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'Ghost Hunters' Returns To Mark Twain House

Roger Catlin

June 14, 2010

Hartford's historic Nook Farm has become a hotbed of paranormal activity of late, at least as it involves national TV shows.

Just months after "Ghost Hunters" visited both the Mark Twain Home and Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the producers have lugged the detecting equipment and flashlights back to the onetime home of Samuel Clemens just so a new group of ghost-hunting hopefuls can see if they can turn up some paranormal evidence as well.

The spinoff show "Ghost Hunters Academy" visits the Mark Twain House on a new episode Wednesday on the Syfy Network.

The investigation and training exercise is led by Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango of the Rhode Island-based TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) and occurred in March for the show's second season.

The new season is different from the last in that one of the would-be paranoral investigators is sent home after each investigation, reality-show style, if he or she doesn't make the grade. One of the main two original "Ghost Hunters," Jason Hawes, is on hand for each week's dramatic dismissal. At the end of the season, one of the cadets will graduate to join the main show, "Ghost Hunters," which just this week waas renewed for a new season.

After years of shunning requests from ghost hunters, the historic Twain home has been most welcoming recently, seeing that the show brings nationwide attention to the attraction and new audiences, even if they may be interested in more than where Twain wrote "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

As such, the Twain house is starting a summer run of its popular "Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours," a specially spookified tour of the mansion at night. Previous runs of the ghost hours, in which staffers recount their possible encounters with the unexplained, have been sellouts. So now a new lineup of tours is set for June 25, July 30, Aug. 11 to 13 and Aug. 27. Tours are at 7, 7:45, 8:30 and 9:15 p.m. Admission is $18, $15 for members. Children under 16 pay $13; the tour is not recommended for children under 10. Reservations are required and can be made at 860-280-3130.

The Wednesday-night premiere of the Twain episode will be celebrated at a premiere party at Woody's Hot Dog & Fish Tank, 915 Main St., in downtown Hartford (itself the subject of a reality show visit this year from "Man vs. Food"). The event is free.

The episode follows another ghostly milestone for the Twain house: The Connecticut-based Smoking Gun Research Agency on Saturday revealed the finding of its own trek into the home at a conference in Milford Saturday. Its conclusion: The house is "energetically active, meaning there were spots of detectable anomalies."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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