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High-spirited Black River Valley Club to celebrate its ‘ghosts’ at Saturday Halloween party


An extensive investigation has found that the Black River Valley Club is apparently full of spirits, and we’re not talking about the bottled stuff behind the bar.

They are disembodied voices and shadowy figures.

“It’s very full, very active,” said Lana M. Putnam, founder and lead investigative advisor of Paranormal Investigations of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

She reached her conclusions following an investigation by her group and Uini Research, based in Scotia, Schenectady County. The probe, which included about 10 investigators, was held at the club the night of Aug. 17 and the early morning hours of Aug. 18. Results were shared as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross on Sept. 28 at the club. The event raised $1,270.

More detailed evidence of the investigation will be shared tonight with members of the club during its weekly members-only dinner.

The club also will host a “ghost tour” for adults as part of its Halloween Bash at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.The event features a costume contest and live music.

The PISToLS investigation was suggested as a way to substantiate a litany of bizarre experiences of club members, staff and visitors. The group often works with Uini Research in its investigations. The evidence is reviewed independently by Uini and PISToLS.

At the Black River Valley Club, investigators set up cameras and voice recorders throughout the building. It took them hours to review the sights and sounds. Several EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) were discovered by PISToLS when members reviewed their recordings.

“It just wasn’t one or two different spirits, but a variety of young, old and in-between,” Ms. Putnam said. “We caught a variety of different names.”

John Griffin II, director and founder of Uini Research, said that besides recording several EVPs, his team witnessed some strange happenings.

“We observed, on multiple occasions, shadow figures moving around the basement,” he said.

He said that at one point one of these shadow figures blocked out some light.

But Mr. Griffin said Uini has a policy that if such experiences cannot be validated via audio and/or photographic documentation, it isn’t accepted as evidence and can’t be considered a valid paranormal experience. So the shadow figures are a “personal experience without full validation.”

Some examples of the PISToLS team’s findings:

n “I had a man in the cellar who told me to watch my head as I was stepping down from one area into the (now-defunct) bowling alley,” Ms. Putnam said.

n When some of the male investigators were setting up equipment, Ms. Putnam said, one member mischievously said he wanted to place a recorder on a bed upstairs at the club.

“The direct response back from a deep, male voice was ‘Jerk!’” Ms. Putnam said. “It was kind of funny.”

n There was a response in female voice of “OK” when one of the investigators told another he needed a minute or two to get ready. “After that, it’s like she’s trying to get their attention,” Ms. Putnam said. “She says, “Excuse me!’”

“A few seconds later, just as loud as can be, there’s a loud yell,” Ms. Putnam said. ‘She yells, ‘David!’”

There was no David in the building at the time, Ms. Putnam said. The club is managed by David F. Boucher, who was not there.

n In one room, there was an EVP “that sounded like a child’s voice.”

n “There’s a child’s voice saying ‘Emma,’” Ms. Putnam said.

n “Casey” and “Keith” were other names captured by voices, she said.

EVPs are ranked on a scale from A to C, Ms. Putnam said. With Bs, headphones are needed to hear it. With a C, a technical boost often is needed to hear the EVP. But at the Black River Valley Club, many A’s were recorded by investigators.

Some of the recordings reached level A-1, she said. “That means it was a direct response to something we said or a response to the circumstance,” Ms. Putnam said.

n n n

Ms. Putnam said her investigators and members of Uini don’t go into investigations with preconceived notions. “We deal with facts,” she said. “When we’re working with people, we’re digging for the truth. We want the truth from both sides, and that’s what my people are dedicated to. We don’t go with hocus pocus.”

And the truth of the spirits of the Black River Valley Club, she said, is that they are good-natured.

“To run into actual nasty nasties that they show on TV who are really mean and demonic is very seldom,” Ms. Putnam said. “You might find spirits that are trying to claim their territory and push people away occasionally. Sometimes we run into them and we just talk to them.”

Mr. Griffin said “the disembodied voices” his team captured in the basement “were intelligent responses to situations or to what we were saying at the time.”

A male voice, Mr. Griffin said, specifically said “Shelia,” one of his investigator’s names.

Uini members also noticed unusual things happening to the team’s electromagnetic-field meter. It went off by command.

“If we asked the entity to raise the reading to the yellow light, the yellow light would light up,” Mr. Griffin said. “Very rarely does Uini Research accept these types of incidents into evidence. However, the (K-11) meter went off 16 times on command. That’s a very high number.”

In addition to investigations, Mr. Griffin said Uini is dedicated to figuring out how paranormal activities occur. He said Uini works alongside John Foldy, a professor at SUNY Albany who is the lead researcher for a cognitive-science research team that focuses on the study of consciousness.

“One of the things Uini Research looks to do is attempt to predict where unexplained activity will occur prior to the activity actually happening,” he said.

That research indicated the club’s basement was going to include several “hot spots” for EVP activity.

“For the first time ever, we were 100-percent accurate in predicting where EVP activity would occur before it happened and where in the basement these EVPs would occur,” Mr. Griffin said. “Our typical average for all evidence obtained by the end of the investigation is 89.4 percent.”

the details
WHAT: Black River Valley Club’s Halloween Bash
WHERE/WHEN: Saturday at the club, 131 Washington St. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.
The event features a ghost tour with details of the recent paranormal investigation, a costume contest and live music by the acoustic-jam trio Annie in the Water. The trio comprises Brad Hester and Michael Lashomb on guitar and vocals and Lucas Singleton on bass and vocals.
COST: $15
OF NOTE: The event is open to patrons 21 and older
Paranormal Investigations of the St. Lawrence Seaway:
Uini Research:
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