Recently, the episode "The Haunting of Mansfield Mansion" of SyFy's show "Paranormal Witness" focused on reported paranormal activity at the supervisor's house at Mansfield Training School (MTS) in Mansfield. Our article about Mansfield Training School became ground zero for the debate regarding the show and that particular episode after it aired.
In the comments for that article, the paranormal investigation group P.R.O.O.F. were at the center of controversy regarding their investigation of the house in question, as well as for the evidence that was gathered and what was presented on the show. The comments got a little chaotic and heated, so P.R.O.O.F. politely asked us if they could try to sort it out here and try to answer all the questions coming at them in one place, and in more detail than a comments section would allow.
For the record, Damned Connecticut is in no way affiliated with P.R.O.O.F., SyFy, Raw TV, the Moore family or anyone involved with this case. We've never met any of those parties, and have only come into contact with P.R.O.O.F. via e-mail. We also have never been out on a formal paranormal investigation at MTS (although we have visited the part of the former campus that now belongs to UConn). We just felt that since our readers were so interested in this subject, we should pursue this opportunity to learn more about what happened, both at MTS and with the production of the show.
In short, we have tried to give P.R.O.O.F. the best chance to explain their experiences since there were so many questions regarding the situation. P.R.O.O.F.'s founder Joseph Gallant took the time to answer our questions, and we have presented it all here.
After reading this, if you have more questions, please feel free to contact P.R.O.O.F. at their website. If you want to comment here—and of course, we always welcome that—we ask that you be respectful and refrain from personal attacks.
So how did PROOF get involved with the Mansfield Training School (MTS) and Mansfield Mansion?
In the early wintery months of 1994 the Moore family purchased what they initially thought would be a great starting point for their growing family. The historic seven bedroom colonial mansion which sat on ten acres of wooded land sold for an astonishing hundred thousand dollars. The Moore family pondered the question; why so cheap, could something have taken place in the home or on the property that perhaps could have decreased the selling price value? The county real estate agent informed the Moore family that there was very little information about the property’s history in their documents. Mrs. Moore and family decided to forget the past and move forward with the future, buying the historic home in late 1994.
In January of 2002, the Moore family began renovating the home’s interior, as it was out of date and ridged inside. Following two months into renovations, the Moore family began experiencing strange occurrences throughout their home. The homeowner and her two children expressed being woken up at all hours of the night due to night terrors, such violent and vivid dreams that prevented the family from sleeping for two or three days at a time. The more work that was done to the home’s interior, the more frequent and disturbing the night terrors became. The Moore family explains an incident wherein, they were awoken at 2:22am and witnessed what appeared to be a tall dark man standing at the foot of their bed than vanishing.
Out of pure fear the Moore family sought out answers to what, if anything is haunting their home. Mrs. Moore’s curiosity sent her digging through local newspapers to see if there was anything that would provide her with answers. After weeks of researching and coming up with nothing, Mrs. Moore came across an article, an article written five years before her purchase that explained everything. The article read that 1308 was the home of the superintendent of the Mansfield Training School, a hospital for the feeble minded and insane. Mrs. Moore read article after article that talked about the abuse of patients at the facility and from within her now-home. Mrs. Moore and family stopped the renovating and let things calm down for a while until a resolution could be devised.
Nearly four years had passed with very little incident. This was until December of 2008, when John Hevic, an electrician was phoned to 1308 Stafford Road, in order to fix the Moore family’s broken furnace. The electrician was in the basement for not more than 10 minutes before running out and taking off. Leaving all of his equipment behind, Mr. Hevic complains that he was pushed to the floor by something that couldn’t be seen or heard. Evidently, whatever was here is back, said Mrs. Moore. The house began to feel dreadful again and the activity became increasingly productive. Mrs. Moore states an incident where she was asleep and awoken by the feeling of someone holding her hand, followed by a deep growl in her right ear.
"This of course was the end of what I was willing to withstand. There is something evil here and there’s very little I can do to protect my family. Enough is enough," said Mrs. Moore. The Moore Family began their search for someone out there that could provide them with the protection and guidance they so desperately needed.
P.R.O.O.F was initially contacted by Amy Moore in early February of 2009. In our initial visit, P.R.O.O.F spent 48 hours on site, investigating the property. The interior and exterior of the home was covered from top to bottom. In addition to our full scaled investigations, we also spent a considerable amount of time and energy researching the background and history behind the Mansfield training school and hospital.
How did P.R.O.O.F get involved with Raw TV and how involved were you?
