On September 4th, 2020, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend an overnight paranormal investigation at the infamously haunted Wilson Castle in my home state of Vermont. So I wanted to take some time to write a blog about my experiences there, and also wanted to say a huge thank you to my friend Matt Waddell from Paranormal Buzz Radio (as well as the rest of the crew at AJ's Paranormal, DTM Photography, Paranormal After Life Investigations, Protectworth Mysterial Research, SIS Paranormal, and Spirit Trackers) for inviting me along!!!
Thank you Matt from Paranormal Buzz Radio and Shea from SIS Paranormal for taking these awesome pictures and allowing me to use them for this blog!!
Wilson Castle in Proctor, Vermont was built in the mid-1800's by a wealthy physician named John Johnson, and his wife, Sarah. Construction of the house and its surrounding 18 stables, carriage houses, farms, and other outbuildings took almost eight years and cost over $1.3 million (over $33 million in today's currency). The castle itself consists of 33 rooms, including an art gallery, servant's quarters, music room, pool room, and parlor, all of which are filled with a number of historic artifacts that are either original to the home, or were acquired by those who resided within its walls over the course of its macabre and fascinating history.
The Johnson family lived in the castle for just under a decade until 1874 when Sarah Johnson moved back to England (though some believe she died mysteriously), and John Johnson moved away shortly after due to being unable to afford the costs of living at the castle. Details about Sarah Johnson's disappearance as well as the disappearance of John Johnson are both heavily shrouded in mystery and conflicting stories, leading to many urban legends about their death and disappearance, as well as rumors of the castle allegedly being haunted. Throughout the course of our investigation, some of us believe we may have received some clues from the spirits residing at the castle as to what may have become of Sarah and John Johnson.
Arriving At the Castle
I arrived at Wilson Castle with my girlfriend, Kelli, a few minutes earlier than the rest of our group. We parked next to a car which belonged to a young man and woman who had just taken the tour. I was already getting excited, so I asked them how it was. The couple told us they hadn't experienced any paranormal activity while inside the castle, but it was creepy. As a first-time investigator and major skeptic I expected this to set the tone for the rest of the evening... however, there were some occurrences that happened later on in the night that I was unable to debunk or find a logical explanation for.
As we waited for the last few group members to arrive at the castle before beginning the official tour, our group began to make its way inside Wilson Castle one by one to do some exploring. Stepping through the doors to the castle was like stepping through a portal back in time, and one of the things I immediately noticed upon entering the main hallway was the large stained-glass window with the family's coat of arms emblazoned on it. To the left was the parlor room which our group would use as our main headquarters throughout the investigation, which ended up lasting until 8:00 a.m. the following morning. To the right lies a room which houses a number of relics and artifacts that were gifted to the Wilson family, including a chair from the Ming dynasty carved with ornate wooden dragons, and a tea set that was gifted to the family by Queen Mary of England.
Thank you Matt from Paranormal Buzz Radio for allowing me to use this awesome picture of the Parlor Room and chair for this blog!!
The next room we came to was the art gallery, which hosts a collection of artwork ranging from antique paintings, Greek statues, Chinese scrolls, and even paintings of the Wilson Castle itself commissioned by various artists in different artistic styles over a number of decades. The ceiling of the gallery also extends for three stories upward, which gives it a massive, cavernous feel. Then, two doors leading off the gallery soon led us to one of my favorite parts of the castle; the balcony, with its brick archways providing a breathtaking view of the fields and outbuildings below, and the vast ranges of the Green Mountains which lie just beyond them.
Thank you Matt from Paranormal Buzz Radio and Nicole from SIS Paranormal for taking these awesome pictures and allowing me to use them for this blog!!
After this we were all gathered together and given the official tour of the castle, which proved to be packed with interesting information about the building's history, as well as the artifacts inside. At this point we were all brought to the castle's 2nd Floor where most of the family bedrooms are located, as well as a large pool room located in the center which connects all the rooms on that floor.
Several of the bedrooms on this floor have ghost stories associated with them, such as one room that I referred to as "The Green Room," where a woman in mourning is allegedly seen wearing a black dress. Common practice during the Victorian era was for a widow to wear a mourning dress for at least two years after the death of her husband, so it's possible the woman seen wearing the dress died shortly after losing her husband or some other family member.
Another room on the 2nd Floor which is said to be haunted is known as "Sarah's Room," where Sarah Johnson once lived and died. This room is considered by many to be one of the castle's most haunted rooms, with many visitors reporting seeing the ghost of a woman believed to be Sarah Johnson reflected in a large mirror on the wall. Some visitors have even captured pictures of strange apparitions reflected in the mirror which were not visible at the time the photographs were taken, and many of these photographs are on display in Sarah's Room.
The servant's quarters was another interesting area where we ended up experiencing a lot of unexplained paranormal phenomena later that night, though the area only consists of three small bedrooms and a washroom.
Up until this point, I hadn't really felt any spooky vibes from Wilson Castle, however once we got to the 3rd Floor the building took on a much creepier and more menacing appearance. According to the guide who gave us the tour of the castle, the 3rd Floor was never finished by the Johnson family for unknown reasons. For this reason much of the 3rd Floor is unlit, with broken windows and peeling drywall which lend magnificently to its haunted aesthetic.
