"Maybe they're coming in through the back door," Stern said.
Meanwhile, a paranormal investigator known simply as Dave used a handheld device to pick up electromagnetic waves said to surround disembodied spirits. When pointed near the back door, the device beeped quickly, then stopped.
"That is a little strange," he said.
Stern laughed. "Welcome to my world," she said.
The Paranormal Investigations of Historic America (PIHA) was in Roslyn over the weekend to investigate the 2R Bar and Bistro. The nonprofit organization seeks to track paranormal activity reported at historical sites across the state of Washington. Members embark on investigations about two times a month.
Ronda Thompson, co-owner of the bistro, contacted the group after "a lot of weird things started going on."
Thompson and Stern, who have owned the bistro for the past six years, recall glasses disappearing and returning, thumping noises at night, and the random smell of cigarette smoke throughout the building.
On Saturday, several investigators focused their attention on the second floor of the bistro, which houses a conference room, a storage room and spare bedroom. Thompson said the spirit of a man named Wes lives on the second floor, and that she can hear the sound of him "thumping his cane against the wall" in the bedroom at night. Roslyn residents say Wes spent a lot of time on the second floor in the 1970s when he was alive, Thompson said.
The investigators - Vaughn Hubbard, Kathy Gavin, Debbie Knapp and Dave - situated themselves in the bedroom with Thompson and Stern. An audio recording device resembling a satellite dish was placed in the middle of the room, in front of a bed. Knapp wore a pair of headphones connected to the dish.
About 20 minutes into the investigation upstairs, Hubbard's infrared camera began to shut off. Hubbard had to turn the dial on the backside of the camera to turn it back on, after the dial was inexplicably turned in the "off" position.
"That's happened before," Hubbard said. "At another session, it happened 15 times. On and off, on and off."
Later, the investigators heard five or six small taps on the metal railing of the bed.
Dave addressed the room. "If you can hear us and want to communicate with us, can you make that tapping sound again, please?"
Three of the same small taps followed.
Throughout the investigation, Gavin and Knapp held digital recorders to pick up electronic voice phenomena. Dave spoke politely, noting that if a spirit was there, it should be treated with respect, and that the investigators should not run toward, or away from it.
After the group left the bedroom, Gavin said she heard an angry, guttural voice from the bedroom that said "go!"
"That chased me out of the flippin' room," Gavin said later. "And I don't run from this stuff."
In the conference room next door, Knapp stared at her cell phone on a countertop, next to a flashlight.
"Someone brought my phone up here," Knapp said. "I left it downstairs - I didn't bring it up here."
None of the investigators touched her phone, they said.
"We don't seek to explain why or how these things happen, we just present the evidence," Hubbard said later. "We use completely scientific means."
Hubbard, a retired mechanical engineer for the Lockheed Corp, works on the group's equipment, including the group's black travel van, dubbed the "Command Central Vehicle." Hubbard modified the van, installing a high-definition TV that picks up Wi-Fi signals and wiring the vehicle so that the electronics inside can be run from an outdoor power outlet.
"We can monitor an investigation from right inside the van," Hubbard said. "One person stays in here and listens to what we're picking up."
Hubbard said that although members of the PIHA are interested in the paranormal, the group's main goal is to promote Washington's historical locations. The group creates a magazine for each investigated location, as well as DVDs of their findings. The presence of paranormal activity adds another interesting element to the location's history, which brings more people to the places, Hubbard said.
"The client can sell these items, for however much they want," Hubbard said. "We never charge a dime for anything. It's all about encouraging people to learn about history, and about phenomena."