My experience at the Nick Groff Tour event in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
I believe that, so far, I am the NGT attendee who came from the furthest part of the world. Italy. It’s quite a cool thing if you think about it, I’m honored for having represented my country during such a badass event.
My trip from Italy to Boston via Paris, France, - my very FIRST trip to USA - was a pleasant one. The only bad thing that happened was the temporary loss of my suitcase, which forced me to attend the event on the next day wearing the same clothes and – uncomfortable – shoes that I have been wearing to travel. Let’s skip the fact that I even hadn’t any make up on, it’s embarrassing enough already.
But everything turned out to be awesome, when I arrived to my hotel room after the event on Saturday night I was a happy lady, even if very tired.
This is what happened.
On Saturday before noon, when the sun was finally showing up from behind the clouds, my friend Stefanie (who is a Team Nick Groff collaborator) and I headed to the meeting point for the event: the Middleborough (or Middleboro) Town Hall.
When we entered the location I was stunned. The walls were filled with huge marble plates reading names (I had no time to figure out whose those names were, but I’ll research them in the future), I was already completely fascinated with the history that the location was telling me. Then we headed to the upper floor on elegant and old wooden stairs to find ourselves in front of the famous ballroom, allegedly the most haunted room in the building.
The first people we had the pleasure to meet in person for the first time in years of being in the same team, were Jeff Waldridge, Jennifer and Lee Kirkland. They really welcomed us with warmth and kindness, like long-lost friends. I love those guys, they are weirdos, but very professional, funny and smart people. The best kind of people, in my opinion. Then we bumped into Katrina Weidman, who I squeezed very hard, my heart melting, she was the one I was excited to meet the most. She’s more gorgeous and lovely that you can ever imagine, like a dream coming true (I love you, Kat!). Then it was Nick Groff’s turn to say hi, both Stefanie and I had met him once before, for me it was our second encounter in three years and I admittedly had been missing him very much, even though we had kept in touch and talked almost on a daily basis during those years. It’s always quite a big emotion to see a dear friend again after a long time, something that can’t be easily expressed in words, I’m sure you all can relate. Then we were blessed to meet and hug for the first time Elizabeth Saint, who is a beautiful person, inside and out. And finally, Nick introduced us to the rest of his fantastic crew and to the amazing Joey “Jiggy” Webb who, like most of us, has many jobs (radio host, paranormal investigator and bodyguard/security). Stefanie and I spent most of the time with him, that day, we’ve had such a blast!
While the meet & greet ticket holders were queuing to get autographed pictures and have a chat with Elizabeth, Katrina and Nick, I kept observing the beauty of the ballroom we were standing in. I felt like I was in “The Patriot” movie or something, I was literally looking at everything with my mouth and eyes wide open. Again, history was speaking to me. By now, you must have figured out how much of a history buff I am. I wish I went upstairs to check out the balcony area to have a better view.
When Stefanie and I took our front row seats waiting for the Q&A to start we finally had an idea of how many people were there, all seats were taken and everyone was clearly excited. As our new friend Jiggy had observed, there were more men than women attending the event only to see Nick and have the chance to investigate with him. I believe that’s because they look up to him and admire him for who he is. Most of the time, being a Nick Groff fan is not just a “fangirling” thing, he brings out the best in people.
So, the Q&A started after a short lunch break. Lee thanked everyone for being there and made a short speech before introducing the three main characters of the event: Elizabeth, Katrina and Nick. A loud (and I mean LOUD) burst of applause filled the ballroom when they came in and stopped by the stage to face everyone. They answered to many questions, that were all asked politely both by believers and skeptics, some attendees also asked more than one question. You can really say that people there were very interested in Nick’s shows and in the paranormal experiences he and the two ladies have had. There were also many funny moments that helped us attendees bonding with Nick, Katrina and Elizabeth as much as the much more serious things they talked about did. Another cool thing about this Q&A was the live music of a band playing just outside the windows.
It was now time for the VIP meet & greet and Stefanie, Jiggy and I sat by a window to enjoy the sun and the wind (it was a very hot day), just chatting and laughing while waiting for the dinner break. We were only “interrupted” by the photo op session and Nick introducing us to his “new manager” Izzie, who was a very sweet and efficient little girl. At six we joined Nick, Katrina, the crew and Elizabeth for a nice dinner together in a Middleborough restaurant, where I was “laughed at” for eating my cheeseburger with the cutlery (sorry guys, in Italy hamburgers are far smaller, I just couldn’t manage to eat that little meat spaceship without the help of fork and knife!). So fun!
