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Chapter 3

No, I wasn't done. There's still a lot left.

I'm 27 here, yes that's an AWOLNATION shirt.

I have not had the easiest time trying to put memories of these specific four years into chronological order. Time has gone by, frankly. It gets so blurry.

Let's head back into time to a period of vulnerability that lead to another one, which then lead me right into the path of narcissism, lies, manipulation and overall behavioral fuckery in the paranormal. Last I wrote, I'd mentioned the how for me ending up on an Albany-based paranormal team, and how the rotation of team members was nearly constant. For the first year I was always surprised by who would be at what case, it was a crapshoot directed closely and with utmost control by the team leader. I realize now, this was likely based on who got along with who behind the scenes, and who the team leader was manipulating personally for their own gain. Most of these cases we were doing, mind you, were private client cases brought about by people emailing the team via the website, and asking for help. Only the team leader ever saw communications with these people, we never saw emails, just heard reports they relayed to us.

This slippery slope of private client cases is something I've vlogged about, and here is the refresher: I am not interested in personal paranormal problems, and that video is everything why.

One of the first private client cases I was presented with was that of a woman and her teenage daughter, and their haunted apartment. They lived in a an urban area nearby, and had complaints of unexplained activity. I don't remember much of what that activity was, but I recall they heard or felt uneasy in their home, something was moved around in the home, and maybe voices that they were hearing that didn't make sense. I remember the kitchen and the mother's room being "hot spots" but that's mostly because I specifically remember investigating in those rooms. I also remember finding every Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State DVDs in the bedroom and went "ah, I see what's going on here." If you've ever done private client cases you've probably noticed those things in homes of those with alleged ghost issues.

The apartment was on the second floor and on the corner of a main street. Noise contamination aside, these two women were having perceived issues so we were a local team that was there to “help.”

Help, when it comes to the paranormal, is extremely subjective, and damn can it make people brawl.

This was one of the first private client cases I went on, and as was becoming the norm, the team leader picked me up and drove me to the case. We did not live all that close, mind you, but not many of the other team members were in the Albany area either. Side note: this team leader lived with their spouse. Their spouse was supposedly on the team as well but participated extremely minimally, and eventually was at nothing the team did by a year or two into the total four I was there. More on that later.

Another woman was present on this case at the small apartment, and upon arriving, we waited in the kitchen for the leader to heft cases of equipment up the stairs. The client and her daughter were in the adjoining living room out of sight. As I leaned against the stove making small talk, I notice the other team member starting to stand closer and closer to me. Uncomfortably close. She’s got a wry or smug smile on her face as she’s nodding along to what I’m saying. I moved across the kitchen to the refrigerator and acted casual, but definitely noticing this woman has a social boundary that is most definitely not intact. Why is my bubble feeling squashed?

It comes out at some point after the case that the woman is a self-proclaimed psychic medium, psychic artist (that’s fun, that’s really fun watching someone draw like a 6-year-old and cry about it later). I asked the team leader some point later after it dawned on me, “was she standing close to get some sort of psychic read on me or some shit?”

Yep. That was her game that first investigation we did together. To stand awkwardly close and see if she can’t read my mind with a look on her face that lets everyone around her know “oh, she’s UP to something”. As though that’s normal adult behavior? Yeah, you now understand the type of people I was in the company of during my time on this team. That woman was the first of about 6 who at some point after joining the whole charade (pun intended) claimed to be psychic mediums, or psychic in some way.

Fun times that first case. The other thing that happened was the team leader had myself and one other person point a K2 at every wall in the place and write down how much EMF there was and where. What the leader did with any of that paperwork? Likely tossed it out, but this was the kind of person who loved to act like they were “taking data”, making spreadsheets, and deciphering something magical and astounding from EMF readings.

Surprise, buckshot, readings are at mostly 0.0 and nothing that clown was doing with any numbers from any case made it to any data sheets. There were never data sheets.

The spookier part of that particular case is after the final “conclusion” and “evidence reveal” took place. The team leader had, by that point, done several things: investigated that apartment about 3 times over the course of at least 2 months or so, invited several more people onto the team, all of whom were women, and dropped several vague hints about how they and I were “connected” in some way, they couldn’t explain it but I was “special”.


Carrying on.

After leaving that apartment (the most un-haunted place I’ve been even to this day, tbh) the team leader suggested we should go for dinner somewhere. I said sure and this individual proceeded to drive an hour north to a fancy restaurant in another city.

Um, the fuck? It’s like 8pm on a week night here.

They proceed to buy me dinner and espouse about a special connection that they feel with me and how it’s supernatural how we were brought together. They did live with their spouse but they were separated! They were ready to move on in life, with love!

You guess where this is going yet? If you’re over like, the age of 15, this is an easy one.

I was most definitely still experiencing PTSD symptoms at this point in my life, due to being married to a heroin addict and abusive piece of absolute red-haired worthless garbage for a year, and having been divorced officially for about a year and a half at that point. I’d get an oncoming panic attack and heart palpitations at the thought of intimacy, and my extremities would sweat while my core heated up. It used to scare the shit out of me, I grew up with no such anxiety attacks, no panic, nothing but the normal shyness and awkwardness of a child of the 80’s.

What I’m saying is I was mentally and physically vulnerable, and this team leader knew that the moment they met me. That’s the skill this type of person has, sadly and cruelly. I was ready to be told this, and told anything about the paranormal that would make point A and point B in my brain fire a synapse and connect. The critical thinking I expound upon now was nowhere to be found there, red flags flew in my face and I saw nothing but monotone.

This truth kinda stings but I was ready to be taken advantage of this team leader knew and acted upon that after that dinner. I asked outright - what are you talking about, this “connection”? They said that we were soul mates. SOUL MATES, buckshot, they said soul mates. Holy fuck.

Do you know what it means for an individual (i.e. me) to be in a state of self-recovery from trauma and to have had zero external help or support except at a very polite distance, to be taken advantage of so easily? Bro I was not okay. I believed them. I wanted to believe them. It felt better than I felt normally to just believe this possibility.

Manipulation is a nightmare. All I wanted to do was light up a damn Marb Light after that dinner and this fool grabbed my hand like it was all romantic and planted one on me right there on the sidewalk. I didn’t have time to belch. FFS!

I was so excited. My idiotic 27 or 28-year-old self was giddy about it. I didn’t see so many flags, dude, I was perceiving things from such an incapable and doubtful and shameful place. The shame really was overwhelming more than anything else. I’d come from a place of utter defeat and depression, and trying to find my way to self-realization and happiness with selfish company and surface-level friends. Messy times.

2012 called, remember when you were 28 and those earrings were in style?

So this team leader saw what weaknesses I held at that time and exploited them. They coerced a connection over the series of several months until I was “dating them” but utterly sworn to secrecy on all levels. Nothing on social media, nothing especially said to any team member. No one could know. And if that is not a red flag the size of one of those mega-huge American flags at car sales warehouses, I don’t know what is.

I’m just being honest. This ride was really difficult to navigate, especially so alone and in such a very weird and mentally unwell place. This was the start of the strange and there’s only more to come. I kinda wanna just leave this here as is, because after that night, it gets…

Oh hell, it gets worse. But it does get better! Look at me now homie, it’s all different. I just gotta get this all out there.

Thanks for reading,

Amy Bennett



I'm Amy L. Bennett, a writer, multimedia artist, recovering archaeologist and YouTuber from Upstate, New York. I've been invested in all things strange and unusual since my dad gave me the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy when I was way too young. Along with my fiancé, Ryan, we've explored countless haunted locations in the US and abroad in search of the Weird.
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