Following an exclusive radio interview with Paranormal-Underground concerning events recorded at the Mansfield residence, I [Joseph Gallant] received a telephone call from Mark Lewis, a producer with Raw TV, an independent film company based out of the U.K. Mr. Lewis informed me that Raw was in the preliminary stages of developing a reality TV series that would be focusing on the paranormal and the unexplained. Mr. Lewis was interested in learning more about the “Mansfield Haunting” and excited of the possibility of telling the Moore families story. I do want to mention however, that the phrase “Mansfield Mansion” was coined by the television network. P.R.O.O.F, the Moore family and the community refer to this house as the Greenlawn Mansion.
Following repeated phone conversations and back and forth emails, P.R.O.O.F founder myself [Joseph Gallant] and Amy Moore were cordially invited to Massachusetts wherein, we would be introduced to the filming crew and prepped for interviews. The filming was set to last no longer than two hours and would entail nothing but the discussion of accounts at the Greenlawn Home. During the interview process I [Joseph Gallant] was informed by the Line-Producer that I should throw a few tears out there for the dramatization effect as well as a few minor white lies, thus, providing viewers with a “good show” I declined the producers “acting” recommendations and preceded to tell my side of the story as it was, versus what the production company requested. With this being said, we feel that this could have played a significant role in why our piece was cut out of the episode.
Did you personally experience anything that you felt was odd?
Each and every P.R.O.O.F member who partook in the case had a personal experience. The house is extremely active. It would take forever to go through each individual experience but we’ll highlight some of the most significant occurrences.
On night one, while in the process of setting up our survallience feeds and pre-placing investigators in their posts, Amanda DeVivo radioed base and reported having seen an apparition or shadow person walking from the attic storage room into the unfinished bathroom. She explained that although this account took her by surprise she did not feel as though that the entity was that of a malevolent or diabolical nature. She stated that the entity simply was passing by and then vanished as if he were never there.
Ruben Velazquez our tech coordinator, recorded the image of the same apparition, described previously by Amanda, pacing from one room to another and in doing so, making his presence known by slamming the door behind him before vanishing. Velazquez and our lead investigator Patricia Fedorshak, were in the bird room, when they heard a women humming. Ruben and Pat stated in their reports that the humming was in harmony and sounded as if it traveled through the walls and within, a matter of minutes just stopped.
All of these experiences did not occur during our initial 48 hour investigation. We have been actively investigating the house since mid 2009 so we have been to the site on several different occasions with many different incidences.
Have you personally witnessed any demonic hauntings? How do you determine if a haunting is demonic or not?
Yes, P.R.O.O.F has conducted numerous in-home demonic hauntings with the Mansfield mansion falling forth on our list. I do, however, want to point out that during our preliminary investigations of the Greenlawn home, P.R.O.O.F did not consider the residence to fall within, the “diabolical-Category.” Upon conducting our investigations of the site, there were absolutely no configurative or confirming indications that what was haunting the Moore family was in fact demonic. The phrase Demonic (ancient Greek) refers to a non-human entity with whom carries a rash of symptomatic and malevolent characteristics, this term is also referred to as a diabolical spirit with prime intention of attaching to tragedy and causing grave havoc for its host or person(s) of interest. Generally when speaking in terms of a classic case of demonic haunting such characteristics as;
- increasingly strong odors often resembling sulfur or decaying caucus
- an overwhelming sense or feeling of dread and fear are present
- high EMF readings are present throughout the house with no mechanical explanation
- occupants of the residence often come down with sudden mysterious illnesses that seem to defy diagnosis or medical treatment
- occupants generally complain of being physically attacked and/or sexually stimulated/penetrated by unseen and violent forces
- nocturnal attacks and night terrors
These just mentioning a few are the classic symptomatic signs of their being a demonic presence in the dwelling, nevertheless as stated previously, in our initial investigative assumption of the haunting, none of the above had been experienced . This was of course until and following the banishing ritual and demonic attack.
How much liberty did “Paranormal Witness” take with the case as you investigated it?
“Paranormal Witness” was given testimonies of paranormal phenomena inside the Greenlawn home by the Moore family, their friends and P.R.O.O.F Paranormal. They took what was given to them and they simply ran with it. During filming, as stated above, I [Joseph Gallant] was asked to tell minor white lies and to act as sad and scared as possible. We can’t say for sure, if those requests were asked of the Moore family as well but our assumption is that they were.
Pretty much, what I’m trying to say is that “Paranormal Witness” is simply out for ratings and viewer reaction. We feel they took as much liberty as they could in making the show as dramatic and scary as possible. P.R.O.O.F does not believe all the re-enactment scenes to have been portrayed correctly.
