Curious about paranormal investigations? Want to bust a moving specter? Wonder what's haunting the houses of York?
The York County Heritage Trust and the Mason-Dixon Paranormal Society are inviting the curious to join them for a public paranormal investigation at the Bonham House for a fundraiser on Oct. 6.
"This is something that we have been thinking about for a few years," says Dan Roe, the trust's director of education. "This kind of event is popular at other museums, other historic sites, so we did research to see if it was feasible to host something for the public."
Although Roe says he is unaware of specific paranormal incidents related to the Bonham House, "with all of our museums, there is a public perception that things are occurring. This is a chance to professionally and scientifically investigate it."
Sean Wagner, Mason-Dixon Paranormal Society co-founder, is bringing a team of six or seven people and $35,000 worth of equipment guests might recognize from ghost-hunting TV shows to track down examples of electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) and other manifestations.
When asked what might happen, Wagner says, "we (could) pick up some EVPs, pick up disembodied voices with a digital recorder, any recording device."
He describes the paranormal society's setup: "We have a DVR system, camcorders that see in infrared, a full-spectrum camera that sees into ultraviolet, a thermal imaging camera."
Participants won't just be watching an investigation happen, he says.
"We'll show 'em how to use the equipment, (give) tips on how to investigate, and have them do the investigation," Wagner says. "They will actually be the investigators. We'll let them do everything. (We'll) just be a guide and assistance."
Tour first: Attendees will start with a tour of the Bonham House, a Victorian mansion, by costumed staff members.
The tour will "orient people to the building itself, understand the structure, learn about the Victorian era, the home, the customs, museum preservation and collections," Roe says. "We're going to let them be with the items, so they need to learn appropriate behavior."
The Bonham House collection is a very personal one. Members of the Bonham family lived there from 1875 to 1965.
In the house, Roe says "you see different layers of time visually as well."
"Horace Bonham trained as a lawyer but spent most of his life as an artist/painter. His works are there," Roe says. "His daughter Elizabeth, Bessie, lived there for most of her life, from the age of 3 until she passed away in 1965. The items there are Bonham family items."
The Bonham House, according to Roe, presents a chance to see how "from 1800s to 1900s buildings changed. It's been modernized: No electricity to electricity, gas lights, mixed match of bathrooms from the 1920s and 1960s."
Roe sounds calm and curious about the paranormal investigation.
"This is also the first time, (so it's) somewhat new to us," he says. The event "gives the membership a chance to learn about paranormal investigations as well as a seasonal marketing opportunity -- you attract adventurers this time of year."
Experience: Wagner has been performing paranormal investigations for more than seven years, driven by a "big interest" in the paranormal. He and his team investigate 40 to 45 businesses and homes each year all across the country.
Wagner has had some experience with York's past walking about.
"We caught an apparition on one of our York-area investigations," he says.
He and his team have already scouted out the Bonham House.
"We got a number of EVPs on that investigation," Wagner says.
On Oct. 6, visitors might be able to hear the voices for themselves.
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The Bonham House will play host to a paranormal investigation starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. The fun will last until 2 a.m. at 152 E. Market St., York.
The cost is $50 for York County Heritage Trust members and $60 for the general public. Reservations are required by Monday, Oct. 1.
To reserve a space, call 848-1587, ext. 301, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Mason-Dixon Paranormal Society, which will be conducting the investigation, visit masondixonparanormalsociety.com.
All proceeds from the evening go toward Heritage Trust educational programming.
For more local Halloween-themed events, click here.
To see more photos from the Bonham House, click here.