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Is Brockport Haunted?

The Story of Ghost Hunter Vincent Carbone ’10

  • 2019-10-31
  • Anna Loria

On a quiet Tuesday night in 2009, Vincent Carbone ’10 was working as a night desk attendant in Briggs Hall at SUNY Brockport. Around midnight, he stood up to grab something from the office near his desk. And as he walked toward the door, he heard a muffled sound.

“I went over to the window. I thought it was the wind outside. As I got closer to the window, I passed the bathroom and realized it was coming from there,” said Carbone.

He entered the bathroom to find the faucet running, with both handles turned on. The lights were off. No one had entered the bathroom in hours.

Carbone remembers thinking, ‘Am I envisioning this? Am I exhausted?’ “But it was happening,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe it was happening.”

After calling his roommates in a panic to tell them the story, he tried to laugh it off along with them. But nearly three hours remained in his shift, and mysterious occurrences wouldn’t cease to persist.

“For the rest of the night, the elevators kept going up and down, up and down, and opening — with no one in them,” remembers Carbone.

The eerie experience both terrified and intrigued him.

Port Phantoms: Episode One

Explore the haunted history of Hartwell Hall — the College’s oldest and most iconic building.

“All of my life, I had always had this fascination with ghost stories,” said Carbone. “On this night, it went from a passing interest to something I had to devote my life to.”

That devotion brought him back to his alma mater this summer, where he fulfilled a longtime professional dream: conducting a paranormal investigation at the place where it all began. Watch the video above to experience it along with him.

Greetings, ghosts. Carbone is home.

After that fateful night in Briggs Hall piqued Carbone’s interest in the paranormal world, he spent some time after graduation conducting amateur investigations with friends back in his Long Island hometown.

“That experience launched me on a path to researching as much as possible,” said Carbone.

Over the course of about a year, he gained opportunities to conduct more formal investigations. His first was of the Valentown Museum in Victor, NY, where he remembers feeling “scared” of what he might observe. “But after 10 minutes of being there, I felt at home,” he said.

A bachelor party. A raffle. Spooky-level serendipity.

By 2012, Carbone was living in New York City when his friend suggested a ghost hunt for his bachelor party.

“I found this place called the Morris-Jumel Mansion. It was on an episode of Ghost Adventures,” said Carbone.

The museum was in the midst of running a raffle, the winners of which would be gifted an overnight stay at the mansion preceded by a paranormal investigation. Yet, the museum hadn’t identified a viable ghost hunter to lead the experience.

Carbone fit the bill.

After conducting those investigations, the museum’s executive director discovered Carbone’s background in theatre, and he was commissioned to write a play for the museum.

As his experience there continued to evolve, Carbone later landed a position as its full-time public program and events manager.

With some newfound creative freedom, Carbone suggested a unique addition to the museum’s public programming — something he noticed many guests were curious about.

Port Phantoms: Episode Two

Brockport’s spooky stories aren’t confined to Hartwell Hall. Listen to other extraordinary tales, including an experience that changed the career path of Vincent Carbone '10.

“I thought, ‘Rather than shy away from the museum’s haunted history, let’s embrace it, so that we can provide guests with an educational experience,” said Carbone.

After incorporating paranormal investigations into the museum’s programming, they quickly became its most popular offering.

“Working at such a high-profile location allotted me a lot of very cool experiences, interactions, and opportunities to further my research as an investigator,” said Carbone, who eventually became co-director of Gotham Paranormal Research Society, a downstate team of expert paranormal investigators. A 13-year member of the Atlantic Paranormal Society Family, known as “the Original Ghost Hunters,” the society conducts public and private investigations as well as hosts educational lectures in the community.

As part of the society, Carbone has investigated nearly 20 public locations. Among the most high-profile was the Waverly Hill Sanatorium in Louisville, KY, considered “one of the most haunted places on earth,” according to the sanatorium website.

Performing with the paranormal

Carbone studied theatre and communication at the College, where he was president of the drama club, Harlequin’s, and worked for BTV (now Talon TV). Since then, his television presence has reached a national stage.

Carbone has appeared on the Travel Channel and CBS Sunday Morning; the news sites Fox News Digital, Barstool Sports, and Inside Edition; and New York City’s Metro Newspaper, among numerous other websites, vlogs, podcasts, and more.

“I think back to college and after college, when I was working as an intern at Geva Theatre Center, super broke, drinking Dr. Pepper with my friend and watching Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. And now, here I am, acting like I know what I’m talking about on TV. It’s pretty funny. My friends and family get a kick out of it,” said Carbone.

He’s “not a big demon guy.”

Carbone has noticed that some guests are apprehensive when they arrive at a paranormal investigation. He finds that his approach to teaching about the paranormal, rooted in psychology and science, encourages people to assume an open mind when it comes to talking about a taboo topic. The self-deemed “skeptical believer” welcomes the most steadfast skeptics to discussions of the unknown.

Port Phantoms: Episode Three

Ghost hunter Vincent Carbone ’10 answers the question that has been asked for decades: is Hartwell Hall haunted?

For those who don’t have the opportunity to see him in action, he would like to clear up what he considers the key misconceptions about his line of work:

  1. The paranormal isn’t dark or evil.
  2. Paranormal investigators don’t know everything.

“I’m not a big demon guy. And I’ve never been dead. So, we don’t know everything,” said Carbone. “If you do have a haunting that [seems] evil or vengeful, that’s not the case. If someone is cool in life, they’re going to be cool in death. They just might be confused, or they just might be lost — and that’s if spirits even exist.”

Last Updated 7/29/21

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