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Third annual paranormal investigation

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HERRINGS — If you visit the Little Sisters Inn at Herrings on Oct. 12, you may have a strange encounter — seeing a weird shadow in the pool room or meeting a long-deceased family.

Hosted by Carthage Free Library, the Shadow Chasers Paranormal Investigations and Research Organization, Remsen, will be conducting a paranormal investigation from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

According to town of Champion historian Lynn M. Thornton, the first mention of Herrings Inn is about 1900. However, she said, the building may predate this by a few years.

“The village and the inn took their name from William Prosser Herring, a paper manufacturer from Watertown who built the mill on the Black River,” Mrs. Thornton said. “He first built a mill in the village of Black River in 1887 and later the mill in Herrings where the village developed around the mill. The Jefferson Paper Company was started in 1894 and closed in 1965. Likely the inn was used by the mill as a boardinghouse for its workers.”

Many have believed the inn was a stagecoach stop, but Mrs. Thornton disagrees.

“The idea that it was a stagecoach stop is probably more a romantic notion than an historic fact due to the fact that stagecoaches were largely phased out as railroads began to appear in the north country by 1850,” the historian said.

During the paranormal investigation, participants will be divided into groups and will have an opportunity to explore the dining room and the basement of the inn. The Shadow Chasers will show participants how to use the investigative equipment and lead them in their own paranormal investigation of the inn.

Participants are encouraged to show up 15 minutes before their scheduled time to have a cup of chili and other refreshments before their investigation begins. Mrs. Thornton will have a display detailing the history of the inn. Attendees are urged to bring flashlights and cameras.

The event will benefit the 4 River Valleys Historical Society. Mrs. Thornton, the society’s vice president, said the society is “thrilled to be the beneficiary of fundrasing.” “The paranormal group has twice visited the Hiram Hubbard Homestead in Champion village and we are so happy to welcome them to a different venue. The money raised during this evening will go toward the heating system to be installed this fall, hopefully, in the homestead,” Mrs. Thornton said.

Kimberly A. Stiles, who operates Little Sisters Inn at Herrings and lives in three rooms upstairs at the inn, reports some strange encounters.

“I heard a strange humming sound which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” Ms. Stiles recalled. “I thought it was the refrigerator, so I unplugged it, but the humming noise continued.”

Ms. Stiles said several of her employees have reported a strange-looking shadow in the pool room, and many picture takers have exposed strange lights in their photographs.

A woman visiting the inn said she felt the presence of a man, a woman and an 11-year-old girl.

“She told me they knew I was afraid of them when I locked up alone at night — which I’m not — and that they like the direction we’re taking with the place and they are watching over me.”

The restaurant owner said she was excited about the fundraising event and is looking forward to seeing what history Mrs. Thornton digs up.

According to a press release from the library, the Shadow Chasers group was founded at SUNY Potsdam in 2002 by Phillip Creighton and Katherine Heuser. Currently, the paranormal investigative group is based in Remsen and has worked with a variety of clients in Jefferson and Lewis counties, such as the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Hulbert House in Boonville. The group has been mentioned in “Haunted New York” books by north country author Cheri Revai Farnsworth and worked with Town Square Media to assist with historic preservation projects through funded investigations.

The goal of the group is to document regional folklore, haunted sites and mysterious creatures in the hopes of identifying the origins of paranormal claims and assisting those affected.

The cost to take part in the investigation is $10 for a couple or $6 for an individual. Participants may pay at the library in advance or at the door. All proceeds will be donated to the Hubbard House Restoration Fund. Space is limited to 84 participants.

If interested in participating, call 493-2620.

For more information on the Shadow Chasers, visit their website at www.nyshadowchasers.com.

Carthage Free Library is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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