Updated : 06-16-2008
Scroll down for news

Ghost Hunters Want to Search Retired Ferries.            

Everett, WA:

It's worth saying boo about.

A psychic believes she discovered a ghost aboard the Washington State Ferries.

Now a Snohomish County group wants to use scientific equipment to hunt for paranormal activity aboard the recently retired 81-year-old Steel Electric-class ferries.

They're throwing a new scare into the ferry system that goes way beyond problems with corroded hulls.

"I expect to find residual energy," said Georgia Kalasountas, a psychic who said she felt the presence of a ghost while riding a ferry to Bainbridge Island. "I would expect people to communicate with me who say, 'Yes, I was here.'"

Haunted souls, lingering spirits and echoes from the past may inhabit the state's oldest ferries, she and others contend.

The Washington State Ghost Society, based in Mukilteo, has been trying for more than a year to get permission to board the ferries to collect evidence of ghosts and other signs of what they described in their written proposal as "energy surpassing the finite state of death."

If the group's wishes are granted, it would be the first time paranormal research has been attempted on the ferries with state approval.

The ghost society has looked statewide inside private homes, hotels and public buildings, including the old Carnegie Library in Snohomish.

At the library, the group reported they detected signs of the ghost of a former librarian. "She revealed that she remains because she was so heartbroken at being fired or laid off," the group said on its Web site. "She loved that place. It was her heart. She didn't want to leave, and so she never has."

Over the years, crew members on the aging ferry fleet have reported experiencing different paranormal phenomena, said Marian Smith, who coordinates the research studies for the ghost society.

Kalasountas said she is one of the group's "sensitives," a specially trained psychic who is tuned in to picking up wavelengths from the beyond.

On a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island more than a year ago, Kalasountas believed she had an onboard encounter.

"I remember having this feeling of energy," she said. "It's a sensation you feel. It's something that you recognize. It feels like a connection to a person."

That's when the ghost hunters sent their formal proposal to the ferry system. They outlined their mission, the benefits of their paranormal research and their methodology.

"We do it to benefit the scientific community and the general public," Smith said. "Some people think it's off the wall and some people believe there's something to it."

The ferry system turned them down.

"I was delighted by the request. We just weren't able to accommodate it," ferry spokeswoman Marta Coursey said.

The ferry system gets all sorts of requests, she said. One group wanted to convert one of the aging Steel Electrics into a floating shopping mall, another wanted to sink a ferry and make it into an underwater destination for scuba divers. This is the first time in recent memory a group has wanted to look for ghosts, she said.

"They're old boats. It's sort of like an old house," Coursey said. "People think that an old ferry never dies."

Officials couldn't justify the time it would take to allow the ghost hunters aboard. Plus, there were safety and security concerns. Crew members weren't sure about chaperoning people with infrared cameras, digital audio recorders, thermometers and electromagnetic field detectors as they roamed engine compartments, gangways, galleys and passenger areas.

In November, after the four Steel Electrics were pulled from service due to corrosion problems and safety concerns, the team of paranormal researchers saw an opportunity.

With the vessels "put out to pasture," the ghost hunters believed they might be able to move forward with their investigation, Smith said.

The historic nature of the Steel Electrics, which carried thousands of passengers across Admiralty Inlet from Port Townsend to Keystone, made them prime settings for paranormal research, said Jeffrey Marks, the ghost group's president.

"Maybe something in the past stayed behind and maybe we can go in with some of our equipment and capture that," he said.

There's more to ghosts than Casper, bed sheets and frightening visitations from Christmas Past, Marks explained. "I think it's finding the nature of consciousness and reality," he said.

Unlike the movies, the paranormal researchers said they are trying to understand the communications from the other side, not exorcise spirits and ghosts.

"We try to distance ourselves from ghost-busting because people don't take them seriously," Smith said. The researchers' quest to look for ghosts on the state's oldest ferries may have reached a bitter end. The vessels no longer carry Coast Guard certification and that makes it nearly impossible for any member of the public to go aboard, Coursey said. The last hope the researchers have to inspect the ferries may be if a buyer steps forward and grants permission to the group. The ferry system is now trying to sell the vessels. Until the ghost hunters get the green light, they can't verify stories about the lingering spirits of ferry passengers or crew members who still ride the boats. "Until we can get on there and do our thing, then we can't say this is for sure," Smith said.

