The following story appeared in the Kent Reporter on Jan. 15, 2003 and
being used with permission from the Kent Reporter, part of King County
Ghost hunters group asked to investigate
By MICHELLE GISI
Are there ghosts haunting the Greater Kent Historical Museum? Or are
just shadows and coincidences?
Perhaps you should be the judge.
Amateur Ghost Hunters of Seattle, Tacoma (AGHOST) is in the process of
investigating the museum on reports of otherworldly activity.
Jack Becvar, former executive director of the Greater Kent Historical
Society, and his wife, Mary Lou, have noticed some odd things over the
in the nearly century-old house where they volunteer.
³I believe there is something there because weıve had funny things
Mary Lou Becvar said. ³I donıt know what it is but I feel like
there is friendly.²
Examples of the unexplained include hearing the tinkling of bells when
werenıt any bells kept in the house. Shadows have been seen. Attic
mysteriously turn themselves on. Certain ³presences² have been felt.
After the city of Kent bought the house in 1996, the motion-detector
would frequently sound in the middle of the night. When one of the
drove to the house to investigate, an inside door was found to be flung
an impossible feat by the wind or drafts of air.
Mary Lou Becvar figured this was a way for a spirit to get attention
that it was, in effect, trying to call people over to the house. She
what she decided was a young, female spirit to please stop triggering
alarm after 8 p.m.
It never happened again.
³Of course Jack thought I wasnıt too bright but evidently it worked
(the ghost) didnıt call after that,² she said.
Mary Lou Becvar firmly believes that the ghost enjoys a house full of
visitors and gets cranky when the museum is empty.
³People can look at me and say, Youıre a little bit nuts about this,ı²
said. ³Yes but Iım happy.²
The city of Kent bought the house for $236,000, quite an increase over
$10,000 it cost to build in 1907-08.
The 15-room, 3,575-square-foot Colonial Revival house was built by Emil
Bereiter, owner of a lumber mill in Covington and later, Kent mayor. In
heyday, the house was a showplace of old-growth fir beams and woodwork,
ceilings and magnificent gardens.
Now that the house has become an historical showcase, news of the
events experienced by the Becvars reached AGHOST. The group decided to
investigate and has been to the museum three times in search of
the non-existence of spirits.
AGHOST investigators use special equipment to detect ghosts, such as a
portable electromagnetic field (EMF) sensor, a Geiger counter, an
thermometer and several cameras and videocameras.
Pictures were taken to catch ³orbs,² which are said to be circular,
objects that show up in photographs. Many people believe orbs are the
essence of spirits caught on film.
The ghost hunters also use a computer program called SPECTRE, or
paranormal energy computer tracking research equipment.² Connected to a
series of temperature, EMF, barometric pressure and movement sensors, a
computer records information and plots it out on a graph.
SPECTRE recorded activity when it was set up in the museumıs master
on the second floor, where on at least one visit psychics had indicated
felt a presence.
During the third visit late at night on Dec. 28, Charlotte Liggett, a
³sensitive,² or person who can sense paranormal happenings, was
with the houseıs master bedroom.
³That feels like a very heavy air in there to me,² she said during the
Another member of AGHOST, Ethan Richards, said he, too, felt strange in
room, and received a sense of ³foreboding² there.
In a small nursery room on the front side of the houseıs second story,
Liggett said she could feel the presence of a little girl who she
had been sick and died. She said she didnıt feel any sense of sadness
³Itıs like sheıs here and itıs OK,² she said.
Other psychics and sensitives, unknown to each other, have had similar
findings on different visits.
Also on the Dec. 28 visit, AGHOST founder Ross Allison captured on an
infrared camera a small speck of light shoot from right to left as
walked up the stairs to the second story, thought to be an orb.
He guessed that about one in 10 investigations resulted in evidence
could be used to support the idea of paranormal activity.
³A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time,² he said.
AGHOST members donıt claim to be able to prove the existence of ghosts,
even if ghosts exist. But they put their electronic and psychic
their Web site, www.theresaghost.com, for all to see. The Kent museumıs
information should soon be available on the site.
³Our basic job is to go into these places, do all the readings we can,
as much detail to what has happened in the past and present,² Allison
³We lay it all out on the table and we let you decide.²
Jack Becvar and new historical society president Jack Mergens are both
skeptical, though somewhat less so now.
³So many strange things have happened and I canıt explain them,² said
Becvar, who saw a mysterious shadow rush by him a few months ago in the
museum. ³Iım not a believer like those other folks, though.²
Mergens nodded in agreement.
³Many things are possible I donıt discount anything.²
Mary Lou Becvar could be considered a believer, she said, but leaves
explanation to AGHOST.
³Theyıre the experts, I guess, if anybodyıs an expert,² she said. ³Iıve
to admit it sure does add a lot of interest in the museum.²