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Amateur Ghost Hunting

Recently, a friend from work and I set off in search of ghosts. Mike brought it up during a lull in the morning activities a couple of weeks back, and I agreed that it sounded like a good idea. The house that my ex-wife and I lived in seemed to have some sort of activity, and I developed an interest in the paranormal from there. I THINK I’ve been around some strange happenings, and I’m about 75% sure that ghosts really exist. However, I have nothing to offer in the way of absolute proof. Maybe an excursion into the unknown would give me what I was looking for. Then again, maybe not.

The first part of the quest was to find a likely spot. I did a little research on the internet and came up with a place called Moonshine Hollow. This is the site of a picnic pavillion and hiking trail right off of US Route 9 in Morgan County, West Virginia. Allegedly, many years ago, moonshiners brewed their white lightnin’ there, and rumor has it that they are still very protective of both their wares and territory. I actually know somebody who sat in on a ghost hunt there last year, and he said that with a little provoking the woods suddenly became ripe with activity. Apparently, some would-be hunters were frightened off before the night ended, and there were claims of photographic evidence and the sounds of invisible feet walking on the gravel road running around the 55 acre park. It sounded good to me.

During the week leading up to the big event, Mike put together a low-budget ghost hunting kit that consisted of a digital camera, tape recorder, and two flashlights. I was pretty pumped, even though we lacked the resources of TAPS or just about any other group investigating paranormal activity. We had a fifteen mile drive to our destination, and we talked about expectations and what we would do if something did indeed go bump in the night. I had a good idea where the pavillion stood, but I still managed to drive past its semi-hidden entrance. I kind of wondered if we should have kept on going. It wasn’t exactly the Myrtles Plantation or Bachelors Grove Cemetery, but the place had a bit of a reputation, and, honestly, I was a little spooked.

Upon (finally) entering the site, we read the sign: Spruce Pine Hollow Park. Spruce Pine? It seems that the local investigators and the author of the internet article did some embellishment! Spruce Pine…Moonshine? Well, I suppose that a poet could make the two place names rhyme, and I certainly drew gloomier images from the Moonshine moniker. This was a bit of a letdown, but here we were. For starters, we took a walk on the hiking trail at about 9:30 PM, and there really aren’t too many things creepier than a wooded area in the dark. We stopped from time to time and listened to the noises in the forest. A screech owl’s hoot gave us a bit of a start, but the traffic from route 9 and the gurgling of a good sized stream made hearing much else difficult.

After an hour or so of taking it all in, we returned to the pavillion area and took some pictures. Most of the reputable investigation units think orbs are dust or water vapor, but it was still thrilling to see a very bright one show up in the picture. In all, there were orbs on four of seven pictures…before the camera’s batteries mysteriously died. How mysteriously? The camera belongs to Mike’s wife, and he had no idea whether or not it had been charged. In all, the results of the photo session were mixed, and we’re waiting until his wife put the pics on the computer and blows up the image. Can I be honest and optimistic for a second? I’m pretty excited. We’ll see.

The recorder had a 30 minute tape in it, so the odds of catching anything really weren’t all that good. Nevertheless, we did a brief EVP session. Let me tell you, asking questions to the thin air (in all likelihood) makes a person feel like a fool. After hearing the click signifying the end of the tape, we rewound it and listened. Nothing of any import came of our exercise, and the only sounds, other than our own voices, were those of crickets and the occasional passing car. The only real excitement that took place was when a car pulled into the picnic area a little after midnight. This place is out in the country, and visions of “Deliverance” briefly danced in my head. When the car pulled away, we both breathed a sigh of relief.

In all, it was a great way to pass the evening. As Mike pointed out, the place does have a story behind it, and our results neither prove nor disprove the validity of its (slight) reputation. Would I do it again? Absolutely! We already have another place in mind, and a couple of other people have expressed an interest in coming along. Once again, it will be an outdoor location, and until we can come up with a house, foundation, etc., it will be difficult to come up with any good data. The business with Spruce Pine/Moonshine gives rise to some serious doubts. I have a feeling that it is a rural version of an urban legend, but I just might change my mind when Mike e-mails me the blow ups of the pictures.