This afternoon I had to take photos of a local Civil War museum that has been rumored to have ghosts. Ok, straight up, I dig this sort of stuff. I’ve always been amazed and envious of folks who have had non-confrontational ghost encounters, or who have been able to contact departed loved ones. My kids like it too. We will occasionally watch some of the shows on Travel Channel or Discovery Channel about hauntings and stuff. Hell, we got lunch at a supposedly haunted restaurant while we were in Florida over the summer. I even blogged about it.

I showed up at the Exchange Hotel expecting to get flack from whoever was manning the shop – I mean, I had 3 kids and a husband with me, and admission is $7 a pop. But, I was there to take photos for my newspaper which is only going to bring them a lot of free publicity – so it only seems fair that I get to snap a few photos and be on my way. I really didn’t need a tour, just access to the interior.

I explained to the kind ladies who I was and that I really just needed a few photos of the interior, preferably of spots that may have the most paranormal activity. I wasn’t expecting to catch anything on film..I just wanted to shoot rooms that may have a larger creep factor than others.

The one woman said, “oh, let me call Chris – he’s our paranormal expert. He lives just down the road!” Uff da. The last thing I needed was to drag some poor soul out on his day off to show me around. I really just needed a few interior shots.

Boy, was I glad I let them call him.

This dude was amazing. He not only showed us photos of bizarre stuff captured at the house, but he played us tons of audio – crap that you can hear uttered in the background while they were filming inside the museum. He gave us a detailed history of the once hospital/once hotel structure which has a rich civil war history, so it was not only a ghostly encounter, it was rich in stories of true American history. And he did this all on his spare time. For me and my little article in my little paper.

He walked us through the house and I shot not only photos for use in the article, but video as well. He said that a lot can be heard in the background when you record stuff – sounds that can’t be heard with the naked ear, but can be picked up on audio. Unfortunately for me my batteries were running low (as is always the case with me) but I had no idea I would need to shoot 30 minutes worth of video when I left to go on this photo shoot.

I have to admit it was pretty creepy but totally exhilarating. My husband had what he considers to be an encounter that we caught on tape. A closed door kept creaking and creaking. You can hear it all on video, and the guy asks him “what, do you hear something?” and hubby says “That door over there keeps creaking.” But hearing hubby say it is creepy –  his voice sort of shakes at the end with nervous laughter or just plain fright. The guy just sort of nodded and said “yeah.”

The worst was one part of the video where he tells us about a small child ghost called Emma who resides in the museum. She has dolls hidden under a bed in the upper floor, and as he was telling us the story, he pulled them out from under the bed to show us, and in the background you can hear, very clearly, a moan of dissatisfaction & woe.

It freaked us out. Then we thought it could’ve been my youngest who was a tad nervous about this whole ghostly encounter, especially since there was a small child involved. She kept talking to her throughout the whole tour. The voice most likely was hers, but I’ll tell you, it sounds freaky.

Photo shoots usually entail me creeping around a venue snapping photos and trying to be as anonymous as possible. But at this one I was front & center – and it was a load of fun. And I was sooooo glad that I had my family with me.