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Created: May 15, 2009
Last modified: July 13, 2010

bridging science
and parascience

Three Chimneys Inn & ffrost / Sawyer Tavern

17 Newmarket Road, Durham, NH

This was our second large-scale investigation of a well-published New Hampshire "haunt." Although it was a bit "light on evidence," it was still very interesting subjectively. About half the investigators had experiences which were difficult to explain, and about half of those went wholly unexplainable.

Three Chimneys

Among the "explainable" was noises heard from an attic area above rooms 5 and 6 - video review of a camera stationed appropriately in that area revealed that a squirrel had somehow made its way through the eaves and into the attic to nest there. These noises were one of the reported anecdotes. Others iclude:

  •   Furniture found out of place.
  •   Levitating glassware.
  •   Partial apparitions.
  •   Problems with electronics.

Another explained occurence was with regard to a photograph taken on the grounds. While snapping a picture of a stair to a wooded area, Brian was standing very close to Mike - who was outside also, taking a "break." The most interesting part is that even though Brian knew Mike was smoking, he didn't realize that the smoke was drifting in front of the lens until after he and Mike reviewed the photo and the circumstances around its capture. That photo is available in the Gallery.

Among the less understandable experiences was a moment in which two investigators felt a sequential change in their environment... as if something "passed through them." The experience was too fleeting to quantify in any way, but it remains as an anecdote. Similarly, another investigator claimed something "messed with his vision" - that somehow what he was seeing through his eyes had shifted without his turning his head or eyes. He described it as "it was like I was watching tv and someone changed the channel on me." The event disturbed him enough that he felt the need to walk off site for a few minutes to "regather himself."

Likely the closest thing to a serious objective claim was a series of electronics disturbances. Of eight audio recorders brought to the site, all eight failed in some way. Two shut down without cause. One could not be brought into the proper file system, and another had difficulty being switched off "hold." The most impressive, however, was one recorder which began recording on the trip to Durham, shut off before it was brought inside from the van, and started playing that audio file as it was being unpacked. If this event was truly "paranormal" in origin, it forces an interesting question: do ghosts know we're coming?

Due to the extremely large amount of raw data collected at this site, we have still not yet fully examined and synchronized it all. And the problems around this one simple fact are the single biggest lesson we learned here: we need to limit either the number of participants in an investigation, or limit the amount of time of the investigation.