Ghost Hunters: “Ghost of Christmas Past”

“Ghost Hunters” mostly managed to annoy the ghost of Doris Welch, former innkeeper of the Christmas Farm Inn in Jackson, New Hampshire. They completely missed the ghost of a World War I casualty at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, New York.

The original buildings of the Christmas Farm Inn went up in 1778. Over the years the farm was used as a jail, a post office and a family home. One of the farmer’s daughters was given the farm as a Christmas gift, inspiring the name.

Reports of a shadow in the first floor hallway, the apparition of former owner Doris Welch in the kitchen and the uneasy sensation of being watched in room 12 were all investigated by TAPS.

Gary Plourde and his wife were fairly new owners of the Christmas Farm Inn. A guest once asked Gary if the Inn was haunted. He didn’t know, so he asked his employees and learned more than he expected about his investment.

Doris and Dick Welch ran the Inn from 1946 to 1971. Doris died at the Inn.

A former Chef was thrown for a loop when a female apparition walked through him as he was standing in the kitchen. Several months later, the man saw a picture of Doris Welch and identified her as the woman who had given him the chills.

As far as Doris was concerned, the Chef wasn’t there. She was intent on getting the kitchen running for the morning rush of meals.

The Carriage House Spa had reports of a female apparition and the sound of children playing over the first floor lounge area. What made these reports unusual was the fact the structure was only a decade old.

In room 12, AKA “Drummer’s Drumming Suite” as all the rooms were named after the 12 days of Christmas, Samantha, a former housekeeper rushed through her work as she felt a presence behind her whenever she made the bed.

I saw a previous building where the Carriage House stands. At one point a large, two story farm house complete with attic partially stood in the current footprint of the Carriage House Spa building. The ghost children heard playing overhead by modern day occupants used to play in the attic of the farm house. There were four children. Two boys and a girl were close enough in age to play together. The fourth child was an infant girl who was kept close to her mother. I saw the ghosts of the parents of these children and the maternal grandmother over the course of TAPS investigations.

TAPS set up cameras in the dining room where a female apparition had been witnessed ascending a staircase that no longer existed in the building. Greg said evidence that the staircase did once exist in the current dining room was found when work was done on the roof of the Inn. Prior to that he had no idea a staircase had ever been there.

Additional cameras were set up in the kitchen of the Inn and in the main lounge of the Carriage House Spa where a former employee once saw an apparition sitting in a modern chair.

Jason and Grant started out in the Carriage House Spa. Jason was unaware of the female figure that followed him around the main lounge area. Grant noted the thermal camera picked up what looked like a figure reclining on the same chair as previously reported. He debunked it as the angle of the camera and attributed a plant in the corner of the room as further confusing the line of sight. Jason heard someone walking but neither he nor Grant were able to figure out which direction the footsteps came from.

The ghost of the mother of the children heard playing in the Carriage House Spa was remarkably well dressed for a farmer’s wife. Her husband was the presence who spooked the former housekeeper by standing behind her as she made the bed in room 12. He wore a top hat and formal morning coat. When I asked the ghost of the wife why they were so formally and beautifully dressed she told me they considered themselves “gentleman farmers”. She said her husband was a “barrister” who worked in a nearby town. That explained the quality and cut of their clothing. My guides placed this family in the 1890’s, specifically 1896. It was likely this upper crust family rented and did not work the farm themselves.

Adam and Amy investigated the kitchen of the Inn. Amy recounted Doris Welch’s history with the location and asked, “Doris come out. Talk to us.” Doris’ ghost was not only present; she tried to talk to Amy. None of what I heard Doris say was recorded. When Amy asked Doris to come out and talk to her and Adam Doris asked, “What do you want?” She had things to get done was annoyed at being interrupted. As Amy and Adam continued to ask questions Doris quickly lost patience and told them to, “Get out!” She told Adam and Amy, “You have no business here.”

Adam asked Doris if she liked the changes made at the Inn. She answered, “No”

Doris got quite heated on the subject of changes to the Inn since her time. Her ghost complained to me that, “She’s ruining it!” Apparently “she” in this comment was the current owner’s wife.

Doris then told me the wife of the owner who bought the Inn from Dick Welch had removed some artificial holly garlands that at one time had wound down the banister of the stairs that lead to the second floor. This upset Doris terribly as “Dick bought them for me when we started the Inn.” In life and death Doris loved those faux holly garlands. If the mental image I was given of the garlands was accurate I understood why subsequent owners removed the garlands. Plastic, dusty and faded they no longer added the desired ambiance to the Inn.

I asked the ghost of Dick Welch if he wanted to chime in about anything related to the Inn. He replied, “No. Doris pretty much runs things. She was always a good manager.”

As Amy asked Doris if she liked the changes and commented the place seemed to be well taken care of both she and Adam heard a tapping noise. Amy asked Doris to repeat the sound. Immediately following her request a loud cracking sound was heard coming from the wall behind where they stood. Amy wondered if the noise had been caused by the old building settling.

Steve and Tango checked out the dining room. Steve’s EMF meter was dead until he stared to move closer to the kitchen full of modern electrical appliances.

