The Paranormal Phenomena Research and Investigation team of Darryl Walsh and Elliott Van Dusen will chew the fat with Haligonians over their collection of curiosities and haunted artifacts this October.
Hauntings: Exploring Apparitions, Poltergeists and Demons will be an evening dinner lecture where the duo will present their paranormal findings to 36 guests at the Westin Nova Scotian.
“Darryl and I decided to reach out to some of the haunted venues in Halifax because it has a rich history,” he said, during a September phone conversation.
After the dinner, the duo will present guests with the tools of the trade, as well as present cursed objects, including a rocking chair, a portrait of a crying boy, a haunted painting and one very creepy monkey doll.
Each one has an intriguing backstory fit for discussion around a campfire.
“(Darryl’s) uncle was fighting over in World War II, and (the chair) rocked for three days. When the telegram arrived at the house to say that he was killed overseas, it mysteriously stopped rocking,” Van Dusen said.
As for the crying boy portrait, it is said that wherever it goes, the houses burn to the ground. It is suspected that the artist used a special fire retardant to seal his painting, which explains its survival. A fiery red painting was collected by Van Dusen from an artist who was going through an emotional period of her life when she composed the artwork. Every time the painting was hung, it would inexplicably fall. One time it flew off the wall and struck her husband.
“She wanted to get rid of it and she was asking people (on a Facebook page), should she burn it, destroy it and whatnot, and I popped on there and I said, ‘I’ve collected a few haunted objects, if you want to get rid of it safely, I’ll pay for the packaging, shipping,’” he recalled. “On her way to Staples, she almost got t-boned … She packages it all up, leaves it in her car overnight and somebody tried to break into her van.”
It now hangs in Van Dusen’s office, and “knock-on-wood,” nothing happen.
Finally, the last artifact is a haunted monkey that was collected from a gentleman in Missouri. It was the relic of an uncle’s estate, which the nephew had acquired. The monkey would be found in different parts of the nephew’s house and on full-moon nights it would be even more active.
“He said it freaked his girlfriend out so bad that they ended up having to lock it in a trunk,” Van Dusen said. “He was trying to get rid of it.”
Van Dusen constructed a cabinet, similar to the one Ed and Lorraine Warren used for Annabelle in their Connecticut museum.
When asked about his comfort with housing allegedly haunted items inside his own home, he assured they are under lock-and-key.
“A lot of people ask Sarah, my fiancée, how she can allow me to bring items like that into the house, but I always keep them in my office,” he said. “I haven’t had any issues, but there is always a risk.”
Van Dusen, a former RCMP corporal, is also preparing his follow-up to his second book, Supernatural Encounters: True Paranormal Accounts from Law Enforcement.
“After the first book came out, I had a few friends (contact me), but mostly people I didn’t know contact me,” he said. “Before I knew it, I had collected another 40 or 45 more stories.”