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Tom D'Agostino's 11 books are unique in the sense that people can actually visit all of the sites today.

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Tom D'Agostino Is A Paranormal Investigator Who Published Eleven Books, Each Describing Haunted Places You Can Actually Go Witness For Yourself 

Paranormal investigator Tom D'Agostino [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]

Listed on his track record, Tom D'Agostino has eleven published books, 1,200 investigations, connections with the Ghost Hunters and several PBS series about the paranormal. Paranormal investigator, author and researcher Tom D'Agostino's 11 books are unique in the sense that people can actually visit all of the sites named and discussed within the pages. Of the 11 books, a few include “Haunted New Hampshire,” “Haunted Massachusetts,” “Abandoned Villages and Ghost Towns of New England,” and his newest, “Haunted Rhode Island.” Anyone interested in exploring the haunted, macabre and abandoned throughout New England knows they can count on D'Agostino to find out more about the site's history, past sightings and how to find them.

“Each book is full of haunted places you can actually visit, complete with lots of photos,” said D'Agostino. “These are not private ghost stories you can only read about, with no chance of ever experiencing the place for yourself. Our goal is to share as many of the places we have visited with everyone so that you, too, can see the 'other side' of New England.” Talking directly with the ghost explorer himself , The Buzz found out about some of the most haunted places around, his experience with some old homes in his hometown of Putnam, Connecticut, and why he 'ain't afraid of no ghost.'

Q&A

The Buzz: You said your house in Putnam is haunted! Did you know that upon moving in?

Tom D'Agostino: It's one of the most haunted homes in Putnam. It was an old Victorian that we just fell in love with. The realtor asked us pretty early on, 'Have you seen anything yet?' I found out he was talking about ghosts. One of the previous owners had been spotted on the balcony several times. The work crew – some of them actually quit while redoing the house.

The Buzz: Because of the ghosts?

TD: The current owner told us the crew would put a hammer down on the window ledge and they'd come back and the hammer was gone. They also heard people going up the stairs.

The Buzz: How has your experience been?

TD: We have documented hundreds of events in the last ten years, including full blown apparitions. A dog chased one, neighbors saw them... Our friends from Ghost Hunters came and they were completely astonished by what happened. It's like the ghosts put on a show for people when they come over.

The Buzz: So who are they?

TD: There's the ghost of a woman, maybe two. The ghost of a man. And two children who run and tackle each other in the upstairs hallway. Previous owners would come over and tell us the same stories. They'd stop by at random. One of them said there was a barn there at one point and two women hung themselves in the barn.

The Buzz: Wow, that is a little creepy. How long have you been investigating?

TD: I've been doing this for 35 years.

The Buzz: How did you start? What made you interested in paranormal investigation?

TD: I grew up into it. I loved the horror movies. In 1982 I stayed in this house a friend had bought for six days. And some of the most unexplainable things happened, which caused me to study all kinds of physical sciences and social sciences and meteorology in college. I wanted to understand what was going on. That's when I started investigating.

The Buzz: What do you like about it?

TD: I like helping the people in one way or another. My wife, Arlene Nicholson, and I don't charge for investigations. We never charge. What I like is giving them a peace of mind in one way or another. We want to hopefully collect some sort of evidence to understand what's going on here.

The Buzz: What is one of these investigations in the area that stood out to you?

TD: There was one that we did – a house in Thompson. It was pretty wild. We went out in the barn and not only did we capture EVP - electronic voice phenomenon – but something stood in front of the camera in one of the rooms. Drawing energy where we had an EMF meter with a red light on top. It started flashing. The lights dimmed. It was a good ten to 15 seconds before it moved.

The Buzz: Wow. That sounds a bit scary. So, how did you help people with this?

TD: We do a lot of historical research. One of the daughters of this lady had an imaginary friend called Manda, but they had seen a woman in this room several times. They've been touched, arm grabbed, covers pulled off by something unseen. We found out a woman named Miranda had lived in that house for 50 years.

