Photography by Ian Hartsoe

Are there noises in your apartment that go bump in the night? Perhaps a shadow darting out of the corner of your eye? A phantom touch? Or, perhaps it felt like someone, or something else, was with you…but West Street was oh-so-empty.

Enter the Brooklyn Paranormal Society, a collective of spooky enthusiasts that seek out Brooklyn’s most haunted spots. I joined the group on August 9th to see what might be lurking in the dark in our neighborhood. Would I encounter other-worldly apparitions? Lost souls? Fragmented shapes and dark shadows? Or maybe a disembodied voice or two…

It was certainly a frightful night with all things spooky. In a word, it was totally-me and I was ready to go ghost busting.

I made my way to West Wine Bar (67 West Street) to meet fellow ghost hunters and the mood was on point. After signing in, I collected a notebook for jotting down field notes, a tiny crystal for protection (or intention setting), and snagged myself a happy hour sangria. The bar was appropriately outfitted with a playlist of John Carpenter midi soundtrack proportions. And, I was pleased to see that the turn out was great – so many people were excited to go ghost hunting and had attended a few meet ups beforehand.


After mingling and chatting with fellow paranormal fans, it was time to get started. We were going to be shuffled into groups and hunt for spirits (or interact with them, presumably) with different technologies – EVP devices, ouija boards, tarot cards, and so on. Two groups went and the rest of waited with baited breath. However, before we could all mix and mingle in our small groups we hit a small snag: West Wine Bar double booked us ghost hunters with a movie shoot and we had to relocate.

But, there was a fortuitous turn of events. We went spirit searching down the street thanks to long-time small business owner Michael Shannon from Bellocq Tea (104 West St). Michael felt that his tea shop had some vibes, especially the storage space next door. So, we all packed up and took ourselves down the street.

From there, the organizers set up a pentagram and cleared the space for our new intentions to communicate. It was time for a group seance! After the ritual of clearing the space, the air was still and slightly chilled. A few tarot cards were pulled with some audience questions. They weren’t ghost-oriented per se, more along the lines of: Should I look for a new job?; Will my long distance relationship make it?; Should I drop my toxic group of friends? (Yes, yes, and yes).

The spirits have spoken. When it came time to try to contact a ghost, or a lost loved one, Michael spoke of his dear friend Mary. The investigators huddled around their EVPs and apps that translated high-pitched sound frequencies into words. We waited to hear from Mary.

Then, a few words loudly petered out in the hushed, dark, cold room. Talk. Promise. Karen.

But, what did it mean? We asked Mary more questions. Michael regaled us with fun, insightful, and heartwarming stories about Mary’s full life. Mary was quiet.

We looked for more ghosts, but came up empty-handed. Perhaps they were busy that night – ghosts must have their own parties after all, no? Whatever the case – missed connections, an empty space, or something else, it was so insightful to connect with others over something a little dark, a little uncertain, and a little unorthodox.

As a group, we gave the seance one more chance. We concentrated our thoughts, a group meditation if you will. We tinkered with dials and communication devices. The spirits were silent – until next time.

Got a spooky tip? Call the Brooklyn Paranormal Society’s paranormal tips hotline: (844) 666-BKPS, and keep up with future ghost busting events on their website.

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