Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Woodruff Fontaine Investigation

When paranormal investigators think of 'famous' Memphis ghosts, they usually bring up Mary of the Orpheum Theatre and Mollie of the Woodruff Fontaine house. We had the pleasure of investigating the latter last fall and was amazed by the amount of activity in this home-turned-living-museum. Because of some negative comments made about this location by one of Memphis' more wacko 'investigation' groups, I wanted to document our visit to the house and the evidence that we captured there as well.

While touring the home, prior to the actual investigation, we were shown several 'hot spots' where folks had experienced paranormal phenomena. These included the downstairs parlor (where an employee had had a necklace ripped from her), the second floor bedroom (known as Mollie's room or the 'Rose Room'), and the stairs leading from the first to the second floor (where witnesses over the years have reported hearing the sounds of a female crying). During our tour, we actually experienced sudden/sporadic EMF hits just outside Mollie's bedroom (3.7mg and higher)--and an inspection of the surrounding area produced no 'leakage' from any wires in the floor, ceiling, or walls either.

The actual investigation followed the tour. This involved using a barrage of Digital8 and MiniDV video cameras, audio recorders, and multiple hand held devices (EMF detectors, digital thermometers, NightShot still cameras, etc). Over the course of the next three hours of investigation, we actually had several first-hand experiences in the home:

1. After hearing that Mollie likes to sit on the bed in her old room, we made sure the bed covers were pulled tight across the bed. We periodically checked in on the status of the bed to see if it had been disturbed. About halfway through the investigaton, we actually discovered a deep impression in the covers as if someone had sat on the bed. This is a bed, mind you, that is roped off from the public. All three investigators were together throughout the investigation and accounted for. So who sat on the bed?

2. Across the hall from Mollie's room, Mike and I both witnessed small, green balls of light dancing along the ceiling adjacent to the Eastern wall. This happened for about 2-3 seconds. The lights seemed to disappear into the ceiling.

3. While inspecting the depression on the bed in Mollie's room, I actually heard the chair beside the bed move. Upon inspection, the chair had shifted about 2 inches to the right. This sound was caught by an audio recorder in the room.

4. Since the basement of the home seemed to have no activity, we decided to 'base' operations out of there. While video was recording throughout the house, we prepared other equipment in the basement. While down there, Mike actually heard a wooden bench beside a piano creak as if someone sat down in it. This sound was captured on audio, as well as an interesting EVP we will talk about in a minute...

Once the investigation was over, the real work began: Reviewing all the data captured at the house. In addition to this, I decided to research the home at the Memphis Public Library. Both would turn up interesting evidence...

Upon researching archived newspaper articles, we discovered that a paranormal researcher had investigated WF during the 80's. During this investigation, he was able to substantiate the presence of a female on the second floor of the house--and interestingly--a male presence that seemed to be on the first and third floors. It was also determined that this male presence was not a nice entity. This was the first mention of any male being in the home that we had heard of. This was, of course, before we had finished reviewing our audio...

During our review, we got numerous EVP's of a female on the second floor of the house--mostly around Mollie's room (naturally). And by numerous, I mean over twenty! We also captured several EVP's of a male on the first floor. Could this be the 'mean' presence discovered in the 80's? Or the same entity that tore the necklace from a Woodruff employee's neck? In addition to this audio, we also got one great piece of video (posted below). This was a Digital8 camera that was running in Mollie's room while we all planned and schemed in the basement. If you listen closely, you'll hear what sounds like old-time music playing in the background. Naturally, we did not have any music playing anywhere in the house.

Here are three EVP's for your review that we captured in the Woodruff Fontaine house:

EVP1: This was captured in the basement. Mike was telling me about the bench that creaked by the piano. He says, 'Do you like music?' You will hear a female say 'Yes.' There was no female in the basement at the time and the sound was not heard by the investigators present.

EVP2: This was captured in the first floor parlor around the area where the necklace was ripped off an employee. I asked, "Is there someone that likes to hang around here?" Listen close: Immediately after I ask the question, there is a quick whispered 'No.'

EVP3: This was captured just outside Mollie's room. You'll hear the male investigators talking. In the background you'll hear a female voice say, 'Hello.' This was not heard by the investigators at the time.

We at Paranormal Inc definitely know that the Woodruff Fontaine house is, indeed, haunted. And we have the proof! There are elements of an intelligent spirit (indicated by the 'hello' and sitting on the bed) and a residual haunting (the old music caught on video). The Woodruff Fontaine house offers tours to the public. Visit the home and decide for yourself. Even if the house didn't have a ghost (which it does--probably two), the place would be worth your visit.

Posted by: Rich Newman
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