12-year-old set to lead investigation at Haunted Hinsdale House

Cattaraugus County

HINSDALE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Hinsdale House in Cattaraugus County is the stuff of legends. It continues to attract paranormal investigators from around the world, and they reportedly rarely walk away without a spooky find.

News 4 viewers voted to say it is Buffalo’s Best Haunted Place.

Now, a 12-year-old girl is getting ready to travel across the country for her chance to unlock the house’s secrets, and you can join her.

The paranormal investigation she is leading on March 20 at the Hinsdale House is far from her first.

“What happened is I was sick and tired of watching Barney one day,” Madison Smith explained, “So I went downstairs and guess what I found? A paranormal show. And then basically I just got addicted.”

Smith has been gaining international attention for her paranormal investigations.

The pre-teen from Davenport, Iowa, is featured on the cover of the latest edition of Haunted, a UK-based magazine for paranormal enthusiasts. She is also a frequent contributor on discussion panels at Para-Cons.

But, even among those in the paranormal community, letting children be involved in paranormal investigations in controversial.

Smith says her parents both support her paranormal investigation hobby, although her dad took some convincing.

Speaking to News 4 via Skype, Smith says she is undeterred by people who do not believe in the paranormal. “That’s their opinion and I’m not going to stop them,” she said. “That’s their choice and their opinion.”

For her part, Smith believes “there has to be something else.”

As she put it, “Something is there. What happens to your energy after you pass away? Does it go off into Narnia or something, or does something happen with it?”

Smith says she is able to communicate with spirits through the use of paranormal investigative tools. A set of light-up dousing rods are her go-to devices.

She says she is not scared when she makes connections.

“Once you get to know the spirits and talk to them, they’re not that scary,” she told News 4.

Smith may change her tune after spending some time inside the Hinsdale House.

The Hinsdale House is also known as the Dandy House for the family that lived on the property in the 1970s when new ponds were dug and paranormal activity reportedly ramped up.

The site of an exorcism in the ’70s, according to folklore, it has seen more than its fair share of bloodshed over the last few centuries.

Daniel Klaes bought the house to save it from the wrecking ball. He hosts paranormal investigators from around the world as a way to help pay for some of the massive repair bills.

Madison Smith says Klaes extended an open invitation to her to investigate at the Hinsdale House when the two met. She says she’s excited to take him up on his offer in March.

“I want to learn all the spirits’ stories and everything,” Smith said. “Like I said, I really like history, so that’s the big thing.”

Smith says leading others in the upcoming investigation will present challenges. The more people involved, she says, the more potential for the investigators to create their own noise, which could make it hard to differentiate legitimate paranormal activities, if there are any.

Smith says she doesn’t want to make predictions about her upcoming investigation. “I’m not going to say ‘I expect seven doors to slam.’ No, that’s not me,” Smith pointed out. “I just expect to have a nice conversation, meet everybody, and have some fun.”

If you’d like to join Smith for her investigation at the Hinsdale House on March 20, click here for ticket information.

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