There has been a rumor spreading through the halls of Woodland Regional High School over the past few weeks.
It was not uncommon to hear students, and even some teachers, buzzing about a story told in a Civic’s class.
Ben Palladino, Woodland’s Dean of Students, was a ghost hunter.
A wild statement, but somewhat believable considering Palladino’s reputation at Woodland as a history guru/die hard Batman fan.
When asked about the hobby, Palladino rolled his eyes.
“It’s just a hobby really,” he commented. “I haven’t gone on a investigation in years.” Regardless, this proved the rumor to be somewhat true.
According to Palladino, he has had an interest in the paranormal since he was a kid.
“When I was growing up, paranormal horror movies were a big time,” Palladino recalls. “The Warrens came and did a presentation at my high school and that got my really interested in the paranormal, things that just couldn’t be explained.”
So, through lots of reading and research Palladino learned how to perform paranormal investigations and developed his own process that he used to go through when “ghost hunting.”
“90% of these investigations is spent in the library,” Palladino said.
He would choose an area to investigate, like a cemetery or an abandoned house, usually one that had a reputation for being “haunted.”
“Then you would look up the history of the area, like did a tragic event take place there or something that could serve as an explanation for occurrences,” Palladino explained. “You also do interviews with people who may have experienced strange activity there, just to get more information.”
After all the research is done, it is time to go to the sight and perform an investigation. According to Palladino there are a number of different ways to go about this process. When he used to hunt ghosts, Palladino would take a scientific approach, as opposed to a religious one .
When Palladino performed an investigation he would begin by measuring temperature and electrical currents.
“A change in temperature or an increase in electrical currents were signs that there was something unusual about the area,” Palladino explained.
When these changes were detected, Palldino explained, he would then begin taking pictures in hopes of catching something “explainable” on camera. He would also bring a tape recorder along on investigations as another way of catching evidence of paranormal activity.
“The most evidence I’ve ever really gotten was a cool picture or two,” Palladino said. “But other, more professional guys, have gotten some pretty cool evidence like voices on tape and stuff.”
Palladino also noted that when he went on hunts he would bring good luck charm type items, some with religious significance and some that were used by many other “ghost hunters.”
“When I got to a site and before I left I would always say a prayer asking any spirits at the sight to stay at the site,” Palladino laughed.
According to Palladino, movies and TV shows about the paranormal have caused a huge spike in interest in haunted happenings with people in today’s day and age and in our area, especially around Halloween.
“I mean we live in New England, one of the oldest and most historical areas in the country,” Palladino notes. “I think there is a different feel to the air in New England when fall and Halloween comes around.”