ADAMS >> Paranormal specialist and investigator John Zaffis is one step closer to having a new haunt.
Zaffis walked through the former McBride Funeral Home on Thursday night, with a town building inspector and an architect so he could have a better idea how much it will cost to make the structure work as a museum of the paranormal.
With two buildings attached by a single enclosed porch/hallway, Zaffis said the floor plans of the two structures are uniquely suited for what he has in mind.
"It's got that creepy element," Zaffis said. "When you're in my business, that's something you look for."
He has not yet made an offer to purchase the building, and said the deal still may not happen. But he does seem determined to continue on with the due-diligence process. The building is listed for sale at a price of $79,900.
Zaffis lectures on the paranormal and has investigated paranormal activity for years. In 1998 he established the Paranormal and Demonology Research Society of New England. From 2011 to 2013, he hosted a television show, Haunted Collector, on the SyFy channel.
Each of the two buildings has a meeting room on the first floor, where the wakes were conducted for grieving friends and family. In one of these meeting rooms, Zaffis envisions a room where lectures and symposiums on hauntings and other paranormal activity would be hosted. In the other meeting room, rather than viewing the recently deceased, visitors would be viewing items Zaffis has concluded are, or were, haunted by the long-term deceased.
On the second floor of the northern most building is an apartment-type space where Zaffis would live while in town. The second floor of the other building once served as a showroom for the latest in coffins and has a back room where the embalming was once performed. Zaffis intends to use these two rooms for storage of his other-worldly artifacts, which will be rotated periodically into the museum space.
"The two separate buildings are what caught my eye," Zaffis said, standing by the polished wood bannister of the stairway leading to the second floor. "And during the walk-through, things seem to have lined up better then I was anticipating. There is not much I would change here."
He said his main goal, in this building or another, is to establish the museum in such a way that it will live on with or without him.
According to Marc Tetlow, CEO of Ideal Event Management and associate of Zaffis, he and Zaffis were taking a break form a photo shoot at the Adams McDonald's a few months ago when they noticed the vacant funeral home across the way. They already had been looking for a site for the museum, and this one seemed like it might work. So they called the real estate agent and started the ball rolling.
Zaffis already has been granted a zoning variance on the property, changing it from residential to commercial, by the Adams Zoning Board of Appeals.
If the process were to continue, there would be several other visits to town boards and a process of renovation and moving in. If the deal works, he estimated it would be at least several months before the museum could start operating.
Zaffis explained that this would not be a museum open for walk-in visits. It would only be open by appointment on Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening. Groups would be booked, they would come and hear a presentation by Zaffis or a visiting specialist, then the group would move into the museum and view the artifacts.
He said the main museum space would house about 20 of his larger items on a permanent basis, such as the haunted piano and the organ. He pictures a standalone display with his extensive collection of haunted dolls. Smaller artifacts would be rotated out periodically. Zaffis said his collection is large enough to keep the displays from being repetitive.
Both Zaffis and Tetlow anticipate a significant number of visitors to the museum, if the plan comes to fruition.
"We'll push a lot of people through here, there's no doubt about that," Tetlow said.