(Just before lights out!)
What does a paranormal investigator dream of?
What goes through their heads when the lights go off, and suddenly the spirit world, and our world, intersect?
As a newer organization, SRI has visited a few paranormal locations, but few have been so important in our foundational era as the William Edgar Haymond House in Sutton, WV. In many ways, it could be said that the home, which once belonged to one of Braxton County's wealthiest and most famous residents and is presently owned by Teresa Holcomb Frame, helped to birth our paranormal team.
The home, completed in 1894, was the pride of Sutton's prosecuting attorney and prominent local business man, William Edgar Haymond. It served as home to his two wives, first Emma and later Ethel, and Haymond's children. Sitting on a sandstone foundation, not far from Sutton Dam, the home looms over the street and has an aura of sophistication and eloquence of a long lost era in West Virginia's past; a time of opportunity and vibrant mountain culture.
In the process of the restoration, Mrs. Frame and her family are carefully and meticulously bringing the home back from a near state of disrepair. From the moment you walk inside the door, you understand and appreciate the time and effort that has gone into restoring the historical home, which is now featured prominently in West Virginia's paranormal circuit and as a part of Braxton County history. The house is also listed on the National Record of Historic Places.
When SRI co-founder Theresa approached me about the possibility of an overnight stay at the Haymond, we immediately jumped at the opportunity. It was October, shortly after Theresa and I had first met and began the development of SRI. I left work on that evening, planning to stop by a shop to pick up my first SRI gear, before heading home to get changed, load up, and head out. A typical fall day in Appalachia, it was raining, cool, and near perfect weather.
The drive to Sutton was pleasant. Fall colors were beginning to appear, and became more prominent the further north I went. As I arrived in Sutton, my first time actually in town, I was struck by the old main street which now stood largely empty, but could have easily been a major mountain town during the time in which William and his family were building his home. It hearkened back to the days of Main Street America, and a largely forgotten past.
Crossing the iron truss bridge in town and turning toward Sutton Dam, the Haymond House appears as a white beacon, surrounded by houses made of stone and brick. Arriving later at the Haymond than I had anticipated, both Mrs. Frame and Theresa were already inside going over historical research previously conducted, filling out paperwork, and so on. I walked into the house, met with Mrs. Frame for the first time, and sat down and listened to Theresa as she discussed her research findings with the owner.
In the hour or so that followed, Theresa and I walked around the house as Mrs. Frame informed of us of the paranormal happenings of the home, the history of Mr. Haymond as an integral part of the community, and the history of the home itself. Disembodied voices were reported, as well as black masses, a domineering male spirit, reports of doors shutting by themselves, a female spirit appearing at bedside, and much more.
From the moment Mrs. Frame left, Theresa and I began to prepare for our investigation. On this night it was just to be the two of us. We laid out our equipment, began to plan a strategy, and conducted a live introduction via Facebook. We sat at the table in the front room, preparing ourselves, when we were immediately struck by the sound of what can best be described as the sound of a long skirt or dress coming down the stairs. Upon investigation, no source of sound could be located.
Throughout the night, Theresa and I repeatedly experienced what appeared to be disembodied sounds and voices. The sound of a chair rocking on an upper floor. A small, childlike shadow interacting with our motion sensor lights. Before retiring to bed at 3:30 A.M., we had experienced several different manifestations. Multiple pieces of equipment were utilized for the investigation, and a static cam set up outside of bedroom doors seemed to pick up sounds of furniture moving, scuffling, and footsteps from Mr. Haymond's office on the 3rd floor!
(The Hallway into Mr. Haymond's Office)
(Second Floor Static Cam)
In the morning, Theresa indicated that shortly after waking, she heard sounds coming from downstairs that included a closing door. Thinking that it was actually me packing up equipment, she rushed down to help only to discover...nothing. At this point, I had not yet woken. Mrs. Frame hadn't arrived yet to see us off, so the sounds were, to put it mildly, unexplained and indicative of our night! This was the end of our first night in the Haymond House.
In March, SRI was contacted by Zachary Schwartz of Countere Magazine. After being turned on to Theresa's Haunted History Blog, he contacted SRI to broach the idea of writing an article on paranormal investigation. Naturally, given our experience with the Haymond Home a few months before, it became an obvious choice for this investigation. We were to be joined by Zach, and my former student, James Ward, who had also indicated interest in the investigation.
In early April, we all arrived at the Haymond House to begin our special investigation with Zach. It was a cool spring day, and town was quiet. Zach conducted interviews with Theresa, James, Mrs. Frame, and myself in preparation for his article to appear in Countere Magazine. We discussed strategies, how to operate equipment, and plans were drawn up to conduct the investigation while also providing insight into paranormal investigation for a wide-ranging audience.
As we began to go "lights out," and conduct an EVP session in Mr. Haymond's office, all who were present heard a loud door slamming down on the first floor. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the sound was, likely, the door on the side of the house that enters the front room. As the night went on, admittedly, the house did not seem as active but disembodied sounds featured prominently as James and Zach learned about the methods of paranormal investigation, and the equipment utilized, including a comical experience with the parabolic microphone!
The Haymond House is the kind of location that paranormal investigators dream of. Unlike the extremely cold, or even extremely hot and bug-infested locations we are often accustomed to, the Haymond is comfortable and has a haunted AirBnB vibe. Sleeping in an actual bed is a definite plus as well! If you are in Sutton, drive by and check the home out, or better yet-visit the Haymond House on one of the many events it hosts during the year! It is truly a paranormal investigator's dream in terms of supernatural activity, but also for an unrivaled comfort level that makes investigation a pleasure!
(Brian, James, Zach, Theresa, and JR)