Calling Rodney Dangerfield! It’s stories like this one that cause paranormal investigators, ghost hunters and others in the spirit field to get no respect … no respect at all. Police in Connecticut arrested a man who had an outstanding warrant concerning suspicious circumstances surrounding a report of gunshots being fired in a home in Tolland. When confronted with the reason for the warrant – that his story didn’t match up to the evidence found by police investigators – the man claimed he was a paranormal investigator and had actually been shooting at a ghost! Is that possible? Is it legal?
The story of the arrest of alleged ghost-shooting paranormal investigator Christian J. Devaux goes back to 2011 when police records show he made his first home invasion emergency call after claiming he heard a loud bang and saw a stranger in his home. The police found no evidence to support the call. Fast forward to July 26, 2018. According to the local Journal Inquirer, the same Christian J. Devaux made a similar 911 call reporting a stranger in his home. This time, the operator was on the line when Devaux fired two shots at the alleged intruder.
The police arrived but found no evidence of a break-in and their dogs found no scent of an intruder. Devaux claimed he shot over the intruder’s head – which would make him extremely short since the bullet holes in the wall were a little over two feet off the ground. But that’s not the weird part. When confronted with this evidence, Devaux changed his story and said the intruder could have been a ghost, possibly haunting him because he’s a paranormal investigator. It appears the troopers left at that point, but later determined that Devaux was lying somewhere in that story and issued a warrant, which was discovered when he was stopped in nearby Vernon for a traffic violation.
Could Devaux be telling the truth … at least the part about the ghost? While a search found no evidence linking him to any paranormal groups or investigations, Tolland has some ghosts to investigate. The Daniel Benton Homestead dates back to 1720 and its ghosts appeared shortly after the Revolutionary War. Danial’s grandson Elisha contracted smallpox in a British prison and was later nursed by his girlfriend Jemima Barrows. Both died of smallpox before they could marry, so the families were forced to bury them on opposite sides of a carriage path. You know what happens next … their ghosts – one wearing a wedding dress, the other a soldier’s uniform, -- are seen crossing the path or heard crying.
Then there’s the Mansfield Training School just a few miles away. Devaux told the cops he had done paranormal investigations there, as have hundreds of others since it’s a hotbed of haunt. Built in 1860, it was called the "Connecticut School for Imbeciles" and later the "Connecticut Training School for Feebleminded" before merging with the “Connecticut Colony for Epileptics” in Mansfield and named the Mansfield Training School and Hospital until it closed in 1993. As expected with those names, stories of abuse were at times rampant in a facility that once housed 1,800 patients with all forms of mental illnesses with unknown causes and dubious (and sometimes cruel and brutal) treatments. As a result, the buildings – some still remain in other use – have had their share of ghost sightings.
Also just a few miles from Tolland are a number of haunted places, including the Gay City State Park (haunted by murder victims), the Capitol Theater (haunted by an actor accidentally killed during a scene with a sword) and the Old State House, which like all old government buildings, has plenty of skeletons in the closets – both real and spiritual.
All of that ghostly activity around Tolland could easily support Devaux’s claim that he’s a paranormal investigator and shot at a ghost … except a good (and even not-so-good) paranormal investigator knows that bullets can’t kill or even harm or scare a ghost.
Will Devaux beat the charges of illegal discharge of a firearm, making a false statement to police, second-degree reckless endangerment, misusing an emergency call, and disorderly conduct? It appears he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance.