The Belmont mansion in Elkridge reopened last spring after nearly three years of remodeling work, adding an option for weddings, events and conferences in Howard County. But along with the celebrations and freshly painted walls came purported visits from some uninvited guests lingering in the background.
“We received a call from those working at the mansion that said they saw a little girl running around the grounds,” says Margaret Ehrlich, founder of Inspired Ghost Tracking, a ghost investigation group that conducts lectures and events across Maryland. “When we showed up with our equipment we were able to capture pictures of a little girl peeking around the corner of a doorway.”
This prompted an ongoing series of investigations and lectures at the historic mansion that are open to the public and held every few months, guiding visitors on an evening tour of the Belmont grounds and cemetery and teaching the ins and outs of using ghost tracking equipment, including video cameras, voice recorders and meters to measure electromagnetic fields.
All that’s required of first-time ghost trackers is a flashlight and clothing to move around the grounds comfortably.
Rob Gutro is a medium and one of the lead investigators guiding the Inspired Ghost Tracking team through the halls and grounds of Belmont. He says he first learned of his ability to communicate with the dead when he was a teenager and saw his grandfather materializing in front of his eyes six months after he died.
When he told his mother about what he saw, he quickly learned the gift runs in his family.
“At first it was unnerving,” says Gutro, who is a full-time scientist and gives readings and assistance with ghost investigations as a hobby. “It’s a way to educate people about what happens after we passed and how ghosts communicate.”
Gutro is the author of four books: “Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead” and “Ghosts and Spirits: Insights from a Medium” on humans who have passed away, and a two-book series called “Pets and the Afterlife.”
His communications with pets are also the subjects of several talks he gives at Belmont on how to connect and be at peace with the loss of a beloved family animal.
For Inspired Ghost Trackers, it’s all about sharing the paranormal world with those who may not have had the opportunity to experience it yet.
“Often nonbelievers will turn the corner and see something that’s not really standing there, and you’ll see them make the transition to knowing something bigger than us is out there,” says Ehrlich. “It’s really incredible to see.”