Ghost hunters fined for wilful damage

Last Saturday, we here at The New York Paranormal Society attended The Paranormal Roundtable at Snug Harbor in Staten Island, New York. The event was hosted by our friends at The Staten Island Paranormal Society, and was a great success, despite the horrible weather here in NYC. One of the topics raised at the roundtable was how difficult it can sometimes be to get permission to investigate a supposedly haunted location. Some  businesses embrace their haunted status, but many more want to steer clear of being associated with paranormal activity. Some people argued that for businesses, museums, and other tourist attractions, the “haunted” label would bring in a lot more revenue. But another point of view was that while it may bring in more revenue, it could also bring in troublemakers. This story in The Chronicle from Australia illustrates why businesses may not be too keen to be know for their ghosts.

ghostbusters, ghost hunters, new york paranormal society
Yeah, these guys caused a lot of damage, too. But c'mon, they had Bill freakin' Murray.

DAMAGING heritage listed buildings such as stately Harlaxton House can prove expensive as Toowoomba pair Phillip Wayne Laity and Nicole Louise Schade-Fahey found out.

The 25-year-olds had visited the historic residence on Munro Street on the evening of January 21 last year because Schade-Fahey had a keen interest in photography and wanted to photograph the under repair and rumoured to be haunted building, Toowoomba District Court heard.

Finding the building boarded up and blocked off to the public by security fencing, the pair went around the back of the building and forced open a window which caused the double oak window frame to collapse inside the building, Crown prosecutor Andrew Anderson said.

The repair bill for that alone was quoted at $6700, Mr Anderson told the court.

A neighbour who heard the commotion approached the pair, who walked off, and police were called.

Mr Anderson said Schade-Fahey and Laity realised later that night they were being sought for the incident and handed themselves into police.

Both pleaded guilty to wilful damage, their barrister Robbie Davies submitting that his clients had no way of foreseeing the value of damage caused.

Mr Anderson said the owners of Harlaxton House were at their “wits end” due to regular vandalising of the building they were trying to restore to its former glory.

Accepting that Schade-Fahey and Laity hadn’t intended to cause so much damage, Judge McGill ordered their convictions not be recorded.

Each defendant was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community service with Laity ordered to pay restitution of $2000 and Schade-Fahey $1000.

Of course stories like this are going to scare off business owners when asked if a paranormal team can conduct an investigation. These two “ghost hunters” (which seems to be the moniker given to anyone vandalizing a spooky location these days) were not acting in a professional manner, caused a lot of damage, and when they were caught, they walked off and didn’t even try to explain themselves. While they may not have intended to cause any damage, they did forcibly break their way into a location they had no permission being in. I’m glad they eventually turned themselves in, but as stories like this keep happening and garnering attention, those groups who are truly serious and respectful when investigating will continue to find it difficult to be granted permission to investigate haunted locations.

If you are in or near the NYC area and would like to attend the next Paranormal Roundtable, be sure to “Like” the pages of Snug Harbor, SIPS and NYPS on Facebook. The next roundtable event will be on February 25th, and details can be found in the links below:

NYPS Facebook Page

SIPS Facebook Page

Snug Harbor Facebook Page

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