RISEUP and Creepy Places of New England conducted a Halloween event for St. Ann's in the form of a public
investigation of the cathedral. Guests were welcomed early and treated to talks by RISEUPO founder Ken
DeCosta and the author of "Ghost Hunting Southern New England", Andrew Lake of Greenville Paranormal
The entourage was met by a freak October snowstorm which kept some away who planned to travel longer
distances, but it did not deter the spirit of those attending.
In many ways, this would be the most intriguing and compelling investigation of the church to date.
RISEUP Investigators Present:
The attending guests were addressed by Dominique Doiron and Wally Rathbun (left) of the SAACC prior to the
investigation. They were then escorted to the conference room where they listened to a short presentation by
Andrew Lake (below).
Because the inclement weather limited the amount of attendees, we felt the smaller numbers may actually
work in our favor in terms of documentation and data gathering. We broke into smaller groups working the
basement hall and the cathedral upstairs.
Dan Snizek has a Master's in music studies and is not only a musician but a music teacher at the middle
school level. The organ in the balcony, as noted, does not work anymore, but there have been claims from staff
that notes are sometimes heard emanating from it. The two high pitched sounds in this next clip were
immediately identified by Dan as higher scale musical notes in sustain. The only object that could account for this
would be this organ. There are no clocks, alarms or smoke detectors that mimic this. The area around the organ
is well weather sealed so wind blowing through the pipes most probably is not an answer here. Does this sound
reinforce the reports of it playing by itself?
Two sustained musical notes from the balcony
The next clips removed all doubt from us that something very strange was occurring in regards to the
instruments on site. There is also an upright piano at the side of that altar that is occasionally used for
performances at the location. Julie DeMay is walking by herself around the altar and comes into close proximity
with the piano. She hears a knock coming from the piano which momentarily startles her and later checks with
Andrew Lake who was also in the vicinity to determine whether he can corroborate hearing this same sound. It
was described by Julie as if the keyboard cover was opened slightly then dropped. A test performed later
confirmed this as a distinct possibility.
There is a story told by the staff here regarding the night the Woonsocket police had to be summoned because
voices were heard inside and it was feared someone had broken into the church. This would happen from time to
time as the homeless and desperate would seek shelter from the elements or perhaps attempt to steal liquor or
food from the storage areas. The police responded with multiple units to the location and began a sweep of the
One officer entered the basement function hall and heard what he later described as a woman crying in the
ladies room. Approaching the door carefully, he identified himself and asked if anyone was in some distress.
There was no response, but the crying continued. Again he asked, this time more forcefully, if the individual
inside needed assistance. Drawing his service weapon, he opened the door slowly, not certain what he was about
to encounter. When he looked inside, no one was there. He cautiously checked all the stalls until he was satisfied
there was no origin for these cries.
When he rejoined his fellow officers and staff upstairs in the cathedral, his face had paled and it was clear
something was wrong. He related his story to them and they soon shared his look of astonishment. It was clear
that something about this church was not quite normal.
A group of investigators concentrated on the hallway that leads to and runs past the ladies room door for a
prolonged period of time during the night, periodically checking the ladies room as well. At one point, some of the
group clearly and distinctly heard a voice come out of the darkness of the empty hallway.
What makes this particular clip relative is the return of a group later in the evening to the same area. Again,
we try to extract a response from whatever energy there might present and in doing so, attempt to determine
whether it might be a consciousness or a residual imprint in the atmosphere. As we stood awaiting a response,
we clearly heard a disembodied voice emanate from the hallway. The sound was distinct and it's direction
definite. This particular group was assembled there in its entirety and had the basement level to themselves.
Disembodied voice in basement hallway
Not present at the time was Julie DeMay, our videographer who was in the cathedral with another group. She
would soon join Shayna Drinkuth, who was present for the first incident, later while the rest of the group took a
break. Together, they went to the exact spot where the voice was heard as Shayna explained what she and the
rest had heard a brief time earlier. While this discussion was going on, the voice again materialized. Less distinct,
but nonetheless there for both to hear.
While Julie has an very unusual and momentarily unnerving experience with a banging sound that emanated
from the upright piano in the cathedral, the next two clips we recorded reinforced the notion that the musical
instruments inside the building have an unsettling habit of letting you know they are part of the fabric of the
church. We had a recorder running in the chapel area while on a break downstairs and where astonished to hear
upon review the same key being pressed not once, but twice.
Piano key pressed twice
One of the more disconcerting experiences of the night happened to RISEUP co-founder Dave DeCosta. While
exiting the small office area off the conference room, the door of the office slammed shut behind him. He had not
come into contact with the door either intentionally or unintentionally and found himself immersed in complete
darkness. When turning to open the door, he found he could not do so, as if a force was holding it closed. He
became more forceful in his attempts to open the door with no success. Just when the notion of something trying
to isolate him crossed his mind, he quite suddenly pushed on the door and it opened with little effort on his part.
The door was completely checked for anything that might have triggered it to close or impede the attempts to
open it, but there was nothing that could be attributed to prompting this odd occurrence.
The question seems to be not “if” an unusual occurrence will happen here, but “when”? The sounds of musical
instruments playing in the church was quite remarkable and actually a bit unsettling. As was the clear and
unmistakable sound of a voice coming out of a hallway where there have been prior claims of just such a thing
The most satisfying element of all these experiences is twofold: Some were captured on video to illustrate the
position of the investigator(s) and they were experienced by multiple people present.
Whatever and whoever the “ghosts” of this magnificent cathedral are, they have chosen this as their haven and
seem to have retained the love and dedication to the building they displayed in life. Churches are indeed a place
where there are many reports of strange phenomena and one supposes the emotions and unwavering devotion to
their religion and their God make such places a sanctuary of peace and love in death as it was in life.