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Paranormal ‘lock-in’ planned at Martinsburg mansion

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MARTINSBURG — The Lewis County Historical Society is planning a spook-tacular event to aid restoration efforts at the Gen. Walter Martin mansion.

Starting at 8 p.m. June 6, the Tug Hill Paranormal group will hold an all-night “lock-in” at the mansion.

“Participants will camp in the house overnight to experience whatever the building chooses to offer,” a society release said.

“It should be interesting,” said Jerry E. Perrin, Lewis County Historical Society office manager. “People can bring their own equipment,” he added.

Those attending must dress for the weather, as the building is unheated and unfurnished. There are no beds, so attendees should bring blankets or a sleeping bag, as well as an air mattress, if desired. Participants also are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.

Tug Hill Paranormal, operated by David and Kimberly Andalora of Montague, conducted four two-hour investigations at the mansion in October. About 80 people joined them, raising nearly $700 for the historical society’s restoration efforts.

According to the Tug Hill Paranormal website, all of the mini-investigations yielded evidence of paranormal activity. That included a fully charged camera battery suddenly being drained, rapid rises and falls in electromagnetic frequency readings despite the building being mostly without electricity, purported ghost sightings, taps in response to questions, people feeling emotionally overwhelmed in certain rooms and recorded sounds, including apparent voices.

Mr. Perrin said that while doing maintenance work in the old building, he has often heard footsteps on floors where no people are present.

The June 6 and 7 event will begin with a quick tour and presentation of evidence gathered so far, followed by the overnight investigation. Events of the evening will be reviewed at 8 a.m. June 7 over coffee and doughnuts.

Up to 25 people may participate at a cost of $35 per person, with payment required by Monday. Payments may be sent to the Lewis County Historical Society, P.O. Box 446, Lowville, N.Y. 13367, or dropped off at society headquarters at 7552 S. State St. in Lowville. No refunds will be offered unless the event is canceled.

For more information, call Mr. Perrin at 376-8957 or send an email to lewiscountyhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

The society plans a $220,000 project to restore the more than 200-year-old structure, funded primarily through a $165,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Lewis County Historical Society in 2005 purchased the mansion, the former home of the Greystone Manor restaurant, and the structure was added to the state and national registers of historic places in 2008. The 10,264-square-foot limestone mansion, completed in 1805, originally was the home of Gen. Walter Martin, for whom Martinsburg is named. It also has been used as a tavern, a convalescent home for Canadian soldiers of World War I and a nursing home.

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