BIDDEFORD — The Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse (FOWIL) hosted Ron Kolek’s team of ghost hunters for their first paranormal investigation on Wood Island in over 10 years on Friday, Sept. 1. The Team consisted of Ron Kolek Senior, head investigator, Ron Kolek Jr., Medium Lesley Marden, and EVP specialist Jim Stonier. Also with them were Ron Junior’s wife of one week, Beth Kolek and Jim’s wife Sue.

The team boarded the Friends of Wood Island’s custom front loading landing craft Light Runner at 11 am with all their electronic equipment. Joining them were about a dozen FOWIL volunteers and twp guests, one of which was Holly Burnham who was born in the late 1950’s during her father’s time as keeper at Wood Island Lighthouse. Her older sister Tammy was the subject of a dramatic 1960 rescue in which she almost drowned while being transported to the hospital for suspected appendicitis. The boat she was in capsized leaving the 2-year-old bobbing in the icy November waves while her rescuer, USCG seaman Ed Syvinski desperately clung to her.

Ron’s team first went through the house before the others arrived to get a feel for the energies in the keeper’s house, tower and grounds. They sensed male, female, juvenile and canine presences throughout the buildings. Among the things witnessed while they conducted their investigation was a pungent smokey smell. Jim took lots of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) readings in which questions were asked, followed by a time of silence to allow for a response. Those recordings will be analyzed with special equipment to see if there are any audible responses. The team also used a crystal pendulum in which the spirits were easily able to answer yes or no to questions with a circular motion for a yes, and a back and forth motion for no. One of the volunteers proved to be quite receptive and became a human pendulum with striking results. She was able to connect, not with spirits who normally inhabit the island, but with her early ancestors of the 1700s who she has researched and asked about by name.

A technique called Glass Swirling was also used, in which several of us lightly placed a finger on the lighted glass. After a moment before moving as if the spirit was learning the technique, the glass spun wildly on a table to answer questions about who was communicating. This also turned out to be another of this same volunteer’s ancestors. Leslie, the Medium gave out her impressions of the spirit she was feeling, which turned out to be a 7-year- old twin boy who had red hair and freckles. The volunteer blurted out the name Elias which she said just came to her in the moment and the glass went totally wild, confirming her identification. I had my finger on the glass and it was moving so fast, my finger, as did some of the others, kept slipping off. Leslie described one of the spirits she met and when I showed her the poster of all the keepers, she identified him as Keeper Nathaniel Varrell who served from 1853 – 1856.

Ron’s team stayed until just before dark and departed with the setting sun.

Ron will recap and present the results of his investigation on Tuesday Sept. 19 at the historic 1758 First Parish Meeting House at 7 Meeting House Road in Biddeford, just across from St. Andre’s Nursing Home on Route 9. The presentation starts at 6:30  p.m. and tickets are $20 per person. To be assured of a space to this limited seating event, tickets may be purchased ahead of time by going to the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse’s website at:

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