BKPS at the Indie Makers Market

BKPS at BIBA

With its rustic wooden interior and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, BIBA is one of Williamsburg’s best-kept secrets. Formerly a rubber factory, the vintage building has been repurposed as a beer hall with a luxurious outdoor patio bordering the East River Park. If you have yet to experience Williamsburg’s hottest new haunt, now is your chance.

Sunday, BIBA will host an unforgettable new event, the Indie Makers Market, a celebration of small independent businesses in the North Brooklyn community. Beginning with a boozy brunch and delectable food by Awkward Scone, the activities will run from noon to 7 PM and include a little something for everyone, from food tastings with star chefs to tarot readings.

Brooklyn Paranormal Society will be onsite, bringing the spooky vibe to the market with a psychic on-site. We’re thrilled to be on the roster of such an incredible event, and can’t wait to meet as many interesting Brooklyn residents as we can—living and dead.

We’re really excited to explore the old rubber factory and search for lingering spirits, ever since we learned that the location, 101 Kent Ave., has a seriously creepy history. Apparently, many years ago, a freemason named Harry Rybeck was reported to be saved from drowning by one Thomas Mooney, who developed a reputation as an infamous political activist bomber. Rybeck lived many years after his brush with death, surviving until 1998.

Mooney-tom-1910.jpg
Tom Mooney as a young socialist, 1910

Now, we aren’t saying his ghost is hanging around the BIBA beer hall, but it’s a possibility we’re definitely willing to consider. After learning about the hidden details of the Rybeck story, initially described in a local paper as an act of heroism, we’ve certainly got some questions. Was Rybeck’s drowning really accidental—or was it an initiation of sorts? A promotion into the higher echelons of Freemasonry?

We enjoy sharing our passion for local history with a creepy touch. We’ll be on hand to answer any questions and to sign prospective members up for free. What’s more, we’ll be taking guests on free ghost hunts while the event is ongoing.

If you’ve ever considered coming out to a paranormal event, you’ll get a taste of what we’re all about. A peer-led collective consisting primarily of millennials, we’re an openminded yet skeptical group with an appreciation for good food, good hops, and weird stuff. We hope you’ll join us for this free event.

Hunting the Lady of the Lake

The supernatural legend of the Lady of the Lake has compelled Long Island locals for over forty years, and a resurgence in the popularity of paranormal phenomena amongst millennials has only increased the amount of discussion surrounding Lake Ronkonkoma.  Let’s rewind for a moment and set the stage.

Lake Ronkonkoma is Long Island’s biggest freshwater body, known for its immense beauty and quiet tranquility. Located just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, it provides a welcome escape for the creative, the dreamer, and the introvert who finds the concrete jungle overwhelming.

Many New Yorkers appreciate the peaceful atmosphere the lake provides, and it has remained a hidden gem beloved by locals for many decades.

At the turn of the century, a quaint lakeside resort was built, attracting wealthy tourists and catching the attention of William Vanderbilt, who eventually built his own private road leading from the heart of Manhattan right the shores of Ronkonkoma.

Another group of people are fond of the lake, for quite a different reason. In the 1970s, Suffolk County ghost hunters, intrigued by the whisperings of their community about a ghost upon the lake, began pilgrimaging to the shores of Lake Ronkonkoma in the hopes of catching a glimpse of what was said to be a female apparition with siren-like qualities.

There have always been strange rumors circulating about this lake. Though it is fairly normal in appearance, many believe without a shadow of a doubt that there are dangerous whirlpools in its depths. Others are convinced it is attached to a series of labyrinthian underwater tunnels leading to a river in the state of Connecticut.

None of these beliefs have much scientific bearing, as far as we know. They are likely nothing more than local folklore, passed along from parents to their children as warnings to stay away from the murky depths. Nevertheless, they have contributed to a much more terrifying legend that refuses to go away: the Lady of the Lake.

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Searching BAM for the spirit of Marian Anderson

Howard Gilman Opera House in 1978, photo by Dinanda H. Nooney

BKPS met to investigate whether BAM could home the spirit of Marian Anderson.

Marian Anderson Stands In Front the Lincoln Memorial.
Marian Anderson pictured in-front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Born to blue-collar Philadelphians, Marian Anderson expressed talent in singing from a young age.

She began studying music independently in her teens and early twenties, after being turned away from the Philadelphia Music Academy. At the time, the institution upheld a whites-only policy.

Far from being deterred by racial prejudice and economic disadvantage, Marian gained notoriety as an opera singer and went on to tour Europe extensively in the 1920s.

Unlike their American counterparts, European audiences were seemingly more accepting of a black contralto, and Marian was beloved by her fans.

Back on American soil, Marian faced severe opposition from the white elite. She performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1938, but a year later, the tides turned.

During a historic turning point in the civil rights movement, Anderson was denied the opportunity to perform on Washington, DC’s prestigious Constitution Hall stage. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) who owned the hall and oversaw its performances were unwilling to offer non-segregated seating.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who served on the board, was unnerved by the blatant racism of her fellow Daughters and chose to resign out of respect for Marian. She went a step further and organized a special Easter Sunday performance for Marian at the Lincoln Memorial.

To a crowd of 75,000, Marian, raised a devout Baptist, performed a series of traditional hymns in her operatic style said to be full of “intrinsic beauty.”  Later, she expressed gratitude to her audience, stating, “I am just so overwhelmed today that I cannot express myself properly. You don’t know what you have done for me.”

While stories like Ms. Anderson’s may sound antiquated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

If perhaps she, like us, was disturbed by the racial divisions in modern-day America, and hoped to offer some positivity to the brokenhearted and the downcast. This was no small feat. I understood the gravity of what I was attempting.

With nothing but respect for the Anderson family, I decided to invite a small group of members to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Marian performed over a dozen times in the late 1930s. 

If she was, in fact, still lingering around Brooklyn, this seemed the most likely place to investigate.

Female psychics, and detectives set out to explore BAM for Marian Anderson’s spirit.

It was this knowledge that inspired my latest venture into the paranormal side of Brooklyn. I wondered if perhaps Marian Anderson’s spirit was still within reach.

The coven consisted of psychic-empath Cindy and psychic-medium Elaine, investigator Tina, and student-journalist Comice.

"Microphone" response during paranormal investigation aligns with Comice's desire to be heard.
“Microphone” EVP response to Comice’s presence. (Photo credit: Anthony Long)

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Spirits in the Studio

Spirits in the Studio: BKPS held a paranormal investigation at Douglass Recording, in Gowanus.

Housed in an old garage space in the Gowanus neighborhood, Douglass Recording opened after a half-decade of planning and development. Since opening, the studio has attracted stars such as Vanessa Carlton and Grace Mitchell.

Acting on a tip that indicated the studio was hosting a spiritual entity, BKPS reached out for comment. Chris Gilroy producer & house engineer at Douglass Recording stated “Ghosts can be felt in our walls…”.

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