Project Puhinui: Session Four – Puhinui House, Howick Historical Village

Session Four: 30th April 2016 – Solo Overnight vigil by Lisa Ward.

DSC00355I thought it was a nice old house, very representative of the 1800s. I loved the Veranda.

I went in treating it as an ordinary ‘un-haunted’ house and thought that I would just see if anything happened to convince me otherwise.

The house was fairly big. Downstairs consisted of a large living area, a dinning room with small office in an alcove. At the back of the house were modern toilets, the kitchen and parlour and a small porch area leading to the back door. If you continued to walk down the corridor this narrowed and ended in the small maid’s bed room.

A big staircase led to the upstairs hall way. Off the hallway were the main bedroom, a child’s bedroom, a more modern looking sewing room, a room full of pictured and other junk, a small room with mannequins and a room full of filing cabinets.

The house didn’t feel uncomfortable in anyway when I first arrived. The only room that I thought seemed a bit creepy was the maid’s room. I think this may just have been related to the fact that the room was at the end of a dark narrow corridor. The bed was arranged as if someone had been sleeping in it. The master bed room also made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, but again I think this may have been related to hearing reports that the mirror had swung on its own accord.

I arrived for my solo vigil at Puhinui house at around 7 pm. It was still night, calm and cloudy with a temperature of around 16ºC.

Mark met me by the house. I was impressed with the beautiful façade of the 19th century house. I’ve always loved verandas and this house had a large veranda at the front. The inside of the house was no less impressive. A beautiful staircase and stained glass window confronted you as you walked through the door. Mark took the time show me around the rooms explaining some of the history of the place and some of the stories from previous investigations. The house was sizeable and I imagined back in the day (mid 1800s) it must have been a beautiful house to live in and not so large that it wasn’t homely. The house felt fairly normal on arrival. I didn’t feel any change of emotion as I walked around.

We spent some time setting up the DVR cameras. These were placed at the bottom of the staircase, looking up the stairwell, in the hallway at the top of the stairs, in the room containing filing cabinets and a metal bin and in the main living room. At the top of the stairs I also placed a toy stuffed dog on a chair as a trigger object but this hadn’t moved by the morning.

Mark left me around 8.30 pm and I was alone to soak up the atmosphere. I wandered around the house again getting a feel for the place. I’d planned first to go around taking photographs to document the house. After this, I planned to set up the voice recorders.

Footsteps

Around 9 pm, I started taking photos around the living room, trying to capture some of the memorabilia. I was busy taking photographs of a badly taxidermied tiger when I suddenly heard loud footsteps walking down the corridor outside of the living room. I would describe them as low heels on a hard or wooden floor, someone walking quite quickly or with a purpose. There were around 6 to 8 footsteps. The footsteps sounded like they were going down the corridor past the toilets and away from the living room.

As I was stood by the door by this corridor I moved quickly to see if I could see someone, but there was no-one there. I took a photo to see if I could capture anything, but nothing was captured. The incident freaked me out a bit, I think I was even shaking a bit and couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. At the same time it was exciting as this is what investigation is about, having these experiences. I knew no-one was in the house; I’d previously walked right through the house with Mark and we’d even checked the back door was locked. Mark had long gone about 15 to 20 minutes before.

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Picture taken straight after hearing footsteps

As I moved around the house, I felt a little nervous. The areas where I felt most uneasy were upstairs, particularly the master bedroom. I found I didn’t want to really go into the room. Downstairs, walking through the kitchen made me really shudder and I didn’t want to be in there. I felt an overwhelming feeling of being watched and intruding. I even felt this in the kitchen in the morning when it was lighter, so it wasn’t just the darkness that was making me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t really like the maid’s room, but this was at the end of a creepy looking corridor, so I don’t think that helped.

At around 4.30 am I woke up and felt like someone was pressing a single finger hard on the top of my head, it was quite painful. I also suddenly felt like someone had lifted and pulled my duvet back, and I knew I hadn’t moved! I sat up quickly but didn’t see anything. I felt like I just wanted to get out of the house at that point.

DVR cameras were placed at the bottom of the staircase, looking up the stairwell, in the hallway at the top of the stairs, in the room containing filing cabinets and a metal bin and in the main living room. At the top of the stairs I also placed a toy stuffed dog on a chair as a trigger object but this hadn’t moved by the morning. The living room the video did capture me reacting to the footstep noise, although I’m only just in the shot.

Voice recorders were placed on first step of the staircase and on the table in the upstairs hallway.

 

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I left a stuffed toy dog (Lily) on the chair upstairs in hallway, however, this was not moved during the investigation.

13087582_1108578199206655_3408773723616756721_nFollowing the footstep event, I set up voice recorders, one on the bottom of the stairs and the other on a table in the hallway upstairs. I then took some pictures around the house. At 9.30, still feeling a little nervous, I decided to have some quiet time in the living room. I sat on my make shift bed and did a bit of meditation to calm my nerves, but as the evening progressed on, I couldn’t easily shake the feeling of unease.

As I moved around the house, I felt a little nervous. The areas where I felt most uneasy were upstairs, particularly the master bedroom.

I found I didn’t want to really go into the room. Downstairs, walking through the kitchen made me really shudder and I didn’t want to be in there. I felt an overwhelming feeling of being watched and intruding. I even felt this in the kitchen in the morning when it was lighter, so it wasn’t just the darkness that was making me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t really like the maid’s room, but this was at the end of a creepy looking corridor, so I don’t think that helped.

