Ghosts? What Ghosts?

Skeptics CircleThe Houghton mansion in North Adams, Massachusetts is a Victorian home which is now a Masonic temple. Sounds like an interesting place to visit. But wait, there’s more! It is also the headquarters of the Berkshire Paranormal Group who say that the house is one of the area’s most haunted buildings. Apparently The evidence gathering continues…, which suggests that some evidence must already exist; I rushed to explore their site and find it.

First of all there’s the photographic evidence. I won’t reproduce the photos here, but follow the link to see the amazing evidence yourself.

The first photo shows a small white blur in an upstairs window. Apparently this shows that There is clearly someone or something standing just inches away from the window. Clearly! Maybe I need to have my eyes tested. I’ve squinted and peered at the picture but all I see is a white blur.

The second photo shows an orb roughly in the direction that some guy is pointing. I’m not even going to bother explaining the orb phenomenon, as James Randi has debunked it so many times already. Search for orbs on his site and you’ll find it popping up in many of his commentaries, like this one.

The next few photos show more of those silly orbs, as well as some “rods” and light streaks. All artifacts of the photographic process and certainly not evidence of anything paranormal.

This photo has to be my favourite though. It’s ridiculously blurry, doesn’t show anything at all, and yet the caption says Remarkable photo appears to show the ghostly figure of a dog-like animal at the entrance to the kitchen. These people may be nuts, but they certainly have a vivid imagination.

The rest of the photos are more of the same, but this one caught my eye. It shows a row of chairs, which according to the caption have a Horizontal mist in front of them. Now maybe it’s just me, but that mist looks a lot like a ghosted (no pun intended) image of the chairs themselves. Could it be another example of a shaky photographer? Surely not.

As you might guess, I haven’t been convinced by the photographic evidence, so I had a look around to see what else there is. I followed all the links, I read all the text. I found nothing. But apparently Official BPG investigation & results [are] coming soon!. That’s good then, I can’t wait.

The Berkshire Paranormal Group is headed by Ron Kolek. Apparently he is a self-proclaimed skeptic. Judging by this article though he’s about as skeptical as a radish.

3 thoughts on “Ghosts? What Ghosts?”

  1. I found this link through our site statistics, read your post and felt I had to respond. Let’s take it the order that you’ve discussed it.
    First, the Houghton mansion has been rumored to be haunted since the 1940’s or 50’s. It was in the top five list of the “Berkshire’s most haunted
    places” long before the Berkshire Paranormal Group was even formed.

    The reason that the BPG is based there is that the founder and
    co-founder of the group are Masons and Officers on the Masonic Assn. Board (the governing body of the building). It was, therefore, a fitting
    place for our base of operations.

    The first photo that you bring up clearly DOES show something in front of the window. That is all I say. I do not say anything like “See the
    ghost”…nor do I say anything like that on ANY of the photos. I describe the photos as anomalies and mists and what they “appear” to look like.
    I leave it up to the viewer to interpret what they see.
    In that photo, you say you see a “white blur”. I see something that looks very much like a head and upper torso, as do countless others who’ve
    seen the photo. Does that mean that it is truly a head and torso? Of course not, but I’m guessing that even if you saw a full bodied apparition
    wearing a t-shirt that says “Hi, I’m dead”, you still wouldn’t be convinced of anything anyway.

    Orbs. Yeah, there’s a lot of debate about orbs. We delete a lot of orb photos we’ve taken that we write off as dust, pollen and moisture. The
    orb photos that we post correlate with other evidence, such as spikes in electromagnetic fields, cold blasts of air, psychic’s gut feelings, etc.

    As far as the dog-like photo: Is it blurry? Yes. Does it appear to show some kind of four legged animal? Everyone that views the close-up of
    the photo thinks so.

    The chair photo could very well be a “ghost” image of the chairs themselves. We simply present it as another anomalous photo taken during evidence gathering while the mansion was undergoing a paranormal investigation. “Horizontal mist in front of chairs”…those are my exact words and nothing more.

    There have been two formal investigations of the mansion so far, by two seperate investigative groups. They have much more “evidence” to share other than photographs. There are many EVP’s, contacts made by a 5th generation psychic, etc. etc. The following are not rare, isolated incidents, but very common occurences experienced by multiple witnesses…by “believers” and skeptics alike: walking / running footsteps, female voices, cold blasts of air, loud knocking on walls, slamming doors and lights seen going on and off in rooms without electricity. Some people have been touched by an invisible entity in the basement. Many have felt like they were being watched. Others have experienced chills and numbness when entering certain rooms. It goes on and on.

    The BPG is NOT headed by Ron Kolek as you stated. He is the lead investigator of the New England Ghost Project. If you had truly “read all the text” you would’ve seen all the members of the BPG on our contact page.

    We, like you, are for the most part skeptics. But, unlike you, we keep an open mind. You might remember some closed-minded individuals like yourself from about 500 years ago. They were absolutely, positively 100% convinced that the world was flat.

  2. I guess the big question is do you believe in ghosts? If you do believe in ghosts, then do you let that belief affect your investigations and your interpretation of the evidence?

    I’m open minded, but I still need evidence to be convinced of something. Blurry photos and obvious artifacts of the photographic process simply don’t do it for me. If that’s the best you can do, and I’m guessing it is or there would be more convincing evidence on your site, then I’m not impressed.

    Apologies for giving Ron Kolek the wrong title.

  3. I guess I’m right on the fence as far as ghosts are concerned. I’m hoping to find some really decent evidence to support the existence of ghosts during this endeavor. We are a brand new group and have not performed our first investigation yet. Many of the photos on that page were taken by Isis Paranormal during their investigation. Once we get our own investigation of the mansion completed, we will be posting only our own photos/EVP’s/other evidence (that is, if we find anything at all). When we do our first investigation (and it will be within the next 2-3 weeks), we plan on performing the investigation as scientifically as possible, documenting everything. Our emotions/beliefs will not come into play. If we find anything unusual, our plan is to eliminate all possible “earthly” causes of the phenomenon first. When all of us as a group consensus decide that we’ve eliminated anything “normal” (Flashback, dust, camera strap, photo processing error, etc, etc.) and we can’t seem to explain it, we’ll call it “paranormal” or “unexplained” and post it. If we don’t find anything, we won’t post anything. We have no interest in, nor will we be tolerating, any false fabrication of evidence or hoaxing of any kind.
    Check back with us in a while for our investigation results. I appreciate your candor on your response.

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