No matter who the winner is in next week’s presidential election, he will not be the only President living under the White House roof, according to John Horrigan, paranormal expert.
Undisputedly though, they will be the onlyliving president in current residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. According to Horrigan, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, as well as those of several other deceased presidents, regularly wander through our nation’s most important residence.
Horrigan, who spoke to an intimate gathering in the Ames Free Library in Easton on Thursday, Oct. 21, claims there are literally thousands of haunted sites and residences, many of them local.
Horrigan, who says he is “obsessed” with the stories and data he researches regularly, is a self-proclaimed “scaredy cat.”
“I don’t go searching these things out,” he said.
Though Horrigan may not go looking for trouble, he loves to research and read about paranormal sightings.
“I love a good mystery,” he said.
Horrigan became interested in the paranormal in 1990. While convalescing from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, a friend gave him a book on the subject. This small act of kindness sparked his interest in everything paranormal and now Horrigan lectures frequently on the subject.
Though most of us look at ghostly sightings as something that happens in older homes and graveyards, Horrigan said “spirits can be anywhere.”
Lighthouses, battlefields, theaters and hotels all have famous sightings and stories in various parts of the nation. Many methods of transportation such as cars (the Blue Phantom of Route 66), ships (the Mary Celeste in 1848) and buses (the Ghost Bus of Labbroke Grove) also give rise to numerous ghost stories and unexplained happenings.
The term paranormal encompasses almost any mystery of the unexplained, including UFO sightings such as the local sighting in Easton in 1971, and so-called “haunted triangles,” such as the infamous Bermuda or “Devil’s” Triangle. Though the Bermuda triangle is famous worldwide, it is rumored that locally, there exists a haunted triangle between Bridgewater, Abington and Rehoboth, Horrigan said.
Another local story involves what Horrigan refers to as “Phantom Track Walkers.” In the early days of the railroad, many men held jobs as “track walkers.” They walked the tracks in the evening, lanterns held in front of them, checking the track for damages that could cause a train to derail. Perhaps these men became immune to the sound of trains, or through boredom were lost in their own thoughts, but many were sent to their deaths by the very trains that they were trying to save. It is said that the spirits of these men still roam the tracks, with lanterns held aloft. Reports of a floating blue orb at train tracks near the Raynham Dog Track could be the spirit of one such “track walker.”
Not all spirits are distant specters said Horrigan. Some take the form of living beings, acting as “Roadside Angels,” helping those in need.
Horrigan told the story of a couple who had car trouble on the way to the hospital with a sick child. They were aided by an older couple and led to the hospital just in time to save their child’s life. Though the older couple disappeared from view immediately after they accomplished their mission of mercy, the child’s parents immediately recognized their pictures, hanging in the lobby of the hospital. Apparently the child received help from the hospital’s most generous benefactors – the Gibsons – who had died many years before.
Some audience members at Horrigan’s lecture shared their own stories of local ghosts, including some minor incidents at the Ames Free Library itself.
One couple spoke of a ghost who has inhabited their house for almost 25 years. They are convinced she is the spirit of the late owner, an avid gardener who died suddenly at home. Overturned clay pots, ghostly garden sightings, and unexplained sounds of footsteps have convinced this Easton family that their ghost is real.
Horrigan said 65 percent of the general public believes in the presence of ghosts or spirits, while 20 percent are not sure if they believe, and 15 percent do not believe.
So the question we must ask ourselves as we approach this most haunting of weekends, is – do you believe?
Cathy Gilbertie Knipper, Norton Mirror