Friday, May 21, 2010


            - Donna DiPietro

This is one of the strangest cases that I have ever been asked to help with. The setting is a Catholic Church property that includes three separate buildings – the church, the rectory and the school. The property was sold by the Boston Archdiocese to a developer who turned the buildings into well appointed condominiums. The renovations kept intact the elegance of the original high ceilings, large windows and doors, mahogany woodwork and staircases.

I arrived home from work one evening in October 2009 and noticed my kitchen phone light blinking, signaling that someone had left a message. It was a cryptic message from Linda, a real estate agent, who said she needed my help and to call her as soon as possible. I tossed my coat and purse on the kitchen table and dialed her number. She answered right away and was speaking so fast to try to tell me everything that she didn’t seem to be able to catch her breath. The bits and pieces of what she was saying came together like a jig saw puzzle and I could see the dilemma that had been unfolding for many months. She said she recently called the Archdiocese asking for their help and was put through to an answering machine where she did leave a message but no one called her back. I asked her if she mentioned in the message what the problem was, and she said she didn’t. She really needed to speak to a person not an answering machine.

Linda related that Nancy, an owner of one of the condominiums, was experiencing unusual activity in the rectory building where she lives. Nancy said she heard walking in the reception hall many times at night since she moved in, and that it happened between eight o’clock in the evening and four o’clock in the morning. She was one of the first residents to live there and she knew that the few other people who had moved in would not be walking around throughout the night in the reception hall. One night, about three months earlier, she was in bed, just dozing off, when she heard walking, and then the sound of an old fashioned buzzer. She woke up and heard a woman’s voice say “Do you know that it’s ten o’clock in the evening?” Nancy wondered who could be speaking through the intercom. She got out of bed, put on her robe, and opened the door to her second floor condo. This led to the reception area and she walked down the stairs, went to the front glass double doors and looked outside. There was no one there, so she turned around to go back upstairs. When she turned around, she was startled by the appearance of a woman with long dark hair, wearing an old fashioned dress, standing at the bottom of the stairs. The apparition disappeared and Nancy rushed upstairs, ran inside her condo, shut and locked the door. Three weeks later, in the early hours of Sunday morning, Nancy was again awakened by the sound of the old fashioned buzzer. This time the woman’s voice said “What are you doing at 2:30 in the morning?” The next day, Nancy was having a dinner party and was sitting in the living room with some of her guests. While she was talking about what had happened early that morning, she and one of the guests saw a woman dressed in a nun’s habit, walk through a closed closet door into the kitchen then disappear.

Later that week, Linda was told of an earlier incident that happened in the church building. A workman was alone in the steeple standing on a ladder. A piece of molding dropped from the ceiling and he went down the ladder to pick it up. After picking up the molding, he stood up to go back up the ladder, and there was a bearded man with a golden aura standing in front of him. The workman was so frightened, he dropped the molding and ran out of the church. He told the developer what he saw and the developer didn’t believe him. The workman is a quiet young man who would be one of the last people you would suspect to make up such a story.

Around the same time, Linda received an e-mail, with attached photos, from another real estate agent, describing what happened when she was showing a prospective buyer the property. The buyer took pictures of some of the rooms in the rectory and inside the church. When he loaded the pictures onto his computer, he was surprised to see a bearded man looking through a window in three of the photos. One photo was in the church building, on the floor below the steeple. The second photo was the man looking into Nancy’s bedroom window, and the third photo was the man looking into a window in a different condominium. The prospective buyer didn’t notice the man until he loaded the pictures from his camera onto his computer. He then noticed that he could see the man when he looked at the pictures on the camera. It is impossible for anyone to stand outside any of the three windows since they are all on a high level with no porch, balcony nor anything to stand on outside the windows. The prospective buyer e-mailed the photos to his agent, and the agent forwarded them to Linda, and Linda forwarded them to me. The man looking through the windows has a kind face, chin length dark wavy hair and a dark beard. His features are very detailed.

