Growing up in Pittsburgh where weekend getaways were sometimes spent around camp fires, I came to appreciate a good ghost story. As an adult I still have a healthy curiosity about unexplained events of the paranormal, or things that go bump in the night.
Considering the rich history of Virginia, it shouldn’t surprise us that we could fill several volumes with the number of spooky stories and hauntings in the Tidewater area.
But little did I know of claims of strange sounds and eerie visions inside the 633rd contracting Squadron’s historic headquarters on Langley Air Force Base.
Apparently, base personnel have been sharing Ghost stories of apparitions and shadowy figures lurking throughout the building for years.
That piqued the interest of a local group of Ghost hunters who spend their time, energy, and money seeking evidence of spirits.
According to Ray Savino, founder of R.T. L. Paranormal, the non-profit investigation organization has looked into more than 100 reports of spirit activity since its founding in 2009.
Savino told me he researched the history of the building and found it was constructed as a farmhouse for a local plantation, called Hemenway Farms. It was later used by a local university as a boarding school. And eventually, the U.S. Army purchased the house and land for development into Langley Field in the early 1900’s.
R.T.L. took an 11-person team to the historic headquarters to investigate overnight last January. They set up infrared cameras, audio recorders and a variety of equipment to see if they could validate the claims of spirit activity.
Savino and his team are also actively involved in investigating reports of paranormal activity at the Applewood Bed and Breakfast in Williamsburg. The owner-Innkeeper Denise Fleck says “They came and I apologized if I wasted their time.”
Fleck seemed almost embarrassed sharing reports hearing footsteps coming down the stairs and no one is in the house. And on one evening in particular, she heard doors opening and slamming shut upstairs when no one was occupying the guest rooms upstairs. Fleck told me she ran from the house because she thought there was an intruder only to return with a neighbor a few minutes later searching every room finding nothing to explain the event.
One guest asked Fleck if she tried to enter her room overnight because the door knob turned several times and when she opened it no one was there. Fleck says she couldn’t explain what happened.
The Applewood Inn is probably one of the oldest original houses in 20th century Williamsburg according to Fleck. Still she considers herself a skeptic and said, “I just don’t know what to make of it, I would love to know a reasonable explanation.”
The R.T.L team returned to the 633rd CONS to reveal their findings to squadron leadership, and later did the same for the owners of the Applewood Bed & Breakfast. In both cases you might say the findings likely raised more questions than answers.
In the review of the Applewood Bed and Breakfast, The RTL team report a number audio recordings that picked up unexplained voices , and a digital recording picked up an image of a young girl in the Twin Elms room guest room either getting into bed or pulling back the covers on the bed.
Fleck says she was “very intrigued” with the findings and is at peace with the fact that she is sharing space with spirit activity.
At Langley the team picked up what they described at more than 25 instances of electronic voice phenomena. DVR footage from the basement , according to the RTL report, revealed what looks like a shadowy, human-shaped figure moving through a narrow passageway.
“I believe that there is a lot paranormal activity in both locations but nothing to be afraid of, “ Savino said.
Whether you are a skeptic or a believer in the paranormal it’s interesting to take part in the debate and discussion to try to explain the unexplained.
As the Television Host Robert Ripley used to say, “Believe it, or Not”.