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Well, I’ve got to admit, I’ve had my doubts. We’ve all heard so much about the haunted reputation at Gaither. I mean, I thought “Really, no place can be THAT active!” Coupled with the facts that the lunar cycle was relatively new (17% waxing gibbous), meaning about 4 days into the cycle, and that there was almost no geo-magnetic / solar activity forecast for the evening in question (quiet – per NOAA), I was thinking that this may be an evening with little joy. Anything less than a stellar night would be a disappointment for us after all of this anticipation.
Traveling down the two lane roads of dark and rolling Newton county’s countryside on the way to Gaither, I’m sure that Landon’s thoughts were the same as mine. We both were ecstatic at the prospect of the first official investigation with our new crew, especially breaking out of the gate with something like this. But the conditions were nagging at us. Georgia’s wonderful weather had decided to grace us with a ton of rain in the last several days (and a steady drizzle on this night as well), along with the first real cold snap of the fall. Cold wet rain will limit outdoor investigations quite a bit, and with all of that, the nagging kept rising in volume. I mean let’s face it, it’s not a good idea to traipse through the fields and the woods to get to the family cemetery, then take the risk of tracking debris into a historic landmark upon our return to the house. We were setting the example for teams to follow us, and while wanting to set a great example, I really wanted to hit that cemetery!
Upon arriving at the property, we were greeted by the two friendly caretakers, both of whom appear to be a bit of paranormal enthusiasts in their own right. They filled us in on the rules, they told us which sites were available to investigate, and asked us to be careful of tracking debris into the home (Well, I guess that means we’ll definitely leave the cemetery alone!). They also described just a bit of recent activity, but then told us as well, that they wanted to withhold a bit of it to see if our experiences correlated with recent reports. Now that’s true paranormal procedure, don’t let their experiences taint others’ perceptions. I really appreciated that, especially with a couple of new investigators on the team. Which by the way, let us welcome our two rookies, Sean Cohen and Erin Cohen to the team! They appeared to be two really fine people and I was looking forward to working with them. They did not disappoint!
But I digress. Getting back to the investigation, we decided to start in the main house. It’s a wonderfully preserved example of what I would call upper middle class Antebellum plantation construction. Two floors, with two upper bedrooms. Lower floor with a formal dining room, a spacious kitchen, a veranda, a bridal bedroom in an addition, a formal living room, and even what I would call a parlor, and all with very high ceilings (I’d estimate 9-10 feet). There is also a cellar, that appears to have been rebuilt along with all of the foundation as it looked to be recent and well kept CMU block construction. All of my home inspector training tells me that was not the norm in the 1850s, when this home was originally built. There may be a room that I am missing here, but you get the idea, the home was not not overly presumptuous, and it’s in absolutely fantastic condition.
The first few events occurred both before and while unloading equipment. In one of the photos that was taken of our group by the caretakers with my Sony camera, there is a white mass that appears to be hovering by us. Lens flare? I don’t really know, but it could be. But shortly after, Sean told me that he had seen a leg crossing the front door opening while approaching the house with equipment. Now, let me tell you readers a little that I’ve gleaned from Sean. He’s a skeptic. Skeptic in this case meaning that while he believes, he also is of the opinion that most phenomena that people call paranormal can be attributed to other causes. So my excitement heightened just a bit at that. Then while we were unpacking in the veranda, the distinct odor of a rose like perfume was noted by nearly everyone in the group.
After getting all set up, I set out to do a sweep of the home to establish baseline readings. Nothing unexpected, 60-61 degrees with 40% humidity throughout. They of course turn the HVAC equipment down to save on costs. I used the Extech EMF detector as I wanted to get precise readings and it’s not as susceptible to fluctuations from movement as others are. Readings from .1 to .4 throughout, no sudden spikes, and my nagging feelings began to return.
Then, I went to get some exterior photos, and the world began to turn upside down. Now, before I go further, I’m going to say, I DON’T particularly care for orb photos. On most nights, there are too many other explanations, and there is still a lot of debate in the paranormal community abut their importance. But, I’ll make an exception in these photos. The light anomalies were coming FROM the ground everywhere that I was catching in the display as I was shooting! Now, there was a light mist going on, but this was an extremely fine mist and the anomalies that I captured had small tails stretching behind them toward the ground indicating upwards movement. I’d expect the rainy mist to produce tails above them as it fell, but no, they were moving up!
Going back into the main house, I discover that the team is having some issues with the DVR getting some of the cameras to work properly for any amount of time. Okay, could be due to the fact that we have some new folks setting up, but I’ll keep that in mind. I tell the team about the anomalies and show them what I captured, and our collective excitement heightened. Landon and Sean took off for the outbuildings once we finished our setup. The outbuildings include the chapel, the two small cabins furthest away from the house (slave cabins?), the old general store, and what’s called the Dolly Parton cabin, due to it having been the set from the movie that was her bio. It’s not the original that she actually lived in, nor was it originally part of Gaither Plantation, but that’s the name that it has acquired due to its history. We agreed that they would return shortly after 10:30, which would give them about an hour and a half to do their thing, while we covered the main house, and then we would switch places. I would take Erin and my daughter Francesca with me. Francesca has shown signs of being a sensitive and I wanted to test her out on this investigation.
We started out in the front upstairs bedroom, which we mistakenly thought was Cecilia’s bedroom. That would make sense that Cecelia did not respond much when we called for her specifically. By the way, if you go, her bedroom is the back one and is identified by her wedding dress lying on the bed…duh! But we did get many hits on EMF meters when speaking to the spirits in this room. Since the meters were left on a table rather than being held, I consider those to be positive hits as the home does have modern wiring and there was nothing nearby to contaminate the results. Moving to the back bedroom, the results were similar. The only funny thing that I noticed was that the spirits apparently did not like nor did they trust my Trifield Natural EMF meter, as they resisted all calls to manipulate it. We moved then to the living room and after that, the parlor, again with similar results as the upstairs bedrooms had demonstrated. It was after 10:30 at that point, so I tried to communicate with the others at the outbuildings. No response. So we moved on to the bridal bedroom. That room had no activity documented whatsoever. By the way, if you go to Gaither, this is the only room in which you will be permitted to sit upon the furnishings. What we found interesting about this however, was that we heard several distinct clicking noises coming from the veranda. While checking the source out we found that our camera 1 which was situated there was oddly switching back and forth from normal lighting to IR, and that is only supposed to occur when the lights are switched on and off. Upon entering the room, the switching would stop, and upon leaving the room, it would begin anew. So something was interfering or playing with the light sensor on the camera. We called the guys again and this time they responded. Evidently, they were getting bombarded with activity at the chapel. But, they agreed to come back and switch. We told them that they couldn’t have ALL of the fun!
Investigator: “You can touch us if you like. Just don’t try to attach yourself to us, we won’t allow you to do that. Is that okay?” Response: “Yes”
Investigator: “I hope that your afterlife has turned into a much more pleasant experience.” Response: “I’ve been alright. I thank you.”
Investigator: “I can see where could make you restless. Is that anything that you’d like to do to have that fixed so that you;re no longer hanging around?” Response: “Maybe”
Investigator: “You ran your fingers through my hair downstairs.” Response: “Too bad!”
Since they still ended up not making it back until almost 11:30, we went down to the cellar to investigate and then did another baseline sweep while waiting. Nothing in the cellar caught our attention, but as I was coming up the stairs, a murky figure seemed to peer around the corner at me and then disappeared. It was so quick, that I did not really get any details, just that it was a figure. It was also at this time that Erin got a series of three photos that shows a extremely faint misty form that appears only in the second of the three consecutive shots.
