RISEUP was contacted by a source in November of 2008 to gauge our interest in
researching and investigating claims of paranormal activity at the Nathanael Greene
Homestead in Coventry.
RISEUP is both humbled and honored to be the first and only group to be invited
into this location for the purpose of a thorough paranormal investigation.
Temperature: 22 degrees (outdoors)
47 degrees (indoors)
RISEUP Investigators present: Ken DeCosta
Geographical and Historical Data
Built by Nathanael in 1770, the "Homestead" as it historically has been known, was
originally called "Spell Hall" as it was indicated in one of Nathanael's letters. Constructed on
the hillside, the site chosen for the Homestead was well sheltered on the west by natural
woods. The land to the front sloped eastward as a terrace to the Pawtuxet River. Originally
the house overlooked a broad area of open woodland meadow. The building is a well
preserved 18th century structure of simple, yet refined design. Originally the site had 83
acres but at the time of the 1919 sale to the Homestead Association, it had been reduced to
13 acres of open space and woodlands. The 2 & 1/2 story structure is typical of it's time in
design. Around the 1870's, the front door area was Victorianized with a bracketed hood and
double window door. During the early 1920's, an 18th century door with appropriate trim
was attached to the opening making it look as it would have in Nathanael's time. During the
1870's a fire started that burned up to the second floor in the vicinity of the door.
The two main floors of the home each consist of four rooms on either side of a
central hall. The rooms on the first floor are dining room, parlor, library and kitchen - each
having a paneled fireplace. The completely intact interior was first restored in the early
1920's with the establishment of the building as a museum. A second major restoration was
accomplished in 1990 showing from then on a more correct perspective of the house when
the Quaker family lived there. An extensive paint analysis was accomplished in the 1990
restoration giving now the earliest colors used throughout the 18th century home. The
rooms on the second floor are what we feel they would have been there in the 18th and
19th centuries. The first bedroom on the right as you ascend the stairs might have been
used by Nathanael and later his brother Jacob. The room diagonally across the hall might
have been used by Jacob Varnum Greene, the son of Jacob and the bedroom on the right is
appointed in Victorian style with wallpaper and lace curtains since the occupant, Elizabeth
Margaret who was the daughter of Jacob Varnum, lived until 1899, the Victorian era. The
fourth room is used now as a museum shop.
When Nathanael and Caty moved from Coventry, the house was purchased by
Nathanael's brother Jacob. He and his wife Peggy continued to live there until they died and
the same was true of the next two generations. Upon the death of Elizabeth Margaret, the
property was inherited by the children of her first marriage, Patience and Harris Inman. In
1915 the home was sold out of the family. Showing great concern for the property, four
members of the Kent County Chapter of the Rhode Island Sons of the American Revolution
purchased the property in 1919, restored it and gave it the name we know today as the
Nathanael Greene Homestead. the first caretaker, actually lived in the house but by 1935, a
caretaker's cottage was built and is used to this day.
One of the many claims of strange occurrences there revolve around door latches
being tripped by unseen hands.
One Christmas day not long ago, one of the painters hired to install a fresh coat to
the interior made a short trip to the homestead to determine if the paint had dried
successfully after a cold winter night. As she entered, she was overwhelmed by the
unmistakable smell of bread being baked. Puzzled, she went back outside to see if the
pleasant smell was coming from a neighboring home, she sensed no such odor. Venturing
back inside, the smell again was very pronounced.
As previously mentioned the sounds of door latches being tripped is a common
audible phenomena in the home coming from both the first and second floors. The most
recent reports come from the painters who were working inside.
Neighbors have reported hearing the sounds of children’s voices in the woods
abutting the property that lead down to the Blackstone River. Upon searching, they will find
on one there.
One of the Board member’s mothers had a profound experience one day as she sat
on a first-floor bench making a sewing repair of one of the bedspreads on display. She
remarked to her son she wanted leave, rather abruptly. When she was asked why, she
reported feeling a disconcerting yet pleasant embrace, first around her waist and then
gradually moving up to her shoulders as she sat there doing her work. Oddly enough, a
previous visitor to the home felt an icy embrace around herself as she sat on the same
bench reading a book.
One day the same board member who visits the house almost daily was astonished
to see a small carriage in which sits a doll moved to one of the doorways of a bedroom, far
from its normal position inside that room.
