Agawam Paranormal gives clients ‘peace of mind’
AGAWAM – Snap, snap, snap!
An Agawam Paranormal investigator took three rapid succession pictures on the second floor of the Josiah Day House
in West Springfield. It’s a standard investigation night procedure for the team, but because the photos are taken one second apart, there is typically little variation.
This time it was different. This time Rob Goff and his team caught one of their strongest pieces of visual evidence to date.
The first photograph showed an investigator standing alone in the doorway. In the background of the second was a woman in an apron and bonnet sitting at a spinning wheel.
By the third, she was gone.
Goff and his wife Hope, Agawam residents, were looking for activities for them and their four adult children as a way to bond and spent time together. Instead of picking up knitting or taking an art class, the Goff family took a different route: ghost hunting.
“My wife and I have always been interested in this. I’ve had experiences back to my very early 20s that I could never explain so this was always there for me,” Goff said. “This, almost halfheartedly, came up and everybody jumped on it.”
From there, Agawam Paranormal was born.
Although Halloween 2014 has come and gone and most families are putting the ghosts and ghouls behind them, Agawam Paranormal is still searching for what goes bump in the night.
Agawam Paranormal takes a scientific stand in their investigations and are quick to try and debunk any reported activity.
“If you’re a spirit or an entity, you’ll have to punch me in the face for me to believe you,” Senior Investigator Carl Perkins said.
While the team takes every report the client has seriously, Goff said that when there is reported activity, every noise might be tossed onto “the Casper bandwagon.” By showing that the nightly clanking noises are from the icemaker and not a spirit, it gives the client peace of mind.
Plan A is to provide an explanation, though sometimes, Goff said, that is not quite possible.
“There’s just been irrefutable evidence, but I stress it’s not proof. There’s no way you’re going to prove to the general public that this is what’s going on,” Goff said.
After seven years, Goff’s team has gone well beyond his family. With more than 20 investigators, a research team, a technical team and a team psychic, Agawam Paranormal has surpassed the Goff family’s expectations.
“We had initially figured maybe we’ll have eight or 10 people, and we’ll go out every other month or something like that. Something realistic. It exploded. It really did,” Goff said.
Instead, Goff and his team are out every other weekend and are booked through April 2015.
Goff has not been complaining about the sudden interest and demand for his team. It is not unusual for peaked interest in the fall, namely around Halloween, but Goff attributes the year round curiosity to presentations his team does at local libraries.
Each library event is a level of “Ghostology,” spanning from an introduction to the paranormal to mock investigations. Some events have attracted as many as 50 people, but it’s not hard to understand the draw.
“Local Lore,” the Ghostology 301 lecture, discusses three investigations from the area. This year’s includes the Houghton Mansion
in North Adams.
The mansion was home to Albert Charles Houghton, the city’s first mayor, before he, his daughter and a family friend were killed in a car crash in 1914. The driver, John Widders, feeling he was responsible for their deaths, committed suicide the following day in the cellar of the barn.
Investigators were in Widders’ room, asking if he stays at the home because he is comfortable. A clear, male voice responds to the question directly, “Yes.”
For Agawam Paranormal, sessions like these have been the best sort of self-promotion.
“We don’t advertise. We don’t have a budget,” Goff said.
Rather than a burden, this is a choice and one that is at the core of Agawam Paranormal’s philosophy. There is no fee for these presentations, and Goff does not charge clients for investigations.
“If I hand you a bill, you now become a consumer and a consumer has a right for an expectation of a conclusion. Does that imply I need to fabricate something to give you closure? That’s flying in the face of why we do this, and I don’t want that,” Goff said.
In lieu of payment, Goff’s request of the client is simple. On the night of the investigation, keep the coffee coming. This easy and “friendly exchange” only enhances Goff’s mantra that the client is the first priority. This is why, though being offered opportunities for Agawam Paranormal to follow in the footsteps of “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” on television, Goff has refused.
“I’m not willing to compromise what I refer to as the product. When I put something out there, it’s something I can’t explain. I’m not going to start putting stuff out there that I can explain and say that this is potential evidence of anything. To me, it’s not being honest and it’s getting away from the mindset that the client is job one,” Goff said. “It’s all about peace of mind for the individual.”
At the end of the day, ghost hunting and paranormal investigation started as a hobby, and it still is: a passion driven hobby. The team takes Thanksgiving off and starts back up after the New Year because that time should be spent with family, Goff said.
Though Goff would love to travel beyond the bounds of Western and Central Massachusetts to investigate, that is the same reason why he is hesitant. The team turned down an offer to go to Gettysburg to investigate because it would not be a true vacation for him, his family and his team.
“I’m not going to take a vacation to go and ghost hunt. I do that normally. I’m sure there are places in Hawaii that are haunted,” Goff said with a laugh.
For more information about Agawam Paranormal, visit www.AgawamParanormal.com