TAPS Visits Amos J. Blake Museum in Fitzwilliam, NH
This article was written in response to a recent newspaper article (published in the Keene Sentinel, Keene, NH on Saturday, July 10, 2009) pertaining to The Atlantic Paranormal Society's (TAPS) recent investigation of the Amos J. Blake House Museum in Fitzwilliam, NH, the museum of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society, and their intention to use the footage on their television show Ghost Hunters.
As a paranormal investigator, I have participated in three investigations at the Amos J. Blake House Museum. The group I am a member of was invited to investigate the location by the museum's curator. I am aware of approximately six different paranormal groups that have investigated the site.
Though there are some indications of paranormal activity at the museum, all I have personally experienced is one cold spot, an unexplained voice, as well as capturing photographs of some strange mist. This is certainly not enough evidence to declare the place haunted by the standards of most paranormal investigators, however, we are all aware of the rarity of such phenomena and the difficulty of catching such phenomena on tape.
More recently, reports have been made of multiple apparitions, objects moving, and intelligent spirits haunting the location. These phenomena--as well as other strange events--have been reported by several groups, though most of these claims were made by Conscious Spirits Paranormal Group (CSPG), a team founded by the museums curator.
These events were documented on CSPG's Web site as recently as Thursday July 8th. Upon review of the groups site on Monday July 13, all references to the Amos J. Blake House investigations had been removed, though there is documentation of the groups investigation of the location at the Web site of the Keene State Equinox, a local college newspaper.
There are several links-- accessible via Google searches--to CSPG's Web site that portray their involvement with this location.
It is unclear to me why this information was deleted. I certainly enjoyed following the reported activity and even though our group considered the purported "evidence" to be highly exaggerated--being more attentive to debunking then many groups--I found it very entertaining.
At this point in time, two of the few sites where I can find any significant documentation of paranormal activity at the museum is on Dark Nights Paranormal's as well as ECTO Paranormal's, two teams of competent and tech-savvy investigators based in the general area. There is at least one other Web site where documentation of an investigation of the museum is posted, however, the location is not being disclosed--though it was previously identified as such.
Apparently,there was a minor controversy involved with "Ghost Hunters," filming at the location, as it was reported that the museum's Board of Directors had no prior knowledge of the TAPS investigation of the museum. The newspaper article published several comments from a member of the board pertaining to this fact, and--as of the time this article was written--there is still appears to be some question as to who signed the release form that allowed the filming in the first place. The paper also reported that the curator of the museum--who participated in the filming--had no comment.
I find it interesting that the board had no prior knowledge of a film crew being invited to the location. It is also of interest to note that the curator of the museum is a former member of the group I am involved with. This individual left our group abruptly in February or March--and subsequently formed her own group--shortly after informing me that TAPS had contacted her and had expressed interest in setting up on the location. It was also at this time that the reports of purported paranormal activity at the location increased significantly.
It is clear to me that TAPS was interested in this location, and--at least according to the curator--that there was some contact going on during this time between them and the museum..
In an open query to the Board of Directors of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society, I would ask the them to consider the publicity that may be garnered from the location's appearance on a national television show. In my experience, considering locations like the museum, publicity is a good thing.
Many similar sites have capitalized on such attention for monetary gain and recognition. The board will certainly want to consider how they are going to handle requests from individuals and groups wanting to complete paranormal investigations of the location--if you choose to allow them at all--as well as other recognition and media attention that arises from such an event.
Some places charge special fees for unique "haunted tours," and others even arrange all-night ghost hunts. The U.S.S. Salem in Boston, MA, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, and Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville, KY are examples of locations that are earning revenue and recognition secondary to their haunted status, and are places where one can participate in a paranormal investigation, above and beyond taking a simple tour.
In general, I would say that most ghost hunters are a respectful bunch, and the good ones appreciate the historical significance of such locations, as well as the potential for any paranormal activity.
The Amos J. Blake House Museum is a wonderful example of a New England historical society museum with an interesting and varied collection of artifacts, and--in my mind--this fact FAR outstrips the possibility of any paranormal activity occurring there.
I have participated many paranormal investigations--and have experienced some very strange things--however, on a scale of 1 to 10 related to possible paranormal activity, I would rate the museum a 2 or 3. Considering its wonderful collection and the history contained within its walls, I would rate it a 10.
Of course TAPS, with their top-of-the-line equipment and considerable resources may certainly be more successful then an amateur ghost hunter such as myself when it comes to finding evidence of possible paranormal activity.
It is obvious to me that the board of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society needs to seriously consider if this is a direction they would like to move in, and how the museum got to this point in the first place--a national television show filming in the location, apparently without it's knowledge and consent.
At this time, it appears that consent has been given, albeit in a method in which the board was not aware, and that the investigation will air on national television. The board should consider how they can take advantage of this. My guess is that the situation be viewed as a positive one, an opportunity to increase attention for the museum, possibly resulting in revenue that could be used to help maintain this historic location. It may also have the added benefit of drawing some tourism to the town of Fitzwilliam, and the Monadnock area in general.