I recently tagged along with Shadows of the Paranormal, a local ghost hunting group, on an investigation at Villa Paul Restaurant in Hampton Bays.
The Villa Paul property has plenty of fascinating history. In 1804, a log cabin was built on the site, which was home to farmer Joseph Brown and his wife Phoebe. They had four children. While learning about how the property was built on top of a former burial ground and how the bodies were purportedly never moved, I have to admit, a chill went up my spine.
Arriving at the Villa Paul on a rainy Thursday night, everything seemed in place for a spooky evening of ghost hunting. Upon arrival, I met the team from Shadows of the Paranormal: Chris, Brian, Phil and Carolyn. They explained the technical process of setting up their cameras, their audio equipment, their base of operations and talked about the property more clinically than I imagined. They didn’t seem like a bunch of young amateurs—this crew was very serious.
The restaurant’s upper floors contain two large apartments are home to the owners, as well as their daughter and her boyfriend Ricky. There were reports of activity primarily in the daughter’s part of the house. Splitting into two teams, I took part in an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) session with Carolyn, Phil and Ricky. Carolyn did a sweep of the apartment’s living room with an EMF detector, which detects electromagnetic fields. The restaurant itself is beautiful. While checking for any issues with pipes banging or EMF fields downstairs, the team didn’t uncover anything of particular note. The theory behind detecting for electromagnetic fields is that a high field of energy results in paranoia, nervousness and other issues people typically associate with supernatural activity.
“None of these lights here will hurt you,” Carolyn said, beginning our EVP session. She was talking, of course, to whatever spirits might be in the area, as a ghost’s knowledge of lighting is surely limited. “They’re not fire or anything. They won’t harm you. You don’t have to get close if you don’t want to.”
While Carolyn asked questions about the history of the property in an effort to figure out if anyone was with us in the living room, we heard what sounded like footsteps in the hallway behind us. “I can’t be the only one who heard that, right?” I asked.
Carolyn and Phil confirmed that they heard it too. Our first spooky happening of the night! Unfortunately for me, the novice, Carolyn and Phil would confirm that Chris and Brian, who were downstairs, could have easily stepped on a floorboard near the staircase we went up, thus creating the illusion of sound in the hallway. Even after Ricky admitted that he heard those same footsteps practically every night, Carolyn and Phil were reticent to automatically say “ghost!”
Once in the owners’ bedroom, we began another EVP session. Oddly enough, the owners themselves have never had an experience with the paranormal in their restaurant, but so many others have—they thought that something could be going on. Once in their bedroom, Phil placed his flashlight on the ground between himself and Ricky. It lit up on its own.
As we asked questions, whatever “spirit” we were talking to answered on queue. Are you a male? Nothing. Female? Light on. Can you turn the light off on the count of three? On three, the light went off. Are you a child who lived here? Nothing. Are you an adult? Light on.
After the investigation was completed, we learned that Brian, Chris and the owners of the restaurant had the exact same experience in the bedroom that we did, with the exact same responses. Overall, a pretty interesting and creepy occurrence that no one could explain. Brian would later admit to me that he never had anything like that happen to him before. Intelligent communication is difficult to catch, so what we all had was a pretty amazing experience.
Villa Paul Restaurant, 162 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631-728-3261, villapaulrestaurant.com