Published: April 1st 2012April 1st 2012
The Hanging Tower
No records of anyone actually hanging there. But that doesnt stop them from making the place look as creepy as possible.
I don’t think I have mentioned before that I do ghost hunting with a local group on television. I got into it through a contest a little over a year ago. I don’t pretend that I know what it is, but having done this now, I am certain there is something else out there.
I left home around 5 yesterday afternoon to meet some of the other team members at the television station. From there, 4 of us would ride down together in one of the stations vans. A good friend of mine (SH) had entered one of the recent contests and came in second. He's a local police officer, and the shows producer (SC) thought it might be interesting to have him join us for an investigation at the jail. So SH, SC, our camera operator (CS), and myself left just after 5:30 for a 2 hour road trip to Jasper, Florida, population 1 family of 1900 people. It probably isn't really just one family. But who knows.
It was a rather uneventful trip up until the city of White Springs. It's another little podunk nowhere town along back roads of horse country. I really have no idea
why the city even exist. Why people would live 50 miles from the nearest grocery store is beyond me, unless they are growing their own food. It's the kind of city that is so boring that if it is along your path to anywhere else, you're going to drive thru as fast as possible. Clearly the police department is aware of this. I saw a police car sitting in a yard as we approached. But it really looked like it was where the cop probably lived. SC was driving the TV station van since he works for them. He was only doing about 40 which seemed like a reasonable speed to be going through that area. Apparently the speed limit was 30. As we passed the cop, he flashed his blue lights. Since the station van is wrapped with a label covering the whole thing like a billboard on wheels, it probably looked like a spaceship compared to the Confederate Flag adorned, mud covered, redneck pickup trucks that the cop is use to seeing. I blew off his lights since it really didn't seem like we were going very fast. I think everyone else in the van did as well.
Creative name for an old jail. Just glad we didnt end up in the new jail after being stopped for speeding.
But I did notice him start moving as we went by, so after a couple of blocks I looked back and he was coming up behind us with his lights still on. SC found a side street and pulled on to it with the cop right behind us. We stopped and sat there for a minute making jokes about which ways we should all take off running. The overall consensus was CS (the only female in the van) go first in one direction. Us three guys would wait until the cop went chasing after her, then we would all run in the other direction. CS didn't really like that idea. But she was outnumbered. SH made it clear that while he may be carrying his gun and badge, he wasn't getting us out of this. So running seemed like the best solution to me. Being stopped by the police in bumfuck hillbilly town seemed like the beginning to a bad horror movie ala Wrong Turn. We knew we hadn't broken any law with the exception of SC's slow crawl over the speed limit. But I was pretty sure that wouldn't stop this cop from hauling us off to his secret
OK. Thats not creepy at all.
I think I hear my Mom calling me to come home now. Gotta go.
lair/murder barn/rape room to squeal like a piggy. I was going to take my chances in the forest, surviving on the Moonshine stills I was certain to cross on my woodland path to a real city.
My mental plan was abruptly interrupted by a voice at SC's window that sounded like a cross between Carl from Slingblade, and Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies wanting to know "Wur ya goan in such a hurry?" Which began a discussion about not thinking we were going that fast, what the speed limit is, who we are, and where we actually were going. Having discovered he had just stopped the biggest celebrities to EVER be in that town, Officer Carl was quickly starstruck, and immediately wanted to know if we had "dat der essential equipment that all ghost hunter people use". What the fuck he was referring to is beyond me. A digital voice recorder? An electromagnetic field detector? A thermal imaging sensor? A fucking camera for gods sake? Well we are a television show, so of course we had a camera, and since this show is now in its 3rd season, of course we have all that other stuff as well. Not
3 rooms of the building have old stuff in it that may or may not have ever been in the building while it was an operating jail.
knowing what he was talking about, and wanting to get out of Farmer Rapeville as soon as possible, I asked him he meant the EMF detector. I am pretty sure he had no idea what I was talking about, but agreed that was the "Essential Equipment" he was referring to, and seemed quite impressed that we had a thing that he had no idea what it was.
After playing the TV show card. Quite literally. SC handed the cop his business card that he probably made on his own computer, but seemed quite official to Officer Carl. We were allowed on our way with confirmation that we were at least going in the right direction without a speeding ticket or Deliverance style sex.
Having survived the closest thing to police brutality that I have ever experienced, I was grateful for arriving around the same time as the rest of the team, at our destination, The Old Hamilton County Jail, while the sun was still barely lighting the sky. It began operation in the 1880s and remained in operation as a jail until the 1980s. It's wiki page doesnt have much info but does have a picture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Hamilton_County_Jail .
, and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the little woman that worked there and seemed to know everything about the place. I do mean "little" I doubt she was over 5 feet tall and bore a striking resemblance to the medium in Poltergeist. I wasn't even in the building yet, and was already quite creeped out. The steps of the building were covered in 10 to 15 children between the ages of 4 and 16, and were probably Little Woman's children/nieces/nephews/cousins. A reference to Children of the Corn was quickly and easily made. What in the hell has this group gotten me into now, was all I could think. I was grateful to have an armed friend with me, though he was probably 1 of the 2 or 3 in the group that could actually outrun me. But I still felt pretty secure in my combat training that I could take on a gang of elementary and middle schoolers. I tried to remind myself that to them, we were celebrity faces that beamed in black and white by magic into their televisions and they were probably all star struck.
After introductions, some of the team went
inside for a tour with Poltergeist, some went exploring with the Leader of the Children of the Corn, some, including myself remained outside for an easier get-away in the event Piggy Squeals began emanating from within the building.
Having it been deemed secure by armed Officer SH, and Poltergeist taking her Children of the Corn home or wherever, I reluctantly decided to join the other team members inside since I was now standing outside by myself in Farmer Rapeville West. By comparison, it was a relatively uneventful investigation. With the exception of the Halloween decorations hanging throughout the building from its use as a haunted house at the end of each October. But we did catch some evidence that there is something going on. I'm not sure how much I can disclose before the episode airs. But during playback of an Electronic Voice Phenomenon Recording, we discovered someone that we couldn't see wanted to cut one of us. Some recordings we catch, I just don’t hear. But "I'll cut ya" came through like someone in the room said it. Believe what you want, but I am yet to figure out how that can be faked when the recorder never
left my sight. It was said that a couple of executions happened within the jail, and at least one suicide happened there. But I won’t attempt to pretend I know who or what made that recording. Hopefully I'll figure it out one day through more investigations.
I have no idea what time it was that we wrapped, But my feet felt like I had been on them for a month. As we walked out to load up our gear, Poltergeist showed back up with her Children of the Corn. Why there were 4 yr olds up and out at this hour was a mystery to me, but it might be a normal thing in Jasper. There was some discussion among the team of going to grab some food. Several members decided they wanted to get back to Jacksonville as soon as possible. But us in the van, and a couple of the other team members decided on figuring out where the closest food may be. Someone asked one of the locals, and somehow we ended up with an escort and entourage that wanted to join us. We ended up at a gas station/barber shop/electronics store/huddle house (like waffle house
but with less teeth) near the highway. Those of us in the van quickly decided we could wait a bit longer for some food, and that we didn't need haircuts or a possibly pre-owned surround system. SC having informed the cousin family that I had explosive diarrhea and needed to get back to Jax before I shit myself to death, we quickly left our followers and began our journey to the relative safety of the Murder capitol of Florida. (that's Jacksonville, last I checked).
We stopped on I-10 at the edge of the city because a traffic accident had the highway blocked. I was able to get out and stretch my legs, walk around, take a picture of someone else’s tragedy. It was a good 20 minute break in the ride. While standing outside on the highway, leaning against our billboard on wheels in my TV Show T-shirt and hat, a teenager walking around spotted me and decided to ask if I "do that local haunts show". It's always cool to see that look on someones face when they realize they are talking to someone that is on TV. The movement of traffic inspired me to get back in
Feed me. or dont. whichever.
The Warden/Sheriff supposedly lived in a suite on the 2nd floor. I can only guess food for the inmates, and Sheriffs family was made together in this kitchen.
the van and we were shortly on our way.
Finally back at the station we said our adieu and went in our separate directions. Another car wreck slowed me down as I crossed the Intercoastal back into Jax Beach on my way to the house, but I didn't have to stop. Unlike the driver of the burned up car blocking a lane of traffic. He was sitting on the guardrail in handcuffs and will be very late getting to his destination. A row of about 30 cars in Taco Bell's drive-thru told me it must be 2am. I checked my phone. It was 1:59. Ten blocks later I was finally in my driveway at the end of this little adventure.
From Jacksonville Beach,
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