Neighbors have reported seeing a figure looking out of one of the first floor hallway
windows at them. On one occasion, the caretaker there at the time saw a figure looking out
her from the Greene bedroom on the first floor as she busied herself with gardening chores
A board member who was showing the home to a friend who was writing a book on
General Greene and they found themselves inside the second-floor gift shop room. They
heard a door latch go off downstairs and went down to check on it. They found no one there
and returned upstairs. As they were moving items around in one of the bedrooms, he
looked up at his friend and the face he saw on her body did not belong to her.
Unrecognizable. So much so that he caught himself just before extending a greeting of
“How are you?”, thinking someone else had come inside. His friend, seeing the puzzled look
on his face asked him what was wrong. When relating his story to us, he claimed it was the
expressionless face of an older woman.
One summer, a baby bonnet was moved from a dresser drawer inside one of the
second-floor bedrooms and placed inside a dresser drawer in the room directly across the
hall from it. It was covered with paper and left there. Two weeks later, the staff member
who moved it was being helped by a volunteer in doing inventory. They left the building,
went for dinner and upon returning discovered the drawer the bonnet had been placed in
was open and the tissue paper that had covered the bonnet was off and had been placed
aside atop a trunk near the bed. The volunteer was flabbergasted to find this as he was
certain the drawer had been closed when they left the home, an observation shared by the
Recently, a group of friends had spent the night inside the home just bantering
about books and whatever else after being shown the home by a board member.
Throughout the evening they always had one ear and one eye out for anything unusual that
might happen, but ultimately, it was a quiet night. The following morning, one of them was
asked if they had moved anything inside that evening. Receiving a clear response of “no”,
she went on to explain that when she opened up the house that morning, she had found
one of the chairs inside a bedroom has been moved from its normal location and now sat
there facing the door. It was almost as if it had been placed there by someone wishing to
eavesdrop on the group and listen to what they were saying.
At the agreed-upon date of the original investigation, RISEUP investigator met with
our host at his home. We were then driven to the location and arrived there at 6:00 pm.
We were initially struck by the outward appearance of the property as it was
readily apparent that the directorship had gone to great lengths to preserve the building
with all resources available to mirror its original form. The grounds were neat and well-kept
and the entire setting embodied a kind of regality and serenity. It was indeed a trip
backwards in time to a early point in the development of our nation.
Upon entering the building, one is immediately struck by the attention to detail in the
placement and style of its furnishings, most of which remain in the original form that once
graced the home. While inspiring to view the same fixtures used by the original inhabitants,
great care would be needed in order to navigate through the soon-to-be-darkened house
around such fragile and significant pieces. A great deal of time was spent familiarizing
ourselves with our environment.
Our extensive historical research of the property would prove beneficial in our
approach to investigating the claims of activity and what energies might have remained
behind here whether residual or intelligent. This research was greatly aided by the vast
array of knowledge of the family who resided here and the history of that era by our host
George, who would join us on this night not only out of a sense of responsibility to the
property but to satisfy his own curiosity about the reported activity here.
It is important to note that in doing a baseline sweep of the building - in order to
establish electrical power sources and anything else that might result in false positive
readings - that the presence of electricity was minimal at best. Only three sources, the
security code keypad on the first floor, the breaker box and the oil burner circuits both
located in the basement displayed any "bleed" at all. In fact, many of the rooms we would
investigate had no electrical sources at all and remains in its original state. A fact that
would prove vital upon review of our audio and video recordings.
As this was our initial foray into the building, we thought it best to minimize the
amount of equipment brought in. Therefore, we focused on digital audio recordings and
video documentation. We were also thrilled that we would be granted complete access to
the location, including places that are otherwise prohibited to guests.
After the initial walk-through which took about an hour, we broke for dinner. While
we were gone, we set up a IR video recorder on a bench at the far end of the upstairs
hallway and trained it on a KII meter that was stood upright against a stairway banister at
the far end. It was hoped that if there was any disturbance in the atmosphere in this area
where footsteps have been heard that it might register on the meter while the building was
empty and sealed. Our review yielded something very peculiar: not only did the KII spike
with no apparent source of origin, but we clearly heard the unmistakable sound of a door
latches being tripped even though no one was in the home at this point in time. This is a
common claim of those who care for the house. All interior doors are the type that were
common in this era - those of thumb-latch mechanisms. Our attempts to recreate the
sound were successful - it is indeed the same sound.
On our return we broke up and started audio (EVP) experiments in various rooms.
