Last night, thirteen eager souls joined me and a couple of my co-investigators for a fundraiser ghost hunt, the first of its kind ever held at Strauss Mansion in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Over the years, many paranormal teams have investigated and found a wide range of evidence, but this was the first time we have ever opened our doors to the general public, allowing them to come in with us and conduct an actual investigation. All of the proceeds went to benefit the museum and the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society. A fun time was had by all on this evening, which included not just an actual hunt, but a “Ghost Hunting 101” lecture given by yours truly, and a history tour of the premises by experienced board member Lou Fligor. We will be having a second and final open investigation on May 24th. Below are some highlights of the evening’s occurrences:
- First things first, we can never guarantee that guests will experience paranormal activity of any kind. Like all locations I have ever been at, no matter how haunted they may be, there is always the chance that ghosts just will not make themselves known. However, that did not seem to apply tonight, as we were inundated with experiences for about two straight hours, leading to a thick energy to be present in the house that we could feel. Commonly called the “witching hour”, all haunted houses seem to have periods of heightened activity (a term I would rather use than witching hour) and almost every time, it is not 3 a.m. like you see in the movies—that is an invention of Hollywood. But there are indeed changes in the energy that you can feel come and go, and the same can be felt at Strauss Mansion.
- Before the investigation even started, Lou reported hearing footsteps above us. Thinking it was another board member who was there earlier, he did not say anything until moments later, when he realized that the gentlemen had been out of the house for some time. All during the night, we heard footsteps coming from the floors above, when the entire group was located in the parlor, which was on the first floor and became our staging area. We spent a lot of time down there, so we could hear what was going on upstairs. The group also heard disembodied voices on multiple occasions as well as seeing shadow movement break our laser grid which we aimed from the parlor onto the grand staircase. While investigators tend to stay away from large groups, it can also be helpful because of the extra eyes and ears around that can help confirm—or debunk—a possible paranormal occurrence.
- There was a lot of intelligent responses coming through the SB-7 Spirit Box. We still have a lot of video to sift through, but the most profound thing was when I was standing by the piano in the parlor, and hit the only two keys that worked several times, and a voice was heard saying “play it”. In the basement, voices also came through saying the names of multiple people in the group, including “Greg”, “Jake”, “Mike”, and “Rob”. There is also a spirit in the house we have identified as “Bob” after conducting two seances, and in this video, when we ask if he is present, he responded clearly with “Yes”.
- Names were apparently a theme with the ghosts last night. There were many Ghost Radars running in synch, and we got names of those present all throughout the night as well as answers to some of our questions.
- Because the house was built in 1893, the height of the spiritualism movement in America, over the last few months, we have conducted a few “wine glass seances”, where you put all the letters of the alphabet in a circle, along with cards that say “Yes” and “No”. Four people then sit around it, each with a finger lightly resting on a glass. You then ask questions, and the ghost uses the energy to make the glass move. During the two seances we did last night, the first spelled out the name “Karli”, a lady who was present, which was unique because not many people spell their name that way. At the second séance, things got very interesting. We kept asking for them to give us a message, and the glass was just moving around the table, spelling out gibberish. Just when we were about to end it, a participant suggested that maybe it was a pattern. We continued, and noticed that the glass had been, and still was, making the shape of a star on the table. At first, we thought it was a pentacle (which would have been very ominous), but we noticed there were too many points and that perhaps it was a Star of David. The Strauss family who built the home were Jewish, so it is possible that one of them was trying to communicate with us.
- One of our participants (pictured in blue below) was followed all night by orbs and ghosts, including hearing his name come through on the Spirit Box moments after it showed up on Ghost Radar. It was also his K-2 meter that was buzzing with activity. As you can see, three orbs are surrounding him, including one in motion going towards him.
- For about an hour, our K-2 and EMF detectors were going off like crazy, including my own EMF which reached spikes of 5 and 7 (a number I have never seen on there). In the Lenape Indian room, we have an antique wheelchair in there, and every time the K-2 went by it, it would beep crazily. Thinking it might be something in the floor or wall, we moved the chair to the center of the room and it still went off. We also went back to that spot on the floor with the meter and it continued to go off. It disappointed us a little bit, cause we assumed it was wires or some type of power source there, but an hour later, we returned and scanned that entire area of the room with the K-2, and it did not beep once, meaning there was some kind of spirit energy there previously.
- We have another one of these investigations coming up on May 24, but it is almost sold out, as a couple of people from last night want to come back and do it again. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity we experienced, and based on feedback, everyone had a good time. It was a great night for a great cause!