The Buzz: Oh, wow. So why was Miranda there? What can be done about it?

TD: A lot of people – their concerns may be just coincidence and can be explained. I was a contractor. I can sometimes explain things right off. But there's some things you can't explain. And it's good for them to know that someone else is there that believes them. Someone is listening to their story and that gives them some peace and comfort.

The Buzz: So you don't really get rid of the spirits.

TD: If you know something is wrong, we can communicate as best as we know how with this energy. When people are panicking, they're admitting that kind of energy. If they're calm and happy and don't feel threatened, maybe whatever it is will dissipate. Most people don't want their haunts taken away. They want validation.”

Graveyard in New England which is a site Tom focuses on in his books [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]
Is that a Ghost?? It deserves investigation! [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]

The Buzz: It seems like New England has a lot of hauntings because of the older buildings.

TD: Well some older places have nothing. Completely nothing. Sometimes a newer home can be haunted. We did an investigation on a house that was 60 years old. I drove to the neighborhood and saw all of these new homes. But then I saw this 200 year old house with an old woman in the yard. I walked over to her and said, 'This neighborhood is pretty new. This house is old. Why is that?' She said it used to be a farm when she was a kid. The farmer died right in the field, right where that house is. I looked and she was pointing at the 60 year old house. Well there's a problem solved.

The Buzz: So what made you decide to start publishing these books about some of the haunted places you've seen around New England?

TD: I'm a musician. People would ask me where a good place to go ghost hunting was, and I'd write places on bar napkins. So I decided I wanted to tell people where to go. We lived in Rhode Island at the time and I said it was a good state to start with and I love New England. I pitched the idea and after a couple of people were interested I got signed. We put out Haunted Rhode Island and all the books are based on places you can actually visit.”

The Buzz: Oh, that's pretty cool. So all the places in the books are not illegal to go to or private property?

TD: The thing is, growing up you read about this house and that house. You can't go there. I wanted places that people could go and enjoy where they could see something. And they'll come back and tell us.

The Buzz: You've been on a lot of popular ghost hunting shows. How was that experience? Are the haunts actually real?

TD: Some of them are authentic. Some of them are trying to document haunting moments. And others, well, reality shows aren't really reality. But it's been pretty cool. They became our friends. They're just earnest in wanting to find these haunts and ghosts and investigate. We're always looking for that little answer that will open up a new idea of what happens. We can't go to the other side and come back. We can't hang out with Elvis and Jim Morrison. That is of course if they're really dead! [laughs]

The Buzz: Is it difficult having the cameras around? Does that make the investigations any different?

TD: It's harder with the cameras and everything. A lot of times they have to do recreations. It just doesn't feel the same as sitting there by yourself. We've done documentaries too for different PBS and WGBH documentaries and series. But for a TV show, sometimes you're there for a week, filming. And it becomes a TV show. Like a soap opera or a mini movie. You're there for days and days, but only used for 20 seconds.

The Buzz: What do you have to say to people who don't believe in ghosts?

TD: Some day you will... Something will happen where you'll start to wonder or downright believe. We have no choice. I have a computer full of videos, pictures, audio...

The Buzz: All of these videos, when ghosts just randomly appear... Why aren't you afraid?

TD: I'm really not afraid of it. I'm the fool who runs towards danger. I've been hit in the face. My wife has been picked up. Some people we've done investigations with have actually ran. But we are looking for answers. To me it's more of a science. If someone just walks up behind you you'll jump. There's things you wouldn't expect.

The Buzz: Right. But you're not afraid. Just surprised. So what is the most haunted place in this area that people can visit?

