Ghost hunting is not your average hobby.
Most of the time hunters sit in the dark, ask questions to air and take photos of nothing.
Sometimes, if they are lucky, something unexplainable occurs. It could be an odd bang, creak or shuffle.
Sometimes, even stranger things happen.
Last week, the Shadow Chasers of Middle Tennessee investigated Social Bar and Nightclub on the Square in Murfreesboro. And your intrepid reporter, Michelle Willard, joined in the hunt.
We began the investigation by breaking into teams; the women went into the basement and the men stayed upstairs.
During our hour into the basement, we heard scrapes and creaks, bangs and knocks, water dripping and whispers, footsteps and shadows in the dark.
About 45 minutes into our hour, head Shadow Chaser Beth Swain’s K2 meter started flashing. A K2 meter detects fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. According to paranormal research theory, ghosts produce and manipulate magnetic fields, which can be detected by the device.
The ghost-detecting device hadn’t responded to anything up until that point, but something made it flash when we started talking about Marathon Motorworks in Nashville.
“Do you like it when we talk about cars?” Swain asked.
The K2 flashed.
“Are you here alone?” Shadow Chaser Denise Bingoff asked.
The K2 did not flash.
“Do you think Denise is pretty?” Tammy Talbott asked.
The K2 flashed.
“Well, don’t follow me home,” Bingoff said with a laugh.
After a few more questions and K2 flashes, the device stopped responding and I heard what sounded like footsteps behind me, walking out of the room.
Along with these personal experiences, a review of the evidence found an electronic voice phenomena that responded directly to a question asked by Binghoff. And one of the hunters said he saw a shadow figure upstairs.
In previous investigations of Social, the Shadow Chasers had EVPs of a man’s voice and a woman’s voice, as well as other odd, seemingly unexplainable, sounds.
The group will share these stories of Social, along with their other investigations of downtown buildings, at its “Shadow Walk Tours.”
The walking tours of the Square will be held every 30 minutes from 7 p.m. till 9:30 p.m. Oct. 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27. Tours begin and end at Big B Cleaners on the Square. The tour costs $5 per person.
“These are places we’ve actually investigated,” Swain explained, adding the investigators saw a black mass and light anomaly in Big B on their last investigation.
“We looked for anything that might reflect,” Swain said about the odd light, “but there wasn’t anything.”
She explained the dry cleaner was the site of a cab stand in the 1920s. During that time, a man, named Albert Dubois, shot and killed a man on the site. Dubois was convicted of murder and was the last man put to death by electrocution at state prison in Nashville.
Other stops on the tour include the City Cafe, Goodness Gracious, the old Health Department, the Center for the Arts and Smotherman’s Antiques.
Smotherman’s Antiques is located on the corner of Vine and Church streets leading into the Square in a building full of history.
It’s the history of the store, along with the antiques inside, that is believed to cause its haunting.
During two investigations, the Shadow Chasers felt tugging on their clothes from about child height, saw drafts when there should have been none, caught EVPs and even what seems to be a reflected face on a picture.
Randy Smotherman, who owns the store with his wife Belinda, said he thinks a girl named Julia is behind most of the unexplained events.
Julia refers to a Victorian photograph that Smotherman bought in 1998. He believes the piece of art is a death photo, which has been colored with pastels.
Death photos were a common part of the mourning process in Victorian America and were often hung in homes of the friends and relatives of the deceased.
Smotherman said he found Julia in McMinnville.
“So she’s a local girl,” he said.
He believes Julia is behind the antics because of one incident he experienced personally.
“Those toys were on the floor one morning with the pieces all around it,” he said pointing to a vintage boardgame on a high shelf along the wall of the store. Which wouldn’t have been odd, but “there was glassware on the shelf in front of it, but that hadn’t moved,” he said. It was like someone had played with the toy during the night.
During the investigation of Social, the Shadow Chasers didn’t see anything move, but I did have an unexplainable experience.
After the ladies returned upstairs, I was sitting about 10 feet away from another investigator as we both stared at a wall, waiting for shadows.
I heard a woman whisper, “Hey,” as if to get my attention.
I turned to the other investigator as she turned as looked at me.
“Did you say something?” I asked.
“No, I thought you said something,” she said. “I thought you said, ‘hey.’”
But if I didn’t say anything, and neither did she, who did?