Count Carlos Gomez as the latest visitor to Milwaukee getting chills from the allegedly haunted Pfister Hotel.            

Milwaukee, WI:

Carlos Gomez is an outgoing young man. If a reporter has a question, the Twins center fielder will provide the answer in his best broken English, and in a good-natured, non-defensive manner. That changed for a moment on Saturday afternoon at Miller Park. Gomez was walking through the visitors clubhouse when he was stopped and asked: "How do you like the hotel you're in here?" Go-Go waved a hand dismissively, issued a profanity and took off across the room.

The Twins always have headquartered at the Pfister -- a historic downtown hotel -- during their stays in Milwaukee. "It's a great hotel ... always one of my favorites," said John Gordon, a Twins broadcaster since 1987. The Pfister also has been among the favorites for believers in the paranormal. The most-popular ghost story is that Charles Pfister, the owner when the hotel opened in 1893, can be seen overlooking the ornate lobby from the grand staircase.

Gomez has more than his share of nervous energy. That can be seen as he stands in center field between pitches chewing away on his fingernails. Aware of Gomez's advanced anxiety level, teammates (particularly Livan Hernandez) made sure that Go-Go heard a few ghost stories concerning the Pfister before the team arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday night.

Gomez has been rooming with Alexi Casilla on the road. Casilla left the room around noon Friday. Gomez was alone. His iPod was on a table across the room. Suddenly, it started playing tunes and vibrating across the table. Gomez turned it off, backed away, and then the iPod did the same thing. Cold reflection of the situation would suggest it was unlikely that the ghost of Charles Pfister, a man from the early 1900s, would know much about the workings of an iPod. Go-Go didn't have time for such a dispassionate view. He put on his shoes, grabbed the iPod, left the room, found the Pfister's cabstand and headed for Miller Park

Ghost Hunter Weekends and Paranormal Tourism            

County Meath, Ireland:

The travel and tourism industry is always evolving. What was popular with tourists yesterday may not be popular with them today. What is consistent is tourists desire to do something or see something different. Eco-tourism and adventure tourism have become a major trend in the travel industry. Over the past years we have also seen the rise of niche market holidays that have been tailor-made to appeal to individual’s hobbies and interests such as gourmet and cooking vacations, garden tours or scuba holidays. Add to the mix a decidedly different kind of tourist – the ghost hunter.

Today there are hundreds of different companies, groups and clubs that offer a diverse variety of ghost tours and paranormal holidays. Paranormal tourism can range from a short guided walking tour though the historic section of town, visiting grave yards and old jails like Charleston, South Carolina’s Ghost Walks, to groups with names such as Supernatural Entity Anomaly Research & Cryptid Hunters or the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Association who seriously investigate all aspects of the paranormal and the occult. Armed with electromagnetic field meters, cameras and tape recorders, these investigators take ghost hunting to a whole new level.

Naturally with its rich history and many ancient castles, ghost hunters have for years been travelling through out Ireland and Great Britain hoping for a chance encounter with a ghost. In the UK, there are numerous ghost tours available to choose from. The Haunted Hotel Guide lists over 450 haunted hotels and haunted castles that offer a wide variety of haunted weekend adventures. Tourists even have the chance to team up with paranormal investigators in order to get the most excitement out of their haunted hotel stay. Guests from all over the world come to the UK for the unique experience of sleeping in a historic castle or a haunted inn and perhaps the chance of a haunting.

Whether one wishes to hunt for ghosts or just experience the thrill of staying in a famous sixteenth century castle, one can do no better than to plan a stay at Ireland’s Ross Castle ( Located in County Cavan on the shore of Lake Sheelin, Ross Castle is well known by ghost hunters and paranormal investigators. It has a long-standing reputation as one of the UK’s most haunted castles. While Ross Castle’s innkeeper Benita Walker concedes that the Castle is seeped in history and is very familiar with its many legends and ghost sightings, she has yet to experience an encounter herself.

