Salem, MA – GhoStock 7 Reports – 2009

ghostock7-smIn 2009, I was one of the featured speakers at GhoStock, hosted by Patrick Burns.

Here’s my preliminary report:

What a great event!  All of the panels, workshops and lectures were fascinating.

I especially enjoyed the talks by two demonologists: the late Father Andrew Calder, and John Zaffis (from the “Haunted Collector” TV series), since they delve into realms that I generally avoid.

I presented information about my research into paranormal patterns, including my discovery of the Salem “Judges’ Line.”

U.K. psychic/entertainer Gavin Cromwell and I talked about fact and fiction in ghost hunting. We offered opinions on how legends and preconceived ideas affects our results — and our reputations — as paranormal investigators. Then, we took questions from the audience.

Since Gavin is involved in entertainment and I’m from the research side of paranormal studies, we were able to share different (but sometimes complementary) views on ghosts and haunted places.


saleminn2-illusOn Friday night, Gavin and I led a team of investigators as we explored the magnificent Salem Inn.  Not only is it a great place to stay, it has some colorful ghost stories… and it’s very active.

It’s also on the “Judges’ Line” that I’m researching.

(Note: We checked with the staff and the Inn’s ghosts do not disturb the guests.  So, if you want a good night’s sleep, you can stay at the Salem Inn with confidence. We feel that, since we were eager to contact the ghosts, they responded to us as researchers.)

In Room 17, we encountered measurable activity with the K-II meter as well as the Ovilus.

This was my first chance to use the Ovilus. I was very impressed when it said my full name, plus the full name of another researcher.

Later, it said the full name of someone who —  according to my later research — had lived in the house in the 19th century.  (That early Ovilus was not programmed with names, just random words.)

Note: We were confused — and amused — by how frequently the Ovilus seemed to shout, “Dick!”

Following just a few outbursts, this became embarrassing. After the investigation, we learned that the Salem Inn’s owners are Diane and Dick (Richard) Pabich.

While the Ovilus’ performance somewhat overshadowed the use of the K-II meter, both tools work well together to comfirm results.

When we were joined by members of Mass. Paranormal, we saw that the K-II meter readings spiked each time, just a split-second before the Ovilus “talked” to us.

(Yes, they checked the K-II with the Ovilus next to it, to debunk any interactions.  The EMF surges were not from the Ovilus’ activity.)

It was a great investigation during a fun event weekend.

8 thoughts on “Salem, MA – GhoStock 7 Reports – 2009”

  1. what house was the investigation performed? I am assuming it was the Captain West House. what other rooms/loactions in the Salem Inn were haunted? My family and i were looking to stay at the Salem Inn and we want to stay in a haunted room.

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for asking! The Salem Inn keeps a special guest book for people who’ve encountered spirits at the Inn, and they can tell you which are the best, most haunted rooms. It was my first time in the Inn, and it’s a combination of houses, so I’m not sure where we walked as we went up stairs, along corridors, etc.

      It’s a wonderful place to stay. I was delighted to find it, so I can tell others to stay there. The location is relatively quiet (important when the Halloween crowds can be boisterous at night… similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter), elegant, and really conveys a sense of the history of Salem.

      I’m sure you and your family will enjoy your visit!

      Cheerfully, Fiona

  2. What happened at Ghostock 7 (which I had to miss) that seemed to stop everybody in their tracks? No more info on any future Ghostocks online, not much written at all post-April 2009, can’t get a response from Patrick about future ghostocks or anything — did you all (except for this poster) get sucked into a vortex?

    1. Dee,

      Thanks for asking! I can’t speak for Patrick, but here’s how I see it:

      Like many ghost conferences in 2009, I’m pretty sure that the numbers did not make GhoStock a profitable event. (In fact, many of us appeared at that event, free of charge, to keep the overhead low.) I liked the relatively small crowd, because I had a chance to talk with so many people… but events cost more than most people realize, and attendance is vital to at least break even.

      I’ve seen many events canceled at the last minute, since then.

      The financial issues are partly due to the economy, but also because there have been a glut of ghost-related events, and ghost hunting is not as trendy as it once was. Many people are moving on to vampires, etc.

      There have also been credibility issues. To meet the demand of an increasing number of ghost-related events, entertainers entered the field… and they weren’t always honest about whether they were genuinely psychic, or even very experienced in professional-level paranormal research.

      Frankly, I find that even more chilling than any ghost encounter I’ve witnessed. When people pay hefty prices for event tickets, they deserve authentic experiences and advice that will help them with their own research.

      Oh, some people — especially those who’ve been visible in this field since before the “Ghost Hunters” TV show launched ghost hunting to extreme popularity — have always been honest, and — like me — they’ve tried to avoid (or even expose) the frauds in this field. But… sometimes we’re fooled, along with everyone else.

      So, as much as I enjoyed GhoStock and other events I’ve appeared at, I’m a little relieved that the industry is shifting gears. As the field regroups, I think it will re-emerge with higher quality events.

      When fame & fortune stop being incentives for people to misrepresent themselves in ghost hunting, you’ll see the real researchers are still here… while everyone else reinvents themselves to appeal to the audiences (and wallets) of whatever the new trend is.

      I don’t mean to sound cynical. This is a normal cycle of fads and trends.

      I’m really looking forward to events where everyone is serious about this work, and we can exchange information about our research and what that means about ghosts and ghost hunting. But, until that happens, I think you’ll see fewer events.

  3. Fiona, thanks so much for your response and explanation. Reminds me of discussions I had long time ago when I bred Irish Setters and they got way too popular, then everyone bred them with resulting poor quality, then drop in popularity-with mixed feelings by breeders.

    I have been to only one ghostock and, from here in Virginia, was surprised there even were such events (that’s how out of the main stream I’ve been as I don’t watch much TV and instead was interested from my own experiences). And to be honest, the most recent little amateurish stuff I’ve done all on my own in places that I was visiting, often for other reasons, left me a little “spooked”. It was this May–stayed in a very haunted place In Rye, England (orbs and energy everywhere but by morning, camera disc wiped out) — but got a BAD, sickish feeling. Husband had nightmare.. (Have also had pleasant ghostly experiences so don’t mean to say I think it is always bad energy). But that told me this isn’t such a simple little “past-time” but something going on to be taken very seriously. Still, what I enjoyed about the Ghostock was gettting to hear some of the speakers as well as being with others of a more open mind. (None of my friends nor my husband have any interest if even any belief in any of this.)

    Anyway, I hope to run into you when and if there is some day a serious-minded gathering of this sort once all the dust settles, and thanks again.

  4. My husband and two teenage kids stayed at the Salem Inn for a night in the summer of 2009. We were on a cross country trip and there was no planning involved in the reservation. I must say that my daughter and myself have always been sensative to energies but neither had any issues with the location initially. When we went to bed that night I immediately began to hear voices trying to speak to me and got up to turn on a light. My husband was having no issues. I spent the entire night praying to block the voices. I was uncomfortable with their intensity. The next morning I asked my daughter how she slept and she said they were trying to talk to her all night and that the door knob had jiggled repeatedly in the night. We were in the family suite of Captain West house. If anyone is interested in paranormal investigations this is a good spot. I hope to come back to Salem again. We live in Oklahoma but I will do more preparations before bedtime to protect myself from any negative energies. I also got some good spirit energy photos during a guided tour.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Laurie!

      Many people — including me — think the Salem Inn is one of the best places for ghost hunters to stay when they’re in the Salem area.

      Cheerfully, Fiona

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