With no EMF action worthy of note, Steve took a number of still photos. Every picture taken in the dining room seemed to have something wrong with it. Steve noted lens flares caused big balls of light in the pictures. Another anomaly was each photo taken in the dining room was foggy or hazy. Pictures taken at the same time, just a few steps away in the kitchen came out sharp and clear. Tango suggested Steve wipe the lens of his camera, but it didn’t make any difference.

Back up in room 12 Jason and Grant couldn’t find any EMF readings except right up against the ceiling fan. I wanted to know how the electric ceiling fan was running if all the power had been turned off in both the Inn and the Carriage House?

The guys played with the acoustics in the room. Jason went out onto the deck of the suite and counted up to 10 and back down out loud. Grant stayed by the bed and listened. Grant said that he could hear Jason’s voice clearly but it sounded like it came from the bed, not the balcony.

While Jason and Grant were in room 12 I got a little more insight into why the ghost of the father of the family who once lived in a farm house that overlapped the current structure stood behind the housekeeper he made uneasy. I heard the father’s ghost ask her, “Are you the new girl?” The elegantly dressed barrister of yesteryear wanted to know if Samantha was the new maid of all work. She didn’t make sense to him and his era, so he tried to place her in a context that would have fit his world.

Tango and Steve tried their luck in the lounge of the Carriage House Spa. Tango heard sounds like a little kid running around above his head when he and Steve were in the main lounge.

Although not noticed by Steve and Tango, I saw the ghost of an elderly woman seated in the overstuffed chair right were a former employee of the Inn had once seen her. She was the maternal grandmother of the children Tango heard playing. She not only had white hair, but was terribly ill. Her face was a gaunt, pasty white. Her eyes were sunken and bloodshot from illness and pain. She was wearing a white night gown that covered her from neck to toes. In short she fit the description given by the former Inn employee.

She gave off a sense of deep weariness and propped her head against her left hand she had braced on the arm of the chair. I asked her what illness she suffered from, running through a list of probable ailments for her time but she didn’t know. She only knew she was sick, tired and close to death. I offered her the option to cross over but she decided to stay with her family. I got the same response from her son-in-law, the well dressed gentleman farmer. Ghosts have free will, so I left them alone.

Tango reviewed his camera audio but concluded he needed ear phones to determine if he had recorded the children’s footsteps he heard. For some reason, instead of heading upstairs immediately to follow the footsteps Steve decided he and Tango would remain in the main lounge for a bit. Tango asked the ghost children to make noise or repeat the footstep sounds he heard earlier. No dice. The children chose that moment to play “statues”. They intentionally froze and refused to respond to Tango.

Eventually Steve and Tango did go upstairs to the upper lounge which looked a lot like the lower one. Steve asked any ghosts present, “Who’s running around?” The ghost of the little boy stood in front of Steve and announced, “I AM!” Steve didn’t seem to have any sense of the ghost boy’s presence.

Steve and Grant revealed three audio clips to owner Gary. Jason couldn’t make it because his dog was sick. One clip was the cracking wall behind Adam and Amy in the kitchen. The second was a faint pattern of sound Tango’s camera audio picked up when he heard footsteps above him and Steve in the Carriage House main lounge. Grant shared the wonky acoustics he and Jason had determined in room 12. Lastly an exceptionally faint EVP of a woman’s voice was played. No audible words were spoken but the tone sounded female. Grant concluded the Inn hosted residual haunts that were not harmful to anyone.

I agreed the family in the Carriage House were mostly residual in how they spent the majority of their time. However they were also interactive as the husband trying to place the modern day housekeeper into his context showed. Husband, wife, kids and grandma were all willing to interact with me in 2010. Doris Welch also had both residual and intelligent real time interactions with past Inn staffers and me as I watched the episode.

The second location was The Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, New York, Originally built as a church in 1772; it was converted to a Revolutionary War Fort in 1777. It was shelled in 1780 and still boasted the cannon ball hole inflicted by the British under the eves. During the Civil War the structure was used as an armory.

Museum Curator Carle gave TAPS the grand tour. In 1889 the Old Stone Fort was given to Schoharie County who had run it as a museum since. Although completely surrounded by a cemetery Carle said only a few apparitions had been reported among the graves. Most of the paranormal activity had been experienced inside the Fort.

Past docent Anne recounted the night she and three retired policemen were closing up shop when all four of them heard footsteps above them from the second floor. All three cops rushed upstairs but found the place empty.

On the main floor an employee had seen an apparition in the hallway. Organ music had been reported on the second floor which boasted a real organ. TAPS sensibly asked Carle if the organ worked. He told them it had when it was donated back in the 1930’s. The second floor most frequently seemed to be the location of phantom footsteps and an assortment of odd noises.

A woman’s agonizing but disembodied screams were periodically heard from the tower. Carle shared a grim story of a documented death in childbirth of a woman who had once taken shelter in the Fort during its active military days. He said he didn’t know if that death had anything to do with the screams heard from the tower.

