Historians and paranormal investigators gathered at a place known to have a little paranormal activity going on - the Dunkirk Lighthouse. Groups from western and central New York shared their expertise and gripping experiences at the inaugural Haunted Chautauqua Festival Saturday.
"It was long overdue because this place isn't represented enough, especially when it comes to the paranormal and historical (para-history)," organizer of the festival and founder of Beyond Ghosts LLC, John Crocitto Jr., said. "This is the place to have the community festival to get people out here and meet the investigators and historians."
Groups stationed themselves, showing the public investigation footage along with the equipment used to pick up sounds and activity. Co-lead investigator of Crossroad Ghost Paranormal of Jamestown, Dennis Deuble showed footage of several hunts. He showed video of a hunt in Westfield in which he was kicked and received three distinct nail scratches.
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Paranormal Crossroads Live of Buffalo was on hand for the inaugural Haunted Chautauqua Festival.
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Members of Crossroad Ghost display equipment and footage of investigations for the public to view at the inaugural Haunted Chautauqua Festival Saturday.
"I was down in the basement doing some EVP's (electronic voice phenomenon) and I felt something pass by," Deuble said. "I felt a kick and fell into a ladder. My leg was burning."
Eileen Neid of Crossroad Ghost Paranormal mentioned how she enjoyed going into the train station in Jamestown as she heard responses. The group has gone to several funeral homes and privates homes.
"You go to one and you get that rush," Neid said. "And then you want to go to another location and get it again."
Rome Investigators of the Paranormal were on hand displaying video and sound equipment, books and information gathered during investigations. The group of 20 members helps people who feel victimized by paranormal phenomenon. Co-founder of the group, Dr. Dave DeProspero, mentioned that the group came together in 2001 - before all the television shows on ghost hunts came out. They travel all along the east coast into central New York where they're located.
He talked about an investigation they conducted at the Buffalo naval yards. From movements to noises, the naval yard became a place where everything seemed to happen, according to DeProspero.
"We do places like this to test out our equipment, have fun with the group," member of R.I.P., Mark Berry, said. "Most of our business is done for private clients."
DeProspero displayed a K-II electromagnetic field meter (EMF), which they co-developed for 18 months with K-II enterprises in Syracuse. He explained that K-II didn't know that it was being utilized for paranormal investigations.
"They didn't know until they saw it being used on an episode of Ghost Hunters," he said.
Co-organizer of the festival and member of Fredonia Ghost Hunters, Don Traynor, said the festival was a three-way collaboration.
"The Fredonia Ghost Hunters do public events in support of the lighthouse," Traynor said. "Beyond Ghosts and Dave Briska of the Dunkirk Lighthouse approached to further help in making this festival possible."
Traynor went on to say that a lot of groups that have come to the lighthouse have had experiences where they collected a lot of data proving what they would consider evidence of activity.
Crocitto Jr. noted that a lot of people who watch the popular television shows have some kind of idea what "ghost hunting" is all about. But the way it's done, especially with a historical place like the lighthouse, is a little bit different.
"First of all, we're doing it in real time," he said. "People who come off the street have a misconception that the stuff the guys do on television do a certain thing; and that's what we all have to do to elicit evidence of the paranormal. And that's not true."
He stated that communicating with spirits is about energy and that anybody can easily interact. The live investigation entails professionals who have a passion and interest in what they're doing, according to Crocitto Jr.
"People are coming in and working with groups that are seasoned and have been doing it for a long time," he said. "They're going to run with us and use their own energy to communicate. People are going to come onboard and they'll be doing it in real time. Most people have never done it before. Here's your chance. It's not only about the ghosts, but it's also about the history."
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