"Are you alone or are others here with you?"
The garden at the colonial-era estate known as Sagtikos Manor is pitch black, except for the small rays of light emanating from Mike Cardinuto's video camera.
Cardinuto is leading a team of ghost hunters. They are trying to contact spirits of the night.
"I do think there is definitely something out there," said the co-founder of the group known as the Long Island Paranormal Investigators, or LIPI.
Not to Cardinuto and his 10 colleagues. By day, they work at regular jobs like fast food manager and pool salesman. But nightfall brings them to a converted garage where they meet below hanging plastic skulls and prepare for the night's mission.
Those missions all have the same goal- to explain things that go bump in the night. The Paranormal Investigators answer calls for help from frightened or quirky people who believe their homes or businesses are haunted.
There's no charge for their service. These investigators are only interested in trying to explain what seems unexplainable.
They come armed, not with ouija boards but with tools of science- geiger counters, high speed video cameras, digital audio recorders, temperature gauges, electro-magnetic field meters, you name it. Science is the only way to prove the existence of the supernatural, they say. But most "ghostly" incidents are nothing of the kind.
"Everyone wants to see a figure appear but that's the rarest thing that happens," said group co-founder, Rob Levine.
Often, the "ghosts" are rattling pipes or loose floorboards. But sometimes, the Paranormal Investigators hear or see something for which they have no answer.
"All of a sudden you hear a whisper- Mommy!. Clear as day. It gives you chills," said investigator Jamie Feldmann.
In fact, LIPI's website is littered with audio recordings known Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVPs that the group insists may well be the voices of spirits trying to communicate with them.
"We went to one place that used to be a hospital that burned and we got a voice on a recording saying, help me, it burns," explained Levine.
During a home investigation, a video camera provided more eye-opening "evidence." One group member is seen moving a lamp as he and others walk about the room. Eerily, just minutes later, the video shows what appears to be the lamp, moving itself back into place.
"I came into this group with a lot of skepticism," said Feldmann. "But there are some things you can't explain."
For Cardinuto and Levine, ghost chasing began with a dare nearly eight years ago. A friend ventured into an abandoned psychiatric building, they said, and later claimed to have experienced paranormal activity. Cardinuto, Levine and company have been hooked ever since.
"Do you like that we've come here?" Levine asked in the cemetery at Sagtikos Manor, where group members claim to have seen the spirits of British troops once stationed here.
We moved with the group around the estate once visited by George Washington; but saw nothing of the father of our country or any other spirit.
If our doubts weren't wiped away, the ghost hunters remained undaunted.
"Maybe one day we will find something," said Carolyn Barbano.