Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fairfield shop has lively ghost

Shown here: "Lori Higgins, owner of Jack & Jill Hair Fashions & Gnarly Nails, in the basement of her Main Street business in Fairfield on Thursday. Higgins and other employees have seen unexplained movement and heard noises throughout the building." Photo by David Leaming, Morning Sentinel, 2006.

From one of last week's issues of the Kennebec Journal comes an interesting tale of ghosthunting:
Fairfield shop impresses Gardiner ghost hunters

FAIRFIELD -- Ghost hunters think there is indeed something funny going on at Lori Higgins' Jack & Jill Hair Fashions on Main Street.
While exploring the building, at the invitation of its owner, founders of the Maine Ghost Hunters Society say they found what they call "an extensive amount of evidence indicating high amounts of paranormal activity."

Digital photos exhibited by South Gardiner ghost hunters Julie Velez and Robin Coleman show what they call "orbs" floating in a room. They claim that digital-sound recordings taken from the salon, and posted on the group's Web site (scroll about halfway down the page), capture an unearthly voice asking for help.
Unexplained activity began occurring at the 150 Main St. location in August 2004, Higgins said, when she began remodeling the store front in the brick Masonic building.
After seeing a 2006 Morning Sentinel article online about Higgins' claims, Velez and Colman contacted Higgins for permission to poke around. (See below for 2006 article)

The Society, currently with seven members, was founded last year. The group has posted its adventures in what they call haunted homes in Gardiner and in Monmouth, as well as the Fairfield location.

Society members said they used "electromagnetic field detectors" to reveal the presence of an entity perhaps trying to materialize for them. They also said they detected unexplained noises, movements and temperature drops.

As for the 1791 date, Mark McPheters of the Fairfield Historical Society said the brick structure where Jack & Jill is located on the ground floor -- the Masonic Building -- was constructed circa 1900.

"Before that, there were wooden stores side-by-side from when the town was built," McPheters said. "Fairfield was founded in 1788. Buildings were put along the street, shoe stores, harnesses and a hardware store at the corner, whatever people needed."
Read full article here: [Source]

Here is the 2006 Morning Sentinel article that made the Maine Ghost Hunters Society interested in exploring Jack & Jill Hair Fashions:
Ghost thinks flying objects in the spirit of things
Friday, September 01, 2006
By DOUG HARLOW, Staff Writer, Copyright © 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

FAIRFIELD -- As far as anyone knows, this ghost does not go bump in the night -- it goes bump in broad daylight and has been known to toss a spoon and a beach ball across the room.

The specter at 150 Main St. even showed himself once to a little boy who was playing while his mother got her hair done.

Lori Higgins, owner of Jack & Jill Hair Fashions and Gnarly Nails on Main Street where the unexplained activity has been occurring, even has a name for it.

"We named him Harold," Higgins said. "I don't know why, it's just Harold."

Higgins said most of the creepy stuff began around August 2004, when she remodeled the store.

Loud, head-turning squeals, moving furniture and unintelligible mutterings since have become a frequent happening at the salon, not just for her, she said, but for her employees and customers alike.

"If this wasn't anybody but myself just experiencing this stuff, I probably would have gone, 'Well, who's going to believe me,'" Higgins said from the back room of the beauty parlor where most of the sounds and sights have been happening. "But it's not just myself, it's clients, it's past workers, present workers."

She said the loud sounds include the dragging of a chair across the floor, but nothing is moving and nothing is seen. There are sounds of someone banging their feet in the basement or on the stairs, but again, nothing is seen, Higgins said.

On another occasion, she and a another woman were sitting at the break table in the back room, when the darndest thing happened.

"We were sitting there finishing up lunch when a spoon just up and -- whoop -- flew right to the wall right there," Higgins said. "She saw it, she actually saw it, so ..."

Other happenings include low, unintelligible whispering, she said.

"You can hear garbled whispers sometimes, that happens from time to time," she said. "We can't tell what he's saying, it's jumbley. It's garbled. You can't tell."

Higgins said there also are cold breezes that sneak up on employees and customers, even in the summertime.

On another occasion, Lui Giordano, the Gnarly Nail man at Jack & Jill's, was finishing new tiles for the floor and went to a store room for more adhesive, when the darndest thing happened -- again.

"This was after hours in August and I was finishing up painting and we needed more materials out back," she recalled. "He went in first and went to reach for more glue and a beach ball came out of nowhere and hit him in the head.

"He was all set. He was done for that night. I had told him of all these weird happenings we couldn't explain and he was 'Ya, Yeah, whatever.' It happened to him and I said, there."

Giordano said the episode made his hair stand up.

Another time a client brought her little boy into the shop with her, Higgins said. The boy's toy truck skipped into the back room and the child retrieved it.

"He proceeded to come out front and ask us who the old man was out back, right at that stairway," she said. "If you don't experience something, then you're not going to believe."

Higgins said the building was built around 1907 as a five & dime store at one time and a ladies' clothing store, as well as a beauty parlor before she took over.

She said the presence is fun, not scary.

"He's playful. He's funny. He's not threatening, I talk to him," she said. "I just know it's a him, but I have not visually seen him here -- yet."

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