Posted by Michelle on Mar 8, 2003 in Michelle
Cool article about a group of researchers who are staking out a local historical house to see if they can get the rumored ghosts to appear.
It’s extra cool to us because we had our wedding reception at the old house. It’s a great old house with a gorgeous lawn. ….
Researchers to see who gives up ghost
Durham center invites ghostbusters to work
By ANNE BLYTHE, Staff Writer
CHAPEL HILL — There no doubt will be much spirited debate during this event. Ghost hunters plan to hole up in the historic Horace Williams house tonight to try to coax answers to mysteries that have haunted the 1840s farmhouse for nearly half a century.
The investigators — from Seven Paranormal, a nonprofit organization based in Carthage — are likely to arrive with infrared scopes, motion detectors, thermal scanners and different kinds of recorders to log anything paranormal that might happen.
Horace Williams, a frugal, eccentric philosophy professor, lived in the cozy, one-story home for the last four decades of his 82-year life and for the first four of the 20th century.
It is he, residents have said through the years, who reappears as an apparition.
Images of the thin, bespectacled man also have been reported in the halls of the venerable Caldwell Hall, a 90-year-old building on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus that once housed the campus philosophy department.
“I guess that’s how he stays so thin,” joked Catherine Frank, an administrator with the Chapel Hill Preservation Society, which has offices in the Horace Williams house. “He moves around a lot. I know this is serious research that they’re doing, but it’s one of those things that if you don’t approach it with a bit of levity, it can be tough.”
Not only have there been reports of the phantom philosopher appearing, some objects in the Horace Williams house seem to disappear from one room and mysteriously resurface in another without the visible or admitted aid of humans.
A trip through the house today offers a second close-up look at the old haunt. Ghost hunters took their first look around Feb. 8.
“The places that they found any activity at all were places like the office where electronic equipment could have been part of the reason,” said Frank, who opted to stay home with her young daughter that night. “They said they found some violence in the bathroom closet and at the end of the evening, they said there had been a presence following one woman the whole time.”
There is one theory about the paranormal presence in the bathroom.
Williams, who was said to be very tight with his money, was loath to spend the cash necessary to hook up to public water and sewer. His wife, so the lore goes, returns to the house, which now boasts such modern amenities, and flushes the toilet just because she can.
Who knows whether any ghosts will be given up tonight, Frank said.
The investigation is a try-out of sorts.
Durham’s Rhine Research Center, one of the world’s oldest institutions of paranormal study, is sponsoring the event as part of a series of ghost hunts at historic homes to do a bit of research. In recent years, the interest in paranormal activity seems to have surged, according to Maggie Blackman, publicist at the Rhine center.
“We get so many calls here,” Blackman said. “We seem to be a lot of people’s first point of reference.” The center, though, does not do such field work. The idea behind the hunts was to get a look at some of the people who do such research and review and compare their methods. With a better understanding of the kinds of ghost hunters in their midst, center staffers might feel more comfortable referring calls.
“We’re just trying to take a look at what people are doing out there,” Blackman said.