Apparently I have a fairly masochistic sense of what fun is, since when I agreed to accompany a team of into one of the oldest -- and supposedly, most haunted -- places in Lower Nazareth Township, that’s what I was thinking:
“Could be fun.”
Don’t get me wrong. The investigation was a lot of fun -- if your idea of fun is traipsing around a pitch-black labyrinthine inn that just so happens to be 260 years old and just so happens to be rife with strange occurrences and paranormal buzz.
Let me go back a few days. Before I joined Northampton County Paranormal at the on Thursday, October 13, I chatted with two of its members; research manager Jesse Roth and lead investigator Scott Wiley.
Wiley was jovial and energetic on the phone. He’d been to the local inn before on investigations. This would be his fifth stay.
“Oh, that place is definitely haunted,” Wiley said.
I won’t lie: I was skeptical. And the events of Thursday night didn’t necessarily sway me entirely, but they certainly altered my perspective.
Fast-forward again to October 13. I’ll lay out a timeline of what went down, and maybe by the end of it, you’ll see what I mean.
8:45 p.m. - I agreed to meet Wiley and his team at 9 p.m. I arrived 15 minutes early and found them finishing a meal in the lower dining room of the inn. I was introduced to the team members.
Jesse Roth is the research manager for Northampton County Paranormal, and Wiley’s assistant. She doesn’t often go on investigations, but made an exception for this evening. I flattered myself into believing it was because I was there.
Jeff Wargo is a pastor from Riegelsville, just outside of Easton. Wargo is a true believer in the paranormal since his home of 15 years is haunted. In fact, Wargo wrote two books on the ghosts of Riegelsville.
Heather Bordelean has been with the team for five months; although she’s a fledgling ghost hunter, she knows her stuff. According to Wiley, she has a keen ear for EVP -- which I’ll explain later -- and works audio-enhancing software like nobody else.
Scott Wiley has been a paranormal investigator for roughly 20 years. He is the lead researcher for Northampton County Paranormal. He has been featured on television's Paranormal Challenge, Ghost Adventures, and had a spot on WFMZ for his video of an apparition at Bethlehem’s .
The team is excited and ready to go. Unfortunately, we have to wait until the Newburg Inn closes to set up equipment.
9 p.m. – Wiley fills me in on past experiences at the inn, as well as what to expect this evening. I won’t ruin it for anyone by explaining it now.
“Doing an investigation is like fishing,” Wiley said. “But this place is like Grand Central Station. It never closes.”
What he means: the place is super active with paranormal activity, not only due to its age, but also because of its occasionally-grisly and sordid history.
I guess we’ll see.
9:15 p.m. – While I wait for the inn to close, I speak briefly with Cindy Daniels. She not only works at the Newburg Inn, but resides on the second floor -- and has for 13 years.
“I talk to them just as much as I talk to anyone else,” she said, referring to the spirits. “We get along.”
Daniels stresses that she is not clairvoyant, and then gives me some advice.
“Just give ‘em a smack in the mouth and tell them to shut up,” she said.
Somehow, I don’t see myself doing that.
9:20 p.m. – The inn is closed, so the team starts bringing in equipment and setting up. We use a small room just off the first-floor dining room as our base of operations.
Monitors and laptops are powered up, walkie-talkies are synced. Excitement is high.
9:30 p.m. – Wargo, Bordelean and I set up the first camera in the basement. The creepy, creepy basement.
Meanwhile, Wiley sets up a laser grid, which uses hundreds of laser points in a wide grid to monitor three-dimensional movement in darkness. It is all very cool stuff.
9:40 p.m. – We set up a second camera in the attic. If the basement was creepy, the attic is downright harrowing. I really hope I don’t have to spend any time up here (call that obvious foreshadowing).
9:50 p.m. – Wiley, Wargo and I set up a machine called an EM Pump in the attic. On the way up, Wiley swears he feels a presence nearby. He believes it is the spirit of a little girl who is said to wander the halls of the second floor.
I make a mental note: don’t be on the second floor alone.
10 p.m. – I try out the electronic voice recorders that the team uses to catch EVP. The recorders amplify sound to an amazing level. I can hear everything.
EVP stands for electronic voice phenomena, and is a method of catching sounds electronically that would normally not be audible to human ears.
11 p.m. – The five of us are the only -- living people -- in the Newburg Inn.
By this time all seven cameras are set up throughout the inn and hooked into the monitors. Most are infrared, a couple are motion sensors, and two are color. The laser grid is up.
By 11 p.m., we had already experienced two strange things. The camera in the attic had been turned off when no one was up there. And a monitor attached to a motion sensor camera had been unplugged while the five of us were convened across the dining room.
11:05 p.m. – We turn off all of the lights in the inn. It is now completely dark, save for the faint orange glow of streetlights near the front of the building.
11:26 p.m. – Wiley uses the men’s room. A camera is set up pointed down the hall that meets the bathroom door.
As he leaves the restroom, Roth and I both see an orb of light follow him out of the bathroom. The orb disappears before he passes the camera.
11:32 p.m. – With the five of us still in the small “control room,” adjacent to the dining room, we hear a loud BANG, as if someone slammed an open palm down on a tabletop.
The noise came from somewhere in the dark dining room beyond our little area. Wiley, Wargo and Bordelean immediately grab cameras and recorders and venture out.
11:50 p.m. – Wiley decides it would be hilarious to send me to the horrible attic with Wargo. I go, but only because I don’t want to look like a chicken in front of the ghost hunters.
Wargo and I spend 25 minutes sitting in near-complete darkness in the attic. Wargo is armed with a full spectrum light and a digital camera. We also have a HiFi-8 camera pointed in our direction that feeds to the monitor downstairs, in case anything is caught on film.
This fact does very little to assuage my fear.
Luckily, no murderous spirits show themselves to us and we return to the first floor unscathed.
12:35 a.m. – Wiley and Bordelean examine some audio they captured in a back room, which is said to be a hot-spot of the inn. Wiley’s eyes go wide and he passes me the earbuds.
There, on the recorder, between Wiley and Bordelean’s augmented voices, a hoarse male voice can be heard: “Take the unlucky outside.”
If this isn’t already scary enough, Wiley explains to me that this is the same phrase that he heard from an EVP on an investigation in Bethlehem.
A few theories fly between us, but mostly I’m excited that something so clear was recorded.
12:47 a.m. – Wiley and Bordelean head up to the attic.
12:51 a.m. – Roth and I, in the first-floor control room, see an orb of light float briefly between Wiley and Bordelean.
12:58 a.m. – While Wiley and Bordelean are sitting in full view of the attic camera, we lose picture on the monitor. Roth radios to Wiley, but he doesn’t answer.
1:10 a.m. – The attic camera picture comes back, with Wiley and Bordelean looking as if nothing had happened. They return to the first floor shortly thereafter.
They report hearing footsteps across the ceiling while they sat in silence in the attic. This is the same kind of experience that owner, Lou Basta, described to me at the Newburg Inn.
2:30 a.m. – We break with coffee and donuts. Not much has happened since the attic footsteps. Pairs of us have split off to record audio and video in different rooms, but no first-hand experiences have occurred in the last hour.
2:50 a.m. – While the five of us are sipping coffee in the control room, we hear deep footsteps coming from the dining room. Possibly near the bar.
2:55 a.m. – The lights outside the front of the inn go out. Now the place is even darker than before. Completely dark. The footsteps are sporadic, but continue.
Four of us stay stock-still while Wiley goes out to the dining room with an audio recorder and full spectrum camera.
2:58 a.m. – The front lights come back on just as suddenly as they went out. The footsteps stop. Wiley comments that they sounded like someone walking in circles, from the bar to the dining room, or possibly around the bar.
3 a.m. – Wargo and I are sent to the second floor with a full spectrum camera. Upstairs are the rooms of the inn, including Cindy Daniels’ room, which is the only one we cannot enter.
One room has a wide mirror along one side. Allegedly this room was used as a dressing room from when the Newburg Inn was a go-go dance club decades earlier.
The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end while I’m standing in this room. I have a serious aversion to being in here, although I don’t say anything to Wargo.
After about 20 minutes, we head back downstairs.
4 a.m. – We turn the lights back on and pack up the equipment. Several bizarre things have happened tonight that I can’t really explain.
Wiley tells me that, most often, the best evidence is not the first-hand experiences. It is usually found later, in the hours of audio and video that were recorded while we were exploring the inn.
He promises that after all of the footage is analyzed, he will send me a report with the findings. As was the case with his apparition video at the Sun Inn, sometimes things are found after the investigation.
5 a.m. – After chatting in the parking lot for a while, we finally parted ways. Weary and finally able to breathe easy, I get in my car and head home, eager to share the story, and eager to get the findings.
Contributor’s note: These were my first-hand experiences. Once the evidence gathered by the equipment is analyzed, the results will be reported in a follow-up story on Nazareth Patch.