Last week I introduced you to Charity and Timothy Friend of Cumberland, Maryland. Well, this week I’m going to skip to the end of the story. We had finished walking around the downtown for close to two hours and we were all ready to go home. Timothy and my husband had been having their own conversation while Charity and I were chatting. Timothy was talking about Puccini’s, the Italian Restaurant at the edge of town. Puccini’s used to be the Hinkle House that was built in 1818. And, it also served as a Civil War hospital during the Battle at Folck’s Mill. As a matter of fact, you can still see some etchings in the plaster of the attic walls by some of the soldiers that were housed.
The Battle of Folck’s Mill happened right across the street from the Hinkle House. Two Confederate generals ordered their troops to march toward Cumberland. Their plan was to disrupt the railroad and demand a ransom from the town. They were met by the Union Brigadier General Benjamin F. Kelly and three divisions of novice troops. The battle raged for five hours and the Confederates were defeated. There were an estimated thirty-eight casualties from the skirmish and some of them are still heard from today.
A paranormal investigation group called City Lights Paranormal Society decided to check out Puccini’s in 2015. In an interview with The Cumberland Times News, the head of the paranormal group, Joe Iannetta, stated their findings indicated that the restaurant was indeed haunted and said, “We didn’t get any bad impressions from the place. Actually, even with things bumping around, I felt very comfortable all night long. I don’t think anything here was trying to hurt anything. The place has a lot of history. A lot of things happened here, so it’s very possible they’re still going on, one way or another.”
These are some of the claims from employees that Joe’s was going to investigate:
“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 little 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.”
So, what happened to Joe and his investigators?
Initially, they did a reading of the restaurant using a thermo gun to test for temperature variances and an EMF reader to test for electromagnetic fields. They did find an unusually high EMF reading in the basement and were able to attribute it to some wiring that ran along the steps. I was pretty impressed that they didn’t try to pass it off as a paranormal phenomenon, they were using excellent investigative procedures.
Once they got their initial readings, they got down to business and had a very interesting night. This is from Joe’s website.
“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.”
There have been other experiences at the restaurant.
The co-manager of the restaurant was quoted in the article. “The first night I had to close by myself, I was in the office and I kept hearing stuff,” said Burch, co-manager of the restaurant, who over the years has heard chairs scraping across the floor and footsteps when no one else is around. “I mean, I was getting up out of my chair and coming out to see what was going on, and it would be quiet.”
At the end of the article, there’s a place for comments. One commenter stated, “My children, sister and I ate at Puccini’s within the past year. A pepper shaker moved across the table. It was not wet. There were no detectable vibrations. The table was not at a slant. The shaker was positioned and stable, then after a few seconds moved across the table…several times.”