CELEBRITY INTERVIEW: Author Thomas D’Agostino
Thomas D’Agostino is one of my favorite local authors. The first of his books that I read was his 2006 book, “Haunted Rhode Island.” This is a collection of short stories of experiences that not only he has had over the years but acquaintances of his have had as well. To me, this was a great introduction to a great author. His writing style is enjoyable and his no-nonsense approach made me want to read more of his books, which of course I did.
I first met Tom and his wife Arlene in November of 2015 at a convention in Providence, Rhode Island. There we had a brief discussion on Rhode Island’s only officially listed haunted landmark, the Ramtail Factory in Foster. I ended up buying his book “Rhode Island’s Haunted Ramtail Factory” which he signed. Then he was nice enough to draw me a map with directions on how to get there.
A few years later in 2018, my girlfriend and I saw him at Parafest in Kittery, Maine. There he gave an amazing presentation on the Ramtail Factory, making me even more interested in the place. Flash forward to October of 2020 and for the first time visiting Ramtail, who happens to be there? Thomas D’Agostino. Not only was he kind enough to talk to us but he also helped a lot on a blog I did on Ramtail Factory, seen HERE.
October is a busy month for both Tom and I. Tom is doing interviews, zoom presentations and ghost hunting. For me, I am celebrating the month long holiday of Halloween. Right after all of the craziness died down though, Tom took some time for a short interview.
D: What started your interest in hauntings?
T: I grew up in a haunted house and later, when in college, lived in a very haunted house for only 6 days. There was so much activity, I had to move out because I could not study or sleep. This prompted me to start studying various sciences in hopes of better understanding what was going on in regard to the paranormal.
D: I know you have had encounters over the years. What would you say was the most bizarre, or scary?
T: I was in an old farmhouse built in 1801. The same family has occupied the home since it was built. There were several bedrooms upstairs and a room that was never improved upon or used, as it was a room where a farmhand hanged himself many years ago. They related that there is a lot of negative energy in that chamber. I asked to see it and they said yes, but began backing up as I approached the door. I opened the door and something like an energy force literally rushed through me. For a second I saw what looked like a blurry form and then it passed right through me. It is very difficult to explain exactly unless someone experiences the same phenomena.
D: How did you find out about Ramtail Factory originally? Would you say that this is one of your life’s works?
T: I first read about it in a 1992 Old Rhode Island magazine article. I was immediately intrigued. It had all the makings of an old fashioned romantic ghost story. I wanted to know everything about the history, characters and haunting. It did become my life’s work and I still love reading about it and visiting the old village. It remains as the only book Arlene and I wrote on just one particular place.
D: I noticed that a lot of online articles about Ramtail Factory from other investigators use pictures of Round Farm. How did you discover the difference? Was Round Farm from the same period?
T: The Round farm was around long before Ramtail. It was the Round family who sold the land in order to create the Ramtail Factory and village. When I first began going to the actual Ramtail site, I noticed the wheel pit and spillway for the old factory but people in the area insisted that Ramtail was over the beaver dam. I went there and it had more definitive ruins but still lacked the makings of a factory. Several years later, Donna Tucker-Mooney showed us all the ruins of the factory, houses, store, and blacksmith shop, as she grew up there and would venture out to the place often. The Round farm is also haunted. We had several experiences while there. I have an aerial view of the both places from the 1940s and the farm buildings are all there in the photos. Ramtail is mostly field but no visible buildings.
D: Other than Ramtail Factory, are there any other haunted locations that you go back to regularly?
T: Yes, The Tavern On Main in Chepachet, RI; The Publick House in Sturbridge, MA; The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA; The Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, CT; the vampire graves of RI; and Hanton City in Smithfield, RI.
D: What would you say was your most convincing encounter at Ramtail Factory?
T: My friend and I were doing a vigil at the ruins when a glowing form emerged from the trees, moving from one ruin to the next. It had no definitive shape but moved like a person. It also moved at the height of what may have been the floors of the buildings. It was amazing. I have witnessed the “candle” glow several times and actually once heard the creaking of a lantern move about us as we stood near the ruins.
D: Have you ever had any experiences during the day at Ramtail? If yes, what were they?
T: We actually recorded a few EVPs there during two day sessions and once while sitting in the middle of the old road, Arlene was using the cards to field questions. Out of nowhere, a ball of light circled around her, over the cards and meandered into the woods. This was at 2:30 in the afternoon. The ball of light was about the size of a golf ball.
D: Tell me about Dining with the Dead 1031. How did it come about and what would a night doing this be like?
T: Dining With The Dead 1031 began in 2007 when we started hosting ghost hunt events at the Stagecoach Tavern, now known as the Tavern On Main in Chepachet, RI. It has grown over time to a major event that we host in such places as the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA, The Publick House in Sturbridge, MA, Captain Grants in Preston, CT and several other places around the region that are haunted. We have held them all over New England with amazing results. You are actually the investigator using either the equipment supplied or your own. People purchase tickets on Eventbrite and sign in at the door. We give everyone a ticket for giveaways later. We do a short presentation on the history and haunts of the place and then enjoy a great all-you-can-eat buffet. After the buffet, we draw the tickets for the prizes and go over the equipment you will be using. We then break into groups and each group will investigate an area, then switch out until all groups have investigated all areas. We then wrap it up and later go over all the evidence to share it with everyone who attended. It is the only hands-on investigation event that we know of that goes to such lengths. You are actually investigating a famous haunted place that you may never otherwise have a chance to. The venues always give us the most haunted areas to investigate. We have made many friends over the years from these events and are honored to hold them and spend time with everyone.
I want to thank Tom for assisting me, not only at Ramtail Factory but by participating in this interview! If you would like to learn more about Tom and everything he does you can visit his website HERE.
Don’t forget to read my other CELEBRITY INTERVIEW entries! To buy any of the books shown in this blog, just click on the image of the book for easy ordering.