RISEUP was invited to investigate claims of paranormal activity in this location by the
director of the 19th-century Newport edifice. Ken and David DeCosta met with the director in
his office on March 26th, 2009 and were given a tour of the location as well as a rundown on
the reported activity and the specific areas where the activity seems to be at its apex.
As has been the case in so many other sites we have investigated that hold great
historical significance, the whereabouts, name and personnel involved in its operation will be
withheld per their request to discourage any future inquiries about paranormal investigations
from outside sources as well as out of sheer respect for their responsibility to preserve its
memory and current state as a functional, significant piece of Rhode Island history and not
as merely another "haunted location."
The complete investigation took two separate nights to conclude; March 30, and April 6,
On the first night we were accompanied by two members of our AGS affiliate group in
Massachusetts - Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society (CAIPRS) - Derek Bartlett,
its Founder and Deborah Ahern, its Director of Ghosts and Hauntings.
Temperature: 52 degrees (outdoors)
64 degrees (indoors)
RISEUP Investigators Present: Ken DeCosta
CAIPRS Investigators Present: Derek Bartlett
Geographical and Historical Data
Data withheld to protect elements of discretion involving the location.
Reports of the apparition of an African-American male in a small basement cubicle; the
relentless feeling of a presence on the third floor; the apparition of a woman moving across
the floor in a second-floor room; the sound of footsteps and feeling of a presence in an
empty second-floor ballroom; another presence is felt in a second-floor art room; erratic
electrical activity in the first floor library.
Ken, Chris and Jay arrived early for a walk-through and the set-up. David D. would join
us a brief time later along with an intuitive acquaintance of ours - Lindsay Hill - whom we
agreed to invite along with us per request of the director and to appease our own curiosity
as to the merits of working with a sensitive on an investigation as we had not done so at this
particular point in time. Dave Grady and Shayna would follow and we would all be joined by
Derek and Deb who drove in from Cape Cod a brief time later.
After re-familiarizing ourselves with the mansion's layout with particular attention paid
to the many rooms we would pass through, we agreed on IR stationary locations and remote
audio placement and continued our set-up phase. This would be a longer and more daunting
set-up than most due to the sheer size of the building as well as the various "ins-and-outs"
of navigating grand staircases, countless doorways and hallways that took multiple twists
and turns on each floor. There had been a great many walls added over the years to create
more rooms, meaning there were little to no "straight runs" where cable could run in a direct
line to our cameras.
The reported phenomena was touched upon, but for this investigation - due to the
presence of an intuitive and to allow our investigators more leeway in determining their own
conclusions without placing too large a sample of suggestion upon them - certain
phenomena were not discussed in their entirety.
Unbeknownst to us, the director had brought a friend along as well as a father and
daughter, both acquaintances of him who had an interest in what we do and wished to
observe. This on the surface would impede us to a degree, but such things have to be dealt
with from time to time. As it turned out, our set-up took so long that the father-daughter
left for another appointment before we began. We had developed a plan and would proceed
with it ignoring any other obstacles - human or otherwise.
The team were split into manageable groups with Ken, Jay and Liz taking the first floor
which included the reception area, the library, the kitchen, parlor and drawing room. Chris
would take Derek and Deb from CAIPRS up to the second floor on which the game room,
ballroom, craft room, veranda and master bedroom were located. David D, Shayna and a
guest, Lindsay Hill who would begin in the basement area where the apparition of an
African-American man has been seen and be accompanied by the property director. Dave
Grady would take first watch on monitor in the kitchen area where he would be joined by the
assistant director who had joined us a short time earlier.
On the first floor, Ken, Jay and Liz after a brief trek through the rooms to create a video
documentation, began an EVP session in the living room. The line of questioning mainly
centered around efforts to establish whether or not the spirits connected to the building
were family members of its original inhabitants back in the 1850s. Moving from room to
room, the group was intrigued by paintings and photos of the family that were scattered
throughout the first floor. When the session moved to the parlor (where card tables are set
up), the group used a deck of cards that was handy to create a faux card game in the hope
it would entice whomever might remain there to join in and interact with them.
They ended their session in the library area (below), where peculiar incidents revolving
around electrical apparatus have been reported occurring at the same time a portrait of the
original owner was brought into the room. While no natural cause could be found, it is safe
to assume that the TV switching itself on is most likely attributable to quite rational
explanations. In any event, the episode could not be recreated nor did it happen while we
On the second floor, Chris Deb and Derek were conducting EVP experiments on their
own, with emphasis on four areas: the ballroom, the rest room, the game room and the
master bedroom (now an empty area where bridal photos are usually taken). In the rest
room, it has been said that a presence lurks about. It was discovered that this rest room
(below) was not part of the original house, so it is quite possible that residual activity occurs
there based around whatever its primary purpose was.
