It’s almost sundown, and Vickie Burnett is attempting to communicate with a ghost.
“Hi, my name’s Vickie; I’m quite sure you know who I am,” she says. “You know I’ve been coming here for a while, trying to see if there’s anything I can do to help you. I’ve gotten EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) from you telling me, ‘Help me.’ But you never let me do it.”
Burnett, 45, is speaking into several recorders and short-range walkie-talkies, which she has placed in the bedroom of a single-story house in a sleepy suburban neighborhood in Port St. Lucie. It’s a bedroom that Burnett and her team, the Lake Worth-based P.O.I.N.T. Paranormal, have investigated countless times before. Burnett refers to it as “The Devil’s Den.”
For years, the owner of the home, Liz, and her roommate Linda, have experienced supernatural phenomena in the house, and this room is one of the haunted hotbeds. Ariel, Liz’s great-niece, has been visited by a spirit she calls “The Monster”; she’s not the first child to see it. When the young girl describes the spirit to Liz, she raises her hands like claws and grits her teeth. Ariel won’t walk down the hallway at night unless the light is on.
In all, Liz and Linda have chronicled hundreds of inexplicable events, from the unusual (chairs and decor moved from one side of the room to another) to the hair-raising (the presence of, what appears to be, a 19th-century man standing over them at night). To obtain a second opinion after P.O.I.N.T.’s first investigation, the homeowners contacted another Palm Beach County paranormal outfit. The members of that group were allegedly spooked off the job after receiving EVPs such as “Where’s Vickie?” and “Kill them all.”
“The last thing you think about when you move into a home is that it’s haunted,” Liz says. “One of my big things is to be able to comfort other people who have gone through the same experience, because this is not fun. Moving has crossed my mind, but I’ve put a lot of hard work and effort into this house, and I’m not going to let this thing win.”
“Depending on your level of bravery, you can be afraid in your own home,” Burnett says. “I liken it to a person who is a victim of domestic violence. The difference is, if you’re a victim of domestic violence, you know who your enemy is. If you’re the victim of a haunt, you just know something’s there; that something might hurt you, but you don’t know who it is. Or even the nature of what it is.”
In the living room of the house, one of Burnett’s colleagues, Ann Smith, is staring at the black-and-white, infrared flicker of four live video feeds from different areas of the home, which beam through a Dell monitor hooked up to a clunky mainframe computer that Burnett calls “Bertha.” The kitchen table appears to have the most activity this evening; at 8:18, a shadowy mass blips across the screen, and at 8:26, what may have been an orb flashes on the monitor. The home’s other residents—two Peekapoos and two Chihuahuas—start to get restless…