SOUTHINGTON - The spirit of Bradley Barnes may still watch over his old home, now The Barnes Museum, according to a recent investigation by the Eastern Connecticut Paranormal Society.
The Barnes Museum, located at 85 N. Main St., was donated to the town in the will of Bradley Barnes, the last member of his influential family, when he died in 1973 at 90 years old. The historic home, which contains numerous antiques that belonged to the family, has since been converted into a museum and preserved in much the same way that Barnes left it.
Earlier this month, the paranormal investigators came to the museum around 6 p.m., turned off all the lights at 8, and conducted an investigation until 1 a.m. They set up video and audio recording devices and attempted to interact with any spirits inhabiting the home.
According to museum curator Marie Secondo, the society was looking to investigate old, historic homes in town for a program at the library last Wednesday and reached out to them. During that program, they shared their findings.
“We found spirit activity in a lot of rooms,” said Chris O’Conner, a psychic medium and a co-founder of the Society.
According to his report, voices were heard in the attic of the museum and in Bradley’s bedroom. In the attic, O’Conner asked at 9:25 p.m., “Is Bradley here?” to which a male voice replied at 9:30 p.m. “I’m Bradley.”
“This was a huge validation that he still walks the property,” said O’Conner. “There are multiple types of residual spirits. Some don’t know they are dead, repeat processes from their lives and don’t typically interact. Others, like Bradley, are intelligent. I felt lots of different types of energy while I was in the home. At one point, in Bradley’s room, I saw a spirit rod, like a little streak of lightning, appear and then disappear. It is theorized in the paranormal world that this is a spirit absorbing energy and trying to manifest itself.”
O’Connor stressed that while there was “a lot of energy” in the home, none of it was malevolent or aggressive. The society only uses the term “haunted” for a home with aggressive spirits. They would classify The Barnes Museum instead as a “spirited” home.
David Bray, co-founder of the Society and a psychic empath, reported seeing the spirits of two women in the upstairs hallway. The report states “they would peek around the corners but would not come any closer as they were too shy. I am unsure who the girls are. I simply know they are frequent visitors to the home.”
The report also indicated that the Society intends to return to the home at some point to re-investigate it.
Bonnie Plourde, another curator at the museum, said that people do not see flickering lights, doors closing by themselves or objects moving at the house. She said they may experience different feelings but that they are all positive. She added that the Eastern Connecticut Paranormal Society was “a great group” and “very respectful” during their time at the museum.
“The Barnes family wanted to leave a legacy - with their house and with Bradley Memorial Hospital,” said Plourde. “I think that if he is able to see that legacy carried on, Bradley would be happier than a ghost in sheets.”
“The house has its own life - it always had and it always will,” said Secondo. “It is a place of serenity and peace. In the music room, you get a certain feeling knowing that the family had a wonderful time there singing and playing the piano. We are doing what Bradley wanted. The family was always having people over and being social. If there are spirits here, I think they are very happy and just content to watch. I’m sure Bradley would be walking around with his chest puffed out and proud.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.