There's a ghost of a chance that North Hungingdon B&B has permanent guests
Larry and Lynne Moisey never feel like they are completely alone in Larimer Mansion Bed & Breakfast.
The couple, who live in the 221-year-old house in North Huntingdon, believe they might not be the only ones calling the Larimer Mansion home.
About a dozen paranormal investigators with the Pittsburgh-based Hauntings Research came to Larimer Mansion last week to see who, or what else might be living in the house.
Hauntings Research founder Ed Ozosky said his group always wanted to determine if there are any spiritual guests permanently checked into the bed-and-breakfast.
"The Larimer Mansion is pretty well known for alleged paranormal activity," Ozosky said. "We're going in with no assumptions -- we want to go in, conduct an unbiased investigation, and see what turns up."
The Moiseys' first thought something paranormal was happening in the 1980s, after they had just bought the house. Items went missing, only to turn up days or weeks later, in random spots throughout the house. They also heard random voices throughout the house.
As time went by, the Moiseys' encounters became more frequent and intense.
A woman in the window is just one of the spirits that might be calling Larimer House her home, Lynne said.
The Moiseys said one of the most dramatic encounters happened in their bedroom several years ago.
"There was a tall woman, who walked by the foot of the bed and looked at me," Lynne recalled. "She walked up to Larry, who was sleeping, and pushed on his chest twice and said: 'Larry, I have something to tell you.'
"When I sat up, she disappeared," Lynne said.
Visitors often ask Lynne about a woman they see looking out of the upstairs windows, clothed in an old-fashioned dress.
"I don't know her name, but I found out there was a woman who lived in the house who had a boyfriend, and she never knew when he was coming," Lynne said. "She would stare out the bedroom windows, looking for his horse and buggy to come down the road."
Lynne said she doesn't really worry about the spirits in Larimer Mansion. Instead, she views them as friendly spirits who love the house as much as she does.
"I feel like they're protective and care for me," she said. "There's just a lot of people who love this house and have a hard time letting go. My biggest fear is that I'll end up haunting this place some day," Lynn said with a chuckle.
Before conducting an investigation, Hauntings Research conducts tours through the house, listening to stories of reported paranormal activity. Upon hearing stories, the group does its best to debunk paranormal claims.
Lisa Hilty, a member of Hauntings Research from Elizabeth, said it's important to find an earthly explanation for paranormal sightings, instead of jumping to conclusions.
For example, Lynne claimed to see spirits in the parlor mirror, which sits above the mantle, whenever they take a photo. The group took several pictures and examined the mirror to make sure it doesn't have any defects, which would affect the picture.
"You have to rule out all natural influences, before assuming it's anything," Hilty said. "You can't assume that every sound, creak or settling board is something paranormal."
Hauntings Research strives to document paranormal activity with photographs and recordings, said Ozosky, who also leads a paranormal-studies class at Community College of Allegheny County's South Campus in West Mifflin.
The group uses several cameras; EMF meters, which are used to find the electromagnetic fields of power sources in homes and on construction sites; and voice recorders to document investigations.
They also use digital-voice recorders, in hope of catching an electric voice phenomenon (EVP), which could be spirits speaking.
All of the group's findings are based on audio, photographic and video findings, Ozosky said.
"It's great to have a personal experience during an investigation, but without some kind of proof, there's no way to prove it actually happened," Ozosky said. "They're interesting experiences, but unless you document them, they really don't count for beans."
During the recent tour of the mansion, Hauntings Research members broke off into several groups, each exploring a different part of the bed-and-breakfast.
Each member was armed with electro-magnetic field detectors, video cameras, digital cameras and digital-voice recorders, in hope of communicating with any Larimer Mansion spirits.
Members spent nearly seven hours investigating the mansion, wrapping up their investigation at 3 a.m.
Hauntings Reserach wraps up an investigation in three to six weeks.
Investigators must view and listen to hours, upon hours of video and audio footage, as well as review each picture taken during an investigation, Ozosky said.
If investigators find something in the footage or photographs, they send it to Hauntings Research's analyzing committee, which double-checks the discovery.
"Once everything is reviewed, we try to pick out the clearest and most obvious occurrences, which cannot be explained, and show it to our clients," Ozosky said. "We usually call that our reveal."
The group plans to meet with the Moiseys and the Norwin Star in October to review the findings.