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Created: July 14, 2010


bridging science
and parascience

private residence 10

Rochester, NH

This investigation became more and more disappointing as it progressed, from the initial contact to the completion of analysis. The first sign that something was wrong came almost immediately. We gave Beau a head's up that we might be doing a short notice investigation in Rochester, and her instant response was that something about this investigation was not as it seemed - that there was deliberate deception involved in trying to get us there. There was nothing obvious in the demeanor of the tenants who called for the investigation and their anecdotes seemed both internally consistent and consistent with other residential claims, so we went ahead and scheduled it.

distorted candles

Once Andy arrived for the pre-investigation interviews and walk-through, the next sign came up. Suddenly, the anecdotes were sounding more exaggerated, and it quickly became clear that the tenants were avid followers of paranormal-related reality shows - not a bad thing in itself, but coupled with overstated incidents it tends to raise questions regarding reasonable reactions to unusual events versus unusual reactions to reasonable events. However, the tenants supplied objective evidence that something was indeed going on at the site - mostly photo anomalies that could easily be nothing more than reflections and / or dust... and two candles.

The candles were claimed to have been found bent as shown in the photo, lying atop the sconces they belonged in rather than held normally. Our initial assessment was that bending candles this way without distorting either the outside or inside curves was certainly unexplainable. Further, the broken candle separated in an extremely unusual way - the wick broke about a millimeter inside the other half. It clearly was not cut. Even with the prior cautionary indicators, we showed up the following week ready to go.

Upon Beau's arrival we handed her the candles. Her immediate response was that the effect was hoaxed. Further, during her walk-through she repeatedly claimed that there were genuine manifestations but that they were being grossly exaggerated. Her basic impression was that something was there affecting the tenants, but the effects would be largely unnoticed by them or coming in their dreams. The rest of the team experienced nothing unusual.

After the investigation, the tenants called to tell us they captured phenomena on videotape. A clip from one of the tapes is shown below.

"Blanket hoax"

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The second video contains nothing that clearly depicts any kind of remarkable event, and the first - although it could have been caused by a ghost - could have also been caused by a living person. Further, the percipient's description of the event didn't match what actually appears on the video. It was claimed that the blanket was pulled off the individual under it, when it can be clearly seen that the blanket comes from a high point to a low one. On top of that, the individual claimed to have been awoken by the incident when it is clear from the supplied evidence he was very much awake already.

Also, we did physically test a few candles to see how easily they do or do not bend with heat applied. We found that the lower the quality of the candle (pressed, as opposed to poured or dipped), the more easily it could be bent with the simple application of a hair dryer. Even the broken wick became easily explainable when it was found that the wicks of cheap candles tend to break off easily as much as 1/4 inch inside the other half. Evidence of heating was later discovered on the candles supplied by the tenants in the form of distortions found on the base end which matched distortions on our test samples. And, as an additional disappointment, continued questioning about the position in which the candles were originally discovered contradicted earlier statements.

The most interesting part of all, however, is that our evidence review revealed a pair of very compelling EVP. Comparative analysis shows that these voices most likely came from a point within the room we were recording from, and one of the voices was actually heard by one of the investigators.

"You got me"

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We met

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Irrespective of any legitimate physical evidence or medium's perspective collected, however, the overwhelming weight of the investigation suggests "deliberate hoax."