Getting serious about ghosts
WEST SAYVILLE—The Paranormal Adventurers visited the Long Island Maritime Museum on Sunday, Feb. 17, to discuss their ghost hunting exploits and their books.
The duo, Joseph Flammer and Diane Hill, first met in the poetry section of a Borders books in Stony Brook in 2002, according to their website. They have been best friends ever since.
Flammer and Hill originally decided to collaborate on a book about Long Island’s Revolutionary War figures, but eventually switched to ghost hunting after they accidentally photographed what they believed to be an apparition in a small family cemetery in Strongs Neck in Setauket.
During their weekend lecture, the duo agreed that the Bible says not to “conjure” spirits. “We’re not conjuring,” Flammer said, regarding the team’s ghostly encounters. “We’re witnessing.”
Flammer said his first encounter with a ghost occurred when he was a teenager, standing near a creek on the North Shore in Nassau County. The figure, he said, was about eight feet tall. Flammer then moved on to a more famous sighting in Oceanside, on the South Shore of Nassau County. Multiple children have apparently sighted a Native American woman, who walks on water and responds to questions about her identity with, “That’s for me to know and you to find out.” The site where she was spotted, according to Flammer, has since been sealed off.
One of the group’s most notable encounters occurred at Potters Field in Yaphank, where, according to Hill, over 1,000 bodies are buried, not by name, but by number. One early morning, around 2 a.m., the local ghost hunters entered the cemetery. Hill said she always asks the spirits permission before entering a cemetery. She also thanks those same spirits upon leaving. After doing so, the two friends heard a muffled, “you’re welcome.” Hill said she took this opportunity to offer the speaker a handshake. The presence, she said, obliged.
Another encounter occurred at Woodland Cemetery in Bellport, during the day. Hill was visiting the cemetery when she saw an orb of light. She later learned that someone had recently been buried where the orb was located. “We’re all energy,” Hill said. “We don’t really die. Our energy just takes a different form.”
The duo’s most recent book, “Ghosts, Ghouls and Monsters of Long Island,” was published in 2012. Their previous works include “Long Island’s Most Haunted Cemeteries” (2010) and “Long Island’s Most Haunted: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide” (2009).
In addition, they have investigated the ghosts that are said to haunt the Gettysburg National Cemetery, which Flammer describes as “one of the most haunted places in the country,” as well as the tragic “Black Hats,” which are said to haunt Sweet Hollow Road in Melville.
Flammer has also published two books about UFOs as solo projects, “UFOs Over America: Scariest Cases” (2016) and “UFOs Over Long Island, New York” (2015), and speaks extensively on the topic. He said he had to “go the alien route” because he couldn’t “explain everything in terms of ghosts.”
Throughout the lecture, and while the event was letting out, you could hear the skepticism in some of the attendees’ voices. “That’s a bit of a stretch,” an audience member said, referring to one of the alleged encounters. Others muttered, “I don’t know about that,” or “those photos could’ve been altered.”
However, there appears to be something behind the ghost hunting fan base, something that brought the group of about 50 people out over the weekend.
Hill addressed the skepticism with a personal story. She said that shortly before her mother’s death, she asked her mother to send her some type of a sign after she passed away.
When that day finally came, Hill called her husband to tell him the unfortunate news. While on the phone, her husband excused himself to answer a knock on the front door. He soon returned to the phone to tell Hill that no one was outside. This, she believes, was the sign she asked her mother for.
“The hell with them,” Hill remarked regarding those who doubt experiences similar to hers.
Flammer and Hill will be joining psychic John Altieri, writer Robert Ottone and producer Bob Johansen in “The Hunt for the Long Island Serial Killer” on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook.
The assembled group will be using “psychic visions” in an attempt to identify the individual, also known as the Gilgo Beach killer, who murdered between 10 and 16 women – many of whom were associated with sex work – and dumped their bodies in coastal communities along the South Shore of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
For more information on Hill and Flammer, go to their website, www.paranormaladventurers.com.
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