Who would have ever thought that the University Inn & Conference Center on Douglass Campus would hold the #1 spot in Rutgers Rarities for active phenomena? It was merely by chance that Co-investigator Ray, reluctant accomplice Asha and I stopped off at the historic Inn one fine summer night in pursuit of the strange or unusual. Our expectations were low as the Inn looks like a friendly enough place by day, with visiting faculty milling about the lot and the beautiful acreage of Woodlawn across the street. How wrong we were. Beneath the innocent façade of stately oaks, antique wormwood and whitewashed walls lies a secret treasure trove of paranormal activity that would terrify any hapless soul, or at least creep you out a little.
It all began with our brief interview of the wonderful front desk manager, Val, who rather casually informed us that the third floor of the Inn was haunted. Ghosts and/or spirits were not frightening to Val who grew up with a presence in her nearby downtown New Brunswick childhood home. Val informed us that two entities, male and female, had sections of the uppermost floors that they preferred to haunt. These hauntings were visualized as an image of a woman or man wandering the third floor. Val felt that these spirits were benign enough entities and she also felt that they were perhaps the spirits of Mr. & Mrs. Carpender, who once owned the Inn as their home at the turn of the century. Once granted access to the third floor, Ray, Asha and I immediately noticed the extreme temperature changes from warm to cool, from one step to the next. I personally began to then experience the strange phenomena of my trusty audio recorder stopping abruptly every 20 seconds or so. The tape recorder only did this as I entered the third floor and began my recording. Once I was off the third floor, the recorder began to record as normal – a clear indication that the batteries were working and that there was no explainable mechanical reason for the abrupt repeat failure. Around the time that my recorder was crazily blitzing off and on, Ray began to feel a physical force pulling on his camcorder. He actually halted in the hall and began to fight the pull with the hand holding the camcorder. Again, there was nothing to explain a strong pulling current. We were simply standing in the middle of an empty hallway. At this point we also witnessed doorknobs beginning to slightly rattle, as if there was a tremor in the building, but we could not discern any probable source of vibration ourselves. Further down the hall, a light came on in a locked room where Val assured us that no guest was staying in. As a matter of fact there were no guests staying on the third floor that night, or at least none on common human record.
As we traveled through the connecting hallways, we noticed that the paranormal activity seemed to be diminishing, though I can say that I jumped about three miles high when Val came up a nearby staircase to check on our progress. Once we got off the third floor I noticed that my audio recorder was behaving normally and that the tape simply seemed to have “blank spots” where the audio went off by itself. Ray also reported that the pulling sensation was completely gone and Asha felt much relieved to be away from that eerie presence.
Again, thus far, this has been our most amazing investigation. I look forward to spending an evening at this stately manse and encountering our lively friends on the third floor again.
©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005