Houghton Mansion – North Adams, MA

Harvest Moon Paracon 

 May 15, 2010 

 I had the pleasure to attend the first ever Harvest Moon Paranormal Conference in North Adams, Massachusetts, at the infamous Houghton Mansion. Many of you remember the Ghost Adventures crew having a go at the ghosts there. Yes, it is haunted! I’ll show you… urr, let you have a listen! 

 This stately old home is now a Masonic Lodge. The Masons generously offer it up to paranormal investigators, which runs counter to their belief systems to some extent. In fact one member who claimed never to have an experience in he place, told me in essence, “I better not see one, if it thinks it’s dead now just wait ‘til I get a hold of it!” This isn’t an exact quote, but the gist is there. (Wish I had a memory of steel… or better yet computer chips.) I used this idea for a comic… pretty hilarious. 

Albert C. Houghton

 The story of the Houghton is a tragic one. Mayor Albert C. Houghton bought the first automobile ever in the town of North Adams. He asked his groom/chauffeur John Widders to drive his daughter Mary, her friend Sybil Hutton and he to Great Barrington, Vermont. Along the journey they encountered a road crew with horses and wagon in the road. Widders swerved onto the soft shoulder to avoid it. He lost control and rolled the Pierce Arrow down an embankment. Hutton was killed on impact; Mary died later at the hospital. Widders and Albert Houghton suffered minor injuries.

Wreck of Houghton's Pierce Arrow.

It wasn’t over… John Widders, distraught over the accident blamed himself. Unable to live with the guilt he took a horse pistol with him into the basement of the barn and ended his life. This was too much for Albert. He died of a broken heart nine days later after losing his daughter and his good friend.

The three remain tied to the place by grief and love. A rumor circulated that Mary was in love with John Widders. This was a love Houghton senior forbade. He sticks around to keep an eye on his daughter. Psychics have mentioned that he is afraid to leave the two alone together.  

A spirit of a young girl skips around the basement. She is probably from a structure that once stood on the land. One was moved before the current mansion was built. There may be others on board, who knows… 

I’ll begin with my personal investigation before the official one. This was done in broad daylight so I could learn the “lay of the land” and see what I would encounter quietly without the herd of newbie investigators in tow. Let’s start from the bottom up. 


The Basement

A musty rotting wood floor greeted my feet as I stepped into this many-chambered labyrinth of stone, wood and dirt. Why a little child would choose to spend eternity here is foreign to me… unless it’s just a cool place to play hide and seek with investigators (which she does). 

I no sooner stepped off the stairs, than I caught the first EVP. 

The voice of a young girl with an interesting accent said, “My (or Her) name is Patty.” Is this the child who haunts the basement? Listen carefully under the rustling of my shirt.

Click here: Basement1-HerNameIsPattyFilter

The next EVP appeared after I asked, “Is there anybody here with me?” 

“I’m Sorry.” 

Click here: Basement2-I’mSorry

I picked up a conversion about it being cold. It was a brisk day… or this could be residual energy. 

“I’m cold… blah blah.” 

Click here: Basement2-talkingColdAMP

This one I am unsure what it says. Initially it sounded like “Hands”. It could be a name… 

Click here: Basement4-hands

Remember the rumors of John Widders being in love with Mary Houghton? Check this EVP out… 

“I love a girl” 

Click Here: Basement12-ILoveAGirlAMP

It was a fairly welcoming cellar as cellars go. The only time I felt strange was at the South side. A back room gave me the distinct feeling I was being observed. Studying the area I saw a dark shadow flit from one side to the other. I thought my eyes were playing tricks. I saw it again. Later it was told that this happens often. Since I can attach it to other personal experiences, perhaps I did see a little shadow someone. 


Third Floor – John Widders Room

I approached the third floor attic room of John Widders the air became thick and heavy. I could feel pressure on my forehead, between my eyes, at the “third eye” as some call it. It was like a force attempting to push me backward (I cartooned this idea). The psychic impression was whoever was in there wanted me to go, immediately. 

Quite appropriately, I caught this EVP. 

“Get out of here! Begone!” 

Click Here: Self1-WhatisName

I must be psychic; my impression was spot on! Hee hee… 

Being the pushy sort I am, I entered the room anyway. Introducing myself, I added my intentions were to ask a couple questions and I would not stay long. 

Just as appropriate… 

“Fine, go.” (Then after I reiterate…) “Fine, get going.” 

Click Here: Self2WhyNotWhy

The impressions and the EVPs gathered here confirm what many psychics have said that John Widders wants to be left alone in his room. This was validated later that evening when Psychic April Sheerin picked up on the same message. 

We all go to these haunted locations to investigate and discover the afterlife, often with a complete disregard for those suffering as ghosts. When we get a response like John Widders, wouldn’t it be kinder just to leave him alone? This thought runs through my mind inducing me to return to the Houghton Mansion to apologize. 


Mary’s Room – 2nd Floor

Here was another room I felt I was intruding. This was Mary Houghton’s room. If Mary was indeed there, she accepted my presence without blatant confrontation. 

The EVP I collected said simply, “Go…. Go.” 

Click Here: Self-3-Go

And so, I left! 



Author Jeff Belanger of GhostVillage.com and 30 Odd Minutes fame asked me to participate in their filming of the Houghton Mansion episode. I was conned into sitting in the psychomanteum for 30 odd minutes after which they would interview me about the experience. 

For those who don’t know, a psychomanteum is a booth or room with a mirror, a chair and a dim light behind that slightly illuminates the room…. though not much. The mirror is positioned off to the side so as not to give the viewer a “self-image” or in my case, a complex. The viewer is to gaze into the depths of the mirror. Eventually, spirits are supposed to show themselves. It is basically scrying. 

I was a little resistant to the scrying thing, so I didn’t see much in the mirror except I did notice a dark shadow blocking the light occasionally as if it was moving back and forth for a better view. EVPs confirmed I was not alone… and as you will see, a ghostly pal was having a richer experience scrying than I was. 

The first voice was female. 

“Who are you?” 

Click Here: Psychomanteum1

A male voice commented on the locale. Interesting proof that these guys are indeed aware of daylight and darkness… 

“Dark room.” 

Click Here: Pyschomanteum2-DarkRoom

This next EVP was totally unexpected. It seems the male spirit was using the mirror for scrying as well. He asked this question. 

“Do you see dogs too?” 

Click Here: Psychomanteum-DoYouSeeDogsToo

No, I did not see dogs in the mirror. However, I would have liked to ask him what kind of dogs and did he recognize them. This is one of those EVPs that is just incredible… and incredibly weird. 

I shifted my weight at some point and my pal remarked… 


Click Here: Pyschomanteum4-oops

Perhaps I sat on him? 

This next one is a comment about a friend. 

“My friend is a rare one, but one…” Difficult to make out the last part. 

Click Here: Psychomanteum5-FriendARareOneAMP

At some point, the 30 Odd Minutes crew interrupted me. The flitting shadow vanished as they ascended the stairs heading to my cubbyhole. It did not return. 


Paracon Investigation

We all met in the Masonic Temple for a prayer of protection led by Shaman Reverend Steve Wilson. I ran my recorder for kicks. Something truly interesting showed up! Over the prayer that was offered a hum was picked up. I can only describe it as the uttering of “OHMMMM.” Whether this is paranormal or not, it certainly adds the voice of God to the proceedings! 


Click Here: MasonicHall-hum


Back to the Basement

We were teamed up with lead investigator Jerry who had already did some investigative work down here for the 30 Odd Minutes show. This was helpful as he already scoped out any wires or pipes giving of high electromagnetic field readings (EMF). 

The K2 meter proved little in this exercise. There seemed to be responses from the alleged little girl. It was playful in essence. To urge responses, Jerry became rather forceful. I tried a different tactic and asked, “Do you think he’s being too bossy?” We immediately got a response as the lights shot up to red. I think she was tired of the game by the time we got there. 

However, there were others on board who provided us with these EVPs. 

I asked, “Where is your family?” The answer was heart wrenching. 

“God took them.” 

Click Here: Basement5-GodTookThem

We asked who the President of the United States was. We got an answer that initially sounded like George Bush to me, but it was inconclusive. 

Click Here: Basement7-President

I asked if the spirit thought we were funny. A little girl voice said, “Um Hmm.” 

‘Um Hmm.” 

Click Here: Basement8-umhmmAMP

Someone introduced himself… 

“Me Craig Cook” 

Click Here: Basement9-MeCraigCook

I would be curious to know if any Cooks were tied to the property. 

After someone spoke there seemed to be an agreement… 

“I know.” 

 Click Here: Basement10-IKnow

One of us asked if the entities would like us to leave. They did not (this is faint, so crank the headphones). 

“No.”  Then again, “No.” 

Click Here: Basement11-NoNo


Mary’s Room

Our foray into Mary’s room was quiet and uneventful. But, that didn’t mean we were not collecting evidence. There were some interesting EVPs collected here. It seems the spirits understand paranormal investigation and commented on it. (I always find it interesting they are also involved in what we’re doing.) 

Claims in this room are centered on a particular chair. The spirit of Mary will touch those who sit in it. One of the investigators inadvertently sat in her chair. The woman was older and seemed like she could use the seat, so Mary did not pester her, (I’d like to think) out of respect. 

I think Albert Houghton made himself known here. He was not impressed with the intrusion of so many noisy paranormallers in his home. His response is pretty audible and priceless. 


Click Here: MaryRoom2-Ruthless

I don’t blame the guy… this was a noisy investigation. There were several groups in different areas. When we all moved around (which was coordinated together) the eruption of sound was horrific when you consider that quiet is the order of business for most ghost hunting. 

In this next one, at the tail end of an investigator speaking, there is a male voice saying, 


Click Here: MaryRoom3-Look

A female voice spoke softly to us. 

“You can approach me.” 

Click Here: MaryRoom5-LookUp-ApproachMe

It seems Mary (if it is she) was a little more welcoming to the visitors than her father. 

As our Jay proceeded to instruct the newbies on proper paranormal procedure for collecting EVPs, the ghost decided to finish his sentence before he does. 

“Mark it.” 

Click Here: MaryRoom6-MarkIt

Having seen an old photo of John Widders with a horse. I began to discuss horses. I asked for a horse’s name. The female voice replied, 


Click Here: MaryRoom11fadeAmp-NameofHorse-Eaton

Another EVP came through. It was accusatory. It’s difficult to determine what is being said. 

“We know you…” 

Click Here: MaryRoom12-WeknowyouYouknowme

And then this one… 

“More are out…” 

Click Here: MaryRoom13-MoreAreOut

At last we had a blatant disagreement with the lead investigator… 

“Wrong says I!” 

Click Here: MaryRoom-WrongSaysI


Albert Houghton’s Room

This particular room was rather quiet. We placed our voice recorders and K2 meter in the center of the room. We witnessed some sparkling lights as we spoke. A couple of inconclusive K2 flashes, but that was it. 

We asked for knock responses. I’ve included a clip of what may be an answer. 

“Knock response faint.” 

Click Here: HoughtonRm1-Knock

Someone asked, “Do you feel you have to stay in this house?” 

“Yes,” came the faint answer. 

Click Here: HoughtonRm3-Yes


Houghton Dining Room

We had a fair amount of activity here. Whether it was exacerbated by a high EMF field in the pipes under the table or just the willingness of the spirits, who knows. 

Right off the bat the male voice, presumably Houghton expressed displeasure. 


Click Here: DiningRm1-CEASE

We did not cease… In fact, we began discussing the ramifications of using a Ouija board. Interestingly, the spirits agreed it was a bad idea. 

“That’s true.” 

Click Here: DiningRm3-ThatsTrue

We resorted to discussing ghost hunting techniques. One of us asked if the spirits minded we were wrapped up in our own discussion and not talking to them. They responded… 

“Keep talking.” 

Click Here: DiningRm6-KeepTalking

I don’t think the entities at the Houghton had much respect for Jerry, our leader. After he said something, someone laughed at him. 