(SPACE FOR LANDON’S chapel EVALUATION HERE)
My part of the team went to the chapel as our first stop after switching. The chapel is a dreary looking building, with double doors standard for the period, that open into a small entryway with a second set of double doors just beyond the first set. Opening the first set is like passing into another world, Immediately, a feeling of anger and foreboding set upon us. I actually hesitated a bit before proceeding, and I rarely do that. The interior of the building appears to be a standard primitive chapel, with a pulpit and a display case at the other end, along with a portrait of the parson (the one accused of murder) and an upholstered chair. I checked the temperature quickly, 46 degrees and 37% humidity. We proceeded to the back to get a look at the case. While my two companions were looking over the items, I stepped to look at a solitary door to see if it went to the outside. Suddenly I heard both Erin and Francesca yell! There was a rock on the edge of the pulpit that evidently had started to move while they were looking at it! No joy for me though, as it had stopped when I turned. I’m positive that this was genuine, however, since they both saw it and yelled at the very same instant. Also we were getting solid EMF spikes within this area. They took a second to recompose themselves, and we all looked at the display case which was full of memorabilia of the history of the chapel. Neat stuff, but nothing of any real draw to me. We took seats at the front by the doors and turned off all of our lighting gear. There are small windows at each side of the alcove at the rear and I could clearly see the small amount of light that was passing through was being obscured, as if by shadow figures passing in front of them. Now granted, there were a bunch of trees outside, but there was practically no wind on this evening. Still, the debunker in me wants to say that there is the possibility of it not being paranormal in nature. Unfortunately, my laser grid is on the fritz right now, so we had little opportunity to investigate that very deeply. But clearly, something was moving in the chapel back and forth across the area behind the display case. We could hear the almost shuffling footsteps as we listened in the stark silence. The sense of anger and foreboding grew in intensity as we conducted EVPs. I personally try to refrain from provoking, but the parson’s actions in the murder-suicide of his wife and himself here in the church was a cowardly act, and I told him that I sincerely hoped that he was reaping the just rewards of his actions while in the afterlife. Shortly before this, I had decided to turn on and test an Android app that I downloaded. Most of these are just junk, of course, but this one works somewhat like an Ovilus and gave me one reply after registering increasing EMF on its display, the word “clockwise”. We turned, looked that way and saw nothing more than that our breath was beginning to be more noticeable as the temperature seemed to drop a bit. I turned to another app to test which works somewhat like a sonar. There were two blobs showing, the smaller of which went precisely through the area just clockwise to us (as my ExTech spiked to a 4.3), and the larger just behind us at the double doors. That one kept getting bigger as the atmosphere seemed to get more heavy. At that point, Erin and Francesca indicated that they really wanted to get out of that chapel, and I was not in any mood to disagree.
Entity: “Where were they running?”
In this EVP, we were asking questions and heard no response, but upon playback we discovered almost what sounds to be muffled organ music in the background.
We also passed through the cabin and the general store. We got the same sets of EMF fluctuations that we had experienced at other locations throughout these buildings, with intelligent responses to questions being received at the old general store. We did some EVP work at the store, but we did none at the other locations as Landon communicated with us that the caretakers were on their way to wrap us up.
In this EVP, I noticed that Erin’s car door was open outside, as I went to close it, we heard a distinct angry response, maybe a “NOOOOOO!!!!!”
Investigator: Is there a message that you need us to give someone? Response: (Something unintelligible, but the last word sounds like “spear”.
The final building we quickly hit was the Dolly Parton cabin, which has had some very compelling recent activity reports by guests. What was particularly interesting about this cabin was the small knee high door under the stairs, which again caused our EMF meters to spike when they were placed in front of it. Being curious, I opened it to see what was within, which was a lot of nothing. But, the meters then quit registering. And as soon as I closed that door again, they started to register a presence once again. We think that this may be a child spirit that is hiding within the small cubbyhole there who left when it was opened and re-entered when it was closed again. For readers who may go to Gaither, you can go up these stairs, but be aware, you will startle the animal life that appears to be staying on the second floor during the colder weather, which will startle you as well, so don’t fall down the steep steps. And to be honest, I don’t recommend going on that floor as its large span is not properly supported.
(SPACE FOR LANDON’S main house EVALUATION HERE)
In short, there is apparently quite a host of entities at Gaither plantation, in all locations. The activity was quite startling even for the obstacles presented by the lack of geo-magnetic activity and the newer lunar cycle, which limits the energy sources that some spirits seem to thrive upon. However, we feel very confident in the fact that Cecilia (Ceely) Gaither, the parson and his murdered wife, and an unidentified child are all on the property, but that doesn’t explain all of them by far. This also proved to be largely an intelligent haunt by nature due to the many direct responses that we received. The only negative spirit that we encountered was definitely the parson. We believe that the smaller one that we noted as well in the chapel was his wife who was attempting to placate him after the provocations (I found out later that the other two who had went before us had also done some of the same – thanks for the warnings, you guys!). We’re gonna have to get on the same page about this stuff in future. Hopefully, before we go in after someone has already provoked an already angry old murderous spirit!
We still have some EVPs to add to the page. Sorry for the delays, but the holiday season IS upon us…