The lead investigator for a ghost hunting team said it may take two weeks for results from its recent investigation of Chickamauga Battlefield.
“We have over 20 hours of video and 30 hours of audio to go through with a fine-tooth comb,” said Rick Howard, president of Ghosts and History of Southeastern Tennessee Inc. (GHOST).
The team spent about five hours Saturday night and early Sunday morning looking for ghosts at the historic battlefield, where one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles was fought. About 4,000 soldiers died.
“We concentrated on the Snodgrass Hill area, the (Snodgrass) cabin, the field next to the cabin and Old Vittetoe Road, where there has been reported sightings of Green Eyes,” Howard said.
Green Eyes is reportedly a ghost that roams the battlefield. The legend has many
variations, including the tale of a soldier whose head was shot off by a cannon.
The GHOST team also studied Wilder Tower, including the so-called “White Lady” that some claim to have spotted in that area.
The group was equipped with eight to 10 high-powered infrared video cameras and about a dozen audio recorders, as well as several other high-tech devices.
Howard said the investigation started about 9 p.m. Saturday and ended shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.
In November GHOST Inc. investigated the historic Marsh House in LaFayette. The house was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War. Horses were ridden through the downstairs hall, some of the floor boards were soaked in blood, and bullets were shot through the walls. GHOST concluded the house has paranormal activity. For more about GHOST Inc., visit the group’s website at ghosttn.com.
Local writer on the ghost hunt
Local writer Mary Catherine Duhon accompanied the GHOST team.
“When I was asked to come along with GHOST to investigate the Chickamauga Battlefield I was very excited to be included as an observer since I have been in love with the battlefield since I was a child,” said Duhon, 31, of LaFayette.
“Chickamauga is a Cherokee word meaning "river of death" and considering that it got its name before the Civil War took place, it occurred to me that this particular national park possessed more history than most were privy to.
“I learned that several other ghost hunters were interested in investigating the park but were turned down in favor of GHOST Inc., who had to gain permission by submitting an application to Washington, D.C., due to the fact that it is a federal park run by the government.”
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Duhon said she was excited and a little nervous. She said she did have some reservations and wondered, given her artistic imagination, if she “would go screaming off into the hills.”
“You see, I prefer to be undecided when it comes to things of a paranormal nature. It helps me stay grounded in my writing and it also helps me sleep at night!
“I was struck instantly by the easy-going comradery of the group, who I found easy to approach with my curious questions as to how they came to be interested in ghosts and the paranormal,” she said.
Duhon said the group split into four teams that rotated between Snodgrass Cabin, the area below it and around the cannons, Old Vittetoe Road, and Wilder Tower.
“We were not allowed to go inside the cabin or the tower. However a camera was set up pointing inside the cabin. The first location I visited was Wilder Tower. We arrived in a van that had GHOST Inc. emblazoned on the side of it in dark letters. One member came armed with a video camera and another with an audio recorder for picking up EVPs,” she said.
EVP refers to electronic voice phenomenon.
One of the members sat down and turned on her audio voice recorder and began to speak to any and all possible spirits, Duhon said.
“She made the statement that she would be asking questions and though we may not hear anything within our range of decibels level, we may pick up something on the EVP. She began to ask questions such as, ‘Is anyone here?’ ‘Did you fight for the Union army or for the Confederates?’ ‘We mean you no harm,’” she said.
“I was amazed by how unafraid that I was. I have been to this battlefield numerous times in the daylight and had experienced so many positive things here that I found being here in the dark exhilarating,” she said.
Duhon said she did not see any paranormal activity, but some people drinking at the battlefield approached the group.
“In the end our trusty park ranger had to be called in and the car full of people left almost immediately. So one of the members saw a ghostly white figure and all I saw was drunk people,” she said candidly.
Duhon and the group ventured onto Old Vittetoe Road, where the team searched for Green Eyes, which is said to be visible on Old Vittetoe Road.
“Most of the locals know the story of Green Eyes and as a local myself I was surprised to learn from Rick that the story goes back even farther than the War Between the States. Its actually an old Indian legend,” she said.
Duhon and the group ventured to Snodgrass Cabin and the field below the cabin, where fighting took place and also served as a training ground for soldiers during World War I.
After a freezing night of ghost hunting, Duhon said, “Overall I would say that my first ghost hunting experience was a positive one and a learning experience both from a historic perspective and from a scientific perspective. They were professional and friendly and I could find no fault with GHOST Inc. for their thoroughness to detail and objective approach to all things that go bump in the night. I’ll be waiting with bated breath to learn what they uncovered!”
-Walker County Messenger