Paranormal Investigation of the Welland Historical Museum

"Get out and stay out," said a low, whispering voice. "Help me," said another.

Yesterday when the Welland Historical Museum closed its doors for the day, the Niagara Area Paranormal Society sat down with director John Robertson to reveal findings that they say prove spirits roam the museum building.

They also had some stories of unusual occurrences that happened to their team during more than four hours of investigation.

On April 5, six members of the paranormal team went to museum to hunt for ghosts with a slew of equipment like digital recorders, infrared cameras, electromagnetic field meters, infrared thermometers, and laptops.

"We had some personal experiences," said investigator Carol Taylor. "We didn't capture it on video unfortunately."

One investigator, she said, was setting up equipment in the children's art room when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He turned to a white dry eraser board, which had its top corner's taped to the wall and it "flew off at him," said Taylor. It was unusual, since it should have fallen or slid off the counter if it was just a matter of it being off balance, she said.

"I asked John about it and he told me it's never moved in the two years he's been here," she said. The board has now been screwed to the wall.

Another member of the team, she said, went downstairs to the basement to use the washroom when she saw a ball, similar to a ping-pong ball, hit the floor and roll.

"We looked for it after but we couldn't find the ball," she said.

With all the video footage, Taylor said there was nothing unusual captured, but the team has more than 90 EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recordings that have clips of what they believe to be voices of the mischievous spirits that have routinely played pranks on museum staff.

When the team recorded the audio, Taylor said at times they asked a question then waited for a response. While they may not have heard anything at the time, when they played back the tape, an answer can be heard.

Taylor said she did hear what she thought was someone whisper her name. She made a note of it, then went back to check the recording and heard "Carol" when none of the team members were speaking.

"We did end up with voices that were interactive," she said. "We did get answers to some of our questions. Some are very clear."

Voices can be heard saying things such as: "Dave, are you in the room"; "I found you"; "Where are they"; and "Hey, get over here."

No one knows a Dave, Gloria or Larry but those names were picked up on the recordings, said Taylor.

The team did hear mumbling, whispering, giggling and even a key being played on the piano when no one was there. They played numerous EVP recordings for Robertson yesterday. At times only a word can be made out, a few words or an unexplained noise is picked up.

"A couple of the voices were very clear," said Robertson. "The growling voice ... a goose bump raiser that was."

Robertson said the thought of spirits in the museum is something staff have come to terms with. They all believe there is a male spirit who seems more of a prankster, by mysteriously moving objects from one place to another. Museum staff have nicknamed the spirit Tom Foolery, he said.

"I've been in the heritage business for a long time, I've never been in a place that wasn't haunted," Robertson said. "For us, it's educational."

Robertson said it helps to confirm staff's suspicions that they're not entirely alone when they are working on exhibits or walking through the building. Yesterday, Robertson said the staff was trying to put together a new exhibit and everything that could go wrong did.

"There was a lot of finger wagging. We're trying to put together an exhibit for Saturday and everything's falling apart," said Robertson. Staff, he said, have been telling their spirit friend Tom that "enough is enough."

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