“I have stayed many nights at the castle and have never seen anything that I would explain in ghostly terms. Many of our guests do come with the hope of seeing a ghost. It really does add to the fun and excitement of staying at a real castle. However, most of our guests choose to stay at Ross Castle for the location, scenery and history,” claims Walker.

About Ross Castle: Built in the Sixteenth Century, Ross Castle offers guests comfortable, private and spacious accommodations with breathtaking views of beautiful Lough Sheelin and the lovely Irish countryside. Tastefully decorated and filled with antiques, this historic Irish castle allows visitors to step back into history. Castle accommodations include Bed and Breakfast suites as well as self-catering housekeeping suites. Delicious dinners and full Irish breakfasts are also available. The perfect location for romantic couples getaways, family reunions, weddings and family holidays; a stay at Ross Castle is sure to be the highlight of any Irish vacation. To book a stay in this historic Irish Castle, visit the Ross Castle web site (

Haunted Hall keeps spirits up in Saugus            

Saugus, MA, USA:

Today is considered the most inauspicious day of the year.

It's Friday the 13th, the day people keep an extra eye peeled for black cats, avoid walking under ladders and sidestep all the other omens that send a chill up one's spine. Except if you work in the Town Clerk's Office. Then it's just another day.

When days are particularly stressful or tense, the women in the clerk's office can take comfort in the belief that someone is looking out for them, as long as they aren't bothered by the fact that it's a ghost.

Town Clerk Joanne Rappa loves to talk about what she possessively refers to as "their" ghost. Marked by the strong smell of cigar smoke, she said he is most definitely a benevolent being. "It's a very strong smell of cigar smoke that goes right under your nose and it travels," she said. Rappa said she could be standing on one side of the room and catch a whiff of pungent tobacco and Marianne Moses or Patty Flickinger might pick up the scent of an odoriferous stogie moments later. Cigar smoking is not all the Town Hall ghost does, however.

"The gate unlocks itself and swings open," Moses said.

Rappa said one day she was in the midst of a serious meeting with her colleagues when suddenly the gate swung open. "It didn't just pop open though, the latch few up," she said.

Moses said it was the way the gate swung open that startled her.

"Gravity usually opens it quickly," Rappa explained. "But this opened slowly like someone was holding on to it."

Moses said she was not a big believer in ghosts. Often she would simply sit and listen to the stories, but since that particular incident with the gate, she's a believer.

And the gate wasn't a one-time deal, it happens with some regularity-just ask Town Administrator Susan Dunn.

Dunn said she's heard stories, but never experienced the ghost until recently when she went through the clerk's office gate as she's done a dozen times.

"I took two steps and the gate unlatched itself," she said with a mock shudder. "I heard it click up and I turned around and it swung open."

Dunn said just talking about it gives her goose bumps, but she admitted she loves the idea of a poltergeist roaming Town Hall.

The ability to detect the ghost is not limited to Town Hall employees. Rappa said she had customer who asked if someone had been smoking a cigar because she could smell it. Her son also caught the cigar scent one afternoon and Rappa swears she never told him of their visitor, "because he would have teased me."

Rappa said there are times she smells lilac perfume as well, but those instances are fewer and farther between.

The women speculated the ghost could be that of notable Town Clerk Bill Robinson, but Rappa said he smoked cigarettes not cigars. "It could be anybody really," she said.

Marilyn Carlson of the Historical Society and Janice Jarosz, who once worked in Town Hall, have another thought. They are sure the spirits belong to Charles H. Bond and his wife Isabel. Bond was a wealthy Saugonian who gifted a number of parcels of land to the town, including the land used to build the Marleah Graves School and property the Cliftondale Congregational Church sits on.

He wasn't, according to Jarosz, a cigar smoker, but he was a cigar manufacturer. "He started Blackstone Cigars," she said.

Carlson also said Bond's wife Isabel was also the sort of "elegant" woman who would waft through a room leaving a lingering scent of perfume behind. "I think it's perfect," she said. "I think it's them."

Jarosz said Bond's life ended under what she believes to be suspicious circumstances and, not long before that, Bond had a falling out with the town. Those two incidents coupled together gives Jarosz little doubt it is Bond and his wife drifting through Town Hall. "His portrait hung in the old Town Hall," she said. "I was clerk for the Board of Selectmen and his picture faced my office. He watched me every day for eight years."

