Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Case Files: The Sam Davis Home

Like many historic homes scattered throughout the country, the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna, Tennessee has a reputation for being haunted. This reputation began when workers (as well as visitors) at the home-turned-living museum began to report seeing and hearing strange things on the property. Of course, there are actually two Sam Davis homes on the site, so it's probably best to first point out that it is the Greek Revival home--not the log cabin house--that is the location of most of the ghostly happenings...

The Antebellum home dates back to around 1810 and was constructed by Moses Ridley, though most of what you will see during your tour dates back to 1850 when the Davis family did extensive renovations to the property (the home still contains over 100 original items that belonged to the family). As for Sam Davis himself, he lived in the home until 1860. At that point, he attended the Western Military Academy in Nashville--but was soon drawn into the Civil War. His enlistment lasted until 1863 when he was captured, tried, and hung by the Union Army as a spy.

But what about the ghosts?

As mentioned above, the main home is now a living museum that is open to the public for tours throughout the year (just check their website for the actual tour schedule) and workers attend to the home on a regular basis. It has been these workers that have reported strange events in the house. Clarence Elkins, a tour guide of the property, has told of hearing the sounds of a woman crying in the home. He told the local press at the Murfreesboro Post that the sounds were coming from the area of the front parlor -- the place that Sam Davis' body lay in state prior to burial.

Sam's Original Home
Visitors to the property (especially young children) have also told the staff of seeing apparitions on the second floor of the house, as well as the ghostly visage of a young man lingering outside the house -- usually in the vicinity of the family grave yard or walking the path between the plot and the house. According to the staff, many believe this male entity to be Oscar Davis, the brother of Sam. Other activity on the property includes voices, hearing footsteps, and finding lights turned on/off by themselves.

During our visit and investigation of the Sam Davis Home, we too had our own unique experiences. We were accompanied on this investigation by our friends Tony and Traci of The Ellisville Mississippi Paranormal Society, as well as budding investigators Chasity and Katherine.  Several times over the evening, investigators could hear what sounded like a female voice speaking in the room known as 'Grandmother's Room' on the second floor. There were also strange, moving areas of electromagnetic activity in this room. This all culminated with one big event in this area: While performing an EVP session, two investigators (one male, one female) could hear a female voice respond to their questions. Then, all of a sudden, the EMF's in the room spiked sharply causing an actual field of static electricity that the investigators could feel, followed by the sensation of someone touching the female investigator on the arm! Interestingly, a review of the audio from this occurrence revealed an actual electronic disturbance that causes a strange feedback on the audio recorder during this.
Sam's Final Resting Place

Another personal experience involved the aforementioned downstairs parlor. While performing some EVP work in this area, investigators began asking for knock responses to questions. Soon, they began to get them! Several times, the sounds of a knock could be heard after investigators asked for just such a sound.

A review of the audio, video, and photographic data collected at our investigation would reveal even more... We would leave with several interesting EVP/audio clips and one even more interesting photo...

EVP 1: This was recorded in Grandmother's Room. At this point the home is empty (investigators are working outside), but you can clearly hear what sounds like a weird yell, call, or cry in the room.



EVP 2: This was recorded during an EVP session on the second floor. You will hear a female investigator talking in this clip; listen behind her and you will hear what sounds like the faint voice of a second female in the room. This is not an investigator!



EVP 3: This is an example of the knock responses that investigators were getting in the downstairs parlor. You will hear an investigator ask if there are two ghosts in the home. This is followed by the sound of a photo being taken. Right when the camera beeps, listen for the knock response. You'll notice this knock was heard live by the investigators.



EVP 4: This is another example of the knock responses. This time the knock is heard after an investigator asks for confirmation that there are two ghosts in the house.



EVP 5: This was recorded in Grandmother's Room. You will hear a male and female investigator speaking. Listen close: Behind their voices you can clearly hear a young female speaking! This was not heard by the investigators and is an EVP.



EVP 6: This is the live audio of the event mentioned above. You will hear a male investigator complain that his battery went dead, then you will hear a female investigator say she just got touched, then the audio recorder makes a strange feedback sound as static electricity surges in the air. If you listen close, you may even hear what could be a female voice saying 'woo hoo'...



EVP 7: In addition to the above audio, another recorder placed downstairs in the home by a window would reveal other strange sounds. At times it sounds like a person yelling outside and speaking in loud voice. Throughout our investigation, people were working outside (especially around the small gravesite) and nothing like this was ever heard. As a result, we believe the sounds are EVP's. This clip is an example of the cries caught by this audio recorder. Note that the crickets on the audio are louder than the voice (another reason we believe this to be an EVP).



EVP 8: Another example of the strange voice/cries heard coming from outside (or at least the area by the downstairs windows).



Though all of this audio evidence is great, it's always nice to capture something visual during your investigation. And we would do so! As mentioned before, people have reported seeing an entity walking the path between the house and the family graveyard. Because of this, we took A LOT of photos of this area using night vision/infrared technology. 113 photos would reveal nothing, 1 would reveal something interesting.

Take a look at the photo (click on the image for a larger view): It appears a self-illuminating light is square in the middle of the area said to be visited by Oscar Davis! Because this photo was taken in infrared, it is easy to determine this was not a man-made light (flashlight, etc.) because it would have 'blown out' the sensor of the camera (an event that occurs when you shine a light in an IR camera). There is also no focal refraction in the lens, etc.
Possible Ghostly Figure at Sam Davis Home

Is this the entity seen walking outside the home by visitors?

We don't know. We'd like to think so...but you make the call! Better yet, visit the Sam Davis Home for yourself! The living museum offers Ghost Tours and Haunted Hayrides during the Halloween season on October 21, 22, 28, and 29th.

Just visit the Sam Davis Home website for more information.