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Ghost stories

Curiosity of spirit world
drives researchers

Louisville area group studies paranormal activity
in Louisville, Oldham, Shelby counties

By Kelley Sears
Contributing Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 2004) – Laughing and running giddily through her grandmother’s dark basement, the girls were fighting off sleep with a good pillow fight when they heard a loud knock at the back door.
Carrie Galloway and her sister hesitantly made their way to the entry. They were expecting their brothers to be waiting outside the door, anxiously preparing to jump out and scare them. Instead of their brother’s images, they saw something far more frightening. The image would change Galloway’s life forever.

Ghost hunters

Photo by Don Ward

Ky. Ghost Hunters members with leader Carrie Galloway front row, second from right.

Galloway said between the storm door and the main door was standing a man in a suit. This man wasn’t ordinary. Galloway said she and her sister could see straight through his body.
They turned and raced upstairs and explained what they had just seen to the doubtful group upstairs.
Galloway believed the image wasn’t human, but didn’t know exactly what it was, other than a possible ghost.
Galloway began her discovery process 15 years ago by going with groups to “spend time in cemeteries and other such places,” she said. She became involved with the American Ghost Society six years ago and she said this is when they began to practice a stricter methodology and her quest turned more professional. Two years ago she founded and still serves as president of the Kentucky Paranormal Research.
Louisville has close to eight “ghost hunting” groups who research the paranormal.
Galloway said they all have slightly different methods but have common goals.
“We try to be the best in our profession,” Galloway said.
Some of the organizations use psychics or clergy members to communicate with or try to rid the area of spirits. Galloway said her group does not try to reach the metaphysical realm but instead uses methodological research aids, including an electromagnetic field reader to check for suspicious readings, the Internet to research the history of an area and a camera to see if they can capture images that way.
Galloway said sometimes an area can hold an energy because of events or people that lived there in the past. She said their group got a call to investigate a newer home at the back of Long Run Road in Louisville. Galloway said they received high readings in the area and after doing research found that several years before a 7-year-old settler girl had been killed during an Indian Massacre in that location. Galloway said she found the location to be haunted by that girl who had lost her life too soon or before she realized what had happened.
Some believe a ghost or two lurks on Main Street in La Grange, Ky. Galloway investigated this location a few years ago when she was working with Louisville Ghost Hunters Society and said that they found that area to have a lot of energy.
Some believe a ghost inhabits the upstairs of the Garden Party restaurant at the Victoria Inn. Owner and La Grange Mayor Elsie Carter agreed. She allowed a team to investigate almost two years ago when they were working in the area.
Carter said from the time she bought the property in 1990 she felt there was another presence in the building that seemed to try and take care of the place, too.
She began to research the history of the structure and said she may have discovered who could be haunting the place.

Garden Party

Photo by Don Ward

The Garden Party
in La Grange, Ky.

Carter said the ghost, “Julia,” was the housekeeper of the Peak family who owned the home years before. Julia had lived in a bedroom upstairs and had spent most of her time either in the kitchen or on the second floor and that is where Carter said she feels her presence to this day.
She said “Julia” tries to ensure the kitchen is kept neatly and anytime the room is a mess, the air instantly turns cooler.
She has had several patrons describe their interaction with Julia.
One day Carter said she was standing at one end of the upstairs hallway with a few people behind her. She said that she could feel Julia’s strong presence. Carter looked at the girl to her right and mentioned this sensation and the girl looked at Carter and told her that she felt it on her left.
A moment later, she said they both sensed Julia get up and move. A few more seconds later, someone at the other end of the hallway said they felt her go past them. Carter said she felt this was yet another validation of her suspicions.
“There is something there,” Carter said. “I could feel it… that someone was in my place.”
Carter said at one point she tried to communicate with Julia.
“I told her that I loved the place as much as she did, and I’m going to take good care of it,” she said. Carter said instantly felt a change of temperature in that place.
Her final indicator was a result of several similar occurrences.
Carter said three to five times a year patrons will describe smelling roses in a corner of an upstairs hallway. The smell dissipated as people walked through it and within five minutes, the smell would be completely gone.
Carter said one night she stopped by the house and went upstairs after leaving a funeral. When she reached the top of the stairs, she said was sickened by the unusually strong smell of roses. This moved her to look into the cause more deeply.
Galloway and her team were called in.
Galloway said she and her team went into the investigation with an open mind, so their assumptions or ideas wouldn’t cloud their research.
She said they started investigating “Julia” by going upstairs and having a “quiet time” or “vigil time” in her old room, where they sat in the dark for one to two hours using night vision cameras and waited for any suspicious activity.
Carter and Galloway agreed that the room was cooler, which they both said could have indicated a possible paranormal presence, depending on other circumstances being ruled out.
During part of the investigation, Galloway said she ran a light through the upstairs room and as she made her way around it, the light suddenly dissipated. She said it looked like someone was shining a light through a full fish bowl and the light was reflecting in the shape of a ring on the wall.
The group found no explanation for this occurrence.
“I have no idea to this day what that was,” Galloway said.
She said that a few moments later she realized the light on her camera came on by itself, though it was set up in the upstairs hallway with no one around it.
Galloway said she got up and turned the light off. It came on again by itself a little later. She said this seemed curious to her because the light was designed to be operated by a manual switch.
Galloway said she cannot say for sure if the area was haunted, but she and her team were suspicious of the area because of “too many” strange occurrences in one place.
Carter said since the investigation occurred, the clock in Julia’s old upstairs bedroom, has run backwards. She said she has since changed the batteries several times, shaken it and used a magnet to try and correct it. Nothing has worked.
“No one can hardly believe it, but it’s true,” Carter said.