Rappa said whomever the phantom is, she is sure of one thing - it's a peaceful one. "He seems to come around when things are really stressed around here," she said. "We're not afraid of him. We get excited. It's almost a comfort to have him around."

Pittsburgh Ghost Busters Think Homestead Cop Shop's Haunted
Police Department Calls Paranormal Investigators

Homestead, PA, USA:

Paranormal investigators say the Homestead Police Department is full of things that go bump in the night.

People working in the building tell chilling tales -- everything from the feeling of being watched to machines turning themselves on. Members of the department said they've seen and heard strange things for quite awhile. "Until recently, some of the newer guys started talking about it and decided to get online and contact the local paranormal group," Police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone said Thursday. The Greater Pittsburgh Paranormal Society has audio recordings of a voice in the building saying "Hey, Sam" that wasn't caused by anyone taking part in the investigation.

Video footage of a shadow moving from left to right at a window with nobody around -- as well as a cord falling down after having been taped to the ceiling of an empty room, like someone had yanked on it -- provide more proof that something strange is going on, according to the investigators.

"My clerk, Vicci (Kenna) -- she's definitely afraid of going downstairs by herself," DeSimone said. "She needs an escort."

"It's making me crazy," Kenna said. "I'm terribly frightened."

Some have gotten used to the noises.

"The door closes, we hear the footsteps. It's almost daily that we hear that," Denise Kelly said.

Others aren't taking any chances. "I started locking doors -- as if no one's going to come through a locked door," Kenna said. "But I feel better with a locked door." The chief isn't sure what to think about all of the weirdness in his building. "Some of it, I'm still skeptical of. Some of it, I don't know," DeSimone said. "The voices are clear. You can hear them." Members of the paranormal society said Homestead is their first investigation in a year that has uncovered possible evidence of a haunting.

Paranormal Expert says Ghosts won't be Moving to New Yankee Stadium                   

The Yankees will move into a new home next year, but will the famous "ghosts" from the old Yankee Stadium follow them to the new one? (Bettmann/CORBIS Photo)


The new baseball structure going up in the Bronx may represent something strange in the neighborhood for the ghosts of Yankee lore. They may not so readily transfer their energy from the old rafters to the new suites and skyboxes.

With their lease on eternity at the old Yankee Stadium endangered, perhaps Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle will opt to become free-agent spirits. That is one theory. Dominick Villella, who works for Paranormal Investigation of New York City, has grave doubts that the Yankee ghosts will change addresses.

"I don't think it is possible to move any type of paranormal activity from one building to the next," he said. "It is probably going to be tied to that building. The old stadium is going to retain whatever energy it had. It would be nice if you could take some of the old energy over, but I don't think it is possible."

Villella thinks the current Yankee Stadium undoubtedly has enormous spiritual vibes.

" Babe Ruth's energy is contained as a replay in time," he said, "like a film loop that maybe could happen again and again -- if conditions were right.'' So, when the wind swirls and there is distant thunder, Ruth apparently has lived in the bats of Yankees who have hit dramatic home runs.

Villella said that bringing objects from the legendary players could contain energy to jump-start the new building.

"Bring over things that were associated with the players," he said. "If they leave it at the old stadium, that energy will remain there."

Monument Park will be relocated and the new stadium will have a museum with some memorabilia, but Yankee chief operating officer Lonn Trost has something of a satirical approach toward the subject, saying, "I have spoken to the ghosts and they will be coming with us. We have a vehicle to transport them, though you can't necessarily see it."

Trost said the current stadium has undergone many changes over the years and it did not seem to disturb the ghosts.

"We've changed the dirt here as many times as I've cut my hair," he said. "The sod is different, the field is different, the irrigation is different, the lockers look different. Even the rodents are different. The most important things, the championship banners and the fans, we are taking with us."

But there is another, more ghost-friendly thought. For those who worry about the spirits crossing over, 43-year old lifelong Yankee fan Mickey (named after Mantle) Bradley said the legends are packing their equipment right now. He co-authored "Haunted Baseball: Ghosts, Curses, Legends and Eerie Events" (The Lyons Press, $14.95) and concluded that for those who believe, the legends will follow into the new stadium.

