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Paranormal News provided by Medium Bonnie Vent > Local resort to get spirit shakedown

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21 Mar 2010


Local resort to get spirit shakedown

LAKE GEORGE -- Most people know Fort William Henry is full of history, but some longtime employees believe it's full of paranormal activity, too.

In mid-April, a group of professional ghost hunters will visit the resort and historical site to conduct an investigation and teach workshops on how to become a ghost hunter.

The weekend-long event is geared toward novices interested in learning how to detect the paranormal.

Part of the program will include a boot camp on methodologies led by The Atlantic Paranormal Society, also called TAPS, and an investigation of the site where major battles of the French and Indian War occurred.

This is the first time the resort has organized a special weekend dedicated to ghost hunting, but it's not the first time ghost hunters have visited the property.

Fred Austin, the resident expert on the site's paranormal activity, said the fort, which was the site of a bloody massacre in the mid-1700s, has attracted many paranormal investigation groups over the years.

In addition, the fort museum hosts walking ghost tours on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer season, but the weekend event will entail a thorough investigation by professionals.

While he doesn't put stock in all the ghost hunting groups and shows, Austin said TAPS has a good reputation and takes its work seriously.

"We had heard of them, and they had heard about us at the fort," Austin said of TAPS. "Word gets around."

Austin said there have been many sightings of a little girl near the dining room and a soldier in the tavern, as well as reports of objects moving on their own in unoccupied spaces.

Sam Luciano, a vice president at the Fort William Henry Resort, has been at the hotel for 26 years. A nonbeliever for a long time, Luciano said guest and staff experiences eventually convinced him there is paranormal activity at the fort.

"We are definitely an active site," he said.

According to Luciano, the resort decided to offer the weekend event because there was such high demand for it. But the business has not talked about or promoted its reputation in the paranormal community because it wants to avoid becoming known as a "haunted" hotel.

"It's a quandary for us because, if we share it in the wrong light, you can build up hysteria," he said.

TAPS coordinator Syd Schultz II, who will lead the boot camp in April, said the first goal of any investigation is to "debunk" the phenomenon and rule out any logical explanations for what is occurring.

"If people are hearing knocking (noises), it could be a water pipe in the night," he said. "The biggest misconception (about ghost hunting) is that we just run around in the dark chasing our tails."

Once the normal has been ruled out, Schultz said he looks for the abnormal - an unexplained voice, noise, temperature change or electromagnetic field spike.

He said three or four signs at once are usually a clear indication of something paranormal.

The rarest sight is a full-body apparition, which Schultz said he's only seen twice in his career.

"Seeing them is less common than hearing them," he said of ghosts.

Schultz's class will focus on how to get started in paranormal investigation, standard operating procedures and protocol, terminology, equipment, what kinds of business licenses are involved and how to screen for and use psychics in the field.

"Anybody that's interested in getting into this field, this is a perfect way for them," he said.

Equipment used to detect activity includes voice and video recorders, temperature gauges and devices to detect electromagnetic fields.

Schultz said the hobby has grown in popularity with the advent of shows chronicling it, such as "Ghost Hunters" on Syfy.

The star of the international version of that program, Dustin Pari, and Patrick Burns from "Haunting Evidence" on truTV will attend the Fort William Henry event.

Even the skeptics, Schultz said, generally want to relate some weird experience they had.

"It's opened the door for us so that now it's a watercooler conversation," he said.

Austin agreed. He said the fort has likely had paranormal activity for more than a century, but only in recent years have people felt comfortable relating their stories without worrying they'll be perceived as crazy.

"People don't feel weird about talking about it," he said.

The weekend will take place April 16 and 17.

A one-night package starts at $192 and includes lodging. On March 28, the resort will open registration for the classes and investigations to residents. There is a 200-person limit.

Other activities include vendor areas; entertainment by Aron Houdini, the only living descendant of Harry Houdini; and tarot card readings.

A meet-and-greet will take place on April 15 at the resort, and Schultz said the public is welcome to attend.

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