Local group travels to the spirit world for fun
WELLSVILLE — From floating faces to shadow figures walking through walls, the members of Echoing Voices of the Past have seen and heard it all.
Echoing Voices of the Past (EVP) is a paranormal investigative group with six to seven members from across Allegany County. Because many of the ones who spoke to this journalist are young to middle-aged professionals working in the public eye, they asked to remain nameless and faceless and will be referred to only as Founder 1, Founder 2, Spokesperson, and Chaplain in this story.
Yes, the group has a chaplain who says prayers of protection before and after the group participates in a ghost hunt.
"That is because we don't want to bring anything harmful home with us," explained Founder 1.
Members have participated in ghost hunts in Gettysburg, Pa., the Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, the Van Horn Mansion in Newfane, the USS Sullivan's battleship in Buffalo, the Dunkirk Lighthouse, Andover's Haunted House, the Wildwood Sanitarium, and the Dudley Hotel both in Salamanca and the nationally famous Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, said to be the most "haunted" place on the East Coast.
Asked why they do their investigations, most of the members say it is for the fun, camaraderie and the thrill of it.
The Spokesperson added, "This is a way of doing something with other adults that is fun, sometimes thrilling and historical. When you talk to other people you'll find that most have had some kind of an encounter with the spirit world that they can't explain. When we go on a hunt we try to explain those encounters or debunk it if we can."
On the group's Facebook page it states, "EVP Paranormal is just a group of friends in rural Western New York with the goal to know as much as possible about the paranormal world."
Mostly the group participates in established ghost hunts with other groups, but they prefer to go by themselves. They have also visited abandoned and unoccupied buildings locally.
They have heard and seen things they can only describe as spirits.
"We've investigated the Andover Haunted House and when we asked, a spirit told us they are not happy when the house is decorated and used for the October fundraisers. Even though someone from the committee told the spirits they were only raising money to help preserve the house," said Founder 2.
"But it is understandable. the spirits were people and this was their home and nobody likes uninvited guests. They told us a lot of the spirits move out to neighboring houses when the haunted house is open. And that has been confirmed by the homeowners," Founder 1 said.
Aside from talking to the spirits in the Andover house, EVP members have come up with some "interesting" results. On one organized ghost hunt, an EVP member laid down on a bed and came face to face with an apparition staring down at her. She took a photo.
"We were later told it was the face of a girl who had died in that room after being disfigured in an accident," said Founder 1.
At the Rolling Hills Asylum the group was in a hallway where many saw a shadow figure a shadow figure standing at the end of the hallway. "I just thought it was a maintenance worker wearing a fedora, until he walked through the wall," said Founder 1.
On another floor in another room, Founder 2 said, "We were in what had been a women's ward and they didn't like men on the floor, so when 'Founder 1' sat down in a wheelchair, the spirits pushed him to the top of the stairs."
The group doesn't believe everything they see or hear, and they do try to debunk anything that just doesn't seem right, the Spokesperson said.
While in Gettysburg Founder 2 was able to catch a photo of a spirit standing in a window of a deserted building. "No one else saw it," she said.
The group only conducts investigations in non occupied or abandoned buildings and homes and on organized ghost hunts. They do not, Founder 2 said, do any investigations into homes where people are living.
"We don't want to bring anything out that the person who lives there is going to have to deal with later," Founder 2 said.
In their investigations they hope to be able to lead spirits home.
The spokesperson explained, "Most spirits are caught here because they haven't been able to cross over because of some unfinished business. We'd like to be able to help them cross over."
"It is fun to find out the history of a place, which sometimes can explain why a spirit is still there," said Founder 2.
The group has some high tech equipment like electronic devices for translating sounds into possible words and for detecting shifts in the energy and light fields, but they also use such items as common flashlights, cell phones and dousing rods.
They explained that a common flashlight can be used to establish communication when a spirit is present, by being turned on of off or flickered by the spirit to answer yes or no questions. Cell phones can pick up sounds that are not heard at the time and the dousing rods help to communicate with spirits.
So why does a group who prefers to be anonymous want the public to know they exist?
The Founders said they have exhausted the sites to investigate in the area and they would like some tips as to where else they can go. They can be reached on the group's Facebook page EVP Paranormal where there are photos of some of the places they have visited and the paranormal they have witnessed. New members to the investigative team are always welcome.