by Diane Bajorinas, Special to FATE Magazine
I’ve often been asked how I knew I should be a paranormal investigator. Even though I’ve been what I would call a ghost enthusiast since I was a young girl, I never thought of investigating…not really, until I was in my early thirties. As I think back on it now, I have the feeling I just didn’t know how to get started and, besides, with movies like Poltergeist, and The Amityville Horror, I wasn’t sure I was brave enough.
Back in 1998, I had a work friend named Bryant (I am withholding his last name as to not embarrass him.) He came in to work right after Halloween and told me about a haunted house turned restaurant called Carousel Gardens in Seymour, Connecticut. Not only did the owner acknowledge the ghosts, he invited diners to walk around freely, take pictures and investigate however they wanted, as long as the other diners weren’t disturbed, of course. When Bryant asked me to go with him, I immediately said yes.
When we got there, the hostess seated us immediately and, after we put in our drink order, we got up to take a walk around the house; Bryant with his video camera and me with my regular camera. Starting upstairs, we went from room to room, taking pictures went. The last room was where our paranormal encounter happened.
Since the restaurant had been a private home, the upstairs bedrooms were used for small parties and an office. We went from room to room, taking pictures and video as we went. The last room we went into was called “The Rose Room.” It was a rather large room measuring about 15” x 20” feet. Since we were alone in the upper floor, we kept the lights off, adding to the mysterious feel. While we were taking pictures in the Rose Room, Bryant said, “It feels creepy in here.”
I replied, “I don’t feel anything.” Now, even back then, I knew better than to say that and yeah, I got a good psychic slap because of it. For those of you who don’t know, a psychic slap is when someone says something about not believing in ghosts and the ghost goes out of their way to prove their existence. In this case, it waited until I got out into the hall, up at the top of the stairs.
Bryant was about ten feet away from me, filming down the stairs as I took random pictures when I felt something shove me from behind. I said something to Bryant about it, and right at that moment, we heard something metallic hit the wall in the Rose Room. Without missing a beat, Bryant said, “I’m out of here!” and high-tailed it back to our table.
I, on the other hand, stood there for a moment, thinking, ‘this is so cool!’ before going to join him.
Back at the table, our drinks were there and with it, a book explaining the history of the house. We leafed through it thoroughly and made a few discoveries. As it turned out, the former owner was a woman named Ruth Wooster, daughter of the man who built the home. Ruth, it seemed, lived in the house her entire life and The Rose Room had been her bedroom. It is believed that she is the spirit haunting the house.
When the owner came by and checked on us, we told him of our experience and he said that Ruth liked to throw dimes at people and if we were to go into the Rose Room again, we would find a dime on the floor. I was all for going up to the room, but Bryant refused to go and I wasn’t quite brave enough at the time to go by myself.
That was 21 years ago and Carousel Gardens is long gone. The house itself is still there, but it is now home to a Cosmetology school. There is no word from the new owners about any paranormal activity, but I can pinpoint that moment on the top of the stairs as when I knew I was supposed to do paranormal investigation.
Bryant, however, pinpoints this as when he knew he was not.