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A Coconut Grove paranormal team says it has found evidence of ghosts at the Deering Estate.
BY HOWARD COHEN
Neither the hot film Paranormal Activity nor TV's popular Ghost Hunters can compete with Miami-Dade's historic Deering Estate at Cutler.
Ghost trackers investigating paranormal activity on the site say they recently found more than 60 disembodied voices coming from the county-owned estate -- once the home of wealthy industrialist Charles Deering, of International Harvester fame.
One voice captured on a digital recorder seems to say, ``We're trapped here.''
Don't believe it? The Deering Estate is opening its doors to the public Thursday evening for its first-ever Ghost Story Tour. And two days before Halloween, the Palmetto Bay site will allow ghost hunters to bring in their own equipment -- aura cameras, pendulums, EVP recorders -- to snoop around.
Investigators say they found two ``full-body apparitions'' on the grounds of the estate at 16701 SW 72nd Ave., in Palmetto Bay.
The images were of translucent human forms, a male and female, by the boat basin on Biscayne Bay -- with photographic evidence for naysayers to ponder.
``This is what we consider the holy grail in paranormal investigation -- a full-body apparition is not a common finding at all,'' said Colleen Kelley, from the Coconut Grove-based League of Paranormal Investigators (LPI), which spent two days on the estate in August.
Even seasoned ghost tracker Atena Komar pronounced it ``severely haunted.''
Deering scored a 58 on LPI's point scale, which assigns a value to digital recordings, photographs and eyewitness accounts in determining whether a space has spirits. Any figure 30 and above suggests haunted. LPI had never recorded higher than a 29.
``Any ghost hunting group may have one in all of their collection in all of their years of doing it,'' said Kelley, artist by day, ghost hunter by night.
``We had two.''
The 444-acre Deering Estate once was the domain of Paleo-Indians, North America's earliest human inhabitants, who lived more than 12,000 years ago.
Charles Deering built the two main houses -- the 1896 Richmond Cottage, the last surviving structure of the town of Cutler, and the 1922 Stone House -- as his retreat. He died there in 1927.
His heirs owned the home until 1985, when Miami-Dade and the state of Florida jointly purchased it and turned it into a historic site.
Over the years, staffers spoke of hearing noises and witnessing odd occurrences, such as elevators moving on their own.