Back in the dining room, Mirah had mentioned photographs that had been taken of the recurring damage throughout the house, and at Scott’s request had pulled them from a dresser drawer. The investigators spread the photographs across the oak table and studied them closely.
“The problem with photographs of this nature, is how easy it is to say it’s been faked,” explained Scott, as he held up a photograph of the kitchen. All of the drawers and cupboards were open, boxes and tins strewn across the countertops and floor. A collection of knives were embedded—one above the other—beside the doorway. The long service hatch was half open, one of the panels appeared to have been punched through. “This wasn’t one action, but several. An earthquake could explain the drawers and cupboards. If there had been one. But that wouldn’t explain the knives in the wall, the damaged shutter … the chances of several events occurring in a short time frame, that would collectively produce this level of damage … it just wouldn’t happen.” He made eye contact with Kevin, lingering as he finished: “Which suggests it was staged.”
Kevin glared at Scott, a fraction away from baring his teeth like a rabid dog. He held his tongue as the investigator dropped the kitchen photo and raised another. The front door to the house was hanging from it’s last remaining intact hinge. The glass that encased the door in the arch was obliterated, shards strewn in all directions. “This to me shows a potential break-in or domestic dispute. You’ll see images similar to this in countless police reports.”
He moved on again, the next one also taken from the entryway. The couch appeared to have been thrown through the arch from the living room, and was leaning against the banister. The matching sofa chair filled the remaining space in the opening to the living room. “Same here. And here …” He showed the couple a fourth photograph, this time of the master bedroom. The 4-poster bed had been forcefully jammed through the bay window. The curtain rail had been ripped from the wall on one end where the curtain had caught on the bed as it passed through the window. Chunks of plaster and dust were sprinkled over the scene. “None of these show me anything even remotely unexplainable. To say this is paranormal is to jump wildly to conclusions.” He flicked the photo, spinning it onto the small mound on the table. “With that being said, the only way to 100% confirm, would be to have actually been present when the damage was caused.”
“What does all of that mean?” asked Mirah, confused.
Kevin had been quiet long enough. “It means he thinks we faked the photos.”
“Not exactly. These are almost certainly faked, but not by you,” reassured Scott. He neatly collected the photographs into a pile.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, but who else could have done it? Are you going to pick on the kids now? Little Jimmy doesn’t have an alibi, maybe it was him!”
“Your grandchildren are probably innocent too, Mr Sandford. As for who did it: I don’t know. That’s what I’d like to uncover with our investigation.”
Kevin sat back, folding his arms across his chest. “And what, exactly, will that involve?” He stared out at Scott from under his heavy eyebrows.
“Well, first of all I’d like to confirm that whatever’s happening isn’t a result of outside interference.” Scott mimicked Kevin, folding his arms. “I’d like to set up some cameras in and around the property, and keep an eye on things for a few days. If anything happens during that time, and we have no evidence of tampering, we’ll move onto a physical sweep of the house.”
Kevin leaned forward, resting on one elbow. He planted a hand on the table, as if he was about to climb on top and dive at Scott. He pushed his head towards the investigator, his eyes narrowing: “I told you already. No one comes into the house and trashes it.”
Scott craned forward slowly, his arms still folded. His elbows met the table as he tilted his head and spoke slowly and clearly: “And I’ve told you. I listen to the evidence, and nothing else.”
Kevin’s grip of the table loosened, his shoulders lowered, relaxing. “At what point are you going to start believing that this is exactly what we’ve told you it is?”
“When I see it with my own eyes,” returned Scott, straightening back up into his chair.
“You know, we’ve had a few teams of investigators come through here and try to uncover what’s happening. You’re the first to ignore where we are.”
“Like I said, we deal with fact. We form our opinions based off the evidence we find. We don’t dwell on history.”
“Even the history of Youngstown, Maine?” queried Kevin, his head cocking to one side.
“What did I say?” muttered Preston.
Scott ignored him, remaining focused on Kevin. “I know where we are, sir.”
“When Dutch settlers founded the town in 1626 they simply called it … Vervloekt. Which translated, means—”
“Cursed. Yeah. I know,” said Scott. “I’ve done my research. Epidemics, murders, witch trials, a tonne of evil stuff. I’m fully aware of the town’s history. In the event that we find anything: we’ll look into it. In the meantime, our focus will be to eliminate the possibility of any external involvement.”
Kevin and Scott bickered back and forth for a few more minutes, then the conversation ended. Scott and Preston were politely shown to the door, and they returned to the Range Rover amidst the pouring rain.