Do Spirits Still Dwell at Virginia’s Poe Museum?
Are there still spirits lingering at the Poe Museum in Richmond Virginia? This question has intrigued many for quite some time. Multiple accounts of brides married in the beautiful walled gardens questioning the appearance of small children playing quietly in photographs when no children were invited to the event. Reports of heavy furniture being over turned in the empty offices, merchandise in the gift shop being opened and moved about, disembodied voices being heard, and tour guides being touched. After hearing the stories of paranormal activity occurring at this historic location, including tales from a good friend who worked there for many years, I decided to schedule a tour and check it out for myself.
The museum complex consists of The Old Stone House, Memorial Building, Model Building, Exhibit Building and the Enchanted Garden designed to reflect Poe’s poem “To One in Paradise”. In 1921 the garden and a shrine built of bricks salvaged from the Southern Literary Messenger; the magazine where Poe began his career; were constructed in memorial to Edgar Allan Poe. The Old Stone House, Richmond’s oldest pre-revolutionary war structure, was the beginning of the tour. Rich with memorabilia from Poe’s life and that of his biological and adoptive families, The Old Stone House was built around 1750 lending its own great history to whatever activity I was seeking. As we exited the house to continue our tour into the other buildings of the site, I asked the staff permission to leave my audio recorder running in the empty Piano Room. This room houses Rosalie Poe’s: Edgar Allan Poe’s biological sisters: pianoforte. I placed my recorder on a table close by, and continued on for the final 20 minutes of the tour. Upon reviewing this brief but significant passive audio session, I realized that there may be some truth to the stories I had heard. I captured an EVP of what sounds like a female breathing and a heavy sigh. Could this be Rosalie Poe, or maybe one of the many generations of the Ege family that had occupied the stone structure?
After sharing the EVP that was captured on my first brief visit with the staff and Curator at the museum, they readily agreed to allow a full investigation of the property. This was a wonderful opportunity to possibly have some of these questions answered and stories authenticated. When we arrived we photographed the site, performed baseline EMF readings, took audio samples and did several active audio sessions before we set up for a passive investigation. We placed our video equipment and audio recorders throughout the site and secured them to run overnight. When I returned in the morning to recover our equipment, I noticed the recorder I had left in front of the pianoforte was shut off. Knowing I had changed all the batteries before the investigation, and never having had it malfunction previously, I made a note and continued to gather equipment.
When I started to review my audio from the recorder I noticed that it had a full battery. That is weird I thought, what had caused my recorder to malfunction and shut off? I fast forward to the section right before the device malfunctioned and found my answer. The sound of a bare foot child running down the stairs and into the room, I quickly grabbed the recorder that had been placed in the adjoining room, would it be on both? Finding the same time on my second recorder I played it back, sure enough the sound of little bare feet running on a wood floor and then the sound of a beep as the other recorder that had mysteriously stopped recording was turned off. Now the sound of bare feet was mine as I danced around my kitchen.
Excited, I called my teammate Angela: her video camera had been set up in the same room, would we catch our little friend running to play their prank on me? After matching up the times again, the clear sound of running feet and the beep of my recorder being turned off were again captured! Her video camera had been pointing directly at my recorder, if someone had decided to play a prank that was of this world they would have not only set off the motion detectors, they would have been caught on tape!
We had captured and were able to track the sound of little bare feet running from upstairs down to the Piano room on three devices. I said to Angela, “That stinker turned my recorder off!” She quickly reminded me that I had promised to leave a ball that night and I had forgotten on our way out. Could this have been why only my recorder was turned off? Does this show that what lingers still at The Old Stone House is not residual energy, but something intelligent with a bit of a sense of humor? We captured another EVP of what sounds like children talking and a man saying “I am dead now”. And to just think that this had all started because of a breath and a sigh caught on an impromptu audio session. Has this answered all of our questions about this beautiful site that has held up throughout the years watching as the city of Richmond as built up around it, seeing building and people come and go, yet standing solid and formidable for such a small structure? No, I think there are still many questions that need to be answered, and new ones to be asked. The Old Stone House has much to offer, not only to paranormal enthusiast, but history lovers and Edgar Allan Poe fans alike. If you are in the Richmond area, the Poe Museum is a must stop for young and old, and you never know you may have your own supernatural encounter with these mischievous spirit children.
If you would like to hear more about the Poe Museum in Richmond Virginia, and hear the EVP’s captured from this investigation, go to SpiritedHistory.com or Pod-O-Matic and look for the Poe Museum Pod Cast.
© LeeAnne Ball/Angela Ghataora/ Spirited History Feb 18, 2010
A Voice From The Sea
The USS Constellation is a sloop of war vessel that was commissioned on July 28th 1855 to protect American interests abroad. Built with original pieces from it’s name sake the Frigate USS Constellation, it took sail in 1855 to Malaga, Spain. After a brief stint in Cuban waters she returned to NY and was decommissioned in Boston in 1858. In 1859 she was deployed as the flag ship of the US African Squadron to disrupted the African slave trade by interdicting slave ships and releasing the imprisoned African slaves. She had a long and dedicated service to our country serving not only as a flag ship but also as a training vessel. The USS Constellations final decommission was on February 4th 1955 by the US Navy. Today the majestic USS Constellation has a permanent berth in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
I was thrilled to have arranged an over night investigation aboard this historic ship. We arrived in Baltimore, ready to verify if the ghostly tales associated with the USS Constellation were indeed true or part of the ships folklore! The USS Constellations ghostly tales include; apparitions of officers and crew being seen above and below the ships decks, reports since the 1800’s of phantom voices and music coming from the brig, and the apparition of a boy being seen and heard down in the ships hold. We had a paranormal puzzle to fit together as we investigated aboard the USS Constellation.
Our adventure aboard this magnificent vessel began with an insightful educational tour on the ships history, workings, and its long and proud service to our country. This was followed by an authentic dinner, which consisted of hard tack, stew, dried fruit, and water. After dinner we were treated to traditional flute music played by one of the crew which added to the sea faring atmosphere, and if we were lucky, help stimulate the spirits into showing up for a visit that evening.
After we enjoyed listening to the enchanting music we decided to wait to conduct our audio sessions due to the noise from the inner harbor bars and restaurants, We used this time to take pictures and explore the ship to see where we would set up our equipment. Afterwards we all met back together for several Ovilus sessions.
Our first Ovilus session was conducted in the ships hold. We felt something was making a connection to us as we began to have French spoken over the Ovilus. The words for mother, fell, and hurt kept being repeated over and over in French and English. Traveling up to the surgeons area on the 3rd deck, one of our investigators who spoke French begin asking questions and we continued getting responses in French and English to her queries.
Prior to this session we had taken sometime to ourselves to explore the ship, to take photos, to pick out our hammock and set up our sleeping areas. As we moved thru the sleeping area outside the surgery room one of our investigators related a personal experience to us. Our sleeping arrangements were canvas hammocks all hung in a common area on the 3rd deck. The investigator was reading a book while taking a break in her hammock. As she laid there she heard a spectral scratch from the top of where her head touched the hammock all the way down her lower back. The sound of a fingernail scratching against the canvas hammock was un-mistakable, and not only could she hear it she felt the pressure of the finger as it moved down her back. After hearing about this we moved over to her hammock and continued our session. We asked questions to see if this was the spirit that had slowly scratched down her hammock while she was laying in it, we got confirmation, “yes” it was him.
Once the inner harbor bars and restaurants closed we began our audio sessions. Angela and myself were two of the last ones to stay up investigating. We went down into the ships hold and set up 2 digital recorders, one on a hanging barrel where the apparition of a boy has been seen, the other I held in my right hand. We sat on the far steps towards the back, or aft end, of the ship. We also had a video camera with night vision set up facing the opposite direction focused on the barrel. Angela began to use her pendulum as we conducted our audio sessions, little did we know we were getting EVP answers confirming the dowsing answers to the questions we were asking. We were asking questions about the powder monkey position, which was most often filled by children who were the fastest and smallest on ship. They would carry bags of gunpowder from the ship’s magazines to the cannons, and at times would helped pack the cannons. As we continued to conducted our session we used some of the sea faring superstitions, jokes and vocabulary to stimulate the environment for paranormal activity.
Afterwards Angela and I sat there in the ships hold talking about investigating on some of the other ships in the harbor. We began to talk about investigating on the submarine and not being sure we would want to go on it. On reviewing our audio we discovered an EVP of what sounds like a child saying in a sing song voice, “You want to visit the submarine?” This small voice from the sea gave us a shiver knowing someone had joined in our conversation deep in the hold of the USS Constellation. Along with the rest of the evidence we gathered that night this EVP helped add validity to the claims of a ghostly figure of a boy being seen and heard in the ships hold.
Our whole experience on board this amazing vessel gave us a little taste and a new found respect for the courage and strength that was required for these men and boys to endure life while at sea on board the USS Constellation.
