A months-long comprehensive study has concluded that every square foot of the Town of Rochester is haunted, according to data released to The Wanderer on October 9 by an anonymous group of residents that say the Town has taken too long to publically disclose the truth.
One source who would only speak to The Wanderer under anonymity said that for about a year, strange and unusual supernatural activity has been plaguing the population of Rochester, although only very few of them were willing to come forward with their experiences for fear of embarrassment.
“I personally know of at least 60 houses in Rochester where the people say that their homes used to be peaceful and were now haunted in one way or another,” said the anonymous resident of Mary’s Pond Road. “One family can’t even sleep in their own house anymore. And neither can we! So many ghosts, I don’t know, and just unexplained…things have just taken over, it’s insane the way people are being forced out of their own homes.”
It’s all true, says Rochester Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar.
“I admit it, I didn’t know what to think when the first phone call came in last October,” Szyndlar said on October 10. “And by the time the next three or four strange stories were reported to me, I was like, ‘Something weird is going on’, and I started compiling all of the complaints.”
Szyndlar said she and Rochester Facilities Manager Andrew Daniel met with some of the complainants at their homes, usually at night when the degree of the alleged hauntings would intensify, forming a casual investigation to see if the Town should get involved in some way.
“Andrew came with me because I wanted to have a witness to anything that I might see. He was also the only one of the people I asked that was crazy enough to come with me,” said Szyndlar. “Oh yeah. We saw some weird stuff, that’s for sure. And some very terrifying stuff. But releasing the information publically without some sort of plan of action would have caused people to panic and we couldn’t disrupt people’s lives and start scaring people like that.”
Szyndlar, under the advisement of the Board of Selectmen, discreetly continued to meet with affected residents, delivering a report to the board during executive session meetings under the guise of investigating criminal conduct.
“We don’t exactly have a legal purpose for executive session under the Open Meeting Law for supernatural investigations,” said Szyndlar, “but this was basically the closest thing we could come up with. It had to be done.”
Going through her file of compiled reports, Szyndlar listed some of them off: reports of ghostly apparitions at the tops of staircases in four houses on Dexter Lane, as well as numerous reports from the same street of shadows moving across lawns at night, screaming coming from somewhere in the woods, strangers knocking on doors at night and then disappearing into thin air, and specific reports of a little girl with “hollow black eyes that look right through you” saying only to frightened witnesses, “It was death…”
The area of Pine Street at Hartley Road was another hotspot for reports, including people experiencing sleep paralysis at night and dark ghost-like apparitions hovering over their beds.
Some teachers at Rochester Memorial School discreetly told the principal, who later contacted Szyndlar, that staff members regularly encounter a small boy dressed in mid-1800s clothing wandering the halls during the dark winter late afternoons, and when approached “his eyes would turn black” and when he opened his mouth to speak “his mouth would stretch wide open into an enormous black hole half the size of his face,” states the report, the boy saying nothing before disappearing and leaving behind “muddy footprints that couldn’t be mopped up” that would mysteriously disappear overnight.
Pine Street residents also reported packs of “man-sized dogs with glowing red eyes” seen traversing the country fairgrounds at night. The remains of deer, coyotes, and other wildlife have been found scattered in the area, described as having been “completely ripped to shreds,” as one of the reports details.
Another incident from Hartley Road is that of the deceased past inhabitants of the house returning and going about their daily lives “as if they were still alive,” which has also been reported in several other historical homes.
“We had to do something at one point,” said Szyndlar. “This was really happening. We were scared to death and we had to figure out what was happening, why, and what could be done about it before something really bad happens.”
Back in March, the Town contacted the paranormal investigative group called “Second Sight Study Group” who performed the study at no cost to the Town.
“I’ve been waiting for a study such as this one my entire life,” said SSSG President and Chief Investigator Hegna Barlow during a phone interview on Monday. “This is finally the proof that we need as paranormal investigators – as ghost hunters — to finally show the world without a shadow of a doubt that ghosts do exist.”
Barlow said she had never seen anything like what she witnessed in Rochester. And the video and audio footage and data collected is unprecedented, she added.
“This poor elderly couple living over on New Bedford Road,” Barlow recalled. She paused and let out an unsettled sigh. “I’d never been as frightened as I was standing there at the top of their basement stairs.” After another long pause, Barlow said, “There was a dark presence in that house – powerful, demonic, sinister beyond realization — that could probably gobble up the soul of every living being in this town and destroy it.”
Barlow said the borders between the Earth and spirit worlds– dimensions – have blurred. As Barlow put it, the veil between this world and the spirit world has thinned, and continues to thin, “Which is normal for this time of year leading up to Halloween – Samhain – after which the veil slowly thickens, which is what Rochester should pray happens again,” she said.
The study does not confirm why the paranormal abnormalities are happening, but she did speculate that beneath the soil within the bedrock could be massive veins of quartz that may have something to do with it, or perhaps some high school students partying one night thought it would be fun to try to open up a door to the spirit world and unintentionally invited elements from the underworld. Barlow also said the uptick in solar farms could be to blame, saying that some claim that the consumption of sunlight as it is sucked up by the dark arrays causes a disturbance on the subatomic level. Whatever it is, it appears to be confined to the borders of Rochester.
“It is my opinion – no, it is likely fact – that Rochester, Massachusetts is the single most haunted place in the country, if not the world,” said Barlow. “But that conclusion is…the extent of our usefulness to the town and its distressed inhabitants. We don’t have the means or the knowledge on our end to…help.”
The study began in April and was finally concluded on August 30. Now well over a month later, victims of hauntings say they lost patience with the Town and released the information on their own.
“We’ve been asking and asking the Town, ‘Hey, when are you going to release the information to the public? When are you going to come up with a plan and tells us?’ but no one would tell us when,” said the anonymous Mary’s Pond Road resident who contacted The Wanderer.
Szyndlar said the Town was refraining in order to formulate a plan of action to try to control a likely panicked response.
In light of the hasty public release of the information, Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee said in a written statement on Tuesday that the department has received over 443 calls about ghosts and apparitions, objects disappearing and reappearing, and “bumps in the night”, and has appointed an officer to handle nothing but resident calls and concerns about ghosts and hauntings.
“The department fully acknowledges what is happening in Town, and no resident should be fearful or hesitant to contact us for support,” said Magee; however, he asks residents to use the business line for haunting-related calls, not 911.
Daniel advised residents to be alert and aware while cautioning them to not panic.
“So far no person has been physically hurt by anything,” said Daniel, who has taken up the task of finding help for the town as it faces an unknown future in its battle with the paranormal. “Still, I’m not the kind of person who scares easily, but over these past few months I’ve had the (expletive) scared out of me so many times I’ve literally lost count.”
Board of Selectmen Chairman Brad Morse said in an email that the Town would be scheduling a public forum with residents once they can ascertain that reported paranormal activity at the Council on Aging would allow for an “undisturbed” meeting.
During said public forum, the selectmen will release copies as well as a summary of the supernatural study, and Barlow will be present to answer questions. Further information will be posted and announced in a reverse 911 call to residents as soon as possible.
“So, who you gonna call?” The Wanderer asked Daniel, who replied, “I have a few kind of weird friends who may know someone who may know someone, and I’ve been spending every night online researching groups that H.B. (Barlow) suggested.” Clearly missing the obvious reference, Daniel added, “If anyone knows anyone who deals in getting rid of ghosts, please, have them contact me.”
A Halloween Special Report
By Jean Perry