TD: We have the book 'Ramtail Factory,' about an official haunted site in Rhode Island. A few people committed suicide in the factory in the 1800s. One of them – the Pegleg Walker – would supposedly walk around the building after they closed with a candle lantern in hand. We have seen this light moving around the path, like a person carrying it. We have talked to many people who have seen it. We've got EVP's from this place and seen what appeared to be a ghost, glowing and moving around the remains of the factory.

Haunted house in Putnam that Tom has covered and investigated [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]
Another haunted site in Thompson showing Chamber opening [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]
Grave in Putnam, CT Of Phineas Wright. Has he been roaming around long after he passed? [Courtesy/Tom D'Agostino]

The Buzz: What did the EVP's say?

TD: I had several EVPs. One, I asked what happened on May 19, 1822 and it said, 'Killed.' We also used tarot cards. Arlene was doing a reading of the area, picking up the energy, and she asked, 'Who is the woman in charge of finances?' And we got the answer, 'Orra.' Well, we found out that Orra Potter was married to one of the owners. When he died suddenly, she had most of the interest in the factory.

The Buzz: It sounds like a lot has happened there.

TD: The cops won't even go in there at night. They've attested to hearing the bell from the factory. It's one of our favorite places.

The Buzz: So you're from Connecticut. What are some of your favorite spots in that state?

TD: One that we did a lot of work on is in Patchaug State Forest in Voluntown. There's several ghosts there. There's a ghost of a pre-Revolutionary War soldier, from the 1740s. He wanders along Breakneck Hill Road. You see him with his rifle and all, and his tattered uniform. Then there's the screams of a woman who actually was thought to be a Native American killed by militia men during the French-Indian War. Then there's the ghost of Maude Reynolds, who appears near her grave.

The Buzz: Who is Maude Reynolds?

TD: She's a very young girl. She was eating an apple and choked on it. That's how she died. Even though it was the 1890s, they couldn't really do anything. But they kept her apple with bite marks in it in a jar of vinegar. The mother was so distraught that instead of burying her in the family cemetery they buried her in a little area that rises above the home on Hell Hollow Road.

The Buzz: Sounds like a fitting name!

TD: Another place we like to visit is East Thompson Stone Chamber, along the Airline Trail in Thompson. It's a stone chamber and nobody knows where it came from. There's a little opening. You would have to crawl in. Once you're inside, the roof is over 8 feet tall. They think it may have been built by John Elliot for praying Indians, but the beehive shaped roof is Keltic-style. It pre-dates a lot of things in the area.

The Buzz: Is it haunted?

TD: People who go there say weird things happen to me. But your'e in the woods. It's just a cool place to visit.

The Buzz: So you've never experienced any hauntings while inside there?

TD: No, just big spiders on the ceiling. But it's kind of a cool area. There's a cool bridge where cattle used to pass over the railway. And it's also the site of the largest train wreck in American history. Four trains actually collided. The area is thought to be haunted because of that. Only a couple people died in it. But several houses were burned when the trains exploded into flames.

The Buzz: Wow, that's crazy!

TD: Gay City is an abandoned village that you can walk through in Hebron. It's also known as Factory Hollow. The building of a factory in that area was under scrutiny immediately.

The Buzz: Why is that?

TD: Water was flooding uphill. In the early 1800s when religion plays a big part, they were very superstitious. A lot of them fled the area. They didn't want anything to do with it. The factory did indeed flood a few times and was abandoned in 1880s. But people have gone in there, into the factory, and have seen black mist flowing through there. A jewelry peddler had disappeared in Gay City, but his skeleton was found later in charcoal pits behind the factory. People say they can see his skeleton floating in that location to this day. Then there was one kid who was an apprentice to a blacksmith. He was always arriving late and the blacksmith beheaded him. The guy slashed him to pieces. His ghost is seen in Gay City also. It's easy to find because he has no head.

The Buzz: So what is this headless ghost doing?

TD: He is just going through the woods nearby. They say he's probably trying to get to the blacksmith's shop. He's constantly late. That's what legend says anyway.


Olivia Richman

A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.

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