The ghosts in this episode were largely content to stay put during TAPS investigations of the Rose Island Lighthouse and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ghost Hunters first investigation was the Rose Island Lighthouse. Activated on January 20, 1870 it served Newport, Rhode Island until 1970. The most commonly reported ghostly activity happened in the keeper’s quarters and the defunct barracks of never completed Fort Hamilton.
Disembodied voices had been reported in and round the barracks. Despite never being part of a fully functional fort, the barracks served a lot of purposes over the years from sheltering the victims of dysentery, storing World War II torpedoes for the US Navy to stabling the family cow of past lighthouse keeper Charles Curtis.
The ghost of former Keeper Charles Curtis (served from 1887-1918) reportedly was in the habit of startling modern guests by opening the door from the stairwell leading either up to the light or down to the first floor.
David McCurdy, Executive Director of the Rose Lighthouse met TAPS in Newport. He transported the team to Rose Island and handled the walk through with Jason and Grant.
Dave shared his personal experience of walking around the barracks late in the day and seeing one of the doors in the barracks open by itself. He was alone and found nobody inside the room formerly used to quarantine dysentery victims. Dave mentioned that up to 15 people had been warehoused in the whitewashed brick room. Many sick people never left Rose Island again. He passed along reports of visitors often feeling uneasy and hearing disembodied voices in the quarantine areas.
One time Dave and his wife spent the night on the second floor of the keeper’s quarters. They witnessed the doorway to the stairwell open itself without any human assistance. He shared a similar experience passed on by a female guest. The woman had been also been staying on the second floor of the keepers quarters. She had been chatting on her fully charged cell phone at 4 am when suddenly the phone went dead and the door to the stairs opened and closed itself.
A former guest related his experience of taking a snapshot of a picture decorating one of the walls in the keeper’s quarters. A ghostly male face, complete with mustache appeared only when the photo was developed. Oddly, it was reflected off the glass covering the picture.
Sherry Genkos related the experience she and her parents had in the same quarters. They had been sitting up playing a game when all three adults heard a howling sound come from the lighthouse lantern room, one floor above them. Sherry’s father turned to her and commented that the sound had to be from the ghost of the former light keeper.
TAPS placed cameras on the barracks, the knoll the lighthouse sits on and both floors of the keeper’s quarters.
Grant and Jason started the investigation on the second floor of the keeper’s quarters where most of the haunting activity had been reported. Grant’s K2 meter lit up in the master bedroom. Since the K2 meter was pointed at the closet doors, Grant opened it to see what might have caused the meter to flash. Nothing was evident, just inert linens and blankets. As soon as Grant opened the closet doors the K2 meter stopped giving off any signals whatsoever.
As Jason and Grant were puzzling over the K2 meter both men heard an unidentified noise that sounded like a young child or perhaps a wounded animal. Grant thought he heard “Ma Ma”. Jason wasn’t as sure, hearing the noise as more general perhaps more like, “wa wa” The resulting EVP wasn’t any clearer but did capture the noise they heard.
I was about to vote for a seagull as the cause of the noise when I noticed the ghost of a young girl standing in the doorway of the bedroom which was the direction Jason and Grant heard the noise coming from. She was young, four or five years old with shoulder length curly hair. Once the guys noticed the sound she made, she ran off.
Interestingly Jason and Grant heard footsteps at the same time I saw the ghost of the little girl run away. She wasn’t afraid of them, I think she was trying to engage them in a game of hide and seek.
About the time Jason and Grant were checking out the closet in the master bedroom I saw the ghost of Charles Curtis for the first time. He was partially balding, wearing baggy pants, a light colored shirt and suspenders. His feet were shod in heavy leather shoes. He was there to check out Jason and Grant. Once he had taken a good look at him he headed upstairs to the lantern level.
Kris and Amy were the first TAPS team to investigate the lantern or tower level of the lighthouse. Shortly after getting settled and trying to verbally engage any ghosts who might be around they heard a noise that seemed to come from outside the cramped tower. They followed the noise outside to the walkway surrounding the light, but found they were the only ones there.
Right as Amy and Kris heard the unidentified noise I saw the ghost of the same little girl that had tried to talk to Jason and Grant, crouched on the opposite side of the tower. I think she was still trying to get any member of TAPS team to play with her.
When I asked my guides who the little girl had been in life I was told she was the granddaughter of Keeper Charles Curtis.
The investigation came to an abrupt halt just as Britt and KJ were starting to look around the keeper’s quarters. Jason radioed them and confirmed their location and that Kris and Amy were poking around the basement of the lighthouse. The team met up at Command Central where Jason and Grant showed them what the thermal camera outside the barracks had picked up.
