Authors: Rich Newman
Tags: #Mississippi, #devil, #delta, #ghost, #ghosts, #ghost hunting, #ghost hunters, #paranormal investigation, #paranormal investigator
Photo By Rich Newman
About the Author
Rich Newman (Tennessee) has been investigating the paranormal for over ten years and is the founder of the group Paranormal Inc. He is also a filmmaker whose first feature film, a documentary called Ghosts of War, was released in 2010. His articles have appeared in Haunted Times and Paranormal Underground. Learn more about his investigations at http://www.paranormalincorporated.com.
Devil in the Delta: A Ghost Hunter's Most Terrifying Case â¦ to Date Â©2
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: My Background
: Getting the Call
: The Initial Visit
: War Stories
: Examining the Data
: Trouble at Home
: The Second Visit
: Getting Clarity
: A Final Trip
I'm sitting in the dark master bedroom of the Martin home, waiting for something to happen. According to the owner of this residence, it was in this very room that the most dramatic of ghostly events took place.
After enduring several months of almost constant paranormal activity in the home (to include objects flying across several rooms, mysterious disembodied voices speaking from thin air, and unpleasant scents suddenly appearing), it had all come to a head one evening in this very bedroomâand ended with the family forever closing off the area. And now they did not venture into this space for fear of what might happen to them.
Looking around, I could see several more pragmatic reasons for not entering the bedroom; the entire floor was covered in a massive layer of dirty clothing, books, papers, junk, etc. Items that the owner claimed were strewn about by the “entities” that now resided there in the home with her family.
So now I'm perched on the remains of a bed frame straining to hear anything that might indicate something paranormal is about to occur. Joining me in this vigil are four members of a Mississippi ghost hunting group that I have worked with in the past. They had already spent one terrifying evening in the residence before giving me a call the day earlier. Wanting a second opinion concerning the strange happenings that were unfolding at this property, they had called me in to have a go at investigating the place for myself. And, having heard the tale that they told me about their experiences in the home, I immediately made the trip down into the Mississippi delta.
Once I arrived at the scene, though, it became apparent that there was more going on than a simple haunting. The woman of the houseâI'll call her “Joanne Martin”âwas, at first glance, the living definition of â¦ well, let's say “eccentric.” Decked out in a floral muumuu, she greeted us at the door with a toothless smile and a quick wave into what looked like ground zero of a massive explosion. As mentioned before, common household goods and clothes lay all about the double-wide trailer (Did I mention the residence was a trailer?), and a heavy blanket hung over the entryway of the now shunned master bedroom. If a ghost had done all this, I certainly dreaded running into it.
Now, sitting here in the dark of the night, I had to admit that there was a certain pall in the airâthat feeling you get when you walk into a room just after a heated argument. Terri, a female investigator from the area, and I began rattling off a series of typical EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) questions as the rest of her team made their way through the property, attempting to obtain photographic and video evidence of the activity that is said to happen on a regular basis.
EVPs are thought to be the voices of the dead captured by audio recorders. Normally, these voices are not heard by the investigators when they are recorded live, but it's standard practice to ask questions anyway with the hope of getting something that will be heard later when the recordings are reviewed. We had been at it for about an hour and I was just suppressing a yawn when I asked aloud, “How long have you been here in this house?”
After a brief pause, a surprisingâand alarmingâsound echoed throughout the trailer. A sound that now sent the investigation spinning off into a brand new arena: one of sudden belief and possibility. A long, loud rumble tore through the bedroom, shaking the very walls around us. This was an event that Joanne had reported happening there in the pastâand it usually preceded a whole string of paranormal activity that most would either label as being “poltergeist” in origin or a type of “demonic infestation.”
I looked over at Terri who was now sitting in silence, eyes wide and peering into the darkness. “What was that?” I managed to get out â¦
Since I was very young, I've been intrigued by the paranormal. I can remember watching reruns of
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
on television and keeping myself up at night to sneak into the family living room (without permission) to catch a glimpse of the occasional horror movie (
Trilogy of Terror
kept me up for almost a week, thanks to that little voodoo doll that hunted Karen Black in her apartment). And though I was into almost every type of monster or horror movie, there was something about a good ghost story that got into my blood.
When I was in my teens, my family moved into a circa 1920 house in Scott City, Missouri, that was pretty much on the verge of collapse from years of abuse by a former tenant. We didn't have much in the way of a household income, so we made do with what we hadâand what we had was a strange, little house with hideaway/sliding doors, outdated plumbing, and an exterior that shed its paint like a cat in spring. But there was something else in that old house, too.
Apparently, we also had a very small and subtle haunting.
Every night, the old door to my bedroom closet would open all by itself. You could actually see the brass knob turn and hear the lock click as the door creaked open. Interestingly, the act didn't occur at the same time each night; I would invite friends over to check out the mysterious door, and we would keep a vigil over it for hours with no reward for all of our effort. Then, as soon as we tucked ourselves under the covers for the night, we'd hear the ominous groan of the door swinging wide open.
But nothing else ever happened. No apparitions, no disembodied voices, no cold spots, or anything else that we now typically associate with a haunted house. Just a door that liked to open by itself.
I took great pains to attempt to figure out the phenomena; no drafts came through the closet (though there was a small window in the closet for some reason)âand the door was not simply swollen shut because of a change of temperature and then opening when cool. There was also no suction occurring when either of the main doors leading to the bedroom were opened. Nothing seemed to explain the strange events. I would even double-check to make sure
the door was completely closed tight each night (often multiple times), and yet it still opened!
So I know what you, the reader, are thinking at this point: did I ever try going
the closet and waiting for the door to open? The short answer: no, I did not. There were a couple of very good reasons for this.
