OHSWEKEN, ON — Six Nations Investigating Paranormal Encounters (SNIPE) teamed up with Chiefswood Museum to hold a moonlight paddle on the Grand, followed by a paranormal investigative tour of the museum last Friday evening as a part of a new fundraising initiative.
After the paddle, media representatives along with members of SNIPE gathered within the alcove of the museum to watch a video of SNIPE’s findings. The group was escorted by Six Nations Cultural Coordinator, Heather George.
The video showcased both photos and videos of orbs or “witch lights,” faces in mirrors and windows, moving entities caught on camera and EVP [electronic voice phenomenon] readings showcasing human-like responses.
“We go through hours and hours of footage just to get those little split seconds that you gotta listen for,” said Todd “Ghostman” Thomas, a member of SNIPE. “Then plus after that, when we find an EVP we have to cut it down and amplify it up and clean it up so we can make out what is being said, or determine if it was one of us,” he said. “You go into places and it’s really not all that exciting, I mean a lot of the time you’re just sitting there, waiting for any little noise,” he said, mentioning that in the future the team would like to buy heat sensor cameras to join their cameras and EVP recorders.
Shortly after the video finished, Heather George walked the group through the house. After some problems in opening the attic door, George explained that the adjoining room (which belonged to Pauline’s sister Evelyn Johnson) has a history of unusual activity.
“This is the room with an orb in it,” said George. “And one of the strange things about this room is there is the panel on the bed; there were two photos on the little side desk as well and they kept falling over. One day I came up and the panel was sitting perfectly straight but on the floor instead of on the bed, so it didn’t fall over,” she explained.
Soon after the tour of the house, the group was directed to a room on the lower floor in the house, nickna
med the “piano room.” SNIPE members pointed out a mirror in this room and shared that a photograph had been taken that shows a face in the mirror. George added that the room tends to have a freshly lit fire scent to it, even though a fire hasn’t been lit in the room for years.
The EVP session began and Artie Martin, another SNIPE member, explained feelings of unease that he has had at another local site — the Mohawk Institute in Brantford.
“When we were at the residential school, I felt good everywhere. I felt good in the children’s room, the boy’s room, even behind the wall where it’s pitch black,” said Martin, explaining that he sat there for a half hour. “But, there’s a fridge in the kitchen in the basement, and I couldn’t go near it, not by myself,” he said. “It’s a big walk-in freezer and I couldn’t go in there; I don’t want to say I wasn’t scared, but it just didn’t feel good to be in that area.” Martin went on to explain that he later learned this was an area where traumatic events befell many of the students who attended the institution.
“You feel differently when you’re in a negative space,” said Martin. “Like something might happen. You can feel the negativity, or someone watching you and it’s eerie, but you can feel a presence. Even if you’re sitting at home at your house, you can tell if someone else is in the house, it’s sort of like that,” he explained.
The topic of conversation in the group changed shortly thereafter, with members mentioning fear of witchcraft.
Steve “Tattman” Hill, a member of SNIPE explained that there are “certain places” he will not “mess around with.”
“I won’t just because I don’t know about it, and I don’t want to know about it. So I’ll just leave it alone, dark stuff,” said Hill.
As though to agree with him, a loud knock coming from the corner of the room was both heard and recorded. After moving and sliding furniture to check if the sound could be duplicated within the room, with no success, Hill walked to the outside of the building and duplicated the sound by knocking on the wall near the window pane. No one was found outside of the building.
“It sounded like plaster, like on the inside of the wall,” said Thomas. “We’ve never heard anything like that,” he said, explaining that it might be the loudest recorded sound they have.
The session was closed, and the night was completed with a Mohawk closing by Martin. The event was eye opening and far beyond interesting, showing that the museum continues to hold a lot of history. The museum will hold another paddle on October 23 for the public.
Chiefswood is the former birthplace and childhood home of 1800s Mohawk poetess Pauline Johnson. Rumours of paranormal activity at the historic site have circulated around the community for decades.