We're at it again with a story of strangeness and bigfoot in the Green Mountains. How did I even end up joining this paranormal team and how did I end up looking for bigfoot before ever looking for a ghost?
It was November 2010 and my father was the president of the Albany County Historical Association, headquartered at Ten Broeck Mansion (that haunted Albany stately home I talk about without talking about a lot, because now I'm on the Board and the mansion's ghosts want a quiet home as it moves into the future). My dad said that recently, a paranormal team had come to investigate after being given a night to roam the house with recorders and cameras and do an initial investigation on the premise that they could then host fundraising events there. He said the team founders were sharing what they'd captured at a meeting that night at the mansion for just the Board and invited me to come along. I wanted to see this shit, you know, me being me, so I took my friend Maria and we went to the mansion for this "evidence reveal."
Remember all those tropey terms we used so confidently and so consistently? It was like a copy and paste of some of the earliest paranormal TV shows. It really was.
That night, I met the two founders of the paranormal team and listened to some weird EVPs first-hand. Those same 3 or so audio clips would be the cornerstone of the team investigating that mansion over and over countless more times. Those clips stayed on the official website and in every rambling public lecture for years forward. That next spring of 2011, the team put on an evidence reveal and lecture at the mansion. I hadn't thought much about the entire thing until that event which I attended by myself, but oddly found a past college friend in the audience who knew one of the team leaders. By the time that event took place, one of those founders had been ousted from the team and it was just the one individual in charge.
After listening to the EVPs again and the lecture, I'd met several more team members, seen the quintessential black t-shirt with the logo, and been told I could be invited to an investigation at the mansion. I was psyched. Totally stoked. A couple weeks later, I had a message in my FB inbox from the team leader inviting me to participate in the team. They explained that a second, "core team" was being created for more serious investigations, like some sort of inner circle, and that I'd be a good fit for that. Apparently until it came about, the entire team at large was unaware of this plan. I seemed to come into it after the overhaul of one founder having quietly removed the other, but they told me that the team had voted on it, (another team member informed me of the truth a bit later on), and a lot of fringe people who had light interest drifting in and out of investigations. Overall, the initial invite came across as "you're a special person who could fit this special team". Oh, that crimson flag again? You see it now too?
I didn't answer for a week or so, contemplating what it would mean to be part of a group like this, and whether or not this was going to mirror Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures more, and what kinds of experiences I'd potentially face. I'll tell you the result of that inner line of questioning later on. I answered the FB message, and was invited to participate in an investigation at the Albany mansion. That plan fell through and a new adventure into bigfooting in Vermont took its place for sometime in June. The bigfoot plan was thanks to a public personality in the squatching world who had worked with a local property owner in the Green Mountains to capture a trail camera image that is uncanny as all hell, and makes its rounds on the internet to this day.
So we had the opportunity to work with this squatcher on the property where the image was captured. This is the night I had my first unexplained experience in the forest in search of bigfoot, but that's something I could save for a vlog on our YouTube channel, and outside of that cool experience, what's notable for this story (remember we're abridging this to focus on the strange human elements), was the ride up to the mountains. I can look back at this time and see it differently now, but then, I thought nothing of myself and the team leader going up alone in their car. This was something that happened often from then forward, I'd ride with them to most investigations and meetings, and larger carpools were exceedingly rare. If they occurred, they were awkward. This was a tactic to be alone with one team member at a time and further control the knowledge and the narrative. A way to pass along information that would influence the team a particular way, and make sure certain things weren't discussed publicly or on social media.
It turned out I was in the only female investigator present at this bigfoot hunt aside from the homeowner's wife. I can understand many folks not having that particular night or length of time free to attend, but I did wonder where the team members I had met were. This was played off as special as well, that I get to be "the one female" who gets to go do this with a crew of seasoned bigfooters. 🚩 The night commenced and some strange things were heard, and my experience occurred. Most of what happened after the one shocking moment I don't remember, but we headed home and I was dropped off to probably stay up late wondering what had just occurred and excited for more adventures. I was green to this organized team atmosphere still. I was in for a ride.
That was the first official case, or night of investigation with this team. It was bigfoot, and a 3 hour or so car ride into the Green Mountains having an initial conversation with this person. This adventure happened with one other glaring memory intact. I'm pretty sure we were taking the on-ramp of a highway when the team leader said "well just so you know, I'm psychic." It had come up in conversation naturally, however I'm not quite sure what was said before it. That was a loaded statement and this was a strange night for so many reasons, and of course for the interactions between all the folks present; the NYC bigfooter (I don't get it either), the two ex-military men in full tactical gear, the elderly homeowner and the seasoned sasquatch aficionado leading the charge. And then this paranormal team leader and a rookie, who also did this sort of investigation, suddenly. I'd expected ghost hunting, so this was a departure from the expected. Not a bad thing, but a surprising thing, and a learning curve. I didn't know then what I was in for, or how many lives would end up effected by one individual and in such bizarre ways.
There you have it. Just another weird night in the experiences of 2011 to 2015, and we're only at the beginning. There's the night a young, untrained alleged medium nearly took out an historic piece of architecture in their first 3 hours at the Albany mansion. The other psychic who would stand obviously and uncomfortably close to you in order to "get a read on your energy". The other psychic medium who channeled a dead, drunk Scottish Mason in an Upstate drug treatment clinic. The evening of the alleged spiritual attachment and an absurd reaction to it in an abandoned church. The private client cases ending in tears (of both clients and investigators). The texts in Latin. The secrets. The ghosted team members never to be heard from again. The drowning of a groundhog to exorcise a demon. Goddamn guys, this book is long and weird already.
Thanks for reading,
Amy L. Bennett
After the team leader declared they were a psychic, I responded, slightly taken aback, "I don't mean to be a dick but, ah, any way you think you can prove it?" And honestly I don't know what I'd hoped for, but I suppose I'd wanted a succinct account of having repeated experiences that are seemingly unexplainable. I wasn't sure quite what they'd meant when they said they were psychic, as that can be a vast umbrella for a lot of different alleged abilities. I can't recall verbatim their response, years have eaten that away. As time went on though, those abilities came to include experiencing spirits or entities in far mor physical ways than others. They would see, hear, become ill from, and feel other physical symptoms like headaches or fatigue from interacting with the Other so often and intensely. They had prophetic dreams, described their otherworldly spirit guides of immense power, underwent riverside exorcisms, could see, count and name the exact spirit guides of others, could see the physical past after a few moments of closing their eyes, etc, however, in the context of someone who lies so proficiently it should be awarded, this is all a picture of someone vastly, irreparably disturbed.