Bradley asked Derek Jeter his thoughts on the ghosts of Yankee past and the current team member who is well on his way toward Yankee immortality, responded, "Tradition doesn't change just because you move venues."

Bradley never got to interview the hallowed Yankees ghosts, but has no doubt the loyalty of Yankees fans will induce them to follow the team across the street.

"When they say will the ghosts make the trip over, what they are really saying is will the team legacy that they love so much, will that great legacy remain intact even though the walls are coming down,'' he said.

"To me, what it is all about is how much the people are loved and are so identified with the team, so the fans don't want to let go of them. People don't want to think they are not part of the team. I think it is a measure of how legendary these guys were and how much they are still trying to hold onto them to keep them part of the present, not just the past."

That should bring comfort to the Yankees fans whose admiration for the legends has never vaporized.

Welsh Charity Set for Spooky Encounter at Carew Castle             

Carew Newton, UK:

A missing persons' charity in Wales is calling on volunteers to spend a night at the "haunted" Carew Castle. Missing Wales and the Welsh Paranormal Investigations Team are getting together to organise the event in May.

Supporters will be taught how to use ghost-hunting equipment and take part in paranormal investigations. Guest medium will be the runner-up of Psychic challenge, Austin Charles, according to the Western Telegraph.

Castle Carew dates back to the 12th century and it is also believed to have been a base for Celtic rulers in the dark ages. There have been reports of more than 20 ghosts and according to the castle's website, its north west tower is said to be haunted by the ghosts of a seventeenth-century lord and his pet ape.

Missing Wales is a charity set up to help missing people and their relatives. It runs a confidential helpline for people missing in Wales.


Haunted Abbey to Stage Paranormal Festival

Bisham, UK:

GHOST HUNTERS will flock to one of the country's spookiest buildings for a festival dedicated to paranormal activity. An evening of ghostly events will take place at Bisham Abbey on Saturday May 10 from 7pm to 12pm.

The Abbey is packed with eight hundred years of history and is reputed to be the third most haunted building in the country.

Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are among the famous historical figures to have stayed there.

Lady Hoby, whose portrait hangs in the Abbey, is the most renowned spectre - appearing with a white dress but with black hands and face. Some guests claim to have seen the apparition tearing blankets from beds and throwing objects around rooms.

A number of bizarre goings on have been reported through the centuries. Spectral lights have been seen hovering over a secret passage and dancing over the lawn. On midsummer evenings some have seen an eerie blue mist seeping from the Abbey and rolling across the Thames to the meadows south west of Marlow.

Martin Jeffrey, Director of event organiser Fright Nights, said: "We're delighted to host our first Ghost Festival at Bisham Abbey which have proved extremely popular to anyone with an interest in the paranormal."

Clairvoyants and paranormal investigators will lead ghost hunting vigils in the Abbey's most haunted areas.

Mr Jeffrey said: "The public will have the chance to visit some of the Abbey's most haunted rooms and hopefully catch a glimpse of the paranormal including the infamous Lady Hoby. As with all our ghost hunts, people must be pre-warned that anything could happen when they set foot inside this haunted and historic building."

Have you ever seen a ghost at the Abbey?

03-06-2008 Ghost Haunts Ocala Comedy Club           

Ocala FL, USA:

The owners of an Ocala comedy club aren't joking about the territorial spirits in the building that are haunting them.

Myra Popp and Brian Walters said a spooky spirit turns on lights at Jokeboy's Comedy Club, which was once a tennis racket store in 1906. Popp said she sometimes feels something behind her breathing on her neck or hears footsteps when she's alone in the club.

The owners called in a paranormal specialist to investigate their claims. Rick Hayes said the ghost is named Linus, and that he's very protective of the building.


Ghost Trackers Detect 'Presence' in Town Building            

Middleborough, MA, USA:

The ghost trackers who spent Monday night at Town Hall investigating eerie footsteps that echo upstairs said they found something that may indicate a paranormal presence.

The two-member team from Paranormal Institute of New England said their laser thermal detector - which measures dramatic drops in temperature that some say indicate the presence of spirits - went temporarily haywire, soaring up, not down. A digital camera that ghost tracker Len Anderson was using also went on the fritz.

