FULTON, NY – Roughly 40 people took turns searching out anything paranormal that hides in the dark, eerie corners of the historic Fulton buildings that are home to the public library and the John Wells Pratt House Museum.
A non-profit paranormal activity team based in Auburn, Soul Searchers has returned to these two Fulton buildings for the second year, again finding considerable evidence of paranormal activity in both buildings during preliminary investigations, said Soul Searchers founder, Shawn DiBello.
Using supernatural detection equipment, the paranormal investigators have found instances of paranormal activity such as electronic voice phenomena (EVP,) electromagnetic field detection via a K2 Meter, motion sensored lights detecting movement, and have even said to had conversations utilizing a flashlight to communicate with spirits, DiBello explained.
“We use the lights mostly to communicate. We have asked them questions, indicating that they should flash the light for yes. We always ask a variety of questions, always returning to one question multiple times throughout the conversation just varying its wording a little to ensure that we are getting consistent answers even when jumping around with topics,” he continued.
As founder of Soul Searchers, DiBello is adamant that the all volunteer group is an authentic team of paranormal researchers with a genuine concern for ensuring one outcome – helping those that seek it.
“We don’t have the same motivators as many other paranormal groups out there, we aren’t in it to be famous or for any thrills for ourselves. Our number one priority is that we help, not just our clients but in many cases the spirits as well. That’s why we don’t ever charge for our services, we do take donations but our concern isn’t monetary, we do it to help people,” DiBello said.
In this case, Soul Searchers have utilized their unique skill set while taking advantage of the historic demeanor of two old buildings to bring support to the Fulton Public Library and the John Wells Pratt House Museum.
Anticipated findings were not in short supply as rumors have circulated regarding haunted happenings in both buildings for many years.
The public library, built in 1905 atop the foundation of a late 1800s building that housed canal workers, has been rumored to be home to the spirit of a little girl seen looking over the Oswego River from the mezzanine.
Giggles as well as whispers that sound like a young girl saying “go home” have been captured by Soul Searchers recording devices both on the mezzanine and in the basement of the library.
Soul Searchers staff have reported several instances of mysterious elevator malfunctioning while in the basement of the library as the button has made noise as though it were pushed with no one near and the door has opened on its own on separate occasions.
Betty Maute, an employee of Fulton Public Library, was quickly made a believer in paranormal activity after last year’s ghost tour had come to an end and she experienced her own unexplained happening.
As she recalls, the tour was over and she and one other staff member were the only people left in the library preparing to end the night when they suddenly heard a noise from the mezzanine of the library.
Maute said looking back she had expected that someone had slipped past the taped off section and remained in the library. However, what they found was anything but.
When the flashlights wouldn’t turn on, the two quickly turned the building lights on when Maute said they then instead found a book that had fallen off the shelf all on its own entitled, “I Was Here” by Gayle Forman.
Other staff have reported books falling or being pulled out of their designated places on the bookshelf while working, and reappearing again unexplained after having been returned to their rightful spot.
Similar instances have occurred at the John Wells Pratt House since being built in 1861 by John Wells Pratt himself.
The house remained in the Pratt family until 1975 and has seen its fair share of life and death.
Both John Wells Pratt and his wife, Harriet Pratt died in the house as well as two of the three children that predeceased them, one child having died at the age of three without ever having lived in the house.
With four children, all sons, John and Harriet Pratt were only survived by one son who later joined the immediate Pratt family in the mausoleum John Wells Pratt built in Mount Adnah Cemetery.
Soul Searchers recorded numerous instances of shadow play on the second floor of the Pratt House in what was once the servants quarters. The paranormal researchers for the team have told of their experiences seeing shadows peek around corners and having seen a shadow walk past the light of a window on the second floor.
Volunteers at the Pratt House have also reported briefly seeing shadows hurriedly walk down the hallway only to find that no one was in that section of the house.
It is believed that Mrs. Harriet Pratt remains in her long time home but is a friendly, welcoming spirit.
Soul Searchers has recorded EVPs of what is believed to be Mrs. Pratt as well as EVPs from what sounds like a young girl along with footsteps heard in the Civil War Room on the second floor.
The intended spirits seemed to be more lively during preliminary investigations, as the first tour concluded and guests reviewed “very little activity.”
“It was rather quiet but still very interesting, even just hearing the history on the library,” said one guest, Barbara Pisano.
Her daughter, Kathy Pisano Morrell, said the previously captured EVPs that were played at the Pratt House were “amazing.”
“It sounded like a child’s voice, a little girl, saying things like ‘oh my God’ and ‘hi’, she even finished a song the man was singing to her. It was clear as a bell,” she said of the recordings.
One of her favorite parts of the tour though, was using the paranormal detection to search for activity.
“We got to wear the headphones and listen for voices, it was all pretty interesting stuff. We really learned a lot,” she said.
Her sister agreed, “It was like watching an episode of Ghost Hunters, it was really fun,” said Terri Pisano.