Black Beard Plank House Investigation

Location: Marcus Hook, PA

Date: Saturday August 13, 2005

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous

Solar Weather: Unknown

Investigators present: Hillary M., Paul M., and John M.

Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, four Sony digital video cameras with Nightshot and IR extenders, Extech EMF meter, Olympus DS-1 Digital Voice Recorder, Extech IR thermometer, Kodak digital camera, Panasonic digital voice recorder, 2 remote sensor 35mm cameras, Canon PowerShot S2IS digital camera.

History: This house is on the historical record as Blackbeard's mistress' house. It has been in the owner's family for many years, and was purchased as a private residence. Upon beginning renovations, several historic artifacts were found. The house is now the site of an ongoing archaeological dig, and the owner hopes to eventually turn it into a museum. It is believed to have been built in the 1600s. It is also believed that there are tunnels beneath the house; one going to the river, and one going to the nearby historic church. These tunnels were used in the slave trade, to bring slaves into the country.

Further information can be found at

Ghostly history: The current owner's aunt used to live in this house. She would often sit in front of the living room window and watch the neighborhood. Several times, she felt a male presence walk up behind her and tap her on the shoulder. She would call her son saying "That man's here again…please come over and get rid of him!"
  The current owner once came into the house at night. Even though it was hot and humid outside, the living room was like an icebox. He could see his breath in the air. There were no air conditioners or fans in the house. He has not gone back at night since.
  The owner has also received calls from the local police at about 3:00 a.m. The police see a light in the living room window, and want to know if Michael left any lights on inside. Upon further inspection, no lights are found on. This has happened several times.

Investigation: We arrived at the Blackbeard Plank House at 11:00. We immediately began taking pictures of the outside of the house, and control pictures, EMF readings, and temperature readings inside the house. We also drew a map of each floor. The house consists of a main floor with a living room, kitchen, bath room, and two bedrooms which are now used for storage and archiving of artifacts. There is a small basement under the living room, and a single room second story, also directly over the living room.
  The average temperature on the main floor was 85 degrees; 90 degrees in the second floor room, and 69 degrees in the basement. EMF spikes of 3.5 and 8.7 were recorded in the living room near the ceiling over the card table. EMF spikes of 2.2 and 6.7 were also recorded in the middle of the room. Background readings were all below 1.0. We were unable to trace the spikes. No EMF fluctuations were recorded in the artifact room (bedroom), but we recorded a spike of 2.2 in the middle of the storage room (also a bedroom). John also felt a draft in this room as soon as he walked in, which quickly dissipated. We also recorded an EMF spike of 2.3 in the doorway between the living room and kitchen.
  No EMF fluctuations were recorded in the basement or second floor. John did get a feeling that there was activity on the second floor. When Paul was down in the basement taking control pictures, he thought he heard voices.
  After we completed the background readings and measurements, we decided to set up three video cameras-one on each floor. I took the old, unviewed tape out of my camera and tried to put a new one in, but the camera would not take the new tape. I tried several times, even walking across the street to try it. It wouldn't even take the old tape that I had just taken out. Every time I would close the lid on the tape slot, it would immediately eject it. After we all tried to put the tape in to no avail, we gave up, and I tried to change the tape in John's video camera. Unfortunately, we were unable to even get the old tape out of his camera. We gave up on both cameras and set up both of John's other cameras…one upstairs and one in the basement. When John was setting up his camera in the basement, he heard whistling down there the entire time. At the time, he thought it was Paul and I upstairs, but he learned later that it was not.
  At 12:30 a.m., we spread out on the main floor for an EVP session: I was in the living room, John was in the kitchen, and Paul was in the hallway between the two bedrooms. A 35mm motion camera was placed in the living room by the front door. About one minute into the session, my camera batteries, which I had just replaced before starting the session, died. Five minutes later, I thought I saw movement by the stairwell, but Paul and John did not see it. At 12:50, we went outside for a break, but left the recorder running in the living room. Upon reviewing this audio, we heard several loud noises very close to the recorder.
  At 1:10 a.m., we moved the video camera that was upstairs down to the living room, and we went upstairs for a recording session. Two minutes into the session I got a picture of a moving orb in the opposite corner of the room (between John and Paul). About two minutes later, I got a stationary orb in the same corner. John also got a picture of this orb at this time, from a different vantage point. Immediately after, we noticed that the video camera in the living room had shut off (the light from the camera could be seen through the floor grate). We figured that the battery had run out. We ended this session at 1:20. We did obtain a possible EVP during this recording session.
  When we came back into the living room, we immediately checked the batteries on the video camera. There was still 41 minutes left on the battery, and the camcorder worked fine when we checked it. We are still unable to determine why the camera shut off by itself.
  At 1:45, we set up video cameras in the living room and second floor, then moved down into the basement for a recording session. No evidence was collected during this session except for a single stationary orb picture. However, about 8 minutes into the session, John did feel something tug on his shirt twice, about 30 seconds apart.
  At 2:23 a.m., we set up a video camera in each of the two bedrooms on the main floor, with the doors closed. We then spread out on the first floor for a recording session. I sat in front of the window in the living room looking out toward the street, hoping to recreate the series of events that was experienced by a former owner of the house (in which a man would walk up behind her and tap her on the shoulder). Paul sat in the kitchen, and John sat in the small hallway between the two bedrooms. Seven minutes into the recording session, John heard a noise, like something being moved, inside the bedroom to his left. Two minutes later, John and I both heard a noise coming from Paul's direction, like something being dropped on the floor, but Paul did not hear it. At 2:38, John began to feel a draft coming from the bedroom on his right (the door was closed) and felt pressure on his head, neck, and chest. I took several pictures of John, but obtained no photographic evidence of anything around him. John then asked Paul to switch places with him, to see if he felt the draft and pressure, but Paul did not feel anything. Six minutes later, after I asked "Are you in favor of the revolution?" we heard a loud shuffling noise behind John.
  We stopped recording at 3:00 a.m. and ended the investigation. As we were packing up our equipment, I tried my video camera one last time. Now, it easily allowed me to put tapes in and take them out. It even recorded and played back without any problems.

Conclusions: Unfortunately, we did not obtain much for photographic evidence within this house. We did obtain a few EVPs though. What I find to be the most curious about this investigation is the problems that we experienced with the video equipment, which would not work at the beginning of the investigation, but worked easily once the investigation ended. We have experienced no problems with this equipment since that night. It also seems like something may have been trying to communicate with John during the investigation.
  At this time, I believe that our results are largely inconclusive. The PRSNA does hope to investigate this site several more times in the coming year.

Special thanks to owners Michael and Pat for allowing us to investigate the house.