"That's usually an indication of a presence," he said.

Anderson and his fellow ghost tracker, Ed Beaulieu, are busy this week reviewing the film and audiotapes they obtained Monday night. Spirits are not visible to the naked eye, they say, but do register in photos, videotape, and recordings. Anderson and Beaulieu do not intend to release the full results of their excursion into the paranormal until next week, when they meet with selectmen, who allowed them to investigate rumors of the otherworldly in the 135-year-old building.

Beaulieu said that he didn't sense a definite unearthly presence in the cavernous room during the investigation, as he has in other locations, but that doesn't mean there were no spirits present. It's also possible, he said, that spirits were scared off by reporters who accompanied them on the exploration.

The two may return, by themselves, for another check.


Witchcraft Pardon Plea Rejected            

Callander, Scotland, UK:

MSPs have rejected calls for the last woman to be convicted under witchcraft legislation to be pardoned. Helen Duncan, from Callander, served nine months in Holloway prison in 1944 after telling a seance a warship had sunk, before the news was made public. She was convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735 for pretending to exercise or use any kind of "witchcraft" or "sorcery" to tell fortunes.

The call to pardon Mrs Duncan was put before Holyrood's petitions committee. The petition was rejected unanimously by the committee and follows the same decision by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who refused a similar request last year. Committee member Nigel Don of the SNP said: "I feel we've got better things to talk about.

"It's an interesting lesson in history but it has no purpose whatsoever and I would like to close it now."

Despite the ruling, MSPs said religious leaders in Scotland should be questioned about the burning of women as witches. Members are also considering calls for all people convicted under witchcraft legislation to be posthumously pardoned. They will now seek the views of the government and the academic community on the issue.

The SNPs John Wilson, who called for the views of the Inter-Faith Council to be sought, was also backed by members.

Mr Wilson said: "Some of the organisations involved in the persecution of women were some of the religious faiths that were around. "Women were being persecuted in Scottish society - this is nothing to do with English legislation or British legislation. "If you walk round some of the historic streets of St Andrews, you can see what happened to women in the streets. "There are markers where women accused of witchcraft were burned in the streets, which didn't need to be verified."

Green MSP Robin Harper backed calls to look into the issue. "This is about the treatment of women in Scotland in previous centuries," he said. "There's debate here." The petitioners, Full Moon Investigations, claimed about 4,000 people were convicted, 85% of them women.


Paranormal Researchers Examine the Haunting Legacy of Preston Castle           

Amador County, California:

On Saturday night, massive winds raged across the hills as a dim procession of storm-flickered headlights crept up the driveway to Preston Castle. Under its Romanesque archways and blackened tower, a group of people hurried through the rain toward its front. With the palms curling and olive trees thrashing in the gale, they opened its 114-year-old doors to stare into a hallway of shadows. They were searching for a lingering presence. They were listening for the faintest whisper of the dead.

The Ghost Trackers Paranormal Research Group is based out of San Jose. Its founder, Gloria Young, is no stranger to haunted places. When Young was growing up, she and her friends would often play in cemeteries. Her ease among the worldly departed turned into an obsession with their activity over time. She read everything she could about paranormal phenomena. Twenty years later, the first glimpse of Preston Castle at night - with its history of death and tragedy - left her in awe at what might happen once she crossed its threshold.

Following members of the Preston Castle Foundation into the structure's grand entrance, Young's five-person team wasted no time setting up their equipment. They brandished several types of digital cameras fitted with night vision, audio recorders, a high-powered condenser, a Geiger counter for measuring radiation waves. "We should start where the murder happened," Young said to the foundation members. "It's the most likely area to detect a presence."

Young, her team and the foundation members conducted themselves with a quiet reverence as they headed down into the castle's basement - and with good reason. The 57-year-old unsolved murder of Anna Corbin was a horrific event for the Ione community that's still remembered today. Corbin was once the head housekeeper at Preston School of Industry. Though most boys imprisoned there saw her as a tender figure, on a bleak afternoon in 1950 she was found viciously bludgeoned to death - her body locked in a small storeroom off the executive kitchen. Though several trials were held, no one was ever convicted of the gruesome crime. For decades it's been said that Corbin's matronly spirit remains in the long hallways of Preston Castle.

