By NANCY RUBIN STUART
HYANNIS – You can never tell who you might meet at the Hyannis Public Library – a friend, a neighbor, or perhaps a ghost.
So claimed the Massachusetts Paranormal Institute on Wednesday evening, October 30 in a presentation of test results indicating the presence of eerie, inexplicable voices in the Ora A. Hinckley Building, which is the library’s original site on Main Street named after their first full-time librarian.
“We’ve heard voices there before,” said David Sircom, founder and director of Institute, “but digital recorders have improved so much in recent years that they now they are much more distinct.”
Sircom was referring to the earlier recordings at the Hyannis Library which resulted in the Ora A. Hinckley Building’s 2009 designation as Certified Haunted Location.
Impetus for those tests began with librarian Sherri Evans, who first became interested in paranormal phenomena after several family deaths.
Enhancing that curiosity was the repetitive discovery of books on the floor in library stacks when Carol Saunders, Director of the Hyannis Public Library, opened the building each morning.
“We know that no books were on the floor in the old building the night before, but every so often there they were, as if they were pushed off the shelf,” Saunders recalled.
The presentation began with an introduction by Tina Boulas, president of the non-profit Massachusetts Paranormal Institute, followed by an explanation of paranormal phenomena by her twin sister former president, Connie Boulas.
While the visual “aura” of ghosts is a favorite subject of novels, films and videos, these are relatively rare. Ghostly sounds, however, are more frequent and can be recorded as “proof” of their existence, according to Boulas. The presentation at the library consequently involved recordings of ghostly replies to questions asked by members of the Institute.
Recorded in the basement and attic of the Ora A. Hinckley Building, an 18th century sea captain’s house on Main Street connected to the modern library, the eerie voices could be heard making comments like “That would be nice,” “I haven’t been there,” “It’s all crazy” and “I learned to dance.”
The audience also heard the faint sound of children laughing, even though the investigators were the only ones in the building during the recording session. Another voice claimed he was a child named Nathan.
Among the various digital recorders the Institute displayed during the presentation is a TriField Natural Electronic Meter used to measure an electro-magnetic field, a device Sircom explained which can confirm the presence of a spiritual entity whose voice may not get through.
“We’ve never seen the gauge move before, but it did for the first time in the old part of the library,” he said.
Paradoxically, Sircom was once a non-believer, but in 2006 after watching a television show about paranormal phenomena, decided to buy a digital sound recorder and experiment in his home office. The first time he heard ghostly words on his recorder, he became so frightened he put his dog into his car and drove away for three hours.
Later, having returned home and studying paranormal phenomena, he organized the Cape Cod Electronic Voice Phenomenon, the first organized paranormal team on Cape Cod, and forerunner of today’s Massachusetts Paranormal Institute.
“Most of the voices say only a few words,” Sircom said, “ Apparently, it takes the entities a lot of energy and effort to communicate. And most of those entities seem nice. I always say that they only power they have over us is the power we give them.”
The Hyannis Public Library is only one of many sites the Massachusetts Paranormal Institute has investigated on Cape Cod. Among the others are historic buildings along Route 6A including the Yarmouth Port Library, the Colonial House Inn, Scargo Cafe, and the Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern.