FARMINGTON — A stand of trees in Riverside Cemetery drew members of Central Maine Paranormal Investigators to the top of a hill Saturday night.

Splitting up into small groups and pairs, members wandered the darkened cemetery, quietly ascending the hill with flashlights in one hand and digital cameras in the other, pausing to take flash photos of darkness.

The ghost seekers were looking for orbs or round colorful spots of paranormal energy that only show on film, said member Jim Wetherell. Sometimes they appear as full or partial body apparitions.

It’s better at night, easier to see and takes less energy for the ghosts to appear. They take energy from the atmosphere and sometimes the batteries of the group’s electronic gear, he said.

The investigation was planned in the two large Route 2 cemeteries after member Bettylou Macie of Livermore Falls sensed other people and how they died while driving past the cemeteries a few months ago. One that really stuck out was the sense of someone who was murdered there.

Macie and Wetherell, brother and sister, were first to arrive for the investigation and were receiving strong senses of energy while waiting for the group. Macie first saw a man waving from the top of the hill. She then sensed a child whose grave on the hill was partially hidden by the trees. She sensed he had been forgotten. His gravestone said he was a 13-year-old boy who died in 1845.

When other investigators arrived, they were also drawn to the top of the hill first. Recorders were left at the site to pick up electric voice phenomena, sounds heard only when the recorder is played back.

The cemetery reportedly was “very busy” Saturday night with the sound of voices all trying to talk at once, said lead investigator Lori Black.

“It’s like a lot of voices mumbling … all talking at once. It’s like a radio station that I can’t shut off,” she said.

Other members reported hearing the same “busy” sounds as they walked along the dark graves while being drawn later toward the back of Riverside Cemetery, believing something connected with the murder had happened there. Macie was also drawn toward the vicinity of the  murder site.

Wetherell carried a small transistor radio adjusted to be a “ghost box.” The radio was programmed to scan along the channels occasionally picking up a word from a ball game or a tune. A few times there were unknown voices believed to be spirits who responded in mostly monosyllabic answers to questions he asked. He also carried a recorder taping his questions and answers for later review.

The group spends hours sifting through the photos, recordings and DVDs they gather during an investigation. Only the ones the members can agree upon as paranormal phenomena go on to their Web site,, Wetherell said.

The group was started three years ago by director Stacie Farrington of Lewiston, Black, Wetherell and Tobi Knerr. There are now 11 members who perform cemetery and home investigations and hold full-moon cemetery tours for those interested in the paranormal.

“Not every cemetery is haunted,” Farrington said. “If a ghost is hanging around, there has to be a reason. Usually, it’s unfinished business that keeps them from crossing over.”

Sometimes, such as in dramatic deaths, the ghost doesn’t understand its death; sometimes loved ones keep them from crossing, she said.

Most of the members voiced having experiences and developing interest in paranormal activities as children. Not all claimed psychic ability; some either haven’t developed it or block it.

“Everyone’s psychic. They just haven’t tapped in to it,” Knerr said.

The group plans to continue its investigation of the Farmington cemeteries on Sept. 4.

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