Linda asked me if I would meet her and the condo owner Nancy at the property some evening at ten o’clock, since the sound of walking happens at night. The following Sunday, my husband and I drove to the church, parked in the rectory parking lot and waited for Linda and her husband to arrive. About ten minutes later, we saw the headlights of a car pulling in and I called Linda from my cell phone to confirm it was her. The weather was unusual for October, with large snowflakes falling most of the day and melting as they hit the ground. The four of us got out of our cars, went to the rectory and Nancy buzzed us inside. As we walked into the building past the double glass doors, I felt that I had walked back in time. Hanging on the walls of the lobby were black and white photos of long dead priests, nuns and students. There was a silence and stillness in the air, and I felt that we were being watched.

We arrived at the second floor, walked down the corridor to Nancy’s door and knocked gently. Nancy was anxiously awaiting our arrival and welcomed us inside. The new and upscale were contained within the walls of long ago. I brought a steno pad to take notes and a tape recorder. As we followed Nancy through the rooms, she told us what she had been experiencing for many months and it was determined that the paranormal activity began when renovations on the church building itself started. Nancy told us that recently the footsteps were heard inside her condo at night. She would be in bed and hear someone walking down the hall outside her bedroom and the sound would always stop at her bedroom door that she kept closed at night. Her cat, Napoleon, slept on Nancy’s bed and he would sit up and be alert to the sounds of the footsteps and he would look at something that you could not see.

Nancy has psychic abilities and wasn’t frightened by what was going on, but she felt uneasy. I went to the closet door that the nun was seen walking through and I envisioned what it looked like many years before – and I asked if it was a hall before it was a closet. Linda told me that originally it was a hall that you walked through to go to a bathroom. That bathroom area was now part of the kitchen. I opened the closet door and looked inside and there was a large temperature control unit that filled up most of the space. The unit was off. I closed the closet door, placed my hand on it and concentrated. The rest of the group was quietly standing nearby watching me, and after a few moments the room became ice cold. It was so cold that you could see your breath. I spoke to the spirits who were earthbound and told them they should go to the light and pass through. I felt two souls pass over and the coldness went away and the room’s temperature was back to normal. One soul passed over quickly but the other was hesitant and felt she had to stay.  I told her that her loved ones were waiting for her on the other side and I guided her over. I felt her emotions to hold on to her past. I told her that the building was no longer part of a church and explained what condominiums are, that they are similar to apartments, and that people buy them. I felt that the first spirit who had passed over was now waiting to help this reluctant spirit through the light. Finally they were both on the other side and everything was calm again.

Linda started telling Nancy about the bearded man with the golden aura that the workman saw in the steeple. Nancy hadn’t heard about it and related something unusual she had seen on a few occasions early in the morning. She gets up around five o’clock each morning, makes her coffee and brings a cup to the living room window and looks out onto the quiet darkened street. Her living room faces the steeple and she has seen a glowing figure of a man walking past the windows on the floor directly below the steeple. We found out that other neighbors have also seen the glowing man early in the morning walking past the church windows.

Things were quiet for many months after that night. No more walking, no more buzzers, no more voices. Even the cat slept in comfort and was not awakened by something you could not see. But then more stories started to filter in about other tenants having paranormal activity. There are other earthbound souls there and they are hesitant to leave because they feel a connection to the property. It was a comforting place for many, and perhaps not for others. It was their school, their church, a place for family gatherings, for special occasions – a connection that is difficult to take from them. They need to be comforted on this side so they can be guided to pass over and find peace. There are many places like this all over the world and some have fallen to ruin and others, like this church property, have found a new life.


  1. Dear Donna,
    This is an amazing story and I'm glad that you're sharing it with the public. I have heard of similar cases regarding churches. It's good that you helped.

  2. Hi Donna,
    Thanks for the great story. I really enjoyed it but I admit it is scary - especially the part when the ghost of the lady was standing at the bottom of the stairs. I printed it out and read it to my friends at lunch. We all loved it. Now you have more blog readers.

  3. Dear Donna,
    This is the best ghost story I've ever read or seen - and the best part is that it is true. You sure have a very interesting hobby.

  4. Hi Donna,
    I love your stories and how you bring the readers right into the action. Can't wait for more.

  5. Hi Donna,
    Thank you for sharing that very interesting
    story. Once again you are able to bring the
    reader right into the story. Jean

  6. Hi Donna,
    Thanks for the great descriptive account of this very fascinating psychic case. It would make a great movie.
    Tim (a fan)