Book focuses on the more unusual side of the Lakes Regionby Donna Rhodes November 03, 2010 - The Gilford Steamer
LAKES REGION - Ghosts of New Hampshire's Lakes Region, a new book by Katie Boyd and Beckah Boyd, is a great read for lovers of the paranormal, those who enjoy history and folklore or people who are just naturally curious about the unknown.
"Overall the Lakes Region has a lot (of paranormal occurrences) that people don't realize. But along with that comes the history behind the occurrences, so it was really important for me to include that history," said Beckah Boyd.
Beckah Boyd is a "generational psychic," coming from a long line of psychics, she said. At an early age she realized her gift and sought to use it to help others.
"If I go to a place with a lot of negative energy and can cleanse it, I feel good. Help the spirit and you help the people," she said.
For more than 15 years she has done just that, joining her talent with friend and renowned demonologist Katie Boyd who grew up in a house that she said was "very haunted." Her family was very close to their church and frequently brought in a priest to bless the house. From the age of 3 until she was 18, Katie Boyd said her family not only suffered but was eventually torn apart. That was when she began to explore the spirit world and educate herself on demonology.
"After I did my studies I realized I could help other families even if it was too late for my own," she said.
Katie Boyd also has a background in the medical field and in criminology, expertise she brings with her as she and Beckah Boyd work with their group, Ghost Quest, to seek explanations for unknown experiences people encounter and oftentimes live with.
"We believe not everything's a "haunting" so we first look for a logical explanation," Beckah Boyd said.
While cases are confidential, the two women decided to write a book on public places with unusual happenings. They found the Lakes Region has many unexplainable occurrences and some fun folk lore that has yet to be explored. These were the target of their latest book.
While Exeter is known for UFO activity, Laconia is just as busy with sightings, too, most especially from 1973-1974 when there were numerous reports of lights and flying objects, all chronicled in a chapter titled "The Weird and Unusual."
From Belknap College in Center Harbor, where students in the observatory reported seeing a dark red object "pulsating and rotating at one-second intervals but stationary at times," to police officers on I-93 in Sanbornton, many people claimed to have witnessed strange crafts in the night sky. In Meredith, police reported similar events.
According to a story in the Laconia Evening Citizen on Aug. 12, 1974, "Meredith Police reported this morning that officer John Skidds saw an unidentified flying object over Leavitt Park at around 10:30 last night. He contacted the Sheriff's Department which also witnessed the object." Throughout a busy week that August, officers from Franklin, Belmont, Northfield and other local towns all experienced objects hovering over the Lakes Region which they could not explain.
Old mills, inns and taverns are also "hot spots" in the region where the pair has investigated or heard of experiences of others. Tilton's 1875 Inn is famous for it's paranormal encounters and Beckah Boyd and Katie Boyd were the second team asked to investigate the old structure. As a psychic, Beckah Boyd was especially intrigued with all she encountered at the inn and Kate Boyd was thrilled with her findings, too.
"Because I'm a demonologist a lot of spirits don't like me and my equipment but the spirits there did. When we called for certain types of activity (to light up her equipment or other activities to show their presence) they cooperated with us," she said. "It was a very interesting case- there was a lot of validation for what goes on there."
Another mention in the book is Kimball Castle in Gilford. While Ghost Quest has not yet been able to arrange an investigation of the old castle, they are intrigued by reports of occurrences there.
"The caretakers have reported activities in the Carriage House. They've seen a woman in the windows of the castle, people in the fields and lights going on and off when no one is there so it's really intriguing," said Beckah Boyd.
Their book is purposefully light-hearted and easy to read as they try to encourage others to enjoy the unexplained and broaden their outlook on the spirit world. Other sites included are the Strafford County Poor House, the former Laconia State School, Old Hill Village and even the lore of "Winnie," Lake Winnipesaukee's relative of the Loch Ness Monster.
"There's no proof of any such thing yet but wouldn't it be fun?" Katie Boyd asked.
The book was their excuse to get out and have fun exploring the paranormal, a break from the more intense investigations they do with Ghost Quest. They hope people will enjoy the stories of the Lakes Region and it's ghostly activity as well as the history of prominent sites in the area.
