Down East 2013 ©
For those people who always wondered why Halloween comes in the fall, Stacey Badillo, of Gardiner, has the answer. “During the cooler months the veil between our world and the next is thinner,” she says. And Badillo should know — she’s the leader of the Northeast Paranormal Society, which investigates hauntings and helps people who own or work in places that may or may not actually be haunted.
According to Badillo, ghosts are pretty thick in Maine. “You would be amazed at the number of places in Maine that are haunted,” she says. She names the Manchester Meetinghouse and its granite boulder, allegedly featuring the Devil’s Footprint, as the most haunted place in Maine that she has found so far, with multiple spirits in residence.
Badillo and the fifteen other society members venture out each week armed with cameras, tape recorders, and electromagnetic field detectors to investigate hauntings or ghost sightings. “We’ve had six clients in the last year ask us to look into hauntings in their homes or businesses,” she notes, adding that there’s no charge for the service.They have visited homes with resident spirits, an Augusta bus garage where many years ago a mechanic was killed in an accident, and even a Mexican restaurant located in an old jail in New Hampshire.
Badillo claims the society’s members have caught ghostly voices on their microphones, and the society’s website is filled with photos of hovering “orbs,” which she says are spirits. At the bus garage, for example, the society’s resident psychic, Patricia Pepin, says she detected six separate spirits and conducted a “crossing over” ceremony to help them move on to the next world.
“Just don’t call us ghostbusters,” Badillo insists. “I loved the movie, but we don’t carry proton packs or vacuum cleaners that suck up ghosts.” Considering, as Badillo says, that autumn is the best time to search for hauntings, she expects a busy season. Maine, it appears, is a pretty spirited place.
(Published October 2003)