I didn’t think so. When Jason and Grant were at the top of the tower during the walk-through, I saw a deeply disturbed female ghost screaming her head off. She was outside on the top of the tower. I got the impression she was mentally ill. She was hysterically screaming about something that made no sense just before she jumped from the tower to her death. I think she was confined at the Fort when her erratic behavior could no longer be handled by her family.

The situation upset me. As a medium I know God makes exceptions for suicides caused by mental illness. This ghost should not have stayed earthbound reliving her death over and over again. I asked my guides to intervene. One of the more powerful ones met the ghost at the bottom of the tower where she hit the ground. He had to work hard to get her attention as she remained deeply lost in her mental illness. When he finally got her to focus on him he asked her if she wanted to go home. She didn’t seem to grasp the concept of home as heaven or crossing over. The breakthrough happened when she asked my guide if she could see her kitten at “home”. As a child she had loved a white kitten. Sadly she was disturbed even then and had accidentally killed the kitten. She understood enough to regret her actions and the death of her pet. She didn’t seem all that interested in reconnecting with her family, but she did want to see her kitten again. My guide told her she would see her kitten alive and well in addition to others who had loved her in life. She was met by her family. One of her younger sisters held the white kitten. That was as far as I was allowed to see. At least that particular soul was finally healed and able to pass into the presence of God.

TAPS set up cameras on along the length of the first floor and focusing on the doorway where a staffer saw an apparition. A similar setup on the second floor included an overhead view of the museum floor.

Jason and Grant first investigated the second floor. As they passed the organ the ghost of a little church lady kindly asked them, “Are you here for the service?” Unaware of the organist’s presence Jason did hear what sounded like a child’s giggle. Right after the giggle Grant heard an invisible presence sit in a low wicker chair he was standing next too. Both the giggle and sitting in the chair sounds were caused by the ghost of a little girl.

The guys checked the organ, but didn’t reach any conclusions about its possible role in phantom music heard on the second floor.

What they did hear were footsteps at the end of the hall. Jason asked whatever caused those noises to repeat them with no response.

As TAPS cameras panned over numerous exhibits, I saw the ghost of a World War I soldier standing next to the dummy that displayed his combat helmet. He seemed attached to the helmet. That made some sense to me as his head was banged up and bloody. He didn’t say anything, so I asked him if he was aware he was dead. It was news to him. He asked me, “Where is my body?” I asked him where he fought and he showed me an image of his blood soaking into sand. I told him he probably was buried where he fell. He was not pleased at the prospect of his bones bleached under a remote sand dune. His second question was, “Who won (the war)?” I assured him the Axis powers had been defeated. He said that was good. I asked him if he wanted to cross over. He agreed to do so. He was met by an army buddy about 10 years his senior. In the manner of males everywhere they pounded each other on the back and walked into the light with their arms draped over the others shoulders.

Steve and Tango investigated the tower where crying had also been reported. Tango checked to see if the roof door would make sounds that could be misinterpreted as crying or screaming. It was a good thought, but the metal door didn’t make any odd sounds.

Amy and Adam took their shot on the second floor. Amy mentioned that a 1930’s era docent named Chauncey was widely believed to be behind the phantom organ music heard from time to time. I got a brief glimpse of Chauncey. He was emotionally attached to the organ. He told me his family had something to do with the organ and talked about it playing at weddings, his grandparents, parents and his over time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chauncey was behind the organ’s donation to the museum in the 1930’s. That was a new twist on taking your home to work with you.

Adam and Amy claimed to hear footsteps on the second floor, but their own footsteps echoed so loudly it was impossible to tell what they were reacting to.

Jason and Grant did their own tour of the tower. As they climbed the wooden steps to the roof they noted lots of evidence of rodents and birds living up there. Birds scooping up squealing rodents or the general squeaks of rodents at large were used to debunk the reports of a woman’s agonized screams.

Tango and Steve wandered around the cemetery that encircled the Fort. They didn’t see, hear or record anything interesting. They provided a tutorial on all the things ghost hunters can mistake for apparitions in a graveyard from statues to monuments or the fleeting glare of passing car headlights.

During the reveal Jason and Grant shared their rodent and bird theories to debunk the stories of a woman’s screams coming from the top of the tower. An EVP of a faint exhale captured on the second floor while Amy and Adam were making fun of vintage dolls was played. Since they didn’t mark the sound, they didn’t hear it at the time. An even fainter EVP that sounded like an indistinct whisper was also recorded during Adam and Amy’s time on the second floor. Steve and Tango heard similar “voices” during their investigations but they were not recorded on their equipment. How did they get “voices” out of wordless EVP’s?

Grant speculated the Old Stone Fort might have had residual paranormal activity going on, but Jason wasn’t sure and wanted to leave the door open to investigate the Fort again sometime.

I always liked Adam, but missed Britt. I suspect TAPS would have gotten more than a few recorded sighs and faint footsteps if he had been with them at both locations. I know, I know, he got fired, but I wish TAPS would reconsider because he was one of the most productive team members they had.

At least a few more souls found their way home.



Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings at:

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About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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