The Topstone Mill in Claremont, NH., reportedly is home to more than a few friendly spirits

A Haunting We Will Go

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When Nicholas Koloski launched the Time-Out Americana Grill in the historic Topstone Mill in Claremont, New Hampshire about 10 years ago, he never imagined he'd be working with spirits other than the liquid kind.

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Strange things continue to manifest today that Koloski cannot explain, like glowing orbs -- self-illuminated balls of energy that are routinely caught dancing around on surveillance cameras. The orbs are believed to be spirits in non-human form.

Nick Koloski, owner of the Time-Out Americana Grill, watches a glowing orb zig-zag across the screen of a surveillance camera monitor.

Koloski remembered being scratched by an unseen force. He gets chills every time he sees an eery mist drifting across the floor or shadows moving out of the corner of his eye. 

The weirdest thing happened one summer day when a child's ball began rolling around in the parking lot -- against the wind -- always returning to the same spot.

"It was the strangest thing. I still can't explain it," said Koloski, a member of the Claremont City Council, who tries to keep an open mind about the supernatural.

One time, he said, "something" kept ripping off the same hamburger poster ad outside the restaurant, night after night. It was all caught on camera. 

Koloski said he has no way to explain how fingerprints keep ending up on the plasma screen television mounted high above the bar area.

"It's odd. No one here is going to the back of the bar to touch a TV set," he said. "I believe some of the stuff can be easily explained. The other stuff, I can't explain."

The Topstone Mill seems to be the perfect place for a haunting when you consider its long and sometimes tragic history as a former turn-of-the-century shoe and furniture manufucturing building.

The mill is a long brick rectangle of a structure housing five stories, with each floor that measures 17,000 square feet. There are presently nine commercial tenants including Koloski's restaurant and escape-room entertainment business, the "Escape Factory."

The fourth and fifth floors have remained unoccupied and unelectrified for years. It is from the windows of these two floors that people in the parking lot have reported seeing faces staring down at them.

One observer claimed to have seen lights shining on the fifth floor, Koloski said.

His mother, Mary Koloski, recalled the time the restaurant hosted a yard sale. The next day the linen to one display had been pulled halfway off the table, she said.

"I hadn't been here since we had left the previous night," she said. "We've seen shadows a lot. You know there's nobody there but you swear somebody walked by you."  

The mill's reputation as a haunted place eventually caught the attention of the  paranormal television series "Ghost Hunters." Nick and Mary Koloski were the featured guests in the Season 8 episode, "Fear Factory."

The Koloskis are now considering hosting ghost-hunting tours. 

Nick Koloski admits some people are fascinated that the mill building could be haunted. Other people are duly unnerved.

"It depends," he said. "There are people that are freaked out about it. There are people who are intrigued. You either believe, or you don't."


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