The group moved on to the master bedroom, where the apparition of a woman has
been seen floating across the room and through a wall. No personal experiences were
reported nor did we find any video or audio evidence to support the claim. The group then
moved on to the ballroom area, where footsteps have been heard and a presence felt. It is a
vast, yet very sparsely furnished area and the place where the Native American exhibitions
took place. A remote microphone was placed in this area (below) that would prove to be a
vital link in establishing credibility in a phenomenal piece of evidence we would capture later
Dave, Lindsay and Shayna were the first to investigate the basement, where the
apparition of an African-American male had been seen in a small, walled-in cubicle. Also on
their agenda was to determine why a door that led into the main area would slam shut by
itself. Workers inside the basement area had also reported their own strange experiences.
This picture below was taken from inside the cubicle looking out into the main area.
The groups would switch personnel well into the evening and it was then that we
captured what might be the most compelling and disturbing piece of evidence we have to
date. Ken, and the Daves - DeCosta and Grady - were upstairs on the third floor level where
a very oppressive presence has been felt. The third floor is a maze of doors, passageways,
storage space and a faux door which leads into a very narrow hallway which in turn leads
into a larger room complete with a very ornate marble fireplace. We surmise that this is
where domestics were housed - on this upper-level - as was usually the case in that era.
One place in particular, which was dubbed "the sick room" - because of the feelings of
oppression and illness that are felt there - leads to this particular room. These rooms would
be the focus of this session.
Earlier in the night, Deb Ahern claimed she felt a presence in the "sick room" and a
feeling that her group (she, Derek, Chris) was not wanted there. Derek also reported seeing
what appeared to be a shadow moving freely around the room and through a doorway.
To access the area, one has to walk through the door of an armoire(!) that hides a
small, steep, narrow and low-ceilinged set of stairs.
It is then you come to the area dubbed "the sick room" (below). Investigators picked up on
the same types of sad, morose feelings that the mansion staff had.
Dave Grady (kneeling) soaking in the atmosphere in the "the sick room." Dave at this
point felt someone or something was touching him on the back and looming over him.
This room in turn leads to the "Fireplace Room"
It was here during the vigil that we captured an unusual voice phenomena. Unusual
because the voice we heard was audible. At the time, Ken was standing with Dave G. just
outside the fireplace room and Dave D. was in fact inside the room. During the EVP session
a human voice was heard by all who were present. This is what was heard and captured on
audio at the 0:16 mark.
An anguished response
At this point Ken instructed both the others to not speak of what they had heard. When
the session ended, all returned to the base area in the kitchen where they sought out Derek
Bartlett, who as a non-member of the group would serve as an impartial judge of what he
would be told. One by one, the investigators related to Derek what they had heard and in
each case, all accounts matched perfectly. Derek was particularly intrigued based on his,
Deb's and Chris's own experiences earlier in the same location.
One odd aspect of the audible phenomena was that each investigator said they felt it
was a female voice and what sounded like a high-pitched shriek. The digital playback
however seems to reveal the voice as that of a male. This will happen from time to time with
digital recorders and is not all that unusual.
Here is the recording again, amplified and isolated.
While we were quite certain that no one inside was responsible for this, the real
possibility of a scream outside the building then remained the only obstacle in establishing
our evidence as genuine. The remote microphone in the ballroom, which was directly below
the room we were standing in remained the only and truest way to establish whether the
yell was external or not. If it came from outside, surely this device would pick it up as well,
establishing enough doubt that it did not originate in the same room we were in. A complete
review of the recorded audio did not reveal any yell or scream at the same point in time we
heard the sound. We feel then that the sound originated in the same room where it was
heard and was limited to that area. While our recorders picked up the scream, the remote
audio under us did not.
The great news is that a follow-up investigation of the mansion has already been arranged.
While the director's focus and interest seems to be geared more toward the metaphysical,
we produced some solid evidence that at the very least suggests that paranormal activity
may indeed be present at this location. The audio evidence - particularly that which was
caught on the third floor - supports that conclusion. The melodious sounds captured on the
second floor - while not as dramatic - also indicate there may be something here. Our next
investigation will focus more on those areas as we seek to confirm our initial impressions.