It was almost eight o’clock when we returned to the Town Hall, where we found out that neither Stefanie or I won any of three lottery prizes (free VIP tickets for any Nick Groff Tour/Creepy People Management event, an Oujia board signed by Nick, Katrina and Elizabeth and “#GetGroffed” t-shirts, if I remember well), then we split into groups and our night of investigations began.
The two of us were in Group A and our first location to investigate was the Oliver House, hosted by Nick and Lee. I can’t explain how much I was excited to visit the Oliver House, I’ve always wished to see it with my own eyes since I first saw the Paranormal Lockdown season 2 episode list. It’s just the kind of historic location that you can be sure I will fall in love with. The moment it came into view among the trees I felt like Belle when she found herself inside the Beast’s dreamy library in “Beauty and the Beast”. The atmosphere inside the house was surreal, everything from the furniture to the decorations were placed there to make you feel in the past, Mel Gibson/The Patriot would come out to offer us a cup of tea before going to fight the British any minute now. Night was falling and candles and torches were the only light sources around, I think that there were some random small light bulb only in the basement, but I could be wrong. Nick, Lee and the first attendees who entered the house placed themselves at the bottom of the stairs that led to the top floor, Stefanie, Jiggy and I, the last in line, stood by the basement entrance. All I felt was cold air around me, but I wasn’t sure that it could be considered “paranormal” or not, I just don’t jump to conclusions. They did a couple of successful EVP sessions that impressed me, for the first time in my life I heard disembodied voices coming out from a digital recorder that was recording in absolute silence. Then we moved to a living room, where I was instantly drawn to an antique-styled desk with an old book open on it (and where you see books, you can be sure I will be there too). After a lady in the group claimed she was feeling something next to her, Nick decided to do another EVP session and this lady asked the questions. I think she thought she was touched by the ghost of a little girl, but the response that came out was definitely spoken by a man’s voice, that “suggested” us to “get out”. I can tell you it was the weirdest, scariest and coolest moment in the entire night for me. We moved in the bedroom upstairs, the one with the “special” closet. We tried to do a GeoPort session but the device wouldn’t work, no matter how hard Nick tried to fix it, so we did another EVP session placing his recorder on the bed next to a EMF detector that belonged to one of us. I remember three things about this session: 1) I was drawn to look outside the window, at the surrounding woods; 2) I felt cold air passing between my knees and the bed in front of me but, again, I didn’t think much of it; 3) Some kind of growling voice came out and I was impressed one more time. We headed to the basement, which was huge and dark. In our last EVP session down there we captured a couple of interesting responses. When one of us asked “What year do you come from?”, we heard quite a clear “1862” (so, ok, maybe not Mel Gibson in “The Patriot”, but someone from “Gone With the Wind” for sure) and then the sound of an amused giggle came out, like some spirit was laughing at us (stupid living people). This was the one evidence everyone in my group would talk about for the rest of the night.
I have to admit I was in a quite cool group, I liked everyone there.
The transfer bus picked us up and brought us back to the Town Hall, where Jeff was waiting to give us a lecture about being a paranormal investigator. He also suggested us some paranormal non-fiction books to read. Then we were taken by Leilani Dalpe, chairman of the Oliver Estate Advisory and Tourism Committee, to the basement, where there once were the jails. Many reported interesting paranormal activity down there, included somebody that was in the group before us, but we didn’t catch nothing but a faint male voice during an EVP session. Ms Leilani claimed that was the same voice she heard with her own ears while recording, which was cool. We returned to the ballroom, where Jeff lectured us again before doing a couple of more EVP sessions. I must say that, at night, the ballroom was quite spooky.
The next stop was the Philander Washburn House, that was just on the other side of the road. Elizabeth was waiting for us down in the basement, ready to show us all how the Kinect camera works. She claimed that the activity that happened with one of the previous groups had been crazy and therefore she was pretty excited and dedicated herself to try to capture something interesting for us to see as well. She succeeded. We enjoyed going into the dark space where the most relevant paranormal activity occurred and seeing one another become colored figures on the screen of the computer connected to the Kinect camera. Then, figures of people who weren’t there (the spirits that allegedly haunted the area) appeared on the screen and we were all blown away, especially when they moved the way we asked them to move. At one point, the lights suddenly went out while Elizabeth was asking questions to the entities, making her and everyone around her jump and skip a heartbeat (of course, laughter followed). It turned out to be nothing paranormal, just some kind of electrical problem that occurred in the whole street - even the firemen showed up upstairs -, but the timing was really perfect, which was very weird and fun. For some minutes we also thought that a bat was roaming around, but it turned out to be nothing but a “black stain” on the computer screen (don’t ask me to describe how ghost hunt devices work, because I can’t).
