Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are Ghosts from the Titanic Haunting Atlanta's Aquarium?

There is a wonderful exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium right now. It is the famous Titanic exhibit that has been touring the nation as of late. A few years ago, the exhibit was at the Atlanta Civic Center. I went to the exhibit there, and I highly recommend it. Not only can you touch a real piece of the ill-fated liner, but you can see items retrieved from the wreck including dishes, deck chairs, utensils, and other items. It is worth a trip to the Georgia Aquarium to see this. But there may be something else at the aquarium that will fascinate you, and it is not the fish. It may be ghosts from the Titanic itself.

I ran across this story while searching our college's databases for news articles on an historical topic I was pursuing. On Newsbank, an article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from October 27, 2008 appeared with this story. According to article, there are spooky things going on at the aquarium, and most of it stems from the Titanic exhibit. Aquarium volunteer Margarit Mourino reported that she ". . . could feel like this hand moving over [her] head and through [her] hair." Aquarium spokeswoman Meghann Gibbons said, "We've had a number of volunteers report strange encounters when they were working the Titanic exhibit."

Aquarium officials called in investigators from Roswell Paranormal Investigations. While there they were able to record ethereal voices, saw shadowy figures roaming darkened corridors, and saw a few things that could not be explained. The team uses scientific methods and equipment to conduct their research including meters to detect electromagnetic changes and thermometers to detect drops in temperature. Diana Aveno, founder of Georgia Paranormal and director of the Roswell Paranormal Investigations, helped lead the investigation at the aquarium. While there, one recording device operated by Claudia Lee picked up an eerie response to an innocent equipment related question she asked. She asked a team member in reference to an electromagnetic meter, "Where do you want me to put it?" From nearby, a whispered voice responded, "Down," The voice did not belong to Lee or anyone verifiable.

Avena commented that because of Titanic's tragic history, it made sense that the exhibit would experience residual energy. Avena also reported that an elderly woman haunted the first class cabin replica and a young worker was spotted in a room housing dishes and clothing from the wreckage. In addition, eerie discoveries were made at the aquarium that did not relate to the exhibit itself. One investigator experienced the apparition of a Native American man in a corridor behind what is called the Cold Water Quest area.

So does the traveling Titanic exhibit include ghosts in addition to the hundreds of artifacts, pictures and replicas? Why is there an appartion of a Native American in the halls of the Georgia Aquarium? Was this the result of the Aquarium being built on sacred Native American ground? Or was this just the product of an overactive imagination? I highly recommend the exhibit to my readers, and who knows, visitors to the exhibit may get to see a really neat artifact-a lost soul from the disaster. It is worth the trip nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Information on the Mysterious Fish Family Vault-Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville

Once again, I have to credit Hugh Harrington, author of "Remembering Milledgeville: Historic Tales from Georgia's Antebellum Capital," "Civil War Milledgeville," and "More Milledgeville Memories" for the following information on the Fish family and their mysterious vault in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.

According to Hugh, there is a lot of misconception about the vault. First off, Thomas Jefferson Fish (T.J.) is NOT buried inside the vault, or in the cemetery for that fact. In truth, he is not even buried in Georgia. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. He was a casualty of the Civil War. However, he does have a Confederate marker outside the vault. He is not there, though. Mr. Fish, Thomas Jefferson Fish's father, is buried inside the vault, as well as his mother, Mrs. Fish. She is the one in the metal casket. The other remains in the vault were buried in wooden coffins, all of which had decomposed and were almost gone when Harrington and the other members of Friends of Baldwin Cemeteries helped renovate the crypt. There are the remains of three children there, one of which has been identified. There was also an unknown adult male buried in the vault. However, upon researching the family history, Harrington discovered that the Fish brothers were all accounted for. They do not know who this adult male is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fish Family Crypt in Memory Hill Cemetery-Myth Debunked

There is a legend about Mr. J.A. Fish, whose family has a crypt in the Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Georgia. The legend goes that Mr. Fish's daughter and wife died of typhus sometime around 1872. Mr. Fish was so heartbroken by the deaths of his beloved wife and daughter that he had a rocking chair dragged in to the crypt and bricked himself up inside. According to the legend, he died inside, and when visitors come to the crypt and knock on the outside of it, they can hear a faint knocking on the inside.

I asked my friend and favorite local historian, Hugh Harrington, about the legend. He and his wife, Susan, have worked on rehabilitation, preservation, and history compilation for the cemetery for years now. According to Harrington, the Friends of Baldwin County Cemeteries raised almost $17,000 to help repair the Fish crypt, as it had fallen in to disrepair. When the organization and preservationists opened the crypt, they found a metal casket and the remains of five other people. Included among their team were an archaeologist and an anthropologist. Harrington and the others did quite a bit of research on the crypt and the family. Harrington reported that since Mr. Fish died first, the legend could not be farther from the truth. There was no rocking chair, and the legend is FALSE.

I want to end this post by saying that I absolutely love Memory Hill Cemetery. The Harringtons should be commended for the work that they and others have done there. There are a number of Georgia notables buried in the cemetery, including former Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, author Flannery O'Connor, former UGA chemistry professor and first ever UGA head football coach Charles Holmes Herty, former members of the Georgia General Assembly, former presidents of Georgia College and State University, and numerous Civil War soldiers. I highly recommend a tour of the cemetery. Although the Fish legend is not true, it is still worth a trip by the old crypt to see the restoration work done by the Friends of Baldwin Cemeteries.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Guest Appearance on the Radio

I hope my readers had an opportunity to listen to my guest appearance on Dr. William Lester's Dimension X radio show in November. Dr. Lester emailed me a few days after the show telling me that he had received lots of positive emails about my visit, and that he wanted me to do another appearance. I am scheduled to be on the show again on December 27th. I will put up another post closer to that day with the details on time and how readers and listeners can access the show via internet.

Fred-The Theater Ghost of Fairburn and Other Spooky Happenings

Situated in the southwestern part of Fulton County is the small town of Fairburn, which used to be called Campbellton, and was the county seat of old Campbell County before it became part of Fulton County. The small town is quite quaint, and just one trip through the historic downtown area will convince you of the need for future trips to the area.

Perhaps the most famous resident of the town is Fred, a spectre many have seen at the local theater. According to an article published by Michael Boylan on TheCitizen.com, a division of the Fayette County newspaper, "It is said that when things go awry during a rehearsal or performance, or if you hear strange noises while working back stage or in the props or costume loft, it is just Fred making mischief." Most say Fred is just a story, a local legend if you will, but there was so much buzz surrounding this little theater on a sidestreet in downtown Fairburn that it attracted the attention of the Ghost Hounds Network.

Denise Roffe and Loretta Brown, two Ghost Hounds investigators, decided to spend the night in the theater. Theater guild members decided to stay with them as well. They were investigating stories of footsteps heard by people in the theater when noone else was present, or doors that opened by themselves. Other incidents include shadow figures and reflections of people who were not there. While there, the ghost hunters did record six EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). The voice on the recordings cannot be matched with anyone who was there that night. One recording frightened one of the ghost hunters so much that she quit the group after that night.

One of the voices on the tape can be heard to say, "Shh, they're calling me." The investigator that quit the group was frightened by the voice on the tape saying "tepga", which is Tibetan for "riding beast" or "way of transportation." In addition, members of the group were frightened by a shaking couch and an unseen hand touching their arms.

Group members claim that they did not experience any negative energy in the theater. I have been by the theater but never inside. One of the administrators at the college where I teach reported to me that there was talk by one of the guild members that TAPS had contacted the theater administrators and was planning an investigation at the theater soon. I will get back to you when I hear more information about that.