By Sean Patrick Murphy
For the Progress
Council members and the public were treated to some very convincing evidence that there is a lot of paranormal activity afoot at the Collins Lane house.
Eric Pensyl Jr. and Edward Vargas, lead investigators from Dusk-Till-Dawn Paranormal Investigators, made their presentation at last week’s council meeting.
The Maple Shade nonprofit organization staked out the house and nearby silo twice in recent months after being solicited by the Maple Shade Historical Society.
What they produced at the meeting were images of orbs floating in rooms and sounds of someone — or something — whispering.
“We caught a lot of stuff that blew our minds,” Pensyl said. “This is definitely an intelligent haunt.”
Admittedly creeped out but not afraid, Pensyl and his team also discovered a pentagram in the silo they believe was used, and still may be used, to summon demons, not ghosts.
His group does not charge for their services because he thinks that is unethical.
“Dusk-Till-Dawn was set up to help people whose houses are haunted,” Pensyl said, noting the cost of all the equipment used comes out of his and Vargas’ pockets. The group was formed last November.
While he has been investigating the paranormal since 1990, Pensyl’s day job is as a caterer at Maple Shade Smokers BBQ Catering.
He first became intrigued with the possibility of other spirits roaming the world when he was 8 years old and his family moved into a haunted house.
“I wanted to know why they were there and where they came from,” Pensyl said.
When he was 16, he would try to capture ghosts on film in abandoned houses and cemeteries.
“The Collins Lane house is very active,” Pensyl said. “It’s right up there with Eastern State Penitentiary.”
The old Philadelphia jail is believed to be rife with spirits and hosts visitors this time of year for haunted tours.
“I’ve been all over the United States doing this and this is one of the most active locations we have ever been to,” he said.
Pensyl said he believes the Collins Lane house, which was built in 1772, should be left as is.
Vargas said he became intrigued with the paranormal about two years ago when a speaker bolted in a bracket crashed to the floor moments before he got a call that his friend had been killed.
“There’s no way on this earth that that could have fallen,” Vargas said. “I believe it was his way of telling me he was there and was OK.”
Vargas has created Encuentros con Fantasmas (Ghost Encounters) and is shooting a pilot documentary for the first paranormal investigation show in Spanish.
“You have tons in English but none in Spanish,” he said of reality ghost shows. “Everyone who’s Latin has a ghost story.”
Vargas said Maple Shade is a very haunted area because there are a lot of old homes.
“My belief is that there are entities out there that either don’t know that they’ve passed on, are too afraid to move on or they’re just comfortable being there,” he said. “If you really love your home why would you want to go anywhere?”
Mayor Anthony Saporito was impressed with the demonstration.
“I was always a little curious about it but to actually hear and see the evidence that was presented was fascinating and believable,” he said.
Saporito said plans to preserve the house are in place.
“The original plans still remain to preserve the house to be a cornerstone of our open space project,” he said.
Maple Shade Historical Society President Betty Procopio said she found the presentation interesting and informative.
“I probably experienced ghosts but didn’t realize it,” she said, noting that she does believe in ghosts but was surprised by what they found.
In keeping with the haunted theme, historian Richard Tune will come to speak at a society meeting on Oct. 17 in the upstairs function room of the municipal building to talk about graveyards in New Jersey.