’s beginnings. “It’s been a hectic few months.”
For more information about the ESPRS, its events or its research services, email Steve Brewer at contact@EmpireStatePRS.com or visit the group’s website at empirestateprs.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.