 

At 9.45 pm I decided to do a communication session. I sat on the lower stairs. I asked if Serita was there. I asked lots of questions about the house and who was there, whether they owned the house or had worked there. I asked for names. I asked whether they minded all the people who had stayed overnight recently. I picked up what sounded like male and female voices. I hear what I think sounds like the following:

  • Male voice saying “yes”

  • Male voice saying something like “Bullshit”

  • A female voice shouting “Aunt” (however this was picked up while I was still in the living room before I even started the EVP session)

  • Female voice saying ‘tomorrow’

  • A female voice that replies “yes” when I ask “perhaps you like the company” referring to people staying overnight in the house.

  • Two loud bangs which don’t sound like normal house noises, these are very distinct and clear, but I couldn’t work out the direction they were coming from as I had my headphones on.

At around 10.00 pm I moved upstairs and sat in the hallway and did a second EVP session. I’ve still to go through this file in more detail. At around 10.15 pm I decided to turn off all the upstairs and then downstairs lights so that I didn’t draw the attention of anyone outside that there was someone in the house.

  • Loud bang around 3 am.

  • Male voice (English accent) at 6 am (ish0) saying what sounds like “in front”

I then went back to the living area and tried a ghost box session. I asked some more questions and during the session I said my name and asked whoever was there to repeat it. I thought I heard my name. I also asked whoever was there to tell me what colour jumper I was wearing. I thought I heard a clear ‘pink’ and this was repeated a second time (as I was wearing a pinkish jumper), but I accept it was probably voice pareidolia and my mind wanting to hear those responses. It would be interesting to ask someone else in the team who didn’t know what I was wearing as to whether they hear a colour after I ask the question. Other than that, the ghost box didn’t yield anything exciting.

From 10.30 pm onwards I decided to have more quiet time and leave the voice recorders to do their work. I sat reading, looking at Facebook, sending a few messages and trying to read a scientific paper I’d been asked to review. I did find the silence a little oppressive. I couldn’t shake the sense of unease and just felt like I wasn’t alone or I was being watched. I put the feeling down to my own imagination and kept telling myself to keep a calm mind and that fear is all in the mind.

At 11.45 I decided to check that the voice recorders were still running. I changed the batteries on the voice recorder on the stairs. Around midnight I decided to pack in and get some sleep. I woke several times during the night and lay there listening for any sounds. It was quiet each time. At around 4.30 am I woke up and felt like someone was pressing a single finger hard on the top of my head, it was quite painful. I also suddenly felt like someone had lifted and pulled my duvet back, and I knew I hadn’t moved!

13130878_1108579015873240_7237931261061971941_oI sat up quickly but didn’t see anything. I felt like I just wanted to get out of the house at that point. I managed to eventually get back to sleep and my alarm went off at 6.00 am. It was still dark outside, but I decided to get up and start packing up so I could leave by 7.00 am.

I started to take my stuff out to the car and it was nice to be outside of the house. I spent a few minutes looking at the house and found that I just really didn’t want to go back in. I braced myself and went back. I worked my way around disconnecting the DVR cameras and switching off voice recorders and packing away all the equipment. Once, I’d got everything back in the car I decided to take more pictures inside as the light was coming in. I also walked around the back of the house and took more pictures. At around 7.00 am, I was out of there!

I’ve listened to the voice recordings left running over night. There are a couple of loud bangs around 3 am, other than that it was quiet until around 6 am. I can hear myself downstairs starting to pack up, but I hear what sounds like a male voice close to the upstairs voice recorder saying what sounds like “In front” It sounds like an English accent to me.

Although I found it hard at times to be in the house, I’m pleased I had the experience to do the solo vigil. It does make it a lot easier to interpret sounds on the voice recorder and during the EVPs. You can be more certain it’s not noise contamination from someone else.

Is the house haunted? I think there is something there but as to what it is I’m not sure. With the footsteps and voices picked up on EVP, some of it could be put down to residual energy, if there even is such a thing.

DSC00359Mark had also heard similar footsteps to me and comparing notes in the same area of the house. I seemed to get a clear “yes” in answer to a question during an EVP session, so perhaps there is intelligent energy there. This could also be concluded from the torch throwing event during Mark’s vigil. The EVP words captured are generally quite random rather than responses to questions, making it seem like there are energies still living in the house carrying out their lives; with male and female voices captured, it seems as if there is more than one energy there. I’ve wondered if it’s some kind of time loop replaying over.

I never felt like I was in any danger in the house, but as mentioned I often felt uneasy and nervous at times. It was unbelievably quiet at times and the darkness of the house seemed quite brooding particularly in the wee small hours. As described above, there were some areas of the house which made me feel more uncomfortable than others. It’s certainly and interesting house from a paranormal perspective.

I think we could do a lot more research there and I don’t think it will disappoint.

Audio Anomalies

These are two loud bangs heard during an EVP session around 10 pm. They came from within the house, but I wasn’t sure of the direction as I had headphones on.

I caught what sounds like a male voice saying ‘in front’ or ‘it’s Francis’ early in the morning around 6 am. You can also hear me downstairs moving around as I was starting to pack away my gear

This is a voice caught while the voice recorder was on the steps just prior to me starting an EVP session around 10 pm. I was in the living room at the time. It sounds like a ladies voice shouting “aunt”

This was a ladies voice captured during my EVP session around 10 pm. I asked perhaps you like the company referring to the recent HA people staying overnight… I can hear a faint but clear “yes” to my question

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