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.