"It really all goes back to the land and what once happened there. This is an old area and there's just so much that goes on in the Lakes Region that we wanted people to be aware of," said Beckah Boyd.
She and Kate Boyd have been touring the state for book signings and talks on Ghosts of New Hampshire's Lakes Region, which is available in local bookstores through History Press. Each have authored other books and plan on more in the future.
"There was just so much we couldn't fit in this book that I think we'll have to write a sequel. The Lakes Region is just a hopping place," said Kate Boyd.
When not writing or doing investigations, Beckah Boyd can be heard on her internet radio show The Psychic Switch. She is also the co-host of Ghost Quest Radio, both broadcast by the Tenacity Radio Network.
Moving curtains. A long-dead busboy. Virgin spirits. 'Supernatural Hotspots' takes on the Empire Dine and DanceBy Kathryn Skelton, Staff Writer, Sun Journal
Published Oct 31, 2009 12:00 am | Last updated Oct 31, 2009 12:16 am
At 2:12 a.m., after more than an hour of cigarettes and coffee and waiting, it was finally time. The bar had been mopped down, customers cleared out, lights turned back up. A crew of two 20-something cameramen and a sound engineer ducked inside the second-floor nightclub so they could film Beckah Boyd and Katie Boyd, a psychic medium and a demonologist, making an entrance.
The pair opened the door, stepped inside.
It only took a minute for a long-dead busboy to introduce himself.
"He's yanking stuff, he's very all over the place," Beckah said as she paced the bar, talking to a someone no one else could see, Katie on her heels, cameramen behind them both.
She tugged on curtains hanging against one wall, something, she said, the 1920s busboy did back in the day to clean dust off the drapes - a near-repeat of paranormal footage that the bars' owners claim to have caught on security tape, footage that she said later she didn't know about.
That floor finished, the crew and their stars moved onto the next.
"Audio will make or break this, no pressure Abbey," show runner Jordan Scott said to the girl holding the boom.
The Boyds, from Manchester, N.H., investigated the Empire Dine and Dance on Congress Street in Portland last week for the second episode of their Web series "Supernatural Hotspots," filmed by Wasted Minds Media. (They shot previous episodes with a hand-held camera on their own.)
A short edit of part of that episode will debut in a screening at the night club on Halloween at 9 p.m. Bill Umbel, one of the Empire owners, said employees have reported apparitions peeking around corners and martini glasses being flung off tables. He's seen Christmas lights jiggle for no reason.
The nearly 100-year-old building has been a Chinese restaurant, a bank and at least two different bars, and at least one former patron died inside.
This summer, an employee caught movement on one of the club's security cameras and grabbed his own cell phone camera in time to record drapes on the second floor drawing open and close in the middle of the afternoon. In the grainy black-and-white footage, the curtains fling back and forth for about 15 seconds. There'd been no windows open, Umbel said. No AC. No one had been on that floor at all.
Wasted Minds learned about the footage, prompting the Boyds' investigation.
Between authoring books and speaking engagements, the pair make the paranormal their living. Their hope is that "Hotspots" gets picked up for cable TV. The Boyds work, they said, by keeping Beckah in the figurative dark; Katie walks in knowing a place's history and any evidence, Beckah doesn't.
They start with a lights-on sweep for first impressions. Then they take out equipment to measure temperature and electrical activity, and set up tests. (Things like sprinkling baby powder around a glass; if it is moved or touched, prints will show in the powder.) By 2:30 a.m., the pair headed into the Empire's basement, part employee lounge, part kitchen. That was where the late busboy told her she'd find "The Boss," Beckah said. He didn't turn out to be so chatty. "The impression he gives me is funny, 'Back off, back off, back off,'" Beckah said. "You're not going to feel comfortable down here by yourself, at all. You'll hear him banging around a lot in the kitchen . . . 'I don't do a monkey dance,' is what I'm hearing."
The pair stayed until nearly dawn before driving back to New Hampshire. Early in the week, they were still sorting through hours of tape and listening for EVPs (electronic voice phenomena). They also reported that after the Sun Journal left the Empire at 3:30 a.m., they had experiences that included seeing a full-bodied apparition duck behind the second-floor bar and responses on a K2 meter (another way to measure magnetic fields). "I always love going into a place with what I like to call 'virgin spirits,' ones that haven't been investigated before, because a lot of time they're a lot more talkative," Beckah said. "With some of the ones that have been investigated before - Lizzie Borden, ones like that - they'll talk but it's old hat."
