Puccini restaurant is a peaceful place located in Cumberland, Maryland. The original structure has been standing in the same location since 1818. The years have come and gone quickly for this ancient building and events have rendered it to be considered an historic landmark. When Puccini’s was first built, it was used as a home. As time progressed, it found itself being used for much more. Its most impressive employment was when it was a Civil War hospital for wounded and dying soldiers. Until this present day, Puccini’s has been earning its outstanding reputation and continues to do so as it is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
Just like any other old structure that has seen nearly 200 years of life and death, Puccini’s has convinced people that it might be haunted. Many employees and guests over the years have had some strange occurrences that commanded them to believe that some of the past hasn’t fully come to pass. Stories were told to City Lights Paranormal Society about some of the reports of activity, starting in the basement where employees would not only feel a presence, but hear it as well. They said they get an unnerving feeling sometimes, but on some occasions they have actually heard someone whispering behind them. The employees would turn to look and realize they were the only ones there. Often times, servers would go down to the basement to retrieve a pizza from the Pizza Bar, and upon walking back up the stairs, a second set of footsteps would be heard following them. Again, when they would turn to look, no one else would be on the stairs. On the first floor where the main restaurant layout is, a whole other series of events would take place. In the hallway where the servers’ computer for typing in orders is located, a littler girl in a dress has been seen. We were told that on the second floor, a little girl had died in one of the rooms after she fell and the fireplace caused her dress to catch fire. The apparition seen standing next to one of the managers on the first floor is believed to be this unfortunate little girl. In the main dining room behind the bar, employees have reported numerous items being moved. Bartenders and servers both have witnessed wine bottles and water bottles falling off the shelves. One prep-cook who works many early mornings in the kitchen has shared his frequent report. While he’s alone prepping food, he sees shadows gliding past him out of the corner of his eyes. Just off the kitchen in the salad bar area, a sink has become known for turning on without help. On the second floor and attic, it appeared that not much could be said about either of the locations because they are not usually occupied for any length of time. We were amazed to see that in the attic there were engravings in the wall that are believed to be carvings from soldiers that stayed in the house while it was used as a Civil War Hospital. We were hopeful that we would be able to find out all the answers to these claims.
CLPS arrived at Puccini’s on the night of September 21st, 2010, to try to find some truth behind all that has been said about the mysteries. We were a little understaffed, as only two investigators were able to make this trip; but, we were determined to make it work. Accompanied by a manager and a server, Lisa and Joe immediately began to set up for their apparently long night. At about 10:30 P.M., we went lights out and took over the restaurant. We went around and conducted our normal readings using our thermo gun for temperature and our EMF meter for unusually high electromagnetic fields. While everything in the building appeared to be normal, we did notice an extremely high EMF spike in the basement going up the one flight of steps that appeared to be coming from some of the wiring that was running to the downstairs bar. We had to believe that this would be a huge contributor to the reason people feel unnerved since high EMF can cause EMF illusions. We did attempt to disprove the bottles falling; but, after all ideas seemed impossible, it was clear that the bottles would not have any common source of falling off the shelves. We realized that somehow someone would literally have to remove the bottles. We had to contribute the sink turning on to bad washers. We suggested changing them out and seeing if that would help. Until we see if new washers would cease the sink from turning on itself, we cannot chalk it up to a paranormal occurrence. Aside from a few things we were able to explain, the investigation was phenomenal, with constant ongoing experiences all night. On one occasion, a voice was heard with our own two ears on the second floor. It was so clear we were able to make out what it said before playing back the recorder to be sure we caught it. It was a female’s voice that had sluggishly said, “Hellooo…” As amazing as that was, we had a full night of hearing footsteps and doors closing. Some of the noises came upon request. At one point in an attempt to communicate with the little girl apparition, we took a set of keys and hung them on the second floor staircase. We jingled the keys in an attempt to coerce the little girl to come play with them, and while we were sitting back out of the way in one of the rooms to see what happened, we would occasionally hear the keys jingle. One time we actually got up and walked into the hall to see the keys swaying. The activity was so overwhelming that we actually investigated until the break of daylight before calling it a night. Once we packed up all of the equipment, we became anxious to see what all we might have documented as evidence.
Recorder 1 session 1 basement "Response"
Recorder 1 session 6 2nd floor "Hello!"
Recorder 1 session 7 2nd floor "Got the keys"
Recorder 1 session 8 2nd floor "Raise your cup!"
Recorder 1 session 9 basement "Baby Crying!"
Recorder 4 second floor room "Response!"
The Debriefing: Evidence review was exciting. We were glad to see that some of our experiences were documented along with a few other things we had not known of. We sat down with Puccini’s management and explained to them the things we felt weren’t solid enough to be considered paranormal, as of yet. For instance, the EMF in the basement just has to be taken into consideration when people are feeling unnerved. We also noticed that a funhouse effect was highly likely to occur on the stairs as some of them weren’t exactly level. A combination of the two could persuade someone’s mind into feeling not so secure. With the sink, we would have to rule out the possibility of bad washers before drawing further conclusions. However, after we went over those few things, we got into all that we had found: the direct response EVPs, the documented experiences on audio, and the strange footage caught by our camera. After taking into consideration all that had happened and all the evidence we had to submit, there was no alternative but to leave Puccini’s with our verdict that we feel the place is haunted. The building is rich with history; and, although we had a ton of things happen to us that night, at no point did we feel threatened in any way. In fact, we were peaceful all night long. All that was going on appeared to be something trying to react and interact. All in all, CLPS was honored to have the privilege of coming in and not only investigating Puccini’s restaurant, but gaining friends as well. The staff was a delight and the restaurant was more than a treat. City Lights Paranormal Society would all love to say thank you to the owners, managers, and employees of Puccini’s and we hope that in the future we can return for another round of excitement!