2013-02-28 / Front Page

Ghost hunters tackle mills

By Kristy Wagner Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – The Biddeford mills have caught the attention of a group of local paranormal investigators. The group of six filmed two episodes documenting their ghostly experiences in the mills for their webseries, “Haunt ME.”

Ashley Brooks, 25, founded the paranormal group more than a year ago. The six investigators range in age from 25 to 30 and most of them went to high school together in Gorham.

“The great thing about our team is, each of us has a specific job we do. Each investigator has a specialty,” said Ty Gowen, 25, one of the lead investigators in the group.

Gowen said residents and others with stories and experiences about haunted locations are always willing and ready with history and stories to add to the team’s investigation.

“The best way to put it is, it’s a full-time hobby. We are hosted on the Maine Entertainment website, which primarily hosts Maine TV shows and Maine talent,” Gowen said.

Gowen said nothing in the show is scripted, and everything the viewer sees is what really happened to the investigators. Brooks and Gowen attribute the highquality final product to the behind-the-scenes crew who make the show possible.

Many residents have reported strange occurrences and sightings in and around the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford.

Based on information about certain “hot spots” provided by Carolyn Gosselin, Haunt ME spent one night investigating Mill 13, Mill 16, Mill 13-2, Mill 10, Mill 36 and the catacombs, also known as the lagoon.

Gosselin, a local teacher, spends a lot of time studying the mills for the Biddeford Mills Museum. Brooks first met Gosselin during a visit to the underground lagoon located under the Pepperell Mill Campus.

“Seeing that place was so awesome. I got to talk to Carolyn Gosselin, who was with us,” Brooks said. “She was telling us some ghost stories she had experienced and that triggered my interest in the mills.”

Gowen said once Brooks told him the stories she had heard from Gosselin there was no chance the team wouldn’t investigate the area.

The mills were the fourth location investigated by the team. Brooks and Gowen said the mills were also the largest area they had investigated so far, which made it a new experience for the team.

Other areas the group has investigated include a residential home in Windham, an old school house in West Baldwin and the Irish Heritage Center in Portland. For the next two episodes the team plans to visit the oldest farmhouse in Limington and the Main Street Grill in Standish.

“Something that was special about the mills is how connected they are to the city of Biddeford. We visit many places that have interesting histories, but are independent of the surrounding area. Many people in Biddeford today have relatives or ancestors who worked in the mills,” Brooks said, adding, “It was exciting to be a part of that.”

The mills proved to be a very active haunt for the team, with intelligent interactions between investigators and paranormal entities. Investigators would ask a yes or no question and ask ghosts to respond by moving near the K2 meter. The team received immediate responses to questions and reactions from ghosts when prompted. A K2 meter serves as an electromagnetic field meter letting them know when ghosts are nearby.

The mill investigation is the only investigation the team needed to film for two episodes because of the size of the area.

“The mills are really huge. All the locations we investigated in the past were much smaller. We could have been there every night for two weeks, so for the mills we had to be more focused,” Brooks said.

Gowen said the age and history of the mills created more of an opportunity to detect paranormal activity.

“These were people who spent their entire lives in the mills. It might give them more reason to stick around after the fact. The mills were a different experience for us too because of (the ghosts’) willingness to communicate,” Gowen said. “There were a lot of areas with blips on the radar indicating something was there.”

Gowen called the team’s experience in the mills “very rare.”

Cameraman Charlie Widdis attested to the authenticity of the show.

“There were a few occurrences that definitely threw me for a loop. At one point, we heard what sounded like a little girl giggling. There were loud crashes from rooms no one was in. In a place like that there are so many nooks and crannies that you always feel like you are being watched,” Widdis said.

The team plans to have a total of seven episodes for both the first and second seasons of “Haunt ME.”

Gowen said the Haunt ME Facebook page has been receiving many likes in recent weeks indicating the show’s growing popularity.

The small group of Maine investigators has even caught the attention of Grant Wilson, former co-producer and former star of SyFy’s reality series, “Ghost Hunters.”

“Grant Wilson is a huge leader in the field and apparently he is a big fan (of Haunt ME). He wrote about us on his Facebook page,” Gowen said, adding it was encouraging to receive such “a seal of approval” from someone like Wilson.

To watch the two episodes of Haunt ME about the Biddeford mills visit the Entertainment Experiment website at www.entertainmentexperiment.com.

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