Becoming a Ghost Hunter

In recent years, a certification process for ghost hunting has been developed, but it is not widely practiced or accepted. “There is not a set standard commonly accepted and one way is not any more special than another,” Galloway said.
Galloway teaches a personal enrichment seminar during the spring and fall semesters at the University of Louisville entitled “Ghosthunting 101.”
The University of Louisville website states that this class “is designed for amateur-level ghost enthusiasts. It explores the intriguing world of the paranormal, takes a glimpse into the age of spiritualism, addresses theories on ghosts and hauntings, and offers techniques for researching and investigating paranormal activity. During ‘show and tell’ at the last session, participants can share suspected paranormal evidence and discuss paranormal experiences.”
Lee Phillips, an investigator with Kentucky Paranormal Research, said he got his start at ghost hunting by taking Galloway’s class at U of L last year.
“It’s definitely a great idea to take because Carrie is so down to earth and helps answer a lot of questions,” he said. “I have always believed in the paranormal. I was just interested in learning more.”
Galloway said a ghost hunter should initially look for any other explanation than the paranormal to define the events that have caused individuals to contact her team.
She said that last week they received a call from a woman who complained that a door in her house continued to open and close without any human contact. Galloway said the team checked the door with a level, to see that the door did not swing on its own.
They found that the door was level and the investigation is still being conducted.
Sometimes people call Galloway to describe noises they hear, most commonly they complain of hearing footsteps when no people are in that particular section of the house. Galloway said her team will come investigate the area by checking air vents in their ceilings and floors because often these sounds are a result of the floor contracting with changes in temperatures.
The team will take a number of photographs with both 35mm and digital cameras. They will also visit the location during the time that they occurrences are most prevalent. If something usually occurs at night while someone is doing dishes, Galloway said they encourage those in the house to continue with normal activities, so her team can rule out all ordinary explanations.

What are Ghosts Really?

Galloway said no one really knows what ghosts are, but a common belief is that they are people who have not realized they are dead, they did not pass on when they died or had unfinished business or loved ones that kept them on this side with an emotional pull.
Galloway said there are two types of paranormal presences: one is the traditional ghost and the other, the strongest and most common force, is the residual.
The residual ghosts or energy appears to interact at times, but really is simply performing the same motions over and over, like a tape recorder. Galloway said this builds energy on the on the earth’s geomagnetic field and then releases, builds up and then releases. They are simply images from the past that do the same motions or movements over and over again.
The times and experiences of those energies are not of this time. They are engaged in activities or motions from the past, in a visible form or sound on a residual basis. They do not interact with those living.
The traditional ghost does interact with those living. Galloway said these types of paranormal beings will sometimes hide keys or move things. She said these ghosts are not violent, but simply are often mischievous.
Galloway said groups like hers are helping to gain further understanding of what ghosts truly are.
Galloway said not everyone believes or agrees with her methods or beliefs, but she is one of the greatest skeptics initially.
“We don’t believe every sight has a ghost, but we believe there are ghosts,” she said. “At some point we have to agree to disagree and show mutual respect.”

• For more information about Kentucky Paranormal Research, contact www.kyghosts.com or email: kpr@kyghosts.com.


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