Paranormal investigator sets up house in haunted Smithfield home

Paranormal investigator sets up house in haunted Smithfield home

Buddy Thayer’s view in the basement of a Smithfield home where he will live for a year while conducting paranormal investigations to be posted on his nonprofit organization, Ocean State Paranormal’s, Facebook page.

SMITHFIELD – Eleven years into his paranormal investigations business, Smithfield resident Buddy Thayer is returning to his first case, committing to live for a year in what is said to be the haunted basement of a Smithfield home.

Out of respect for the homeowner’s privacy, Thayer is not disclosing the location of the home, saying only that it belongs to a relative.

As a paranormal investigator, Thayer said it is unheard of to take up residence inside a known haunted house. He said Ocean State Paranormal documented and photographed “some unique shadows” at this home in previous investigations.

He said he will live in a basement where he has often felt uneasy, experiencing paranormal activity for the next year. “A true investigation indeed,” he said.

In 2009, Thayer started the non-profit paranormal investigation team Ocean State Paranormal, beginning his first investigation at an old family home. Thayer, who is in nursing school, said he spent years of his life in the house and always felt safe, but that reality changed after an elderly family member died, and he said those left behind began to experience inexplicable things.

He hired a company to help explain his and his family’s experiences. The company confirmed a presence in the house, naming the recently deceased family member.

Thayer said apparitions who stay behind are often big characters, and are returning to places where they experienced happiness in life.

“My first aim is always to explain what’s happening. If I hear voices, I look around the house and outdoors to see if anyone was there talking. If the TV turns on, I look for a remote or a way it could happen,” he said.

Yet, some things simply don’t have an explanation.

The ghost hunters captured electronic voice phenomena, or EVP, cleansed the house, and in his words, “made me and my family feel like we were not going crazy.”

Now, back at the same home, Thayer said he will doing frequent investigations, including audio and visual readings, posting them to the company’s Facebook page.

Though he enjoys researching the history of old homes and businesses, for Thayer, the allure of paranormal investigations is giving property owners the peace of mind he felt he lost many years ago.

Ocean State Paranormal’s history goes back to when Thayer was working overnight in an group home for boys in Woonsocket. Though he heard rumors and heard odd things, paranormal activity did not happen directly to him until the night of Aug. 4, 2008. He said he will never forget that experience.

While cleaning dishes late at around 4:30 a.m., Thayer said he heard an alarm going off alerting him that a resident had left his bed. When he went to tell the youth to run to the bathroom and return to his room, he instead saw a dark, shadowy figure walking toward him with human features, including shoulders visible.

“It walked right up to me, then by me, then disappeared. I’ve never been so terrified in my life,” Thayer said.

After that night, the apparitions and other paranormal activity occurred almost nightly. The basement TV would turn on at full volume in the middle of the night with no one around. He’d hear footsteps coming down the corridor.

Boys in the group home shared tales of ghostly figures watching over them at night. Despite his fears, Thayer returned to work evening shifts because, he said, he felt responsible for the safety of those under his care.

“I kept thinking I was going crazy,” he said.

After months of torment, Thayer said he had enough and spoke to his supervisor.

“At this point, I thought I was losing my mind. I really did. I didn’t want to tell anyone what was happening, but I began to dread going into work,” he said.

His supervisor confirmed his suspicions, that the old building was known for its hauntings, and suggested he speak with a co-worker about the situation. His co-worker told him to speak to the ghosts as if they were anyone else, Thayer said.


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Thayer researched the home’s previous owners and visited the gravesite of the couple who originally built the home, to pay his respects.

His next shift, Thayer said, he acted on his colleague’s advice and spoke to an empty room with closed doors.

“I told them I loved their home. I said I would do my best to take care of it, but I am doing my job and needed them to leave me alone,” Thayer said.

And like that, the paranormal activity stopped.

It was an eye-opening experience, something Thayer said he felt compelled to pursue. He went on paranormal investigations and continued working the beat until he felt competent enough to begin his own investigations.

Since his start, Thayer has investigated 37 places in Rhode Island and nearby states. He’s explored the Georgiaville Mill, now the Homestead Mill, and other areas in Smithfield.

Still, he said he feels returning to this home may represent his most significant investigation yet.

“I am doing what most of us only ever talk about,” he said.