Date: August 2-3, 2013
Location: Strauss Mansion, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Present for Investigation: Greg Caggiano, Brett Bodner, Carla Balduini, Doug Balduini, Jake Reid, Jakob Trinidad, Jason Korloff, Chris DuBarton (AHHS)
On a beautiful, breezy night, which unfortunately did not contribute to a cool temperature inside the house, our group had a chance to conduct a paranormal investigation of historic Strauss Mansion. While the evening was loaded with a lot of little things, we failed to capture that one shining piece of evidence that we all strive for on an investigation. In the five or so hours we spent, many words were recorded through the Ghost Radar and Paranormal Detector, but only a few were seen as relevant to what we were doing. Early on, though, the name “Talmage” was recorded, which is an odd word to pop up. We asked the volunteer sitting in with us if that meant anything to him, and he said no, so perhaps someone else in the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society can find some meaning. It may also be worthy to note that while we were in the basement, the word “cellar” came up—this detector was set up right near the piano on the first floor, the instrument which the president of their society informed me that her dog sometimes sits next to, with it’s head angled towards it, as if she is listening to music. We had quite a few EMF and K2 meters with us as well, and all were highly active with spikes in that same room with the piano, and also while placed on the bed in the second floor bedroom. For hours on end, they were lighting up and going back down, which is abnormal for us, considering that some nights at the Proprietary House we will not get so much as a single reading.
While up on the second floor, with the rest of us downstairs, Jake and Carla did report that they heard footsteps coming from the third floor, and early on, before Doug and Carla arrived, I heard some noises of my own. The first instance was when I was sitting alone in the foyer and heard a very loud scuffling sound coming from above me. It was so loud that Brett even heard it from the room next to me and walked in. We listened closely and it continued. When we went upstairs, we saw that the local history room was directly above us, and there was nothing in there but display cases. The other time was when I heard a series of distinct knocks coming from the kitchen. I actually did not even think they were paranormal at first, as I got up and headed over there thinking it was Doug and Carla trying to get in, but no one was there when I arrived, nor was anyone else outside. This happened to me twice, and I got up and walked over both times.
Over the course of the night, we took hundreds of pictures and I shot one video (and Carla has other footage with an infrared camera still needing to be looked at), which I think contains an EVP at the 45-second mark. While there are orbs and strange streaks of light in some, there is one picture taken by Jake that stands out. Now, I am not about to say that this image (on the left side) contains two ghostly eyes staring back at us, but it is pretty creepy nonetheless. The actual figure below the two eyes is a manikin, but there was nothing on it at all that could cause that type of reflection, because the top of it was covered by a black hat. We took pictures from that same spot with a flash later on and were unable to replicate it:
Below are two more pictures of orbs in motion:
Lastly, it is worthy to mention a trick we have developed, and the fact that it did work, to a degree, here at Strauss Mansion. For this, we use a simple flashlight with a twist-top, and ask the spirits yes or no questions (on for yes, off for no). Just like at the Proprietary House, we got responses, however the spirits here seemed to be more interested in just playing with it than communicating, as the light would get very dim and flicker but never really go out. While I was up in the Lenape Indian Room, I rested the flashlight on an antique wheelchair and sat next to it. Every time I asked whoever was in the room with me to turn it on, it did, and a blip showed up on my radar screen simultaneously. When I asked for a name, “Tim” came up, but I was unable to get anything else in that room.
Like most ghost hunts, this one was pretty tame. The dramatic is reserved for television shows who have to garner high ratings and make money. While I do believe Strauss Mansion is indeed haunted, we were not blown away by anything, especially since we were expecting a pretty good night because our daytime visits have given off some pretty good energy. In any event, it was still a fun evening and we were glad we had a chance to check the place out and investigate, if only to contribute to their documentation of paranormal activity that they can use on their annual ghost tours. I would like to thank Chris DuBarton for sitting in with us, as well as the entire Atlantic Highlands Historical Society for allowing our group to come in.
Additional Blog Posts on Strauss Mansion: