The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut

By Jonathan Valania
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Aug. 17, 2010

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This past spring, the Chester County Paranormal Research Society asked for permission to investigate the valley at Duffy’s Cut. The Duffy’s Cut Project research team is deeply divided about the scientific validity of paranormal investigations—Frank Watson (along with John Ahtes, before his death) believes they are in conflict with his religious beliefs and status as a clergyman; Bill Watson remains agnostic about their validity; and Earl Schandelmeier prefers to keep an open mind about the known unknowns that lie beyond the purview of scientific fact—but after some debate they gave the go-ahead.

The CCPRS team brought with them an array of sophisticated ghost-busting equipment, including cameras equipped with motion sensors and night-vision capabilities, and several electromagnetic field meters. But the device that yielded the most startling results was something called a Frank’s Box, a device that scans the AM radio band and acts like a ouija board, purportedly enabling a two-way conversation between the living and the dead.

Duffy’s Cut Project team members Earl Schandelmeier and Robert Frank accompanied the investigators from CCPRS and both men agreed to ask questions out loud that only the 57 Irishmen could answer during sessions with the Frank’s Box. These attempts to communicate with the dead took place in three half-hour segments over the course of several hours. At first, there was not much response, but as the night wore on, things got interesting:

Question: Do you know Duffy?

Answer: Yeah, the devil.

Question: What about those homes up there?

Answer: Cursed.

Question: Are you with God?

Answer: No ... no ... abyss.

Listen for yourself. These purported exchanges with the dead at Duffy’s Cut are captured on sound files, which you can listen to below and at

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. tanya said... on Aug 23, 2010 at 12:46PM

“seriously? you call these conversations? i get more out of my AM radio station in the desert.”

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2. Tina said... on Aug 27, 2010 at 01:06PM


Conversations with ghost are not like sitting down and chatting it up with your friends. Sometimes you only get one word from them....I mean they are dead. This is pretty impressive.”

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3. Sean said... on Aug 30, 2010 at 08:23AM

“Fascinating stuff. I've had a fascination with this subject for decades now and have read enough about it from all angles, both pro and con, to know enough and to furthermore see it as real. Good piece. Prayers and especially fervent rosaries should be said (A few Masses wouldn't hurt either) so as to help these folks who are apparently earthbound or "trapped between two worlds" get to The Light.”

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4. AnInterestedParty said... on Nov 26, 2010 at 04:27AM

“I've only just heard about this tragedy. A full research project will glean very interesting insights into the treatment of immigrants or those with communicable diseases in the past.

However, as an Irish person, you will forgive me that I'm a bit sceptical about Irish ghosts giving clear answers in an American accent. I know they've been there for quite some time, but come on!”

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5. chyna said... on Nov 26, 2010 at 11:34AM

“The "American accent" you mention has nothing to do with the ghosts is simply the pre-recorded voice corresponding to the words from the Frank's Box. It's unlikely that they would have actually answered in English if they responded directly (w/out the box) because they were Gaelic speaking people. Even Duffy spoke Gaelic, so there wouldn't have been a pressing need for these Irishmen to speak in English at the time anyway.”

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6. AnInterestedParty said... on Nov 28, 2010 at 06:43PM

“Thank you for the explanation on the accent. I had never heard of "Frank's Box" before this and I hadn't realised that it was manipulation of airwaves rather than "ghost voices". That information is most useful.

On the issue of whether the men spoke Irish - from what little I know of this, it is my understanding that some may have spoken only Irish, others might have come from a predominantly English-speaking area and would likely not have been as fluent. Irish in the pre-Famine era would have been a conversational medium. All business would have been in English and so these men would likely respond in kind.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jun 29, 2011 at 09:48AM

“ go on a real ghost hunt at this site”


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Murder in the Time of Cholera
By Jonathan Valania

In June of 1832, the Irish migrant workers arrived at the docks of Philadelphia. Six weeks later, they would all be dead. History would blame cholera for their deaths, but in fact there is a lot about the historical record that doesn’t add up. A team of academic researchers known as the Duffy’s Cut Project suspects that the men were murdered to stem the spread of a cholera epidemic, then raging in Philadelphia and Chester County. And the researchers may well have discovered the forensic evidence to prove it.