Tales of the paranormal

BARNESVILLE – It is the season of Halloween and on this All Hallows Eve, we are investigating some local paranormal activity. These two events have both taken place in Barnesville.

The first event involves an apparition that appeared in a photograph I had taken while on the tour of homes and the second was a reported UFO sighting this spring.

The appearance of the alleged poltergeist went unnoticed during the tour, at least by this reporter. However, as we were looking through the photographs, a photo taken in the back staircase of the Georgian Pillars Bed and Breakfast located at 128 E. Walnut St. in Barnesville was singled out by our then Lifestyles Editor Trish Graham.

She pointed out a white object in the stairway. I had thought it was a reflection from my flash; however, the other employees concluded it was a ghost.

When researching the phenomenon, I found that most people are unaware that they have taken a picture of a ghost until they develop the film or view their pictures later on a computer.

The ghosts appearing in photographs usually appear in slightly transparent grayish forms wearing period clothing, or more commonly as bright white patches of concentrated energy. This phenomenon has taken a new twist over the past 15 years with the revolution of the digital cameras, video recorders and cell phones and their video and photo abilities.

Ghosts or phantom-like images have been recorded accidentally by many persons and some intentionally captured by ghost hunters.

I phoned Janet Thompson, the owner of the former Watt mansion in Barnesville, and asked her if she or any of her guests had ever encountered a spirit.

“Yes, they have and I have, too,” said Thompson, adding that she does not believe the house is “haunted” but rather feels that a peaceful spirit inhabits the home.

“I feel very comfortable here,” Thompson explained. “I live here alone and I have never been afraid.”

“Both Mr. Watts passed away in the home,” explained Thompson. “I have seen these spirits and other guests have told me that they have also seen them.”

“One lady who stayed here came down to breakfast and told us that she had felt a cold hand on her shoulder in the back hallway; when she turned around no one was there.”

“My husband was a non-believer,” she said with a chuckle. “He came down one morning and confessed that he had also seen the ghost, ‘You know that thing you have been seeing; well, I saw it this morning when I went to the bathroom,'” he had revealed.

She has always felt the home spoke to her and feels that the spirit is very friendly and even guided her when she was considering purchasing a pet “We were thinking of getting a dog and although we had never owned a Scottish terrier she was compelled to pick that breed.

It was sometime later when one of the Watt’s relatives came by to see the renovations she had made and was shocked to see the dog running out to greet her. “They said it looked just like the dog that Mr. Watt had when he lived here.”

After living in the home for 25 years, Thompson has had health issues and can no longer keep up with operating the business and will be putting the home up on the market next spring. “I would hope that knowing about the spirit will not influence any one who would be interested in this home,” said Thompson. “It is a very peaceful and beautiful home and we have absolutely loved our time here in Barnesville.”

The second occurrence came to my attention when I received an e-mail from a resident about strange lights he had seen flying over Barnesville.

“On May 9 in Barnesville a formation of orange objects was seen flying silently over town near Colonial Drive at 9:25 in the evening. About 12 lights all moving together from South to North. When they each got above Riesbeck’s they faded out,” the message explained.

“Each one had an orange-ish glow and strobe lights like an airplane. One other witness and I saw them first and alerted the night shift at KFC to look and they all saw what we did. There was no sound but whatever it was may have been too far away. We could not determine speed, altitude or distance from where we were at in the parking lot,” a photo was attached. “It looks like orange kids tops, not helicopters or any aircraft that I ever saw. Total time for the observation was about 15 minutes or less. I took 4 pictures.”

I went to the editorial staff and asked what we should do with the report. I investigated the incident through the local air traffic control, the United States Air Force and Ohio National Guard. None of those investigations indicated that any aircraft or helicopters were flying maneuvers in the area on the date or time indicated.

I also contacted the Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS Investigative Team) and they responded with the following, “Thank you for forwarding the information on this event. We also received direct correspondence from the witness and have been communicating with them. At this time we are unable to make any conclusive determinations as to the objects/light sources displayed in the photographs, but will continue to research.”

While continuing research, I noticed that several media outlets covered the story of increased UFO sightings in the late summer of 2011, including Fox News, MSNBC and a UK paper, the Daily Mail.

I also found that reporting UFO sightings in the news is nothing new.

The 1952 Washington D.C. UFO incident, also known as the “Washington Flap”, was a series of unidentified flying object reports from July 13 to July 29, 1952, over Washington D.C. and the neighboring vicinity.

On July 22, 1952 The Washington Post reported. “The Air Force disclosed last night it has received reports of an eerie visitation by unidentified aerial objects – perhaps a new type of ‘flying saucer’ – over the vicinity of the Nation’s Capital. For the first time, so far as known, the objects were picked up by radar – indicating actual substance rather than mere light.” The article included a photo of the objects behind the dome of the capitol building and went on to report, “The airport traffic control center said Capital-National Airlines Flight 610, reported observing a light following it from Herndon, Va. about 20 airline miles from Washington, to within four miles of National Airport.”

On July 28, 1952 the headlines of the Alexandria Gazette read, “Jet Fighters Outdistanced By ‘Flying Saucers’ Over Mt. Vernon And Potomac”.

The sightings prompted President Harry S. Truman to call the Air Force demanding explanations.

Despite such historic documentation of UFO sightings there is still a stigma attached to reporting these sightings and the photographer wishes to remain anonymous fearing they will be labeled, “a kook,” by friends and neighbors.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems to me that interest in paranormal and UFO activity has become more and more intense the past few years. So much so that what was scoffed at in years past is now receiving mainstream news coverage on almost a regular basis.

Perhaps this article will lead to other area residents coming forward with their own stories and photos. The evidence suggests the possibility exists that ghosts and UFO’s are real phenomenon. However, until some concrete evidence proves the existence of otherworldly life forms, they will remain a subject of both controversy and interest.

Do you beleive ghosts share our homes and aliens occasionally stop by for a visit from some distant universe? As for this reporter, I will continue to keep an open mind to that which I can not explain and for now; I bid you a Happy Halloween.

Palmer may be reached at