Port De­posit Para­nor­mal leads ghost tours of grist mill



— Pa­tri­cia Crider spent her last night in Ce­cil County try­ing to talk to a ghost at Plump­ton Park Zoo.

“I could feel al­most like there was some­thing around me,” said Crider, who’s from Pa­d­u­cah, Ky., but has spent the past month vis­it­ing fam­ily lo­cally.

Crider was part of the first group to em­bark on a Port De­posit Para­nor­mal So­ci­etyled tour of the grist mill on the zoo prop­erty off Tele­graph Road near Ris­ing Sun on Fri­day night.

Ch­eryl La­co­vara, direc­tor of Plump­ton Park said the two-night event was fun and at least two of the six ses­sions was sold out.

Be­fore mem­bers of Port De­posit Para­nor­mal So­ci­ety led the group into the base­ment of the 282-year old stone house, they of­fered the group, which in­cluded Crider, a col­lec­tion of hand­held equip­ment — mostly elec­tronic but also dows­ing rods — used to pick up the pres­ence of spir­its. Crider se­lected a K2 reader, which was about the size of a cell­phone with a row of dif­fer­ent col­ored lights.

The para­nor­mal group stud­ied the grist mill house in Au­gust in prepa­ra­tion for the two-night fundraiser for the zoo. La­co­vara said the pro­ceeds will go to­ward buy­ing a girl gi­raffe for Jim­mie, the zoo’s lone male gi­raffe.

Crider, hold­ing the K2 me­ter, was ex­cited when the lights be­gan to shine in the dark­ened room on the sec­ond floor of the house. Dawn Can­non and Chrissy Bauer


Tay­lor Thomas, left, from Fair Hill, holds the ovilis, a voice box that al­lows ghosts to have hu­man speech.

— para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tors — en­cour­aged the group to ask ques­tions of the spir­its in­hab­it­ing the mill house.

Pa­trick Suther, from Bel­camp, said he’s ex­cited to be a mem­ber of the para­nor­mal so­ci­ety. He and his son Keenan stud­ied the de­vices in their hands as ques­tions were asked.

“When we moved here from Seat­tle I joined the para­nor­mal group,” Suther said. “I look for­ward to the po­ten­tial of see­ing and feel­ing the spirit world.”

As ques­tions were raised, lights would flicker from one K2 to an­other. When sounds such as foot­prints were heard, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors would get up and ask peo­ple in­side and out­side the build­ing if ei­ther caused the sounds.

“We’re sci­en­tists,” both Can­non and Bauer said, adding that they work to find all pos­si­ble rea­sons for any ev­i­dence gath­ered.

Next an ovilus was brought out, which is a spir­i­tual voice box al­low­ing for hu­man speech con­tact from be­yond.

Can­non asked aloud if the spirit try­ing to con­tact them Fri­day night rec­og­nized any­one in the cir­cle. The re­ply sounded like “Ch­eryl.”

“It was a lit­tle creepy,” La­co­vara, the zoo direc­tor, ad­mit­ted, adding it hap­pened sev­eral times. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad but he knows who I am.”

Dur­ing the last Fri­day ses­sion, La­co­vara said she was handed the ovilus and it said her name. She then handed it to one of her ad­mis­sions em­ploy­ees and it Dawn Can­non, stand­ing, leads the first group to take the ghost hunt at the grist mill at Plump­ton Park Zoo Fri­day night.

said her name.

Dur­ing the Satur­day night ses­sions, La­co­vara said the ac­tiv­ity was even more pro­nounced and the spir­its were more talk­a­tive.

Zoo sur­veil­lance cam­eras in­side the mill pro­duced spec­tral im­ages Fri­day night so the man who set up the equip­ment mon­i­tored the feed Satur­day.

“He texted me and told me to tell the ghosts to knock it off,” La­co­vara said. He told her ev­ery time a group en­tered the meet­ing room, the cam­eras would shut down.

One of the spir­its re­vealed it was that of a young boy who liked school but was afraid of some­thing.

“Ev­ery time they asked what his name was all that came out was ‘Boy,’” La­co­vara said.

Ac­cord­ing to Can­non, it ap­peared the boy was a slave.

How­ever, the grist mill was built and op­er­ated by Jeremiah Brown, a Quaker.

“Quak­ers didn’t have slaves,” La­co­vara noted. “Maybe the slave was hid­ing up in the mill when the fire started.”

What is known of the his­tory of the mill is that there was a fire that left lots of dam­age, some of which is still ev­i­dent in the build­ing.

Can­non said one spirit said “need air” in­di­cat­ing to her it was in the fire. On Satur­day night, a spirit in­sisted the fire was in the room where par­tic­i­pants sat in a cir­cle. La­co­vara — who was not on the tours Satur­day — later showed Can­non scorched beams in that room.

And there was some de­cid­edly salty lan­guage com­ing from the ovilus.

“Nice spir­its only,” Can­non said.

An­other spirit who iden­ti­fied it­self as “Paul” in the

ini­tial study back in Au­gust never spoke in the first or sec­ond Fri­day ses­sions. Satur­day night two new names were given: Peter and An­thony. That last name may help solve a rid­dle, La­co­vara said.

“Mary­land his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments give the names of the peo­ple that built the (stone) house,” she said, re­fer­ring to the an­cient struc­ture near the tiger cages that was home to Jeremiah Brown.

In the stone are the ini­tials of the builders. His­to­ri­ans had iden­ti­fied all but two sets of ini­tials. Ac­cord­ing to La­co­vara, one of the two mys­tery ini­tials was “A.M.”

The event at­tracted the at­ten­tion of two other para­nor­mal groups who plan to come and do their own stud­ies.

Mean­while Port De­posit Para­nor­mal will study the stone house — the Jeremiah Brown res­i­dence — later this month.



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