Gillett Area Historical Society - Gillett, Wisconsin
Brief history of building
The current Gillett Historical Society (aka: GAHS) building is a home built in 1908 by Walter & Ruth Smith, and was built upon the actual foundation of the first home that was built in the town of Gillett by Rodney & Mary Gillett. The Gilletts built the first home in 1868 and sold the home to Benjamin Goldberg, an attorney, and his wife in 1906. After much controversy and probable illegal activities, the Goldberg home burned to the ground in 1908 and was a total loss. There is much speculation that Benjamin Goldberg started the fire that destroyed his home to obtain insurance money and it is alleged that he buried many of the home’s belongings in the back yard prior to setting fire to the building. Benjamin Goldberg sold the lot to the Smith’s, who then rebuilt the Gillett home by using the original floor plans. From the day the Smith’s rebuilt the home a member of the Smith family has resided in or owned the building until 2006, when the home was sold to a non-family member. The young couple that bought the home lived in it for approximately two years before selling the home to the GAHS.
Wausau Paranormal Research Society (aka: WPRS) was invited to investigate the building by the GAHS Board after a request by Ms. Jane Bubolz, previous owner of the building from approximately 1994 to 2006. The initial investigation took place on May 1, 2010 and lasted into the early morning hours of May 2, 2010. Investigators present included Blaschka, Williams, Spialek, Johnson and Duginski.
WPRS arrived at the location at approximately 7:20 pm and was welcomed by Ms. Nancy Smith, GAHS member and granddaughter of Walter Smith, and Ms. Jane Bubolz, whose adult son, Andy (age 22), is a descendant of Walter Smith. Jane Bubolz and her family reported having many possible paranormal experiences in the home during the period of time in which they resided in the home. Just a few examples include hearing voices and or their names being called by unseen entities, being awoken in the middle of the night by an unseen entity resulting in the saving of infant Hannah’s life, radio volume being turned up by an unseen entity on a regular basis, and seeing a full-body apparition that is believed to have been Mary Gillett. This is just of small sampling of things that occurred while Jane’s family lived in the home, and there is a reported history of what many in the extended Smith family believe to be paranormal activities in the home. The building is also considered by many citizens of Gillett to be haunted.
Immediately upon arrival Nancy and Jane gave the investigators a tour of the grounds and the building, and Jane informed the group of many of the activities which she and her family were witness to while living in the home. During the tour the history of the building and its early inhabitants were discussed, and Jane’s children Andy and Hannah (age 15) arrived and were introduced to the investigators.
The actual investigation started shortly after 10 pm. Equipment used during the investigation included a digital video recorder with four infrared cameras, various digital cameras and digital voice recorders, one mini-tape recorder, motion detectors, radiation detector, Trifield electromagnetic field (EMF) meter, and an infrared thermal probe. The temperatures on the first floor of the building ranged from 62 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and on the second floor temperatures ranged from 66 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit, with no severe spikes or abnormalities. The EMF meter measured an average electromagnetic field of between .2 to .8, with spikes in areas where electrical outlets or wiring is imbedded in the walls. The radiation detector was used during a sweep of the building by investigators Johnson & Williams and no indication of abnormal radiation levels was found.
There was an unusual occurrence noted by investigator Spialek on the second floor, where the bedrooms are located, in that the EMF meter would register a considerably higher reading (2.0, while the surrounding walls were .3) on most of the wood doors and doorjambs on the second floor. After much investigation and consideration, investigators Spialek and Williams realized that the spikes were associated with electricity running through the chandelier that was located just inside the main entrance of the home. When this chandelier was turned off the EMF readings on the doors and doorjambs on the second floor fell from 2.0 to .3, the same as the surrounding walls.
Base of operations was set up in the kitchen of the building. The four infrared cameras were set up in the following locations: 1) Living room area facing into the dining room and library areas, where the full-body apparition had been seen by Jane Bubolz’s husband several years earlier. 2) Entry-way closet pointing up the main staircase to the second floor, where dark shadows had been seen moving up the stairs. 3) Inside the previous master bedroom. 4) In the second floor hallway, facing the doors of the children’s old bedrooms and the master bedroom. Additionally, motion detectors were placed in Andy and Hannah’s old bedrooms.
