Return to the Howick Historical Village

See the intriguing evidence the team captured on our follow-up investigation among the fascinating echoes of Auckland’s colonial past.

Background

For location history and other background information, see the investigation report from our previous visit in December 2011.

The Return

After the interest in our previous investigation from followers on our Facebook page and upon hearing further stories from the staff at the Village who received our report and corroborated some of the evidence we captured, we felt a second investigation with a larger team was necessary to help consolidate the evidence of paranormal activity at the Howick Historical Village.

Investigation

Haunted Auckland conducted a Class Two investigation between 4pm and 7pm (after village closing hours). The investigation covered Puhinui Farm Homestead, Eckfords Maraetai Homestead, Sergeant Ford’s Cottage and the Maher-Gallagher House. The 4 buildings were covered by three teams, each consisting of three investigators, conducting a photographic sweep, with EMF monitoring, audio recording, interaction with spiritually sensitive individuals and data-logging using smartphone applications.

Puhinui Farm Homestead

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Master Bedroom Window Silhouette


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This image taken of one of the Master Bedroom windows at the Puhinui Farm Homestead shows what appears to be the silhouette of a person in the right-hand panes of the window. The head of the silhouette appears in the top right-hand pane of glass. There were people inside the house when this photo was taken, however in order to generate a similar silhouette, a person would need the standing directly in front of the window, which would require them be standing on an antique couch on display in the bedroom. In addition, this bedroom was cordoned by a rope barrier, limiting access the the immediate entrance of the bedroom and which was still in place under at least 12 minutes after this photo was taken.

Possible non-paranormal explanations for this image include Matrixing or Pareidolia caused by the pattern of the lace curtains, as well as reflections of overhead clouds on the window panes. We invite viewers to come to their own conclusions about this photo and we welcome your interpretations on our public Facebook page.
Below is a cropped copy of the window, with a contrast enhanced version for comparison.


Object Manipulation

During the investigation, one of our teams placed a coin on a sheet of paper in the children’s bedroom and traced a circle around the edge with a pen. The team then ask for any children present to move the coin. The coin was then left while the team investigated elsewhere in the house. Upon returning the coin had moved outside the confines of the tracing.

In addition, one group reported seeing the movement of one of the curtains in the main parlour of the house. The curtain was a large, at least 3 metres tall and made from heavy velvet. While it was a windy day, and the window behind the curtain had been removed for renovation (the gap left covered in tarpaulin), the movement seen appeared to be a deliberate tug, rather than movement caused by the wind.


Smartphone App Data-loggers

A couple of our team members are trialling the effectiveness of some of the “Ghost Hunting” applications available for iPhone and Android mobile devices. One such application being Ghost Hunter M2. This application claims to provide directional EMF readings and interprets ambient using an advanced phonetic selection algorithm to produce words and names that are vocalised by any entities present. During the investigation at Puhinui Farm Homestead, the following names and words were provided by the application:

  • Eddy – This may be a reference to Edward Arthur Price, a major landowner in Puhinui where the house was originally situated.
  • Chicago – During the Second World War, Cambria Park near Puhinui became the site of one of a number of United States military camps. It is possible this is a reference to someone who lived or worked in these camps.
  • farmer – Self explanatory, the homestead was located on a farm.
  • William – Two men named William were referenced in photographs located in the main parlour of the house.
  • Jessica – A woman named Jessica (also known as Jessie) married into the family who owned the Puhinui Homestead.
  • actress – Another woman named Sarita (Sally) was a Peruvian immigrant who was attached to the family owning the house. Sarita was an actress and involved in the Women’s Surrogacy Movement of the time.

In the interest of impartiality, it should be noted that the data-logging applications only appeared to have a 25% success rate at producing words meaningful to the location, the remaining words were either irrelevant, too generalised, or could not be specifically linked to any of the people or activities in the building.


Cold spots and Psychic Phenomena

Two of the teams independently reported feeling cold spots in the rear corridor of the home, between the kitchen and dining areas, as well as in the Maid’s Quarters at the end of this corridor.
Within the upstairs children’s bedroom our sensitive, Kel, reported feeling a child’s presence, but she was unable to coerce the child into manipulating any of the objects in the room. Kel also felt the presence of an older woman, who gave the name Sarah, however when the entity requested to speak though her, Kel advised the entity that she doesn’t allow that. Upon asking a staff member about the name Sarah, they confirmed that a women by that name did previously live in the house.
In addition to the upstairs presences, Kel also received an emphatic “Go away!” when attempting to speak with an entity in the Dining Room.


