Editor offers sneak peak of Eagle House ghost tour
(Editor's note: the following article is a first person report on a personal ghost tour taken by Associate Editor Jessica L. Finch last week.)
Normally if I am working at 10 p.m. I am at Amherst Town Hall, covering a board meeting. But on Feb. 9, I was across the street at the Eagle House Restaurant. I was there to participate in a ghost hunt led by the four members of Beyond Ghosts. The organization, founded a year ago, has toured several landmarks around the country and locally. They said they have a great interest in historic places. The Eagle House, built in 1827, is the perfect example of historic places in Western New York. Once part of the Underground Railroad, it was one of the first structures built in the village.
The Eagle House has always operated as a restaurant and tavern and holds one of the longest running liquor licenses in the state. At one time it rented out hotel rooms upstairs.
This was my first ghost hunt and we didn't have much luck. Which made sense to me because I am not sure if I believe in the paranormal. John Crocitto and Ryan Willard led the tour, taking me into the upstairs banquet rooms. They asked questions out loud, waiting for a response from a spirit. A device that reads electronic currents would flash now and then, suggesting there was something in the room, Crocitto said. Another group, including Eagle House Manager Tricia L. Browne, was led by Marty Szewzcyk and Brandon Bristow. They toured the basement first and later moved into other rooms.
I toured the facility for about two hours, leaving before midnight, but the Beyond Ghosts organizers and Browne stayed until 2 a.m. Browne said she doesn't know if she is a “believer” or a skeptic but things happen around the restaurant that make her and employees curious to know if spirits or ghosts are responsible when it seems like there is no other explanation. “You see all these shows on television so when Beyond Ghosts approached us about doing an investigation of the property, the idea was intriguing because for many years customers and staff have been curious to know if something or someone is hanging around on the property,” she said. She said tables have flipped over, loud arguing has been heard in the basement only to find nobody there, and beer taps have turned on mysteriously. During the tour, Browne's group went upstairs, sitting in one of the banquet rooms with the doors closed for almost two hours. She said there seemed to be a spirit of a young girl, 10 or 11 years old — based on responses and non responses to questions asked.
“My experience on the ghost hunt was fun, I tried to have no expectations as to what we would find, or what would find us, that night so based on what happened I am happy to think there may be some young spirits that are here to keep an eye on things and they feel comfortable here,” she said. “Bottom line, it all depends on what you want to believe in I guess.”
I agreed — my tour was interesting, even if we sat in silence for most of it. Speaking with members of Beyond Ghosts opened my mind to understand their mission. Members of the group call themselves “skeptical believers.” They say they always try to debunk reports of ghosts or paranormal activity — but there have been times they haven't been able to reasonably explain what occurred. Armed with cameras, recorders, electromagnetic fields detectors, and flashlights they staked out various areas of the restaurant.
They have found there are many scientific explanations for reports of ghosts. For example, some people have a low tolerance for electromagnetic waves which explains why they feel eery in basements, which tend to register high levels. Or if they wake up in the middle of the night and feel someone is there, it could be the waves coming from their alarm clock radio.
Members of Beyond Ghosts said their tours are designed to be fun and informative. Beyond Ghosts will present a lecture which will include footage from previous tours. A tour of the restaurant will follow. The event, which includes dinner, will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Eagle House, 5578 Main St. near Cayuga Road, Williamsville. The tours will conclude no later than 1 a.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling 447-0398 or visiting < http://www.beyondghosts.com > www.beyondghosts.com. After dinner, attendees will be broken into small groups and will tour the main floor and second level of the restaurant. During other such events, attendees have brought their own equipment, which is OK with the group. “We 'll see what happens,” Crocitto said. “It's fun, for entertainment, in a historic venue. It's not super serious.” Collectively they have done hundreds of investigations — a list of their locations is on the Web site. A video from the Feb. 9 tour can also be found on < http://www.youtube.com > www.youtube.com on the Beyond Ghosts channel. Crocitto said there were some voices and sounds recorded, including footsteps in the hallways.
He told me that activity picked up after midnight, which made me wonder that if I stuck around if I would no longer be a skeptic. Some of my former college roommates insist that I must believe in ghosts because of things that happened when we lived in a large house in Oswego that once served as a funeral home and hospice. I am not sure where I stand on the topic, but at the very least it was interesting to learn more about the historic Eagle House and creep around in the dark. Anyone interested in having Beyond Ghosts tour their building can call, 597-9558.
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