“Ha ha.” 

Click Here: DiningRm8-UhHuhorLaugh

Evidently, we wore out our welcome… 

“Please leave us and this house.” (Underneath Jerry’s voice) 

Click Here: DiningRm11-PleaseLeaveUs

One of us asked where all the spirits went. 

“We’re behind you.” 

Click Here: DiningRm12-unknown

We asked if it was difficult for them to operate the K2 meter. We obviously insulted the dude. 

“Hell, NO!” 

Click Here: DiningRm13-HellNo

We asked again for the K2 to be lit up. 

“No.” (Faint) 

Click Here: DiningRm14-No

I resorted to asking for knocks. AND, I got two. Interestingly a double light flash appeared on the wall in which the sound seemed to emanate. 


John Widders Room

Our sheer numbers must have driven back the imposing Widders personality. I did not receive a psychic attack upon entry. 

This one seems to say “Yes, and hopes…” ‘Hopes’ could be another word. It’s a tough call.  

Click Here: WiddersRm1-Oops

After this we picked up… 


Click Here: WiddersRm2-aww

Perhaps they remembered me from before… 

“They miss you.” 

Click Here: WiddersRm3-TheyMissYou

I’m not sure what this was all about… it’s creepy. 

“Follow, Follow me.” 

Click Here: WiddersRm4-FollowFollowMe

This next one we heard audibly as a “breath”… it really seems to say, 


Click Here: WiddersRm5-No

Impatient tongue clicking was picked up, followed by the word, “Hey.” It has been a long night for the ghosts… 

Tongue clicking, “Hey”

Click Here: WiddersRm8-tongueclicks

Again I asked about horse, particularly the one in Widders’ photo. 

I got this response… 

“Humble Patchy” 

Click Here: WiddersRm9-horseresponse

I put this out on the Entities blog and a friend of mine pointed out that the Houghton’s time was an era when the great Standardbred racehorse Dan Patch would have been contemporary. Dan Patch was bought by M.E. Sturgis of New York City, so it’s not to much of a leap to think a son of his would wind up in North Adams, MA. Whether Humble Patchy was a brother, cousin or son of the great Dan Patch is inconclusive. I researched the heck out it. Instead I found more of my own horse’s pedigree (determining he has a lot more thoroughbred in him than I thought explaining his spooking ability – figures a ghost hunter cartoonist owns a “spooky” horse.) I would like to go back and ask Mr. Widders some more equine questions. 

John Widders with a Houghton yearling.

Dan Patch

They kinda look alike…

The spirit could not understand what we were all doing there. 

“Why all come here, I don’t know.” 

Click Here: WiddersRm10a-WhyAllComeIDontKnow

Widders was sick of us and resorted to threats… 

“I will come and belt you! Phhhtt” (The last part sounded like he was imitating the sound of a swinging belt.) 

Click Here: WiddersRm11-IWillBeltYou

At this point someone produced a “Paranormal Puck”, a device that acts like an Ovilus. It has words stored that are activated by differing frequencies of the EMF field. Supposedly spirits can manipulate this to communicate. Right away as Jerry starts the explain there is not mistaking the sarcasm of an irritated entity… 

“There he goes…” 

Click Here: WiddersRm12-ParaPuckThereHeGoes

We heard, audibly an EVP is that of someone clearing his/her throat. No one owned up to it. It was kind of ethereal to be one of us. I’m not convinced it wasn’t one of us. 


Click Here: WiddersRm13-HarkSound

The last EVPs was a last ditch attempt to get us to leave. 

“Go home.” 

Click Here: WiddersRm14-GoHome

Basically, we did. I’m sorry the spirits of this home felt imposed upon. It was not my intention to invade their privacy, intrude on their grief. But, as paranormal investigators that’s what we do. I’ve been in places where the spirits can’t wait to entertain and chat with their physical guests. The Shanley Hotel is just that. The Houghton leaves me sad. If I could release them from their guilt and despair I would. It just goes to show that depression carries on even after death, so it’s a good thing to clear all that up before you cross over.