One of the EVPs picked up that night by Wasted Minds' President Laurie Notch: a voice that, Notch said, appears to saying "Turn off the faucet."
That discovery didn't take on any meaning until the next afternoon, when a big puddle was found on the basement floor. Umbel said staff came in to discover someone had left the water on overnight in the mop sink.
A second EVP they picked up that, Notch said, gave her the chills: "I am here."
At Halloween, what really stirs our fears?Published: Thursday, October 29, 2009 - Nashua Telegraph - Encore Magazine
By JESS DIGIACINTO Correspondent
What are you afraid of?
This time of year, everything and everyone seems to be asking that age-old question. Hollywood is trying to scare our pants off with remakes and knock-offs of old horror classics, costume stores are popping up in empty lots, filled to the brim with the creepy, the gross and the just plain nightmarish, and dry ice-filled haunted houses are beckoning from every corner. October and its most famous holiday have always been about pushing the limits of fear - but where does that inclination come from, and what does it look like today?
As 2009 draws to a close, what are we really afraid of, and is there any way to grow from it?
Beckah and Katie Boyd, of Manchester, have been immersing themselves in the traditional areas of fear for as long as they can remember, and have made some interesting connections between otherworldly and very worldly terror.
Beckah, an international psychic medium and author, and Katie, one of the only female demonologists on record, as well as a paranormal author in her own right, have made a life and a career out of dispensing paranormal advice, aiding in paranormal investigations and providing paranormal relief - but it's the common, every day issues that seem to knock on their door more often than not. "There's a huge increase in paranormal cases during this time of year," Beckah explained, sliding a vintage Tarot card deck between her fingers and sitting comfortably in what is both her kitchen and consultation office. "I think it has to do with people's state of mind. During this time, you have more ghost tours and haunted houses, all in an attempt to scare and intrigue. When people are around that atmosphere 24-7, it becomes a part of their mindset."
In addition the influx of ghosts and goblin propaganda, this October is about a different kind of fright: the recession. "(Since the recession,) we have gotten more and more calls where people believe they have paranormal activity," said Beckah. "Unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, the situations tend to be more of a medical or psychological nature. Whether it's stress-related sleep disorders, depression or general anxiety."
"Stress is a survival mechanism," added Katie. "When we're stressed, we often go into hyperdrive, or what I call 'the prey state,' where you're constantly aware of your surroundings and waiting for the next shoe to drop. It's our mind's way of letting us know we've reached our limit."
If it seems ironic that the more comfortable Americans become at admitting our interest or belief in the paranormal, the more we end up being haunted by our own anxiety, that's because it is. Perhaps we've spent so much time and energy being embarrassed or uncomfortable, that once the floodgates decided to open, our eagerness to embrace our fears has gotten the better of us. Or perhaps, even though recent media attention on the paranormal has made it in vogue to believe, we're still not quite sure we're interested in finding out the truth.
"Most of the people we end up in contact with are open-minded skeptics," explains Beckah. "They want to see something happen, it just hasn't happened to them yet."
"But more people seem to be open to traditional hauntings than demonic hauntings," Katie said, speaking in a grounded, staccato tone - a tone probably greatly appreciated in times of otherworldly strangeness. "When our group Ghost Quest conducts lectures, people are more than happy to hear about the different hauntings and spirits we've investigated, but when it comes time for questions and answers, nobody asks about demonic cases. No one will raise their hand. Afterwards, I get questions in whispers, as if they're afraid to acknowledge the possible existence of demonic entities ... but the books I've written, someone's buying them!"
What is it then, that we both fear and feel drawn to about the paranormal? Is it the possibility of a different reality than the one we interact with every day? The possibility of an afterlife, of some kind of higher power, of something beyond? Do spirits, demons, witches, Halloween, represent a freedom we yearn for but aren't quite prepared to embrace? If a psychic can predict that our lives will surely get better, can they can help us find a way to improve our situations in ways we can't currently imagine?
