I get a lot of comments on my Facebook Pages Shadows in the Pines and Ghosts of Northwest Georgia from people who naturally assume I am an experienced paranormal investigator. I mean, I run two paranormal facebook pages, right? Actually, even though I have been a member of Southern States Paranormal for a while ( as historian), I just went on my first investigation a couple weeks ago.
Growing up, my parents had told me of an encounter they had with a mysterious ghost horse on a dirt road near an old cemetery in Chattooga County. Later, when writing Ghosts of Northwest Georgia, I heard of this horse again- but with more detail. According to lady telling the story, the cemetery was haunted by the ghost of a horse pulling a horse- drawn hearse. Each night, according to the legend, the horse would pull the hearse into the cemetery. (More on that story in my upcoming book.)
I shared this story with my friends Matt and Adam, fellow members of Southern States Paranormal, who were also intrigued. One Saturday evening, Matt, Adam, Matt’s girlfriend, Christy, and one of my former co-workers and I set out to investigate.
Matt and Adam had brought along an EMF meter and what I think was a K2 meter. I had a camera and a digital recorder. We also brought flashlights, bottled water, and copious amounts of bug spray (after all, this is Goergia in the summertime). Another thing we tried out was an app called Ghost Radar, which I had downloaded onto my cell phone. (While I can’t say I am completely sold in the app itself, I would later be AMAZED at the EVPs I gained as spirits reacted to the app.)
Adam explained the ropes to us newbies. I had never thought about the fact that, when recording, I needed to state any noises that might be later miscontrued as paranormal activity (example: car passing, dog barking, person coughing).
For the next few hours we explored the area in small goups and as a whole group. I can honestly say that I was never frieghtened or even uncomfortable during this time. Much of the time spent on an investigation is “down time”. You spend a great deal of time watching and waiting. I can’t say I was bored, though. I found the whole thing interesting.
After about 2 1/2 hours, we had detected some spirit activity, including a rod and several orbs caught on photo. The Ghost Radar app detected a spirit that gave names and talked about military involvement and a war. We actually found these names on a tombstone in the cemtery along with mention of military involvement!
We took a few breaks and went over the recorder to check for EVPS, but found none at that time. One thing we all did experience was periodically hearing a strange popping noice. We never found a reason for this.
We were able to debunk some shadows and noises as having natural causes. The guys pointed out that, even though it is exciting to find actual paranormal activity, it is extremely important to make every effort to disprove all activity. (This makes the activity you can’t disprove more credible.)
Above: before and after taken just seconds apart. Note the bright light on the right. No known source.
As the session ended, we sat on a grassy embankment near the dirt road and quietly watched and listened. It was during this time that the sound of summer insects slightly faded and we became aware of a crunching sound on the gravel of the old road. We turned toward the noise, but saw nothing. The road was well illuminated, both by moonlight and the security lights from the cemetery. Although nothing could be seen, the sound got louder as it came closer. We could actually hear the clop of what sounded like hoofbeats on the gravel and the sound of what appeared to be old wooden wheels slowly turning on the gravel. We stood and stared. Although nothing was there, we plainly heard this sound. The phenomenal thing (well, one of the phenomenal things) was that this went on for a few minutes. It wasn’t something that happend for just a second or two. Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera were drained (typical occurrence) and the camera on my cell got nothing.
As the sound ended, we approached the road as a unit- eager to investigate what we had heard. That’s when it happened- about four feet from where we stood- you know that blowing sound a horse makes? Not exactly a whinny- my horse used to do it all the time and I never really knew the word for it. It’s kind of an exhale, I guess. And it was right there!
We were amazed, both newbie and experienced guys as well. We couldn’t disprove it. It was there! We had actually heard the ghost hearse!!!
Shortly after this, the atmosphere in the area changed. It was a foreboding feeling. The guys actually saw a grey figure walking along the road where the hearse had traveled. A couple of us experienced pains in our stomach. It was very weird. Although I had not been frieghtened all night, I distinctly became aware that something wanted us to leave. Not long after this, we wrapped things up for the evening.
And stranger things were yet to come….
Above: Before and after taken seconds apart. No known source for orange light.
I didn’t check my digital recorder for EVPs that evening. I was the only one home at the time, and the thought of hearing a strange voice was a little more than I wanted to deal with. The next day, however, I got our my little recorder and was stunned. I had actually recorded spirit voices! Some were untelligible to me, but some were quite clear. At one point, the Ghpst Radar app had said the word “cream”. (No idea why.) Adam asked, “What is cream?” I could plainly hear a man’s voice saying (as if “I can’t believe you don’t know this”), “Milk! …Milk!” Later I was examining my recorder to see wheter it was still on. A man’s voice whispered, “It’s on hold.” The EVPs were unbelievable. I caught several- and I was truly amazed. I was there. I know the voices I recorded did not belong to anyone in the group.
This was truly one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring moments of my life. This is why I love the paranormal! Those moments when something so amazing happens that you can’t disprove. The moments that remind us that, as William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”