NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — Speaking slowly and clearly into a tiny recorder, paranormal investigator Amanda Quill attempts to connect with the afterlife, as she roams through the rooms of New Westminster’s Irving House.
“If there’s someone who would like to communicate with us, I would welcome you to do so now,” she says, before giving a long pause for a response.
Quill is conducting what’s known as electronic voice phenomena. If there’s a ghostly reply, the device will keep recording, if not, it will shut off immediately.
Irving House, built in 1855, was once the home of Captain William Irving and his family. The stately home has been beautifully preserved and seems to take visitors back a century.
“It is a pretty prestigious home. This family was considered upper class,” said curator Oana Capota.
Ghost historians believe it is also haunted.
“Oh yes, very much so,” said Greg Mansfield without hesitation.
The author of Ghosts of Vancouver recounted the story of a caretaker who investigated the sound footsteps on the porch.
“He saw a blue light inside the library, and it rushed to the window. As it hit the window a face suddenly appeared,” he said. “It was like an orb floating in mid-air and he was so shocked that he toppled off the porch.”
A housekeeper cleaning up after Christmas swears decorations were being kicked away by an unknown being whenever she reached for them.
“It happened two or three times before she got really scared and ran out of the house,” said Capota.
Others have heard loud pounding footsteps above, only to find nobody is upstairs.
“Captain Irving was known to pace on the quarterdecks of his boats,” Mansfield mused.
A little girl alone in the home with her grandmother insisted she saw a man sleeping in one of the beds. When the adult went to investigate, nobody was there, but the bedding was twisted. The next day, the grandmother found the sheets a mess again, and she was the only one in the house.
Capota argued if it was an intruder, the grandmother would have heard him.
“The main door has a very loud bell that would have rang, and it would have been heard anywhere in the house,” she said.
After several attempts to communicate, Quill hears something provocative on her recorder.
“It almost sounded like we got a response at the end,” she says, pressing the device closer to her ear.
The faint muffled sound will need to be analyzed to confirm a genuine communication from the dead, but is encouraging.
The investigator believes whoever is haunting Irving House is friendly.
“I feel welcome, I feel calm, I feel comfortable,” assures Quill.
“Ghost don’t necessarily have had to a tragic death or something similar to haunt a place,” said Mansfield.
It’s possible the Irving family loved their home so much, they don’t want to leave.