Haunting of Wood Island

A return visit to Wood Island Lighthouse for further investigation is being planned by Ron Kolek and his team —The New England Ghost Project from Dracut Massachusetts. They have conducted over 150 investigations into hauntings including Wood Island in October of last year (2005). It was at this investigation that contact was made by medium Maureen Wood in what is referred to as an “intelligent haunting.” Kolek explained during the presentation given by the NEGP at the”Haunting Event” hosted by the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse, that there are various types of hauntings. One is called a “residual haunting,” which means the same scene plays over and over again and the ghosts don’t interact with live people. In an “intelligent haunting,” ghosts will deliberately interact with live people, often to send a message.

During last Fall’s investigation, the first thing that the NEGP team did, after a trip aboard Light Runner and then toting all their equipment the half mile from the boat to the lighthouse, was to set up a “safe room” with FOWIL’s picnic table and an overhead light ablaze. No other lights were on anywhere else other than candles and a solitary kerosene lamp. A base station was set up in the kitchen with various electronic equipment including two small LCD screens, which looked like tiny televisions. They received images from the locations where the investigations were taking place.

The team started work after dark and continued until well after 2 AM. Ron explained that this was the time when most hauntings take place. A haunting being when a spirit tries to make contact with the living. The best time is a couple of hours each side of midnight. The first investigation took place at the top of the tower. A spirit made contact with Maureen Wood while Ron carefully watched out for her as he simultaneously tracked the temperature of the lantern room where they were located. When a spirit enters a live person to communicate, it takes a large amount of energy causing the temperature of the surrounding area to drop dramatically. As the temperature plummeted, the medium is saying “I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t mean to do it.” The spirit seemed to be sorry about something that had happened. As Maureen became exhausted and very cold, Ron warned the spirit off indicating that they were finished. On the way down the stairs, Wood again encountered a ghost. This time it was a female who was sobbing and crying. The danger of being balanced on the small, steep, granite stairs caused Ron to move Maureen on down to safety. Those looking on the screens at the base camp were able to seen and hear Maureen as well as witness a meter recording the falling temperature.

Photographs are taken of the hauntings by infrared cameras and a digital recording device is used to capture any sounds. The sounds are referred to as EVPs (electronic voice phenomena). The photos are not seen until they are developed later. EVPs require screening via computer. Though the NEGP didn’t know anything about it before they went to Wood Island, there was a murder/suicide, which took place there in the Spring of 1896. The murderer was inebriated and had his rifle in hand. Fred Milliken who was a quasi deputy, decided to disarm the drunken man. The murderer claimed that his gun was not loaded as he waived it around but as Milliken reached for it, he fired and shot Milliken, who subsequently died within 45 minutes with his wife and three children nearby. Howard Hobbs who fired the gun tried to turn himself in at the lighthouse. However keeper Thomas Henry Orcutt instructed him to go to the mainland and seek out the authorities there. Hobbs did not do that, instead he returned to his own small quarters and took his own life. The question which begs to be asked is whether the haunting at the top of the tower -a spirit which expressed remorse — might have been the host of the murderer Howard Hobbs?

Originally the NEGP leader, Ron Kolek, didn’t believe in any paranormal activity at all. But after several unexplained happenings in his life, he decided he wanted to find out by looking for scientific evidence. Maureen Wood was led to the NEGP via a newspaper ad. Leo Monfet went along on one of their first hunts with an infrared camera and became enthralled and is still a member of the team. Karen Mossey brought her experience with EVP work to round out the team.

After the tower investigation, Kolek and Monfet took equipment to the attic of the dwelling house to see what was there. They saw bright green lights drifting in the darkness and then asked Wood to come up to see if they could make contact. After about an hour, nothing happened. A similar result came when the team went to the Oil House to investigate. But the next try was dramatic. They worked along the wooden boardwalk, which connects the lighthouse with the boathouse. The medium later described black shadows crossing in front of her — swooping down. She experienced a spirit trying to get her attention, trying to enter her body in order to make contact. The third time that she experienced this feeling, she was hit and dropped to ground and began crawling as if she was severely injured and was trying to get away from something. Again, for Maureen’s safety, Ron called the communications off and warned the spirits away.

The most successful investigation of the night took place in the basement of the dwelling house. All the visitors accompanied the team for this one. Wood made contact with a male spirit who again expressed remorse. Then a female spirit made its’ self known via the medium. This time, the infrared camera picked up an image. When the photos were later developed, the series showed an initial orb which then became a human female form. The image looks much like a glowing mass of light. These photos were shown to the audience at the Haunting Event.

After the Haunting Event was over, the team was invited to investigate the Goldthwait grocery store and the Pool Lobster Pound in Biddeford Pool. There were hauntings at both locations. This was not a surprise for the owners who have had strange experiences for a long while. There was male seaman in the store who seemed lost questioning why he was there. The haunting at the pound made contact in the basement and was a chatty and gregarious female. Go in and ask Ada and Beth about the ghosts who haunt the store and the pound in Biddeford Pool.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE NEXT INVESTIGATION OF WOOD ISLAND?