Eerie sounds play. A camera shot pans across a bucolic field. The words “HELL HOUSE” flicker on the screen.
Seconds later, a gravel-voiced narrator intones gravely: “Today, in the historic towns of Seymour and Derby, the legions of dead beneath the land far outnumber the living. And local hauntings (pause for effect) have become legendary.”
One such legend — memorialized in a cancelled TV show whose opening segment is paraphrased above — apparently resulted in six people getting trespassing tickets this month at a Seymour home, according to a local paranormal group.
The incident occurred on Friday the 13th, of course.
Seymour Officer Corey Tomasella issued the six people tickets for trespassing after they were “observed on private property” on Buckingham Road, according to press releases at Seymour Police Department.
Further details about the incident are unknown. Messages left for police department spokesman Lt. Paul Satkowski Tuesday were not returned.
The Valley Indy left a message for one of the people ticketed for trespassing, but the call wasn’t returned.
Though exactly what brought those cited — five men and one woman, with ages ranging from 18 to 22, and all from out of town — to the property isn’t exactly clear, the vacant house has become an attractive nuisance thanks to the Internet, ghost hunter wannabes and a seven-year old basic cable television show.
The Facebook page for CT Old-School Paranormal implied on Sunday the six people cited were lured there by a spooky Friday the 13th segment on the popular “Chaz and AJ” show on WPLR during which a caller mentioned the house and its address.
The segment pumped new life into the “Hell House” legend.
A truly strange aspect of the legend — no one seems to remember it being haunted until a Discovery Channel show called “A Haunting” aired in 2005.
The show didn’t pinpoint the location of the property, but countless Internet postings claim the house in the photo above is the place.
The show tells the story of the Beckwith family, who bought a house in 1998 “for such a low price it seemed too good to be true.”
They move in, ghost stuff happens. You know the rest.
The episode, recorded and later uploaded onto YouTube, is embedded below. Article continues after the video.
NOTE: The house shown in the video is not the actual house, because that’s the way television ghost shows work.
Dan Rivera, a Seymour resident who founded CT Old-School Paranormal, didn’t want to discuss the property much Tuesday, saying any publicity would create “more chaos.”
What’s more, according to Rivera: the house isn’t even haunted!
“From past history, what happened there, I think it was pretty much done with from back then,” Rivera said, referring to the events portrayed in the Discovery Channel show. “I really don’t think there’s anything going on right now with it.”
He emphasized the difference between people who are just seeking a cheap thrill or scare and groups like his, which take investigating paranormal activity seriously.
Among other things, Rivera said that means not just showing up to a property and trying to see what’s there.
“If people want to go into a location, they have to seek permission first or they suffer the consequences,” he said.
Asked if he’s investigated the Buckingham Road property recently, Rivera wouldn’t say.
“That’s confidential between us and the owner,” he said. “Out of respect for our clients, we can’t give that information out.”
The house, which has been vacant for years, is owned by Taher Khan, who lives overseas.
It had been in foreclosure and Khan acquired it sight unseen in 2009 as part of a deal to buy two other foreclosed properties, according to Michael Katz, a New Jersey-based real estate agent representing Khan.
He is now trying to sell the property, Katz said Tuesday. It needs about $20,000 to $40,000 worth of work to fix it up, he estimated.
Asked if it’s haunted, Katz replied as any good Realtor would.
“If you want to buy a haunted house, it’s a haunted house,” he said. “And if you don’t want to buy a haunted house, then it’s not haunted.”
Other sources came down on the side of “not haunted” Tuesday.
Dan Rodriguez, who owns a nearby property that straddles the Seymour/Derby line, said he doubts there’s anything to the ghost stories.
He said every three or four months he sees or hears activity in or around the house — and then finds fast food wrappers and other garbage lying near his driveway.
“It’s kids screwing around,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think there’s anything supernatural there.”
Though Rodriguez doesn’t believe the house is haunted, he’s concerned people poking around up there might get more than they bargain for — and not just in the form of a trespassing ticket.
“I don’t know if it’s that safe,” he said. “There’s got to be animals. It should be registered on the blight list.”
Rick Dunne, a long-time Derby resident who lives about a mile away from the house where the trespassers were caught, said nothing horrific ever happened at the property.
“I think I would have remembered,” Dunne said.
He wanted to buy the house about 12 years ago, but his wife vetoed the idea. And no, her veto had nothing to do with scenes from “Evil Dead 2.”
Dunne said no one ever talked about the property home being haunted until the Discovery Channel aired their version of the Seymour-Derby ghost story.
“Now all the kids point to house and say it’s haunted,” Dunne said.
Eugene Driscoll contributed to this report.