Spooked! Paranormal investigation team and Haunted History tours look for spirits in Madison

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The first floor of Merchants Hall on West Washington  was one of the sites investigated. Photo by Leila Dycus

The first floor of Merchants Hall on West Washington was one of the sites investigated. Photo by Leila Dycus

By Leila Dycus, Intern

Local legends, personal stories, historical backing and, now, the potential for paranormal evidence are aiding in the evolution of Haunted History Tours located in downtown Madison.

On Saturday, Oct. 12, a group of eight investigators from East Georgia Paranormal (EGP) made their way to Madison. The group paired with Melissa Piche, owner of North Georgia Tours and host of Haunted History Tours in Madison, to investigate three sites, with the sites’ owners’ permission of course.

“The purpose of the investigation is to find something that fits with history, so I can weave a historically sound story and highlight the business on my tour,” Piche said. “If they (EGP) find any evidence, I will be able to include it in the tours for that particular location, especially if it seems to directly fit with the history of the location.”

Currently, the tours are focused around local legends and ghost stories, which Piche backs up with historical information. Evidence from the team lends her even more credibility.

At 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 12, three of the investigators gathered with Melissa at the first site, the old Madison Hardware store on West Washington Street. Piche led the investigators through the building, describing the stories that she had been told and pointing out specific areas of the building. Before being turned into Madison Hardware, the building served as a livery. Piche had been told people can sometimes still hear the sounds of horses’ hooves in the building.

The second site examined was the first floor of Merchants Hall, also located on West Washington. Upon first look, the lead investigator, Tommy Cook, was most compelled by the sight of a gravestone, outside the building in an alley.

The third site, which, according to the owner’s wishes, will remain undisclosed, was decided upon as the base for the investigation. Cook instructed the other two EGP members on how to set up their base in the building. The third location housed cameras to monitor the investigation of the building. Shortly after set-up began, five more EGP members arrived on site.

The EGP team divided into three groups, passed out equipment and said a prayer before send-off. Each group was equipped with flashlights, voice recorders and K-II meters.

How did investigations work? The first round of investigations began a little after 8 p.m. and lasted for almost two hours. During the investigations the team started with a base reading of an area in the building. This was designed to locate areas where paranormal activity could be present. The team used K-II meters to gage electromagnetic fields.

Once the investigators surveyed the area and got a base reading they then began investigating specific areas. Team members began asking questions to the paranormal beings, like, “Who’s here?” and “What’s your name?” and then instructed the beings to do simple things such as knock on something or make the K-II meter read a higher number. Voice recorders were used to catch any sounds that might be made or any communications from the paranormal.

Investigators stayed in groups of two or more people, covering the entirety of the buildings. At a designated time, the team reconvened as a whole. They took a short break before switching locations and completing the process again. Each smaller group surveyed all three sites.

According to Piche, they will not know the results of the investigation for several weeks. The investigators from EGP must have time to review all of the evidence before sharing it.

If the investigation provides no evidence for a particular location, Piche will not be able to include the location on her tour unless someone provides her with personal experience. Evidence and personal stories come together to build North Georgia Tours.

“My goal is to create a tour that is fun, historically sound and business savvy,” Piche said.

North Georgia Tours offers Haunted Historic Tours on Friday nights. The tours meet at the Methodist church parking lot and start at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults, and it is recommended that children under 12 not participate in evening tours. However, special children’s tours can be set up. For more information visit www.northgeorgiatours.net.

Piche poses with Garrett Murrell and Cole Holloway.  Photo special

Piche poses with Garrett Murrell and Cole Holloway.  Photo special

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