Sprague's haunted history backed by paranormal investigators

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It has long been rumored that Sprague Mansion is haunted, but after decades of whispers on the building’s spooky history, the Cranston Historical Society has their proof.

Investigators from The Rhode Island Society for the Examination of Unusual Phenomena (RISEUP) recently spent a night at the mansion and were pleased by their findings, which were revealed to Historical Society Vice President Alex Amalfitano and board member Adele Napolitano last Wednesday evening.

Both Napolitano and Amalfitano say they have had mysterious experiences at the mansion recently. Napolitano recalls that one evening, after spending a few hours cleaning the interior, she and Amalfitano sat down at the dining room table to take a break. Directly above them they heard a loud banging that was so strong it shook the chandelier overhead. When they went upstairs to investigate, they could not find a reason for the sound.

More recently, as the two entered the house, they said they heard someone running up the stairs. They knew no one else could be there, because they had just disarmed the alarm when they entered the house.

“That was the only time we got spooked,” Napolitano said.

Sprague Mansion’s first documented experience with the paranormal happened in 1921, when a woman residing in the home said she felt someone touch her when she was in the wine cellar. There have been numerous similar accounts since.

This is not the first time the Historical Society has invited ghost hunters to investigate the mansion.

In 2006, the famous Rhode Island TAPS team (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) investigated the mansion but fell short of producing solid proof that the mansion is haunted.

The RISEUP team, however, presented Napolitano and Amalfitano with three electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and a video recording of an unexplained black mist.

RISEUP investigator Tom Stewart said the EVPs are classified into three categories. A Class A EVP is a clear recording with no dispute of what is being said. A Class B EVP is less clear and open for interpretation. A Class C EVP is inaudible, but has the characteristics of human speech. He used the analogy of a dog whistle that cannot be heard by the human ear, but if the whistle is recorded, “the recorder plays it back at a frequency that we can hear.”

During the investigation, while in Kate Chase Sprague’s bedroom, the team asked aloud if anyone present was a member of the Sprague family.

A low female voice responded, “Yes.”

At another point in the investigation, while in the governor’s bedroom, another Class A EVP was recorded. It was the voice of a young child repeating, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” in a singsong pattern.

The last recording occurred in a guest bedroom, and is considered a Class B EVP. It was in response to the question: “Where do you come from?” The answer was not entirely clear, but some thought they heard “Scarborough.” Amalfitano said that most of the furniture in the mansion came from the Sprague’s summer home near Scarborough Beach.

RISEUP also showed Napolitano and Amalfitano video evidence of a black mist recorded in the wine cellar.

Stewart said that some of the investigators had personal experiences while investigating the mansion. For example, one of the investigators saw a shadow move from a doorway into the hallway, but it could not be documented.

The investigators said it’s not uncommon for their findings to be met with skepticism, but they try to approach their work with an open mind.

“We go into every house objectively. We don’t go in thinking a house is haunted,” Stewart said.

For their part, Napolitano and Amalfitano were very happy with the RISEUP team and the results of their investigation.

“The results didn’t shock me, because I knew from personal experiences that something is there,” Amalfitano said.

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