The 3rd Floor is also home to a number of unique and interesting artifacts, including the castle's collection of Halloween props, which scared the life out of me a few times later that night as I was wandering around upstairs in the pitch darkness with nothing but a flashlight.
One spooky story told is that the 3rd Floor is allegedly haunted by the spirit of a young child whose name, identity, and cause of death are unknown. During an EVP session later that night though, it seems we may have been able to speak to the young boy or girl, who may have revealed the disturbing cause of their death.
After sticking around for a few hours to answer our questions, the tour guides (all of whom are descendants of the Wilson family) left the castle at around 7:00 p.m., at which point we were given free reign over the building, and began to plan out our investigation. Once it began getting dark we started setting up some of the equipment such as cameras, voice recorders, and other more specialized gear such as full spectrum cameras, trigger objects, REM pods, laser grids, etc. As I said before, this was my first true paranormal investigation, so getting to see some of the gear and learn how to use it myself was such a cool and interesting experience!!
Then the fun began, and almost right from the start we began to experience a variety of strange paranormal phenomena. Even if these experiences weren't supernatural in origin they were still very strange, and hard for me to dismiss. I won't lie, it felt like something you'd expect to see on a television show about ghost hunting, which I was not expecting at all.
As soon as we started setting up the equipment in the room, my girlfriend and one of the other investigators in the room began to notice some type of movement near the doorways, which I myself didn't see. We began asking questions and started receiving what seemed like potentially intelligent responses almost immediately. First we began asking the child for their name, or how old they were, and the response we got was a voice seeming to reply, "I'm too young."
Too young for what? The next answer we received was both short and disturbing: "Rape." I immediately felt the energy in the room shift from excitement to discomfort as we began asking more questions... who raped you? What is your name? Do you know you're dead?
Check out this recording of the EVP, and let me know what you think in the comments below!!
Thank you Matt from Paranormal Buzz Radio and Donyell from DTM Photography for allowing me to use this amazing EVP recording for this blog!! Please also note that in order to share this clip, I had to upload it to Vimeo under my username, and I do not take credit for this video or recording.
This is when some of us think we may have captured some clues from the spirits living in the house as to what may have happened to John and Sarah Johnson, the castle's original owners. While asking if there was anyone in the room with us, we started to hear muffled voices coming through the speaker of the cellphone.
Very shortly after this, my girlfriend Kelli and one of the other investigators, Barbara, began to feel extremely dizzy and nauseous, and had to leave the room. As they left the room, I called out after them, "are you guys okay?" A voice on the speaker appeared to reply, saying "it's just us." I wondered if perhaps the spirits in the room with us had attempted to use our energy to manifest themselves, which could have caused our two group members to feel ill.
Jeff and myself decided to stay in the room and ask some questions to see if a spirit was indeed present with us. When asking why the spirit was stuck in the castle, we heard a voice appearing to say either "I lost Sarah," or "I love Sarah." We heard more voices coming through the speakers which appeared to say, "she doesn't love me." One voice came over the speaker saying, "I've killed," followed by the word "strangulation" or "suffocation," and then a frantic female voice which appeared to say, "he's too strong."
Over the next several minutes the words that came from the equipment we were using were both disturbing and unexpected; a series of slurs and swearwords, most of which were derogatory slang terms used for women. We heard a man appearing to yell the words "bitch," and "slut," and several others that were even worse which I won't bring myself to repeat here. But frankly, some of the language that came through during this session was very vulgar and unsettling.
Despite all this though, I never felt unwelcome or scared at all in Wilson Castle, except at one point when I stepped into The Green Room by myself. Immediately upon entering the room I felt a heaviness, as if being repelled by an unseen force. I had intended to walk to the window on the far side of the room to look out and around, because I hadn't been in that particular room yet since the investigation began. It was as if all my intuition was suddenly telling me I should leave... so I immediately did.
Time seemed to be flying by as our investigation commenced, and before I knew it, the sun had risen and it was time to head back home.
Departing the Castle
I'm not sure if it was the fact that I had only slept for about 90 minutes in the last 24 hours, but despite feeling as if the night had dragged on forever, I couldn't believe it was already over. Before going we took a few photographs with the other groups and said our goodbyes. Although I'm still a skeptic at heart, this experience definitely gave me something to think about, and a new perspective. I hope to do it again some day. Oh, and did you notice in the first picture on the left I'm holding an old brick from Wilson Castle, which I purchased as a souvenir for $5.00? Although I don't think the brick is haunted or cursed, there's definitely a lingering energy to it.
Thank you Jeff from AJ's Paranormal for taking these awesome pictures and allowing me to use them for this blog!!
So, what do you guys think about my first real, hands-on paranormal investigation? Would you visit Wilson Castle? Or even better, would you stay there overnight? Let me know in the comments below!!! And if you decide to take the tour of Wilson Castle, be sure to share your own stories in the comments as well!!
Brian Weaver is the founder and creator of GhostQuest.net, the internet’s largest database for haunted locations, urban legends, and folklore tales throughout the United States. He grew up in rural New Hampshire, where he attended college for Computer Science.