By Matt Echelberry
Brownella Cottage hosted several visitors on the evening of Friday, May 25. Paranormal investigators conducted experiments there from 9 p.m. — 2 a.m. (with the approval of the Galion Historical Society). Joe James and Greg Seyter, the leaders of Paranormal and Cryptic Exploration (PACE), set up video cameras and other equipment in several of Brownella’s rooms to see if any paranormal activity occurs amid its red carpet, elegant decor and fireplaces.
Brownella is slated to be another stop on the Haunted Mansfield tour, along with the Ohio State Reformatory (in Mansfield), the Bissman Building, Malabar Farm State Park, the Renaissance Theatre, and the Mansfield Fire Museum. It is significant that this Galion landmark has become a part of the tour, for 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Bishop William Montgomery Brown, who lived at the cottage with his wife, Ella (whom the estate is named after), and Ella’s mother.
PACE did an initial investigation there to see what kind of activity occurs and to get familiarized with the location before ghost hunters participating in Haunted Mansfield check out the cottage. In addition to James and Seyter, Seyter’s wife and daughter were a part of the PACE team and helped conduct the investigation. James, a senior at Clear Fork High School, has been fascinated by the occult for some time now. In June of 2011, he published a book titled “The Ohio State Reformatory: An Overview” and is working on one about Malabar Farm.
He said that Haunted Mansfield is very different from past events that have been held at Brownella, such as the “Evening with the Browns” session hosted in the past by Dr. Doug Gruber. Haunted Mansfield allows participants to conduct their own paranormal investigations with their own equipment and is intended for more advanced ghost hunters. “This is game-changing because it really opens up the potential [of Haunted Mansfield],” James commented before his investigation.
Several members of the Galion Historical Society were also in attendance that evening. They discussed some of their own experiences with spooky noises and sightings, which mainly tend to occur in the dining room and kitchen areas. Some noises that they often hear while inside Brownella include a barking dog, piano playing and whistling. “The Bishop loved to whistle,” Thomas Palmer, currently secretary of the society, added.
Palmer also recalled once being in the dining room with another person and they heard talking even though neither of them were saying anything. According to him, full conversations can sometimes be heard.
All four members of PACE had some type of an experience that night. Some felt a physical presence in the house, like James, who reported feeling a tickling sensation on his right hand while sitting in the parlor room. Others reported spotting shadows or hearing sounds.
In particular, one of the tape recorders picked up the disembodied voice of a young girl. James stated the team could not determine what the voice said, but a girl’s voice can clearly be heard. Images caught on the video cameras still need to be assessed by the team.
Brenda Treisch, treasurer of the Galion Historical Society, was present for some of the investigation and said that she was not surprised by PACE’s findings. Treisch watched the security monitors throughout the evening and said she could see orbs from time to time, which can be either dust or an entity, she explained. She was impressed by the team and is really happy that the Historical Society has partnered with Haunted Mansfield. “These ghost hunts are going to be very well-run and I think people will have some evidence [of the paranormal] when they leave.”
If you would like to set up an investigation at Brownella Cottage or any of the Haunted Mansfield locations, contact Joe James at ParanormalACE@ ymail.com.