Founder Michael Robishaw started Alexandria Paranormal Investigations (API) about seven years ago, the logical extension of his lifelong paranormal experiences and fascination with the unexplained. Since then, his northern Virginia team has handled hundreds of private residence cases and explored some of the most active locations in the US, including Waverly Hills (where they had a memorable encounter with the infamous “Creeper”), the Victorian Mansion, Eastern State Penitentiary, and Oaklands Mansion in Laurel, MD.
According to Michael, “API uses many different types of scientific equipment on our investigations to collect the best evidence possible. We also use our own common sense and own personal experiences. Having an empathic psychic on our team allows us to have direct communication with spirits or ghosts we find during our investigations.” Michael’s daughter, Sara (Robishaw) Christopher, can sense the presence of spirits and can recognize whether a haunting is residual or intelligent. As an empath, she can read the emotions of others around her, including ghosts.
As Founder/Lead Investigator, Michael manages the equipment and supervises the technical staff. He also handles most client interactions and does the bulk of evidence review. Other active members of the API team include William Van Horn III, Mike Rogstad, Shawn Davila, Gary Darr, Mike Cosgrove, Phil Bloxam, Eric Smith, Steve Muskett, and Colin Geraghty.
Although Michael has had paranormal encounters throughout his life, he describes himself as a “sensitive,” rather than a true psychic. His experience and expertise in audio and video electronics, including security and surveillance as well as wireless technology, ensures that he stays well grounded in science during investigations and evidence review.
Michael’s favorite pieces of equipment are the Mel Meter and full spectrum camera. He’s recently added an “ES” speaker to API’s arsenal. “It’s used to convert speech into a magnetic output.” Michael explains. “It can be used to play music for a trigger to attract the spirits or you can record questions and playback during EVP sessions. The theory is if spirits are recorded at certain frequencies why not ask questions in those same frequencies.” This device is one of the most recent inventions of well known paranormal researcher Bill Chappelle.
Michael saw his first full body apparition at the age of nine, when his grandfather passed away. His grandfather appeared to Michael in his home at or shortly after his actual time of death in the hospital, which was miles away. Michael believes his grandfather wanted to give him a sign to let him know that he survived death. Other encounters throughout the years have not been so reassuring. Michael lived in a haunted house in Connecticut for five years, a farmhouse that dated from the late 1700s. He had more than one run-in with a shadow person who regularly tormented him and interfered with his sleep. One the house was blessed by a Catholic priest, the activity lessened considerably.
Michael and Sara, both part Native American, have performed a number of clearings for their clients. They use the traditional Native American sage smudging, combined with elements from other belief systems. “We use whatever we need to use to be effective,” Michael explains. “Our other tools include St. Benedict medals from the Vatican and cornmeal tied in a bag and hung on all the windows and doors. It’s eclectic, to say the least, but our techniques seem to be effective about 90% of the time.”
Haunted Oaklands Mansion
API has investigated historic Oaklands Mansion in Laurel, MD, several times and it is proving to be a treasure trove of historic and paranormal data. Currently being renovated, it’s estimated that the mansion has at least five different intelligent spirits that have shown the ability to communicate in some manner, as well as residual hauntings from different layers of time. The 28 room structure was built in 1732 in the Georgian architectural style and is slowly being restored by the present owner. Oaklands was a wedding gift for the daughter of Richard Snowden and the estate once occupied 1,000 acres. The original land was conveyed in a grant from the British crown.
Among other spirits (at least two children, a slave girl, and a woman known as the “Lavender Lady”), API has encountered Richard Contee, a former owner and an historical figure whose life is being researched by the team. API has discovered that Contee served as a major under General Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War and seems to have been associated in some way with the development and use of warships in that conflict. There is a pier in Annapolis, MD, that is dedicated to Major Contee. Contee may have been a heavy drinker and gambler, as he seems to exhibit these same personality traits in his spirit form. Known as the “Mad Major,” Contee apparently suffered a mental breakdown at some point which could be the reason he is still in residence at Oaklands Mansion.
Check out the API “Oaklands Mansion” page on their website to review more videos and photos and listen to EVPs captured during their investigations.
Visit Oaklands Mansion
API offers events and tours at Oaklands Mansion, including public ghost hunts, for only $40 per person. Go to API’s Facebook page for the latest updates or call Michael at 703-795-3935 to find out more about the schedule of events at Oaklands Mansion or to request assistance with resolving paranormal activity at your home, business, or historic site.