STATEN ISLAND — The inventor of the telephone could be trying to communicate from the other side.
Ghosthunters seeking paranormal activity at the Staten Island home shared by inventor Antonio Meucci and the exiled Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi are hosting tours this weekend to try to find evidence that the Gothic house is haunted.
Some believe the Rosebank building is still visited by the ghost of Meucci's wife, Esther, who died there in 1884. Workers have claimed to feel her presence at night, and paranormal investigators have evidence of possible electronic voice phenomena (EVP) from the home.
This weekend, visitors will get the chance to investigate the legend themselves.
Several paranormal groups have teamed up with the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, which occupies the house, to give haunted tours on Friday and Saturday nights, trying to contact Esther, along with any other spirits.
Visitors will walk through the 160-year-old house with professional investigators and hunt for evidence of ghosts or other paranormal activity.
"[The tours] basically let people come in and investigate with us," said Jason Stroming, founder of the New York Paranormal Society, one of the groups hosting the tour.
"We let them use our equipment and do some investigating on their own with us guiding."
The tours don't aim to scare people or make them jump like haunted houses, but give a chance to take part in a real investigation, Stroming said.
"We're not there to entertain people, it's not a haunted house for Halloween," he said.
"It's a legitimate investigation. We want people to get the actual experience."
The museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, an Italian-born inventor who was credited for creating the first telephone, and his wife, Esther.
Garibaldi, who fought to unify Italy in the 1800s, also lived in the Rosebank home for several years before returning to Italy.
Previous investigations at the museum by the Staten Island Paranormal Society, which hosted tours in 2010, have produced recordings the society claims show EVP of somebody saying, "walk away," and pictures of faces in the second-floor window.
Potential ghost busters are encouraged to bring cameras, video cameras, and voice recorders to try and catch EVP and other paranormal evidence.
The investigations will be broken up into several 50-minute tours, with two separate groups shadowing investigators into different parts of the house, Stroming said.
But for fans of reality TV shows about ghost hunters, Stroming said the real experience is very different.
"You watch it on TV, it looks very exciting, it looks fast paced and dramatic," he said.
But it's rare for his team to go out on an eight-hour investigation and come back with solid evidence, and most time in a real investigation is spent waiting.
"In real life it's not like that, it's not exciting," he said. "You're sitting in a cold building, a hot building, and you got to sit still and be quiet for eight hours."
The Garibaldi-Meucci Historical Haunted Tours will be on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Each tour will be 50 minutes for $15, with a special 90-minute midnight tour for $20. For more information and to buy tickets visit the museum's website.