Stirring a good amount of sugar into her coffee, Beckah sat back and considered the questions. "Oftentimes, psychics are the last resort. People come to me for closure. They've been through the battery of help that is out there and seek something different. We can provide clarity that some just can't reach on their own. "In most situations, " Beckah continued, "it's not me who turns a skeptic into a believer, it's the spirits. I strive to bring healing through my work, and at the very least, strong skeptics hopefully walk away with a few things to mull over they just can't disprove."
So what are we afraid of this October? Something more complicated, it seems, than a lackluster slasher movie or plastic clown mask hanging in a shop window. We've looked the truly scary stuff - recession woes, job loss, political strife - square in the face, and now find ourselves searching for answers and clarity in a world that is no longer as familiar as it once was. As 2009 finishes it's wild run, our minds are centered on the meaning and implications of a new way of life, as well as the meanings and implications of different and untested consequences, advice, and solutions.
This Halloween, facing our fears could be more liberating than we've ever considered, if we're willing to look beyond the way we've always done things. And if we're not yet ready, Beckah and Katie Boyd will be waiting for us until we are, smiling and sipping their coffee next to a plastic jack o' lantern and a schedule full of very real clients.
© 2009, Telegraph Publishing Company, Nashua, New Hampshire
Weird, Wicked Weird: Two women, one new 'Supernatural' pilotBy Kathryn Skelton, Staff Writer
Published Oct 03, 2009 12:00 am | Last updated Oct 03, 2009 12:28 am - Sun Journal
They've done haunted houses hundreds of times, waiting in the dark for a noise, a shadow, an unseen hand to reach out. Now Beckah Boyd and Katie Boyd are ready to creep around during the day.
Katie, a demonologist, and Beckah, a psychic medium, filmed the pilot for their Web series "Supernatural Hotspots" in Portland in late August. Its premise: Investigate haunted, legendary or superstitious places - places the public can access - in broad daylight.
"It might scare the pants off of people, but places they can go if they're brave," said Beckah Boyd.
On their wish list to investigate in Maine: several forts, and wherever Bigfoot hangs out.
The Boyds (no relation to one another) work out of Manchester, N.H., and founded the all-women ghost hunters group Ghost Quest more than 10 years ago. That spawned a local access cable show that ran for almost two years.
Filmed with a road trip, ride-along feel, early episodes of "Supernatural Hotspots" begin with the pair in the car, a Darth Vader action figure in frame on the dashboard, talking about their destination.
"We've done so many private investigations where everything's always been very serious," said Beckah, 24. "So to be able to go out, josh around, have fun and see if we get anything - and invite people on that same journey - showing the lighter side of the paranormal is kind of the point of the show."
The ultimate goal is to land on cable TV. For the new series, she and Katie, 38, have promised guests. Vampire and witch guests.
They'd filmed several webisodes, visiting Madam Sherri's Castle in West Chesterfield, N.H., and the Old Stone Church in West Boylston, Mass., before partnering with Wasted Minds Media in Portland to film a pilot and start anew with a slightly more polished look.
"The banter, the 'oh my God, are we lost?' that's kind of fun; we liked that," said Jordan Scott, an intern at Wasted Minds Media.
Those older episodes, centered on New England, are already online, along with blooper reels. The format will stay the same, Scott said, with the women given a location but no background about what they might find there. A historian will come in at the end of an episode to confirm findings.
"It'll be a true test of their abilities," Scott said.
She hopes to get the pilot online this month. Once Wasted Minds has several new episodes under its belt, it will likely start pitching the series to networks.
Both of the Boyds work in the paranormal full time. Katie, a former corrections officer, is the author of "Devils & Demonology in the 21st Century." Beckah, a member of the American Tarot Association with a psychic consultation business, has a book out this fall, "Raising Indigo, Crystal and Psychic Kids."
They're also still active with Ghost Quest cases two to three times a week.
The paranormal TV marketplace is crowded right now - "Ghost Hunters," "Ghost Adventures," "Destination Truth," the new "Ghost Lab" - but Katie said she believes they fill a unique niche, particularly by basing the series on two women.
"There's too many shows out there that the public can watch, but they can't really interact; they can't experience it," she said.
They both like the idea of showing off sometimes little-known historical places, she said, as well as setting the record straight. Not every reported demon is really a demon.
But, she said, some are.