Audio Anomalies

One of our investigations was conducting an EVP session in the upstairs children’s bedroom and captured this audio anomaly as soon as they switched on the recorder. You can hear the out of place voice at the very start of the recording, within the first second. The remainder of the recording is the voice of our team member Kris.
The audio has not been enhanced, other than the noise reduction and filtering performed by the digital recorder itself.

In addition to the recording, 3 instances of disembodied voices were reported by one team. A unidentifiable male whisper in the kitchen, and two occurrences of the name “William” being whispered in the main parlour. The name William was also picked up by the data-logger application as mentioned above, and backed up by investigation of the photographs on display in the house which showed 2 gentlemen named William in the family.

Maher-Gallagher Cottage

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Tracking EMF Anomalies

 
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On the Gallagher side of the Maher-Gallagher Cottage, our investigators Ken and Barbara tracked several moving EMF anomalies using both a standard EMF metre as well as the Ghost Hunter M2 smartphone app. In these photos Barbara is tracking one of the EMF anomalies across the room, directing Tanya (behind camera) to take photographs. The photographs is this room appear to show orbs corresponding in the apparent location of the EMF anomalies, however given the age and condition of the cottage, it is entirely possible we are seeing dust particles illuminated by the camera flash and interpreted by the camera’s sensor.


Voices, Cold spots and Psychic Phenomena

It was reported by one of the groups investigating the cottage that all the group members felt physically drained while in the cottage and a general feeling of heaviness. Cold spots were reported throughout the cottage and in the attic. One of our team sensitives, Kel, received the name “Angelique” from one presence felt, and another presence gave her a response of “15” when asked for their age. Another group reported hearing an audible reply of “I can’t!” in response to a request for any entities to touch a member of the group as well a the sound of footsteps in the attic, however this did not turn up in the audio recordings. Soon after this a small laminated sign attached to the staircase in the cottage fell to the floor.


Smartphone App Data-loggers

One of our investigators, Kris, received a particularly relevant response on the “Word Box” application on his smartphone. The sole word that appeared was “neck”, which correlated with a report we had received from a staff member about a reputed suicide by hanging that occurred in the Maher-Gallagher Cottage.


Debunked Photographic Anomalies

 
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The above photographs were taken in the attic of the Maher-Gallagher Cottage. Upon initial view on the small screen of the investigator’s they appeared to be anomalous light trails that were not seen by the naked eye of any of the investigators present. After reviewing the photographs on a computer, the team came to the conclusion that these were in fact a series of spider’s thread which ran form the roof to the attic floor. When photographed from certain angles and using camera flashes, they appeared much thicker and brighter than what was seen with the naked eye. We have included the photos above as reference for others investigating in similar situations.


Sergeant Ford’s Cottage

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Audio Anomalies

Kitchen recorder:

Bedroom recorder:

Above are two copies of the same audio anomaly captured simultaneously on two recorders in separate rooms. The anomaly sounds like a woman sighing in the first recording from the kitchen, and in the 2nd recording taken in the bedroom it appears to continue with indistinct words. This was captured while only 3 male investigators were present.


Personal Experiences

Little other activity was reported in Sergeant Ford’s Cottage, with no photographic anomalies appearing once evidence was reviewed. One team member investigating in the downstairs bedroom reported being touched by an unseen entity and some indistinct whispers were heard by investigators, however other than the sigh presented above, none were captured on our digital recorders.


Eckford’s Maraetai Homestead

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Personal Experiences and Photo/Audio Evidence

While Eckfords was the site of an interesting EVP during our previous investigation, there was little to report this time in the way of audio or photographic evidence. One of our group sensitives felt a woman’s presence in the main bedroom, and they did receive an unheard response to a request to move an umbrella which was on display in the room. Other teams investigating this homestead found it to be light and airy in comparison to some of the other smaller closed-in cottages. It should be noted that we were unable to investigate the entire homestead as the rear portion of it is used for Village administration and storage.


Smartphone App Data-loggers

The “Word Box” function on the smartphone used by one of the team members did turn up some relevant words in association with the Eckford’s Homestead:

  • shells – The paths and roadways of the village are paved with crushed shells. In addition, there is a sign affixed to the building regarding the removal of sand or shells from Maraetai Beach.
  • setting – This “answer” occurred as the team was discussing how these building had been relocated to the village.
  • tobacco – Several of the houses and cottages had dried tobacco on display.
  • paint – This response was captured as the investigator was next to a recently repainted wall, with a sign affixed to it advertising the paint company which had donated toward the renovations.

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