While inside a second floor bedroom - sitting on the floor in the empty, darkened room -
Ken asked a series of questions including one that centered around the possible presence of
a son or daughter of the original owners. The KII meter would light up at this point. Ken
was soon joined by David and the questioning continued. A control question regarding the
presence of offspring was asked and again the meter would illuminate in response. No
further questions elicited any response and the session ended with nothing further to
A rather unnerving event was experienced by Ken inside a first floor room when all
investigators decided to perform a silent vigil individually in all rooms. Doors were closed
and each listened and observed what they could during this time. Ken reported seeing a
dark mass moving about inside the room where he was situated. It was by this time
completely dark inside the house, but this "figure" seemed to be clearly visible as it moved
from right to left along the south wall.
The night wore on without anything significant occurring until the point where we
were about to finish for the evening. Ken requested Richard accompany him to an upstairs
bedroom thought to be the bedroom of one of the younger female family members for an
EVP/KII session which Richard readily agreed to. The video camera placed in the upstairs
hallway earlier in the evening had remained in that spot to this point. A KII meter and a
digital recorder were placed in separate areas on the four-poster bed and the session
Questioning began surrounding the history, events and identities of the family and
whether any possible contact was possible. When the question "Are you a son or daughter
of General Greene?" The KII lit up significantly to Richard's surprise and Ken's delight. At
that point, Ken retreated into the hallway to get the camcorder to document what was
hoped to be a prolonged period of activity.
Note: The theory surrounding the KII meter (pictured below) is that it is designed
to register fluctuations in the magnetic fields in the area in which it is placed. It is further
suggested that spirits or entities may interact with the device by coming into close
proximity to it. Their presence can cause the series of lights on the device to illuminate to
various levels. This can also in theory be used to signal a response to a question in a "yes"
or "no" manner.
It is also vital to note that the device can be falsely triggered by the presence of
cell phones or walkie-talkies. In this particular case, all cell phones were turned off (a
RISEUP requirement on all investigations) and no communication devices were present. As
we also have noted, in this particular room - there are no sources of electrical power
On previous investigations where we have had spikes in the KII, we have
encountered what appears to be quite random lighting of the device. This is always
considered and usually dismissed as something non-paranormal. In this particular
investigation, we are satisfied this is not the case. No one else was in this room or on this
floor at the time.
At one point in the session, Ken asked if an audible sound like rapping or knocking
could be made to signify a presence. He demonstrated by knocking on a wall three times. A
few seconds later, David called for the tape to be marked as tapping was heard from his
and Chris' location on the floor below.
It should also be noted that we received spikes in response to politeness and
kindness toward the "subject". The session would end at Richard's request as the hour was
late and a long ride home awaited everyone. A final goodbye was said to whomever was in
the room at that point and the KII would light up in response.
The final interesting experience was as the group was about to leave. Ken was
standing outside the dining room (below) to the right of the entrance downstairs speaking
to George. Chris was seen in this room for a brief time earlier. While conversing, the
familiar sound of a latch being lifted was heard inside the room to Ken's immediate left.
Peering inside the room, expecting to see Chris fiddling with the door, Ken saw no one.
Seconds later, Chris appeared at the front door having been outside making a phone call.
After a slow start, it appears on the surface that the reports of activity surrounding
the property may have some merit to them. The KII session in the upstairs bedroom was a
fascinating experiment that seems to have yielded great results.
One of the ways we chose to debunk the results was to check under the bed to
determine whether or not any metals might be present that could conduct any sort of
electrical or magnetic currents. This was done with the knowledge that certain antiquated
four-poster beds (particularly in 17th and 18th century England) had copper mesh frames
under the mattress to support it. This was not the case here as the composition of the
frame was completely wooden - with dove-tail and tongue and groove joints and wooden
pegs rather than nails. The bed contains no metals whatsoever.
Nothing was picked up on the digital recorder that was present in the room.
However, the tapping noise heard by David and Chris was synchronized against the video
recording and it was found that at that point, indeed three taps that mimicked Ken's were
recorded on a different digital recorder in an adjoining bedroom to the one where mere
seconds before - Ken had made his request.
The experience Ken had while standing outside the dining room speaking to
Richard was truly inexplicable. There was little doubt someone walked into the room and it
was assumed it was Chris. The sound of a door latch seemed to confirm that, but when no
one was found inside and Chris then appeared through the front door, all efforts to explain
who it was that walked inside the room met with failure.
The experiences and the recorded data at this location were if nothing else -
compelling. We are extremely pleased and grateful to have been invited back for more
sessions at this intriguing location along with a stroll around its grounds. As we move
forward, our next visit will center around objectively assessing the previously reported
activity and further examining our own experiences in order to possibly find more rational
explanations before making any definitive claims of a haunting.