The thermal camera showed a sudden burst of light that seemed to come out of one of the closed barracks doors near the end of the building. Both Grant and Britt were sent down to the same location to try and duplicate the thermal effect after the fact but couldn’t recreate it. Later during the reveal the IR camera caught a brief flash of light at the exact moment the thermal had lit up.
I took a closer look at the burst of light and was puzzled to see the ghost of a Revolutionary War British Redcoat as the cause of what TAPS thermal camera picked up. He was a sentry still making his rounds after death.
I double checked the dates of Rose Island’s documented use and both British and Colonial forces used the island to protect Newport at different times during the Revolutionary War.
Jason and Grant noted that the burst of light seemed to come out of a barracks door, not from the end of the building. Construction on Ft. Hamilton did not start until 1798 a full decade after the ratification of the US Constitution. The Redcoat ghost I saw was patrolling a sentry route that predated the barracks buildings. That might explain why he seemed to come out of a wall or a door. The wall or door didn’t exist when he was doing guard duty. He was definitely stuck in his personal era and experiences so for him the barracks never existed. Talk about time being relative to our perspectives!
Jason and Grant were investigating outside the barracks when they heard an unidentified noise coming from the quarantine room. They went into the room but found it empty. Once inside they heard faint disembodied voices in conversation, but the conversation seemed to be taking place outside the quarantine room.
At this point I got a brief flash of the quarantine room when it was used for the sick and dying. Dysentery was also known as the flux or bloody flux because its chief symptoms are terrible abdominal cramps and liquid feces, commonly mixed with mucus and blood. It was (and remains) a miserable way to die. There were no bathrooms built into the quarantine room. Presumably outhouses existed at one time to serve the needs of the soldiers the barracks were originally built for. The images I saw showed ragged flux victims unable to sleep, tending to each other as best they could and distracting themselves with murmured conversations. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps these doomed people were kept inside and what Jason and Grant heard were the exchange of greetings between sentries?
Britt and KJ also investigated the second floor of the keeper’s quarters. They focused their attention on the door to the stairs that was reputed to open and close under its own power. Britt had a plausible debunk going when he opened the windows of the quarters and got a cross breeze going. With the windows open the stair door opened by itself. With the windows closed it still tended to fall open but to a lesser degree. Just as Britt was about to conclude he had worked out a solid debunk, the door which had been fully closed in a now sealed room, opened itself to Britt and KJ’s backs. In fact the door gently bumped Britt as it opened by itself. No matter what they did, Britt and KJ could not duplicate the door opening under the same circumstances.
I would to have liked to have known what time it was when Britt and KJ experienced that door opening itself. I saw the ghost of Charles Curtis behind that door opening on Britt and KJ. I had the distinct impression that in life Curtis was in the habit of coming down the stairs from the lantern/tower section, opening the door and asking his wife if she was coming to bed at the SAME TIME EACH NIGHT.
After the episode I went searching online for anything regarding Charles Curtis in life. I found an excerpt from a book titled: Ghosts of Newport: Spirits, Scoundrels, Legends and Lore by John T. Brennan. Brennan talked about the fact that when Curtis was alive and working as the keeper of the Rose Island Lighthouse he had the habit of coming down the stairs of the light at midnight each night. Furthermore Brennan shared some of the memories of Curtis’s grandson, Wanton Chase who was raised at the lighthouse by his grandparents. So thanks to John Brennan and Wanton Chase, there was written confirmation that Keeper Charles Curtis was not only married, but was known to have come down those stairs at the same time each night, just as his ghost told me during Ghost Hunters investigation of Rose Island Lighthouse.
During the reveal TAPS could not debunk the thermal camera image no matter whom they sent down to try and duplicate the effect. They showed David McCurdy how different the image looked between thermal and IR cameras, but how each caught the phenomena at the same moment. They shared the indistinct EVP that sounded like it could have been the disembodied voice of a young child. Britt and KJ’s experience with the door in the keeper’s quarters was reviewed.
The kicker for the reveal was a photo of Charles Curtis taken in 1915. As TAPS resident researcher Kris showed that the ghostly reflection off the glass of a print in the keeper’s quarters looked just like Charles Curtis, but a good 30 years younger than he was in the 1915 photograph.
I was gratified to see that the 1915 photograph showed Curtis balding, wearing a light colored shirt and suspenders. That was how he appeared to me at the beginning of TAPS investigation of the Rose Island Lighthouse. Factual confirmations about Curtis’s appearance, nightly habits and marital status during his years as keeper made this half of the episode particularly gratifying to me. I trust in what I see as a psychic but factual confirmation is always better to have than not.
Next up Ghost Hunters investigated the venerable Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. According to Jeff Idelson, President of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown was credited with inventing baseball in 1839. Consequently the Hall of Fame opened 100 years later in 1939.
