On a tree-lined Park Slope street, unsuspecting pedestrians pass a location known for it’s dark, grim and morbid atmosphere. Frustration, desperation, and anguish are said to await those brave enough to enter.
In our prior pop-up paranormal investigation outside the perimeter of BAM we sought the spirit of Marian Anderson. Instead, our psychic found a spectral construction worker who dismissed us from the property.
Put-off in more than a paranormal way – we considered calling it quits, but a few months later we received an invitation that would see us deep inside the worn doors of BAM Harvey Theater.
As a team of paranormal investigators, we’re aware that we must keep an open mind and a willingness to experiment. When intriguing new opportunities arise, we embrace them.
We were recently invited back to one of our favorite local locations, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which you may recall from our Marian Anderson investigation earlier this year. This time, we investigated the BAM Harvey Theater, known colloquially as simply the “Harvey.”
Bam Harvey Theater. Photo Courtesy: BAM
For the uninitiated, the Harvey is a historic 1904 theater which once hosted avant-garde performances and classical music all the same, drawing a diverse audience made up of Brooklyn’s artistic community and intelligentsia.
The theater, at 651 Fulton St., was renovated (and renamed) in the 1980s, when renowned executive producer Harvey Lichtenstein hand-selected it as the venue for a nine-hour theater production. The original essence of the building remains, almost ruinous in its aesthetic; the crumbling brick and peeling paint stands at odds to the timeless theater-in-the-round seating area. This juxtaposition of past and present made the Harvey the obvious venue for a recent modern re-telling of the Henry James classic horror novella, The Turn of the Screw.
The premise of the 1898 novel is a classic Victorian ghost story from the Arthur Conan Doyle era, playing on the public’s fears at the time relating to death, mortality, and the beyond. The heroine is a governess of a vast estate, convinced that the home is haunted.
The 1961 film The Innocents revisited the concept for the post-war epoch, but Strange Window: The Turn of the Screw by The Builders Association is a devoutly modern retelling for a millennial audience, with its use of technological stagecraft to create the ghastly and macabre atmosphere that fans of the original novella will be familiar with.
In the original story, the governess was hired after one quick interview. Even as she senses spirits on the property, she vacillates between sharp certainty and disquieting doubt. At many points she feared she was going insane.
Jade, our psychic medium, is a female spiritualist who entered the scene with similar reservations about exploring the grounds. Recall that she sensed the spirit of a construction worker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when we last visited.
During our investigation, Jade and a coven member identified two areas of importance. Jade identified a spirit to stage-right, while our guest psychic identified spiritual energy to the stage-left.
Before we could choose a path, we were informed that a crawl-space existed underneath us. The 4′ high space was described as creepy and claustrophobic. Naturally we decided to make a bee-line to see it.
Opening with Psalm 91, also known as an “anti-demonic” psalm – Alex our resident tarot expert led an engaging prayer and asked for protection from spirits for the group. We open each investigation with a prayer, or ritual such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual.
Psalm 91 is a poem, composed by either Moses or David, that imparts a confidence in the safety provided by God to the reader. Some consider Psalm 91 to be a Messianic prophecy, particularly upon reading its second half.
Upon investigation of stage-left we discovered the ghost light. A ghost light is an electric light, usually near the stage that’s left on when the theater is unoccupied. While the ghost light was a source of energy, we did not find any spiritual energy attached to it.
After checking out the ghost light, the coven made their way for an impromptu visit to the stage-left balcony. Here we encountered an energized exchange with a possible spirit who intelligently responded to our questions.
For our final investigative stop, we ascended toward a spiral staircase to the stage-right balcony. Jade led the team like a psychic bloodhound to the location where she felt the spiritual energy was most dense.
In our wrap-up, I imagine we looked a bit odd and out of place but the Archives Manager Louie Fleck was altogether too pleased to share a bit of fun facts about the theater with us.
Louie also provided us with a truly immersive “behind the curtain” experience. He gave a riveting presentation that covered everything from the history of the theater to some of the most famous shows that have taken place on its majestic stage.
We are grateful for the opportunity to investigate the Harvey, which was coordinated by Vilina Phan of BAM. Vilina was well educated and astute in pointing our similarities between the characters, and our BKPS Detectives.
We look back now on the investigation, with some time having passed with slight discomfort. Perhaps some similarities between ourselves and the characters is too difficult to ignore.
Will our debut in paranormal performance art haunt us forever?
Paranormal Social is a monthly event where we mix business with pleasure.
Behind closed doors the team crafts award winning editorials, produces a TV show and livestream, administers new client intakes, and performs evidence review.
In addition to our creative endeavors, our email and voicemail inboxes are overflowing with requests for help from our fellow Brooklynites. Their tips and tales of supernatural experiences shouldn’t slip through the cracks.
This month we’re opening up the case-files, calling out the psychics and filling the taps. We’ll have readings, lessons, workshops and more.
Join the team officially, help us intake new clients, plan new events and much more.
6:50pm – Load in 7:00pm – Opening chats, (what are) clubs, new member sign-up, street team
7:15pm – Club sign-ups / club chat 7:40pm – Assignments
8:00pm – Intake interview with Connor 8:30pm – Intake with team member Amber
9:00pm – Evidence review from BAM, article review, planning
Spend an enchanting evening with our psychics and tarot readers in Bushwick. Psychic reader Jade, and tarot specialist Alex will be on-site providing unlimited psychic and tarot readings. In one-on-one sessions our readers Jade and Alex will work in unison to guide you through the spirit world. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with loves ones in spirit, and mind.
For those interested in healing; Fernanda will be on-hand providing the restorative and healing art of Reiki. Reiki practitioners utilize their hands and palms to manipulate their clients energy, which is said to provide therapeutic effects for the body, mind and soul.
This event is ideal for couples/partners, families, girls night out, and individuals seeking to heal from loss or those curious about their life path. Bring mom.
Arlene’s Grocery has been a lower east side institution since 1995 when the former bodega, and butcher shop were turned in to a venue. Since then, thousands of bands have played in the building; including notable performances by Lady Gaga and The Strokes. Charged performances by electric artists often leave a lasting impression.
While multiple sightings of ghosts have been reported by concert goers, we will be attempting to make contact specifically with Joey Ramone. Joey lived a few blocks from the venue, and is said to wander to the premises when a spectacular show is playing.
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.
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.