First of all, I believed that this would in some way “invade” the space of whoever or whatever was opening the door (I assumed that he/she/it was actually living in the closetâor at least hanging out there frequently). This could upset the unspoken agreement that currently kept the ghost in the vicinity of the closet and that allowed me to sleep somewhat securely in my bedroom at night. This was a balance that I appreciated and would maintain at any cost.
The second reason for not waiting in the closet was that this would potentially be a terrifying event. Would an actual spirit show up in there with me? What would it look like? Would it be satisfied with simply opening a door now that a whole, live person was there inside the closet with it? And could I get out if something appeared? I mean, if it could open a door, it could possibly hold it closed, too, right?
These were questions that I had no intention of answering back then. I simply was not ready to directly confront such a potentially horrific thing. But the flames of paranormal intrigue were fanned once again. What are “ghosts” and how, exactly, do they come to be? I didn't know it at the time, but I was already taking my first steps toward becoming a paranormal researcher and investigator.
Years later, a couple of great new television programs would bring to light more information regarding the paranormal and hauntings directly to me on our old living room television set:
Watching paranormal investigators like Dr. Hans Holzer, Dr. William Roll, and Dr. Kerry Gaynor would fuel my desire to go beyond the spooky door in my room and explore other local urban legends, ghost stories, and haunted hot spots. Of course, I had no real idea of
to investigate a haunting, much less how to analyze anything I found at the site. So it seemed only natural that I would again turn to television programs to learn from the masters.
But back then, while watching the aforementioned experienced parapsychologists and investigators was cool, these shows rarely offered any
to investigate the paranormal. Plus, the ghost hunting equipment of the day (analog audio recorders, film cameras, etc.) was much larger and cumbersomeânot to mention expensive and hard to get (especially for a teenager with no real income).
As a result, my early “investigations” usually amounted to nothing more than me and a buddy going to a reputedly haunted place and roaming the area with a flashlight in hand. While such excursions were fun, they were almost always fruitless. But then, we were doomed from the get-go. Our ignorance of proper investigative techniques and tools of the trade hindered us from ever really experiencing (much less documenting) the paranormalâthough we did learn how to use our senses to monitor our surroundings (a skill that still serves me well today).
These days, however, information about ghosts and hauntingsâas well as ghost hunting equipmentâis readily available to everyone. With numerous books on ghost hunting, many television programs, and a wide availability of ghost hunting gear, anyone can learn the tools of the trade. But, interestingly, no book has ever really laid out the complications and challenges of working with individual families who believe they are suffering from a hauntingâor worse yet, dealing with something altogether frightening within their home.
And such cases become even worse when the name of the “Devil” comes into play â¦
Dealing with your own religious viewsâas well as those of the family/clientâcan be the stickiest of wickets, and is not for everyone. These are the true issues and dilemmas that investigators face on every private case they take. Trust me, I know. Since my ghost hunting buddy from the old days, Mike Uelsmann, my brother Brandon Delrosa, and I created the group Paranormal Inc (www.paranormalincorporated.com), we have been involved with numerous cases (public and private) and know only too well the problems that can occur when religion and science clash.
Over the years, I have been frightened many times during an investigation. Sometimes this is simply the result of dealing with the unknown; at other times, it is because alarming events are taking place around me. But unlike my time spent in my old, haunted bedroom, I now eagerly go into the rooms with the ghosts. And it has been these trips into haunted placesâand my experiences with dark and
destructive spiritsâthat have guided my investigations. Which brings me to the Martin case and this book.
Never before has an investigation caused me more intrigue and frustration than this one. While reading this book, you will experience the same confusion I felt during my time in the Mississippi delta. It would take my years of experience, and more than the usual amount of patience, and an open mind to sift through all the paranormal incidents (and just plain strange events) that took place at this residence.
The “Devil” in the title of this book does have something to do with the obvious connotation of the wordâbut it also has as much to do with the old saying, “The Devil is in the details.” Never has this been truer than in researching and investigating the paranormalâand the stories/cases discussed in this book are no exception.
Of course, when an investigator takes on a paranormal case, three things come into play: the past personal experiences of the investigator, lessons the investigator has learned at previous investigations, and (naturally) the circumstances surrounding the case currently being examined. And though I primarily use the Martin case to illustrate this point, I have also included past cases and personal experiences to give an overview of what I'm talking about when I say that personal experience and lessons learned can affect an investigation.
I have learned (usually the hard way) some strange lessons when it comes to investigating the paranormal. These lessons would ultimately help me navigate the new and strange waters of the Martin caseâas well as allow me to see things happening there with a fresh perspective. After all, the Martins have only been around their own haunting; I have been around many of them!
Concerning the particular cases in this book, I have changed the names of those involved with the stories that are detailed here (except those involved with Paranormal Inc and where I've noted an exception to this rule) to protect the privacy of those involved, as well as the specific locations. And though these cases are the “stage” upon which this story unfolds, they are not the subject of the book. That distinction belongs to the aforementioned wicket: clients and their beliefs.
Have no doubts, though, that all the events mentioned in this book did, indeed, happenâusually with other people present to witness themâand that the included photographs were, indeed, taken within the locations mentioned (by me).
And what about you, the reader? Are you willing to go through the door and enter a place where something dark and terrible may lie in wait? If you are a paranormal investigator (or perhaps planning to be one) you will appreciate the twists and turns where this particularly beguiling investigation leads. But maybe you are like I used to beâmaybe you just love a good ghost story and a good scare.
Either way, buckle up now and take a trip with me into the remote corners of the human mind, as well as into the dark regions of the Mississippi delta â¦