The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Paranormal investigators explore the dark

This is my kind of group:

It's an icy February evening. A cold rain pelts insistently against the windows. "Is there anything you'd like to say to us?" asks Rieve. "If you're here with us, Harriet, is there anything you'd like to say?

"We're listening."

Rieve continues to ask questions. And if there's an answer, it's not readily discernable, though an electromagnetic field reading of .2 milligaus taken next to the mask is intriguing, at the least.

So are some other readings taken throughout the evening, though whether they mean anything is hard to say. The goal is to gather up evidence, and see where it leads.

Rieve, who is from New Britain, belongs to the Central Connecticut State University Society of Paranormal Investigations. The student group, organized last fall, is investigating what's known as the Coe mansion, or Coe Castle as it's sometimes called, which looks down at Platt High School from a nearby hill.

The group first investigated the mansion just before Christmas, after a story in the Record-Journal highlighted the history of the Coe family and the expansive, 8,700-square-foot stone mansion, built in 1870. The story mentioned those who feel the house might be haunted. The return trip in February was for further investigation, with the permission of Gregory Harte, who bought the house in August.

The student group, which has a faculty advisor, is the brainchild of Shelby Threloff, a 2002 graduate of Lyman Hall High School whose penchant for the paranormal was cultivated during nine years of volunteer work at Wallingford's Halloween attraction, the Trail of Terror. "People there are very into it," she said.

So are members of the student group, which numbers about 20, with about 15 to 17 taking a very active role. The group's goal is pretty straightforward.

"Some day I want to be able to prove to a skeptic that ghosts are real," said Threloff. Rieve counted himself among the skeptics until the summer before he entered college. He was helping his father, a plumber, on a job in a house the owner rather casually assumed was haunted. The job took a week, recalls Rieve, in which doors and windows opened and closed on their own.

"It makes you think a little bit," he said.


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