Colonial Williamsburg is known for having historic spooks and frights in the night, but local paranormal investigators are finding it difficult to gain access to such a rich location of ghoulish activity.
Ray Savino, creator of the nonprofit R.T.L. Paranormal which investigates locations with paranormal activity, said he has been trying to gain access to the buildings for a paranormal investigation for years.
And every time he hits a brick wall.
“The hardest part of getting into a location is getting the approval, anybody can show up on a property but I want to do it the legal way so there can be positive aspects for both parties,” he said.
Savino isn’t alone in this issue. Another paranormal investigative organization, Virginia Paranormal, has been denied access to any of the buildings, said Jeff Santos, the organization’s director.
Colonial Williamsburg hosts regular ghosts tours for guests which tell of the history and haunted background of the area, but Savino said there’s a huge loss in the learning because the tours don’t give a total experience inside the homes.
“Colonial Williamsburg’s historic sites are of value second only to our people,” said Joe Straw, spokesman for Colonial Williamsburg. “Each building and the items inside are painstakingly maintained by the foundation’s Collections, Conservation and Museums Division to preserve them while providing for daily guest access.”
Savino said he understands the need to protect the area but wants to find some way to build a partnership with Colonial Williamsburg.
“When you let people into the location, it’s a totally different educational experience,” he said. “And that could be something that brings in more people.”
Savino has experience from doing investigations at Langley Air Force Base, hosting interactive investigations that raise money for various charitable causes, he said.
As a nonprofit, Savino and the members of his team do not receive compensation from these events. Instead, they want to bring the paranormal insights to interested audiences and maybe raise money for the locations in the process.
And as a paranormal investigator for the past nine-plus years, he has acquired the equipment and experience to do just that.
Experience that doesn’t include Colonial Williamsburg.
“Requests for special site access are reviewed independently, with consideration of their support for our core educational mission, potential draws on foundation resources, and risks to sites and other items in our collections,” Straw said.
Savino has tried to gain access to the historic Wythe Building, the Kings Arms Tavern and other locations for a number of years but gave up eventually after continuously receiving rejections. Virginia Paranormal also received rejections for paranormal investigations in historic buildings.
Savino argues that paranormal investigations could help bring even more guests to a location that has struggled in the past few years. But it seems that there is a push against it from Colonial Williamsburg.
“People need to learn the history of where they live and the best way to do that is finding a way that interests them,” he said. “And that might mean bringing them in at night for the paranormal, not just the day.”