While Duginski monitored the infrared cameras set up in the kitchen, two EVP sessions occurred starting at approximately 10:20 pm. Johnson & Williams conducted an EVP session in the library of the building, while at the same time Blaschka, Spialek, and Andy Smith (prior resident of the home) conducted a separate EVP session in Andy’s old bedroom where possible paranormal activities had been noted in Andy’s childhood.
When not involved in EVP sessions, Jane Bubolz, her two children, and Nancy Smith sat with who ever was monitoring the infrared cameras in the kitchen throughout the night. Due to the configuration of the home with its two staircases at separate ends of the building, voices and noises traveled in a circular fashion and were problematic at times. Therefore, the remaining EVP sessions were conducted individually to avoid any possible audio contamination.
Next, Williams monitored the infrared cameras while Johnson & Duginski set up a mini-tape recorder and quietly observed in the basement of the building. A separate EVP session was conducted by Blaschka, Spialek, and Hannah Bubolz in Hannah’s old bedroom.
Finally, Blaschka monitored the infrared cameras while Johnson, Duginski, & Spialek conducted an EVP session in the master bedroom. With Blaschka in the kitchen area were Jane Bubolz, her two children, Nancy Smith, and Williams. Once this EVP session was completed, Williams, Jane Bubolz, Andy Smith, and Hannah Bubolz did a final walk-through of the home with a digital recorder. During this time Jane and her children attempted to communicate with any entity that may have remained in their prior home.
While no conclusive evidence was garnered during the investigation, it is noted that several intriguing incidences did occur which may or may not have been paranormal in nature.
For example, during the period of time that Andy was involved in the EVP session in his former bedroom his phone was in the kitchen and turned off. After the EVP session Andy noted a voice mail from a friend who questioned why Andy had called him. Andy hadn’t called him at the time in question, as he was in the EVP session and his phone was turned off and not in his possession. It should be noted that this particular friend had been in attendance during an unusual incident in the home while Andy was a teenager, after which this friend would no longer come into the home.
Again in Andy’s old bedroom, while Williams and Jane and her children were doing the final walk-through they accidentally set off the motion detector. Williams grabbed the detector fob that was hanging in the doorway and pushed the button several times to shut off the detector alarm. It ultimately took about six or seven attempts at pushing a button before the alarm would shut off.
A third time in Andy’s
old bedroom, per investigator Johnson: “As we began to
pick our equipment up I went up to the second floor to
begin retrieving cameras. While I went up one stairwell
Jane went up another. While we were at the top of our
respective staircases I heard the sound of one of our
motion sensors arming itself. One of our fobs was
downstairs in the equipment box, and the other I saw
still hanging on the loop for the lock to the door of
what used to be Andy's room. No one was near the fob up
stairs. I checked the motion sensor, accompanied by Jane
and it did not go off. I reset it, tested it, and it
went off. Blaschka later advised the batteries in the
motion sensors were new, and should not be the cause of
malfunction of the sensors.
I of course cannot say these occurrences were of a paranormal nature, but I believe they are note worthy.”
And, finally, just prior to departing the GAHS, with our van fully loaded with equipment and investigators, investigator Blaschka believed that he saw a small light in the window of Andy’s old bedroom. There were no longer any lights on inside the second floor of the building and the curtains and/or blinds in the window were closed. During this instance WPRS investigators questioned whether or not it would be useful to reenter the building and check the room again, but it ultimately was decided against reentering as it was the very early morning hours and the group did not want to delay our hosts from returning to their homes.
After studying the available audio, video, and digital images from the investigation only one anomaly was found. The EVP session conducted in Andy’s bedroom resulted in one strong EVP that, after careful consideration and checking for possible audio contamination, has been accepted as a possible entity contact.
During the EVP session Andy states, “If you’d please come forward and talk to us for a while we’d love to talk to you too.” To which there seems to be an audible reply several seconds later that sounds like “no” or possibly “go.” This EVP will be downloaded to the WPRS website for posterity.
WPRS investigators concur in the belief that the Gillett Area Historical Society has potential for paranormal activity and that further investigation is warranted. As of today’s date, a request to do a follow up investigation has been accepted by the GAHS Board, and WPRS is attempting to schedule the second investigation.
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*Any use or reproduction
of this documentation is prohibited without the sole
permission of Sharon Williams or the WPRS.