If you would like to learn more about the history and how to book an overnight investigation check out the USS Constellations website: http://www.historicships.org/historic-ships.html
To hear our ghostly experiences aboard this historic vessel you can go to our website or Podomatic.
www.spiritedhistory.com or http://spiritedhistory.podomatic.com/ www.para-x.com
©LeeAnne Ball, Angela Ghataora Spirited History2010
Respecting Our Historic Sites
Here are my thoughts about investigating an historic site.
I feel that it is the right of those who are in charge of the historic site as to how they want to be perceived to the public. There are those who run historic sites that embrace the paranormal, folklore and legends that are associated with their site. On the flip side, there are others who run historic sites that do not wish to promote any of the paranormal, folklore or legends that are associated with their site. I respect their decision to disassociate from the paranormal because most historic sites are run by a board of directors or a historical society that may answer to the local county, state, corporations, or funding sources that would frown upon them being associated with any mention of the paranormal. These funding sources are what keep the historic sites open and preserved. Theses funding sources desire that their sites to be acknowledged for its history and not the paranormal. When I approach an historic site about the paranormal activity that has been reported at their site, I will present what we can offer and want to do in a positive light. I am up front and will offer everything in writing to those in charge of the site. If those who are in charge of the historic site do not want our findings made public I honor the sites wishes.
I have investigated several historic sites that are linked to paranormal activity that may belong to the current owners parents, siblings, husband or wife. If I were to release these findings it would be too personal to share with the public. It is one thing to be 4 or more generations separated from the spirit haunting then having your loved one being the spirit that is lingering. I respect their wishes to keep that information private.
Unfortunately, there are others in this field that do not share the respect for honoring the wishes of those with the historic site. These are people who are takers, people who assume that everyone wants the story to be told at any cost, and that everyone wants their name published. Persons who do not respect a verbal contract with the site and its tour guides I truly dislike and do not want to be associated with in any way. When you break your clients trust that is everything. All you have is your reputation. Personally, it makes me physically ill to know that in some way I may have harmed not only the site but those who love and take care of it. When the sites owners or tour guide allows access to areas that are off limits and state verbally that you are not to print, publish or tell anyone about it, that is what they mean, “do not tell.” A verbal contract is to be honored just as much as a written contract. That is why I encourage historic sites to get not only verbally but in writing exactly what they will and will not allow to be printed photographed and released to the public during paranormal investigations, interviews with radio/TV hosts, and writers. I am upfront and put everything in writing with our Spirited History Investigations.
I have seen first hand what this can do to a beloved historic site and those that love and take care of it each and everyday. Right now two amazing docents may not only loose their jobs but one may also loose their home and their spouses job due to someone not honoring a verbal contract. Turns my stomach.
Experiencing this has really helped me see how I do and do not want to work in the paranormal field with historic sites. Please stop and think before you print and publish, be up front with all sites about what you are doing and ask permission to print their names. It is best to get the permission in writing so there are no misunderstandings and harm done.
This is just my 2 cents. I needed to purge a bit of this…been holding it in for awhile.
Blessing to everyone and thanks for reading!
LeeAnne Co-Host Spirited History www.spiritedhistory.com
Include A Sound Study During Your Paranormal Investigation
I like to conduct a sound study of the site and structures both inside and outside during our Spirited History Investigations. The sound study will assist in authenticating the audio anomalies that may have been captured during your audio sessions.
Here are a few sound sources that I include while recording my sound study:
Mark on your sound study each room you are in so that you can match the sounds in your study to you audio sessions.
Record the sound of walking on all floors, carpets, and floor coverings.
Record the sounds of opening and closing doors- cabinets- and drawers
Record walking up and down the staircase(s) on stairs
Record sound of AC/HVAC/Heating going off and on
Record traffic sounds on and around the site from both inside and outside from each room.
Record any machines that may be on the property-VISA/MC machine-computers-fax machines-printers-time machine-kitchen tools and machines from each room.
Record sounds of objects that may move such as clocks ticking-chiming-clicking during hour, glass and metal objects, etc from each room.
Record voice and whisper samples of all on people on site during the investigation.
Record any animal sounds on site during your investigation. (pets or farm animals)
Record your voice and footstep samples to test the acoustics on each floor. Record sounds of talking above and below the floor you are recording.
These are just a few of the sound sources that I will include in the sound study. Once you have done this for several sites it should take about an hour to complete. With each new site you investigate you will be adding new items to record during your sound studies.
I have found these sound studies to be of great service when reviewing audio taken during the investigation. I can better identify if the anomaly I have found in the recording is natural to the site or something that doesn’t belong and could be a possible EVP.