Another thing P.R.O.O.F read was a “follow-up interview” with Casey Moore. (It’s a written interview on SyFy’s website.) It quotes her as saying “Supposedly one of the guys had a pentagram burned into his leg when he was in the basement.” That simply never happened. P.R.O.O.F believes Mrs. Moore to have never said that. Never once, in any of our meetings with the family, did the discussion of a pentagram ever come up as it’s something P.R.O.O.F doesn’t use. But, a body burn of a pentagram sounds pretty dramatic and entertaining, huh?
What kind of evidence did you have?
Upon signing the contract with Raw Television, we were advised that any and all evidence obtained at the Greenlawn home and during our investigation was under strict release. What this means is that our rights to material gathered at the Greenlawn home (i.e. photos, video, audio, written) was under the rights of the production company and we would have no access to its release. Nevertheless, the contract is no longer in effect, so with this being said P.R.O.O.F will be releasing everything in the next couple of weeks.
Why do you think SyFy didn't share the evidence that you gathered?
I am truthfully uncertain as to why exactly the SyFy network and Raw Television Productions excluded P.R.O.O.F’s involvement in the “Haunting of Mansfield Mansion”. Although I do have my assumptions, there isn’t enough space or time for me to validate suspicion or speculate on the networks poorly chosen production decisions. From what I have been told however, SyFy made the cut due to the vulgar nature of the E.V.P’s. As for the photos and video evidence, SyFy reported that their just simply was not enough time in the episode to add anything in addition to what testimony they had already collected. If the production company would have provided viewers with evidence, backing up the Moore’s testimony, I feel as though her story would have generated a better response and even more so, with validity to what claims she had presented.
There also seems to be a question of actual history versus what was portrayed on the show—MTS was definitely a facility used to treat the mentally challenged, but was there an actual murder in the superintendent’s house?
The Mansfield Training School and hospital was a secure residential institution for individuals with dual diagnoses “Mental Retardation and developmental disabilities”. The grounds were comprised of several different buildings or units that were “guided” in providing a stable environment with cognitive behavioral treatment for both children and adults of all ages.
In a provisions report provided by the state of CT and the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) the facility was under constant investigation for the excessive use and misuse of physical and chemical restraint and seclusion. This report also included provisions behind the hundreds of abuse and neglect allegations made against facility staff. There is not however, any such report or evidence thereof, that would suggest or implicate that a murder or “murder-cover-up” was committed at MTS or from within, the previous Superintendent's residence.
Now, when speaking in terms of what “paranormal Evidence was gathered throughout our initial investigations, there was mention via a franks-box session of a girl that represented herself as a murdered child from MTS. The girl whom identified herself as “Jessica” repeatedly broke through the static and omitted that she had been murdered while a patient at the former facility. There were several different entities that brought the subject of murder to discussion; nevertheless, paranormal evidence and criminal evidence are two entirely different spectrums.
Unfortunately at this time, there are very few things that I can say about the public’s assumption of murder at MTS, I can only comment on what information I do have which does not include the discussion of murder. Making false or unsubstantiated accusations of something as serious as accusing the State of Connecticut of murder or covering-up violent crimes is a serious liability for the person(s) delivering such information. In this case SyFy is the responsible party and P.R.O.O.F is working on recovering this issue and clearing MTS’s name.
Are you still in contact with the Moore family? Have you talked with them since the show aired, and if so, what was their take on it? Are they still having unusual experiences?
P.R.O.O.F remains in frequent contact with the Moore family and besides our quarterly re-evaluation of the Greenlawn home; we have maintained a respectable and personal friendship. Amy Moore has stated that she is disappointed in the outcome of the airing “The Haunting of Mansfield Mansion.” She complains that SyFy and the production company took her story out of context and turned it into a 3rd-rate horror flick verses a story of a family that simply wanted to be understood.
What do you say to those who claim that no one who lived in the house before the Moore family reported any sort of paranormal experiences?
I would say that these statements are incorrect.
Former resident Brett McNamara lived in the house from 1974 to 1985, when his father, Roger McNamara, was superintendent of Mansfield Training School . In a 2010 press meeting, Brett McNamara released this statement to a reporter for the Reminder News; “I remember growing up here. I felt a presence. I would close a door and find it open again, hear strange creaks and knocks. I had odd feelings, particularly when I was home alone. This was the original institution. Patients lived here, some died here. Maybe their spirits were trapped,” he said. Although Brett McNamara has recently denied having any sort of unexplained or paranormal experience in the Greenlawn home, the facts speak for themselves.
Please follow this link for the full article and for verification of its authenticity.
Again, Damned Connecticut wants to thank Joseph Gallant and P.R.O.O.F. for taking the time to answer these questions and hopefully clear up some of the issues resolving this situation.