When Young's team arrived at the executive kitchen and confronted the narrow space where Corbin's body was discovered, they immediately asked the foundation members for silence. With the tiny lights of their technology flashing, Young asked Corbin if she was there. Everyone stood motionless, practically holding their breath. The mute echo of silence played throughout the room, challenged only by the drone of a faltering electrical system and the wash of the storm outside.

All at once, in the midst of the soundless vigil, a giant explosion rang down the hallway. The Ghost Trackers, the foundation members and the media were all physically shaken. They headed back up to the main floor to investigate, finding that the powerful windstorm had opened the large wooden doors on the verandah and violently thrown them shut again - mimicking the sound of a shotgun. A debate soon broke out about whether the doors had been secured with a steel crossbar before the group had descended into the basement. Those who wanted to believe that the swirling forces of nature outside were responsible for the heart-stopping moment seemed to remember that it had, in fact, not been latched. Those who tended to believe something else was responsible recalled that it had been. In the end, the group moved on, no one truly being sure.

As the investigation proceeded, the menacing storm continued to play havoc on the Ghost Trackers' ability to listen for strange noises. In the second-floor library the wind invaded the century-old brickwork, roiling through the frail, tattered pipes to create the sound of a woman crying. Above the group, on the third floor, the wind swept in through windowless archways and danced across the missing floor sections, creaking the broken, naked planks up and down to simulate heavy footsteps. "It was hard at times to distinguish what noises were natural to the extreme weather and what noises were unnatural," Young later recalled. "The storm was magnificent, but it made things a lot more complicated for us."

Ironically, the most uncanny sound of the night was not heard by the Ghost Trackers themselves, but by their local escorts. When the group came into the section of the building that was once the castle's hospital, Young's team split up into various areas - the operatory, the quarantine room, the hallway still possessing a few lonely, rusty bed frames. The compartments their have own claim to Preston's darker history, forever locked to a graveyard beyond the windows where the bodies of 18 young, wayward boys lie sleeping. Most of them were victims of tuberculosis and typhoid fever - though Sam Goins, who was shot in the back by a Preston guard in 1922, also died there.

With the Ghost Trackers split up into different rooms of the hospital, members of the more-skeptical castle foundation did hear what, for a few fleeting seconds, seemed to be the distinct sound of someone humming a tune. In the tense discomfort of the moment, it took some time before all present reluctantly conceded that they did, or at least might have, heard it; and that it was something completely unlike the tricky voices of the wind they'd been experiencing all night - soft, faint, but chillingly audible. The Ghost Trackers were made aware of this and employed their equipment accordingly. Once the recorders were on, nothing more was heard.

The Ghost Trackers' Sharon Leong, and her sister, Anne, felt there was still a good chance they'd identify paranormal activity once they took their recordings and video back home and examined them with technology that could amplify and break down the data. "A lot of times you don't hear anything at all when you're recording audio," Sharon said. "And then when you turn it up on your computer you hear what are sometimes clearly voices too faint for the human ear. That happened to us a couple of months ago when we were at Alcatraz Island. We asked a question and didn't hear anything; but then once we got home and turned the audio up, we heard a very frightening response." Several days after her trip to Preston Castle, Anne realized she might have been standing near enough to the group of people who heard the humming to have caught it on her camcorder. "It's there," she confirmed to the Ledger Dispatch. "The humming was faint and I had to use the headphones to hear it, but it was definitely a man humming."

Leong also picked up something strange on her infrared camcorder. When the group was down in the basement at the crime scene, she had asked out loud, "Anna, who murdered you?" After reviewing her video, Leong said at that very moment, a moving light anomaly darted across the heads of several people. "As a paranormal investigator, I'm well aware of how one's mind can be influenced by the romance or excitement of a place like Preston during stormy weather. Since we know people can be influenced by suggestion, I'm usually skeptical about any so-called activity until it has been corroborated with physical evidence. In this case, there was a light anomaly at that moment - not to mention recordings of a sigh and humming in other parts of the building."

Her sister agreed. "Preston Castle exceeded our expectations," Anne said. "The place is certainly active, full of energy - and energy doesn't die."