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The Welles House; or just good reality media?

There’s a new paranormal venue making the rounds on the media circus; or perhaps a retread of an old one that has suddenly gotten a rebirth of new life. We needed a fresh sensational story to ignite our imaginations. And the media has delivered….

The Welles house.

The Wilkes-Barre home—an “authentic haunted house”—located in a low income neighborhood of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania is once again in the public eye and thought. Known as Pennsylvania’s own Amityville, the unassuming house on 46 South Welles Street has a past history—featured in several Times Leader news articles dating from 1979 through 1982.

Coincidently, this home’s purported haunting surfaced and closely paralleled the Amityville incident in New York during the same time period in the late 1970s. The Welle’s house was media classified as “more dangerous than Amityville.” And then it went dormant—until just recently!

News reports have stated there were two conformed suicides within the home in 1940 and then 1950. Veteran law enforcement officers and cofounders of Deadline Paranormal, Jim Fazzi and Tony Piontkowski state that the house, which dates back to the Civil War era, has a long history of unexplained phenomena. reports:

“Since the 1970s residents have seen apparitions, including that of blood on the walls and floors; heard shrieks, moans, roaring noises, crashing sounds in the kitchen and scratching on the walls; smelled an odor of decay. A resident allegedly found possible signs of voodoo: a tin containing a human molar and chicken bones tied in the shape of a cross, with a red ribbon.”

In addition, there’s a list of common ailments associated with a good haunting: illness and depression; nightly visits from a well-dressed phantom; the ghost of a young girl; and the usual assortment of unexplained scratches.

“The curving stairway up to the second floor seemed to be a focal point, Fazzi said. One story he heard was that of an infant who fell from its mother’s arms, but instead of dropping down the stairs ‘wafted down gently’.”

“Basically, we think the house is active in the haunted way,” Fazzi commented. “It could be hexed; it could be something from the suicides hanging around.”

Paranormal (and demonic) investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren toured the property in 1980. Arising to paranormal stardom for their investigation of the Amityville House (and subsequently, for all intents and purposes, proven to have been a hoax) the Warrens seemed to frequently visit purported haunted sites that had grabbed the public’s attention. During their visit a photograph shows Lorraine walking out of the front door and holding her hand as if in pain.

“I sense a terrible despair,” she stated. “The effect on people who lived in this house was very, very negative.”

Well…what else would she have said?

You know you have hit the big time when Wikipedia features you—having a listing for the Welles House. As brief as it may be….

Owner Katherine Watkins died in 2012. Neighbor Betsy Summers took it upon herself in 2013 to help the surviving family, living out of state, to sell the 2,092 square foot home —drawing up an advertisement in the Wilkes-Barre Independent Gazette—and noting it as a “haunted house.” Asking price was $30,000. It soon drew the interest desired. Summers stated “It has a pretty nasty reputation.” The good neighbor would frequently pop into the home to make sure everything was ok. “I take care of what I have to do and get out. I try to ignore any noise I hear.”

A representative of the mortgage holder stated the property had been remodeled, and occupied on a consistent basis by tenants…even after the “ridiculous publicity” about a haunting. Former tenants had not made any claims of paranormal activity.

Neighbors throughout the years retained mixed opinions on the validity of any haunting.

Enter one Tim WoodLiveSciFi creator and paranormal investigator—who, after living in the home for a month in 2013, and “being face to face with extreme paranormal and demonic activity”, purchased it in December of that year. After 15 years of investigating the unknown, Wood stated that this house was one of the most haunted places he had been in yet.

“Very negative. I myself do not like the feeling I get looking at the pictures of the house…a very uneasy feeling indeed.”

Well then, what is there left to do but man up and buy the place.

Wood, known for “dramatic” investigations, and consequently broadcasting them to the masses, is reported to be working on a documentary of the history of the house. And much like Zak Bagan’s recent purchase of the Demon House in Gary, Indiana, can we say…the rest is history!

The LiveSciFi ghost hunting team has the reputation for orchestrating “extreme” investigations…far beyond the realm of what paranormal television currently produces. Their outings have streamed on Yahoo, YouTube, Ustream, and

On Saturday February 15, 2014 LiveSciFi streamed via YouTube an investigation of the Welles House for 48 straight hours. Tim Wood was at the helm, with guest investigator John Zaffis waiting in the wings. Apparently a good time was had by all.

John Zaffis, the self proclaimed “godfather of the paranormal”, has a history with the spiritual element, being the nephew of Ed and Lorraine Warren and formerly having his own show The Haunted Collector on paranormal television. Zaffis’ opinions weigh heavily in the paranormal community. And that’s the rub.

After one visit to the house on 46 South Welles Street he adamantly proclaimed the rumors of the haunting true. He had that “heavy feeling” and quickly concluded, “There is definitely paranormal activity that transpires in this house.” Really John…one visit! A few hours spent that will sway the opinion of those that feverishly seek a good honest haunting. And based on what? A Ghost Box?

A Ghost Box is a device developed for the paranormal enthusiast with the belief that spirits can use this mush to communicate. It alters an AM/FM radio’s signal sweeping mechanism, and as it rapidly scans the channels produces an irritating mass jumble of gibberish and static white noise that only serves to bring about a pounding headache and a great desire to lash out and hurt someone.

Zaffis feels that during this Live SciFi investigation the Ghost Box instructed him to “Get Out!” I might agree. Listening to this annoying mess of noise I can pretty much imagine whatever I like…or am inclined to want to hear. It’s matrixing for the ears.

Roadtrippers Paranormal America states that some local Pennsylvania paranormal investigators say the tale is just a ruse. And according to Donald Shovlin of the Luzerne County-based Graveyard Paranormal—the story is pure “BS”.

“I grew up in that neighborhood, and as a teenager my best friend lived in that house and I had spent well over 100 nights sleeping over, and not once had anyone experienced anything paranormal…. I am sure that there is absolutely nothing haunted about this house. The whole story was concocted by a local disc jockey in the mid 1970s, though I haven’t a clue to his motivation. His revelation happened to come along during the hype of the first Amityville Horror movie.”

Roadtrippers concludes: “It doesn’t take a seasoned paranormal investigator to deduce that the new owner behind the local haunt (and former reality star promoting it) might just be less interested in capturing evidence [ghosts] than they are in snagging a development deal with a production company. Maybe it has more in common with the Amityville Horror, a prove hoax, than anyone realizes.”

Here we go again! If this were a prize fight, we would be hearing the bell ding for the next round.

Finally, Doubtful News writer Sharon Hill sums it up quite nicely:

“My personal opinion is that people like Zaffis and paranormal teams who take this very seriously never find a house that isn’t haunted by SOMETHING, because they attribute every anomaly to the paranormal. That’s not investigation, but confirmation of belief, something I call sham inquiry—it looks like inquiry but the answer is already determined, evidence is found to suit. That’s not how skeptical investigations work.

The paranormal is NOT assumed. Normal (but still interesting) explanations usually come to light. The odd part is that paranormal investigators often call the skeptical investigators ‘close-minded’ when we are the ones open to far more possibilities, not defaulting to a preferred (but worthless) explanation of ‘paranormal activity’. Many people want that to be the conclusion. If they want the best answer, the most helpful answer, then ‘ghosts’ isn’t it.

This is probably why no one wants the skeptical investigator around; they prefer to embrace the sensational story.”

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