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Historic inn scares up a ghost story

The latest group in a procession of paranormal investigators to visit Concord's Colonial Inn in the past two years say they made contact last Sunday afternoon with three spirits in Room 24. The investigators sensed, heard, and saw things that they say have only an otherworldly explanation.

Lloyd Anthony Rajcoomar, the director of Post Mortum Paranormal Investigations, and Angel Parrilla, the group's psychic, say they felt the presence of two spirits who are female and one who is male. The group has headquarters in Newburgh and Middletown, N.Y.

Members of the group also caught quiet sounds on two tape recorders that they say are the words ''later" and ''help" and a laugh or a phew of relief. They say that three small, round light spots on pictures taken with a digital camera are ''orbs," which are the spirits moving around. And they also say that on Sunday evening, after a Globe reporter and photographer left, they videotaped seven balls of light flying around the room, indicating seven different spirits.

Paranormal investigations are becoming an increasingly normal occurrence at the inn, according to its general manager, David Grossberg. He said he has worked at the inn, which is owned by Jurgen Demisch, for four years.

''There wasn't much talk about the inn and the haunted room when I got here," he said. During his first two years, no paranormal investigators came to check things out. The third year there was one. Last year there were four and his phone is ringing again this year.

Grossberg doesn't solicit the paranormal investigators, but he is not unhappy when they call him. He thinks that publicity is why the number of requests from investigators is increasing.

Room 24 was mentioned in a segment on the Travel Channel a couple of years ago and is included in a directory of haunted places. It is also part of the spiel given on the Liberty Ride, which began taking tourists around Concord a couple of years ago. And the room is mentioned in a ghost tour of Concord.

Coming up in May, someone from the SciFi Channel will be doing an investigation at the inn, Grossberg said. Also, Room 24 is featured in the first issue of Lemon, a slick new magazine that has not yet hit the newsstands. The cover photo is a woman in a lacy black nightgown posed crouching fearfully in a corner of the room.

The first reportedly haunted happening in Room 24 took place in 1966, when, according to information supplied by the inn, a woman on her honeymoon was awakened by a shadowy figure a few feet from the edge of the bed. Other guests since then have told tales of strange sensations, dreams, and apparitions in the middle of the night.

Grossberg said that he believes the inn has ghosts, although he hasn't encountered one. But a couple of years ago, he talked with one very spooked guest. The woman had been so frightened the night before that she fled from the room in her nightgown and slept on the sofa in the lobby. When he couldn't guarantee that moving her to another room would keep the spirits from her, she left for the Best Western.

In general, though, Grossberg says the ghosts are friendly and that ghost stories are good for business. ''It is a very much demanded room for those that know it," he said. ''People get fascinated with that stuff."

A night in Room 24, which has a king size four-poster bed, costs $295 because of its size and location. ''It is a premium, but not because it is haunted," he said. No sign warns about the room's peculiar feature, and the front desk staff doesn't tell uninformed guests what might be in store for them.

But there is a section of the inn's website that talks about the room. It mentions that the results of two paranormal investigations in 2005 suggest that other areas of the inn might also be haunted.

The eight members of the Post Mortum Paranormal crew at the inn last Sunday were there to film for their weekly television program on paranormal experiences. The show airs on a cable television station in New York's Hudson Valley. Rajcoomar said the Colonial Inn segment will also be shown in New England on the Religious News Network on a date that has not yet been set.

A few years ago, Leslie Wilson, curator of special collections at the Concord Free Public Library, and her husband spent a night in Room 24. They were disappointed that nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Wilson had wanted to stay in the room ever since 1996, when a businesslike man in a military uniform came to the library seeking information about the inn's history. He had stayed in Room 24.

''I believe he felt he had experienced something there," she said. ''He clearly believed it, and it clearly shook him up. He thought it might have been a ghost of someone in the Minot family. It moved me in some way to see someone who had been shaken."

The inn is made from three originally separate buildings. The oldest was built in 1716. At the time of the American Revolution, it was the home of Dr. Timothy Minot, a physician. According to information provided by the inn, Minot tended to the wounded from the battle at the North Bridge on April 19, 1775.

Some speculate that the room is haunted because soldiers under Dr. Minot's care died in that room, or perhaps the spirit is Dr. Minot's own. But others say the image is of a woman, and some say she is wearing Native American dress. It might also be members of Henry David Thoreau's family. His grandfather owned one of the houses that now make up the inn, and Thoreau lived there from 1835 to 1837 while a student at Harvard.

Grossberg is concerned that the ghosts, whoever they are, might be bothered by the number of paranormal investigators invading their space. ''My sense is that they are getting a little agitated," he said. ''If the frequency increases, I don't want them to hate me."

But he doesn't want to exorcize the spirits.

''That scares me," he said. ''I see no reason to do that."

Sally Heaney can be reached at

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