2020 has so far been a real life nightmare globally. Why not embrace the strangeness? Haunted Houses and Halloween has always fascinated me since childhood, and even more so now. So for this Halloween (and everyone after) I created the ELEGANT CLASSY GENTLEMAN PARANORMAL DIVISION.
The mission is to locate, research and investigate reputed haunted sites in Harlem to gather and record real paranormal activity in Harlem. For the five days leading up to October 31st 2020 I identified six locations right in the heart of Harlem, and systematically attempted to gather proof of the sites haunted history. These are the paranormal investigations.
Haunted Site: #1/ 32 5th Avenue Harlem New York.
Following a lead (and a poltergeist story) from an acquaintance of mine Will Roberson while having a chardonnay at Barawine. Will shared with me an account 25 years ago, when he was renting a room on the 2nd floor of this mysterious brownstone, which is right next to Red Rooster owner Markus Samuelson’s house. he recounted to me how he woke up one morning and witnessed “pots & pans floating in the air“. He departed the premises immediately….and never returned. I asked him to take me to the actual house, as it was only 2 1/2 blocks from our table at Barawine on 120th street and Lenox Ave. a short walk later we arrived at in front of the brownstone, and I asked him to point out the window that was his room at the time. Will pointed to the 2nd floor window which was the third to the right. The house is the only house on the block that was not occupied, and sealed up like a fortress, as if keeping something out….or In.
My EMF meter was going crazy as I approached the house (the readings was off the charts) and later noted the fluctuations, and did the math. There is definitely something spooky about (and going on inside) this place. It just so happens that someone from the neighborhood that I know lives next door on the other side in the basement apartment “Carol”. I asked her how long since she moved in, and she replied “about three years”. I also asked her if she has experienced “anything strange” since she moved in. Carol told me that she never goes down to the basement alone, and when she does she turns on every light down there, and takes her dog with her. What’s was the reason for that I inquired. She told me that she feels like “something is down there”, something that she could not explain. So I gave her my EMF meter and asked her if she would go down as far as she felt comfortable with and note the readings. The readings was off the charts again.
Unable to contact the owner of the house to request entry, I returned at night to set up a laser grid which is designed to capture the shape or form of ethereal or spectral bodies that pass through the grid.
Unable to obtain entry inside, instead of marking the investigation inconclusive, I have filed it as: to be continued. It’s a paranormal hot spot I believe. Perhaps that’s why the house is locked down like it’s harboring a wild animal inside, or poltergeists.
Haunted Site #2/ The Harlem Gatehouse (130 Convent Ave)
The Harlem Gatehouse (a now defund water pumping station for the city build in the late 19th century) on 135th Street and Convent Avenue is now a city landmark. There is no one main story of hauntings for this cite, as it’s reputation of being haunted stretches back over two centuries, mostly among the local residents.
The Gatehouse is a very interesting area (and beautiful) on Convent Avenue. I was drawn to this site earlier this summer, maybe it wanted to tell me something. I rode up and began to scan for readings all along the outside perimeter of the building (unable again to secure entry inside this site due to Covid-19) and came up with nothing even as the sun began to set.
I spend a large amount of time at this haunted site, but I could not obtain any paranormal readings outside of the Gatehouse (if only I could get inside) walls. I scanned the windows, doors, walls, and pipes.
As sunset fell upon me, and I still had not found anything spooky, I decided it was time to pack it up. as I was getting ready to leave, a homeless man sitting at the top of the steps of the main entrance (he was there watching me the whole time) said to me “are you alright”, yes I replied. I asked him if he lived in the area, and he said “Yeah, right here”. In passing I asked him if he seen or heard anything “Strange” or out of the ordinary. The man replied: “Yes, around 3:30 am every night, I hear voices (disembodied) coming from behind the door under the stairs. I immediately ran over in the semi-darkness to the door (under the massive stairs) with my EMF meter to try and get a reading. I scanned every inch of the door, the floor under it, heck I scanned the grids on the ground. I got nothing.
From above the top of the stairs, I heard the man say: “Only at 3:30am. That’s when it happens, there and the doors in the back of the house”. So I guess this investigation will have to be filed as “to be continued”.
I simply must gain access when the pandemic allows and investigate inside. Or swing by around 3:30am with a EMF recorder and eavesdrop on spectral conversations.
Haunted Site #3/ The James Bailey House (10 St. Nicholas Place 150th Street)
This castle like house was built in 1888 for James Bailey (the other half of Barnum & Bailey Circus) with nine bedrooms. The mansion is claimed to be haunted due to it being a funeral home in 1951, and that is was “overrun by a pack of wild dogs” which I don’t get. But the funeral home I do.
