The hiss of a small word, four little letters, crackled over the box.
We looked at each other. My eyes were wide, hers were smiling.
Edge. My last name.
Spoken through a spirit box as we reached out to the dearly-departed outside the Providence Athenaeum.
Spoken by a male voice in response to my companion, Deb, introducing us to the spirits, using our first names.
Spoken by a spirit I’ve been visiting for the last sixteen years.
Spoken, very possibly, by the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe himself.
Back in 2006, when Providence Ghost Tour arose from stacks of paperwork, microfiche research and interviews, I never imagined it would still be unfolding over a decade and a half later. I never imagined the experiences I would have on tour, the tales I would learn, or the allegiance I would feel for these ghosts. For the majority of my adult life, these entities have been part of my framework. Their stories have become so personal to me and so important to get right.
My ghost guide gals and guys have made intentional efforts to be respectful, to honor the memory these people left behind, to share their incredible goings-on in their afterlives, and to offer them thanks. We leave flowers on their graves or at their tour sites each year, a way to recognize their contributions. When research has proven to be false or better information has been made available, we’ve adjusted our stories to be sure the truth prevails. I see my role as a guardian of their legacies and my guides take up that mantle as well.
I never imagined that the spirits would get to know me, but it seems that they have.
Deb Vickers, paranormal investigator and former Lizzie Borden House guide (and former PGT guide!), ushered me from stop to stop last week. We carted paranormal detection equipment: EMF meters, a REM Pod, dowsing rods and a spirit box. I’m not an expert in paranormal equipment. I’ve had many ghostly experiences, but the gadgets are new for me. Deb, however, is like a master carpenter selecting a tool from her belt. She knows exactly what to use for what task and how to best employ it.
We sat on the ground so that the spirits would feel comfortable and not intimidated. She introduced us, explaining each piece of equipment and letting them know we were there to connect, not to harm. The EMF meters were quiet. The REM Pod was quiet. The spirit box and the dowsing rods? Fan favorites of our paranormal pals, apparently. They responded to questions, directed us to where they stood (floated?), and shared personal information. It wasn’t at one or two stops. They responded specifically and with intention at every single stop.
It seems that over 16 years of seeing me and many years of seeing Deb, our spirits have formed a connection as well.
It felt like an embrace from an old friend, from a dear long-lost relative. Ghosties, it was an absolute honor.
On Sunday, Aug. 14, Providence Ghost Tour will offer its very first Investigation Tour. We will trek to select sites on the regular tour. Instead of focusing on storytelling and history, we will offer a very brief version of that and dive into the investigation process. We will use different tools to explore the sites and hope to connect with the spirits. Guests are welcome to use their own equipment or to try some of ours. Groups will be small to allow an intimate experience and maximum opportunity to explore. This event will repeat twice a month through October.
Ghosties, the spirits are ready to speak for themselves. Are you ready to listen?
To join us on our Investigation Tour, please sign up here.