The last location we investigated was the May Flower Lodge, next door to the Philander Washburn House. When I learned it was the actual headquarters of the Masons of Massachusetts I struggled to keep my face straight, because I was so f***ing excited! I would have never - NEVER - expected to find myself visiting a lodge. I don’t know if in USA Masons are “a normal thing”, but I can assure you, if there are any in Italy, commoners like myself won’t never be allowed to know of their existence, let alone be admitted to visit their headquarters. The entrance and the living room we were welcomed in were so pretty! The house seemed to be owned by a lovely grandmother, with all those little sculptures, wooden clocks, lace white curtains, pink walls, pillows, carpets, flowers. There was also a very old gramophone that caught Jiggy’s and someone else’s attention. A gentleman in a suit and a younger man (I don’t remember their names, forgive me!), who were members of this lodge, told us the history of the house before leading us to downstairs, where a ceremony/meeting room was. It was so awesome! There were THRONES, benches, armchairs, desks and Masonic banners down there. In the center, there was something I can only describe as some kind of stuffed ceremonial table, where (ceremonial) objects can be placed. Katrina was there and invited us to perform an Ouija board session, with the board being on that stuffed table. Now, I am a paranormal enthusiast but I don’t want to have anything to do with such objects as Ouija boards, not without some kind of protection, so I did move close to that Ouija board to watch my fellow attendees using it, but I wouldn’t touch it. The sessions was an interesting one, we may have contacted the spirit of a Native American woman, but most of her responses were unclear. I thought it was very cool nonetheless. Like Katrina said afterwards, we were all so connected to each other, even if exhausted, that the energy we put out in that room was really intense.
It was now time for all the groups to go back to the Town Hall and share the happenings of the night with everyone. It turned out that the Oliver House had been the most active location of all, for each group that investigated it. Some more talks about the paranormal and laughter later and we finally called it a night by taking our group photo (Katrina, Stefanie and I look like three exhausted hippies in that photo!).
Like I said before, I arrived at my hotel room that night as a happy lady. I was exhausted because of the jet lag, the constant thought of my lost suitcase and the hot weather. These things combined would take a toll on me, but I didn’t care, I was so happy. I investigated the paranormal - even if briefly - for the very first time in my life, along with my friends in an awesome historic town. How couldn’t I be happy? I wasn’t expecting much from the paranormal point of view, the EVPs we captured were enough to impress me; they already do when I hear them on television, but being physically in a quiet room and hearing a clear voice of someone who isn’t there coming from the digital recorder, that’s enough for any skeptics to change their mind, let alone to impress me. It was the history of the locations that totally overwhelmed me. Not kidding, I would have spent the whole night inside the Oliver House just to listen to the beating of its historic heart and let its soul(s) speak to me, paranormal activity included or not.
As for the organization of the event, it must have been very complicated, because of the multiple locations, but the NGT crew and the volunteers have done a wonderful – WONDERFUL – job! Kudos to them! I also believe that the fact that all the people who attended the event have been very polite and respectful helped a lot. And the people working at the locations, from the Mason in uniform who offered us something to drink, to the girl who kept a frame upon the air-conditioner in order to silence it and let us doing an EVP session in the Town Hall basement, they really welcomed and assisted us in many fantastic ways. I am so grateful to them, the night couldn’t have been that perfect without each and every one of them.
I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to attend another NGT event, but I suggest everyone to do everything in their power to do the same. You won’t be disappointed, it’s a comprehensive experience that every paranormal enthusiast or skeptic with an open mind should live at least once in their lifetime.
I’m now back at home, in Italy, with the happiest, the best memories I could have wished for and the hope they won’t be the last in USA and alongside the amazing people I spent my weekend with. I will definitely fight to re-live this experience and make it better.
Thank you with all my heart to my friends, who I love very much.
P.S.: I apologize if I didn’t post many pictures that I’ve taken. I like pictures, but when I’m living an important experience it’s rare for me to stop to take a picture. I know, it sounds stupid but too many pictures “ruin the magic” in my opinion, they are distracting. My best memories are safely kept in my mind and heart.
Text, Translation, Edit & Layout: Gwen.