If any house in Harlem looks haunted, this historical landmark tops the list. The mansion seems to be beautiful and daunting at the same time, and fits the bill of the classical haunted house at night. I was not able to gain access to the mansion at the time of the investigation.
I tried to get some EMF readings on the front porch and around the house, but obtained only very low signals.
This is another reputed paranormal site in Harlem that I will have to return at a later date after securing entry inside.
This place certainly looks haunted…..at night!
Haunted Site #4/ Harry Houdini House/ 278 West 113th Street
The Famed escape artist Harry Houdini passed away on Halloween (a very good candidate for a haunting) in 1926. However before Houdini died, him and his wife made a pact that for the span of ten years after his death, Bess his wife would hold a seance on Halloween to attempt to contact her from the other side. Houdini stood his wife up for ten years straight, never making an appearance. The last seance was held in 1936.
The house is now full of rented apartments, and I was unable to contact one (or a couple) of the current tenants to inquire if they are any resident ghost’s in brownstone. I don’t think it would be worth to investigate further. I mean in life Houdini wanted nothing more than to speak to the living from the land of the dead, and couldn’t even haunt his own house
Haunted Site #5/ Trinity Cemetery (550 West 155th Street)
This cemetery Washington Heights which dates back to 1776 (The site of the battle of Fort Washington) was built 1842 by the Trinity Church parish when burials were forbidden in downtown Manhattan due to outbreaks of disease. This site has a very long history of being rife with ghosts. I wonder if my grandparents are roaming around the cemetery? (yes, they are buried there) I stopped by to see them (of course), and tried to get a message from them on the “spirit box” first before moving on to random sprits that might want to communicate with me.
I couldn’t get any readings at my grandparents grave site, but I did get some readings in other areas in this massive cemetery. There are few things more creepy than being alone in a very large cemetery. I decided to use the spirit box to see if anyone (non living) would speak and say something that I could record and document.
The spirit box for some reason malfunctioned/power went dead, and like on another investigation newly charged equipment/batteries just goes dead, so I didn’t get any spirit voices.
Feeling like this was not a good time to capture paranormal activity at Trinity, I decided to pack up and move on to the next haunted site. We will return here at another time.
Haunted Site #6/ Morris Jumel Mansion (65 Jumel Terrace)
Referred to as Manhattan’s oldest house, this mansion in Harlem is said to haunted by at least five spirits, however the main one is the ghost of Eliza Jumel. Her husband died in 1832, and she married Arron Burr (Alexander Hamilton’s Assassin), and after they divorced Jumel’s appearance became frightening and she died alone. She is said to appear demented and delusional the way she suffered right before she passed.
The grounds surrounding the Jumel Mansion is peaceful and quite beautiful. People during the day come to the grounds to read, sit on the grass or benches looking down on Edgecombe Ave. I however took the opportunity to scan for EMF readings around the outside of the house and the immediate grounds. The three people who was just hanging out on the grounds of the mansion eyed me with casual curiosity as I went about my investigation on the outside.
Getting slight readings from the outside of the house, it was now time to enter this Haunted Historical House and try to capture video/audio evidence of paranormal activity.
After clearing the preliminary paperwork for entry, I was welcomed into the house by the gift shop clerk “Nicole” (and was the only other person in the house, with the exception of her supervisor) who informed me that I was the only visitor that day, and would tour the house alone (Oh yes!).
I ventured into the Octagon room and marveled at it’s colonial beauty, that reminded me of a Mason’s Temple (George Washington was a master mason) and lingered in that room for a bit more than was necessary.
This room was too bright and sunny for an apparition to appear, so stealing myself I ventured upstairs to the rooms above.
The vibe upstairs was quite a bit different than the lower floors, and had the “Strange” feeling that something was “lurking about” unseen. The accent upstairs was scary, as the old original wood floors felt like that they would give way at any moment (and the creaking) and I would come crashing to the 1st floor.
As I wandered from room to room….alone, I just could not shake the feeling that something (or someone) was following me around.
While investigating the upstairs bedrooms, I pretty much got the same low readings that I recorded outside the house. But I still had this uneasy feeling that I could not explain. So I headed downstairs to the basement to see if I would have better luck there.
Upon reaching the basement, I pulled out my equipment only to find that every battery was drained empty (always the basement!) so I was unable to record any data to report. While a chill ran up my spine, I remembered how the paranormal investigators on the Tele, often have this same problem (citing that spirits drain the power from electric devices to manifest). This marks the second time during my paranormal investigations that the equipment just mysteriously died (no pun intended) on me!
I returned upstairs to the gift shop, to have a look and Nicole (the gift shop girl) began to tell me stories about her co-workers run in’s with the resident ghosts. There is no doubt that this house is haunted (I felt it!) but the collecting of evidence will have to wait for another time.