Idelson walked TAPS through the complex focusing on the 19th Century gallery, the Ted Williams exhibit and the cathedral like Hall of Fame Gallery where 292 of baseball’s all time greats are enshrined. (Hall of Fame website says 289.)
A boy visiting the Ted Williams exhibit had reported a conversation with a disembodied voice that sounded a great deal like Williams encouraging the boy to excel and strive for greatness in his life. Other visitors in the exhibit at the time confirmed the diction, tone and style sounded like Williams in the later years of his baseball career.
A number of visitors to the Hall of Fame have reported hearing disembodied voices of baseball greats issuing from the plaques commemorating their achievements.
Brad Horn, Director of Communications, related the story of a female cleaning staffer feeling watched as she vacuumed in the rotunda one night. Each time she turned off her vacuum there was nobody discernable around her.
TAPS set up cameras in the 19th Century Gallery, Ted Williams Exhibit and the Hall of Fame Gallery.
Jason and Grant checked out the 19th Century Gallery. Jason noted that baseball players became intensely attached to their gear, bats, gloves, uniforms and it made sense that if they came back to visit, they would be attracted to such items. The guys did hear an unidentified noise that Jason described as a gurgle.
Britt and KJ went into the Ted Williams exhibit. At first Williams ghost was not present. Instead I was surprised to see the ghost of a woman in hoop skirts, complete with bustle walk in front of part of the exhibit. There is an exhibit called Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball in the Hall of Fame. Was she wandering over from that section? Brief online searching did turn up accounts of barnstormer women’s baseball teams dating from the Victorian era. Apparently yes, they did wear hoop skirts early on.
Britt and KJ tried to verbally engage Ted Williams’s ghost but didn’t get anything. I had the distinct impression from Williams’s ghost that he was willing to invest the energy required to speak for kids, but not for fully grown ghost hunters.
KJ and Britt did see something at the far end of the Ted Williams exhibit hall. However their cameras couldn’t find anything to focus on. Britt chased what he later described as a full sized shadow that moved across the hallway and into the 19th Century Gallery area. KJ faithfully dashed after Britt, but neither man found anything when they stopped in the area the figure had appeared.
Ted Williams’s ghost was definitely messing with Britt and KJ. I asked Williams’s ghost why he was hanging around the Baseball Hall of Fame and had not moved on to the other side. He shrugged and told me that the Hall of Fame was “more fun than heaven”. I asked him if his many fans were somehow holding him to Earth. He replied in the affirmative but added, “I don’t mind.”
Amy and Kris investigated the Fan’s Exhibit. They heard a noise like a door closing but didn’t see or hear anything more when they followed the sound. Amy stayed put while Kris returned to the area where they first heard the noise. Amy tried a couple different interior doors. Kris confirmed Amy had duplicated the sound both had heard earlier and was taken aback when Amy told her the sound was made by the doors to the men’s restroom. Nothing else happened at this point, so the gals left a camera and moved on.
Britt and KJ got the plum assignment, the Hall of Fame Gallery that contains the precious plaques of the best of the best. They briefly looked at Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth’s plaques. KJ saw something move out of the corner of his eye. Both guys heard a high pitched sound nearby that sounded like a young girl’s scream but sitting down to see what might develop proved fruitless.
During the reveal Jason and Grant attributed the feeling of being watched a staff cleaner experienced while vacuuming to exceptionally high EMF fields they had found in the rotunda. The reported voices of baseball greats issuing from their plaques was questioned based on the complicated cathedral like acoustics of the plaque gallery. Britt and KJ’s personal experience with the shadow figure in the Ted Williams exhibit was shared. So was the experience Amy and Kris had with the men’s room door. Two faint and unidentified EVP’s were played. One was a possibly female voice Jason and Grant picked up. The closest to any recognizable sound was possibly, “oh”. KJ and Britt had also gotten an unidentified voice EVP.
I had a much better time than Britt and KJ did in the Hall of Fame Gallery because the Bambino’s ghost showed up. That is how Babe Ruth’s ghost introduced himself to me. I saw a uniformed Babe Ruth casually knocking on his plaque with the knuckles of his right hand as he sauntered by.
About five years ago I was shown a photo of Babe Ruth taken when the baseball great visited Nova Scotia in the 1940’s. A distant relative of mine had snapped the great man in motion. The energy in that prized photo matched the energy of the ghost I saw in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ghosts are highly creative in how they get our attention. What were the odds of me ever thinking about that photo again, let alone while reviewing a location I have never visited in person?
Meanwhile Babe was in full cry. He had several messages he insisted I pass on. The first, “Tell them I am here.” I think “them” meant his fans. He told me, “I like to see the people go by,” as the crowds flow through the Baseball Hall of Fame each year. Last but not least, Babe Ruth’s shade boasted, “They come to see ME”. Darn right Babe.
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at: email@example.com
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