May 2, 2015 – Brooksville
Our tour guide was Bonnie. We did an abbreviated tour where we learned of a number of deaths on the property. The first floor area was the site of one of the first ride-by shootings in the area in which a man was killed. The home was also used by the May and Stringer families; Marina, the wife, married May who passed away, then remarried Stringer. Marina, herself, died in the house as did two of the children she gave birth to: a little boy, who died while she was still alive, and her 3 year old daughter, Jessie May, who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Jessie May was alive after her mother died, but was the only child produced by Marina and Mr. Stringer; two step siblings also lived in the house at the time. Jessie May is the only ghost acknowledged by the May Stringer Historical Society.
Bonnie reported that she had seen the cups in the dining room vibrate and rattle. Finally, one cup rose up and flipped over, and was placed upon a saucer – in front of a daytime tour. She said that her daughter has had encounters, including footsteps in the house.
There was a war memorial room. People reported getting crying and EVPs in that area.
The guide reported that the second floor ladies bedroom seemed to be haunted by a feminine presence and by Jessie May. A third entity was attached to a very old pre-Civil War doll. This entity did not like anyone else touching the doll. When the doll was misplaced the house had “rolling darkness” through it until it was found and returned to its proper place.
The second floor had a second bedroom that seemed to house the ghost of a man called “James”. The story is that he returned from the Civil War (?) to marry his fiancé, who had married another man while he was away. He was very upset by this and committed suicide by hanging in the attic area. He did touch women and was known to caress hair.
The attic area was the one where there was a lot of activity. The guide thought that it was an entity attached to an actor’s trunk. This entity did not like Bonnie and she stayed out of the attic. She believed that he disliked women, particularly alpha females. People who were in the attic heard breathing, footsteps, were pinched or scratched. Bonnie felt herself pushed at one point, and also reported walking into a wall of smell – the smell was that of putrid flesh. A second tour guide walked us the team up in that area. Donna and I stayed on the second floor trying to communicate with Jessie May.
Once the tour was done, we were allowed to investigate on our own.
Examination of the EVP:
Ladies bedroom/Jessie May’s area: There were some toys in a bin under the bed which we had permission to use to see if the little girl would play with us. I did try to leave two toys on the carpet – marked by the pattern of the carpet – to see if the little girl would play with them. No results. (Checked the area twice more throughout the investigation).
One of the most active sections was in the Master bedroom with “James”. EMF did not get any results, but the recording did capture our question and answer session in conjunction with the EMF meter. We did set the parameters that if the entity wanted to alert us to an important item, or a “yes” answer, that it should spike the needle (move the needle to the right). When asked if anyone was present, the meter spiked. When asked various emotions (happy, sad, angry, frustrated) the needle spiked on angry. When we asked for confirmation of this, it spiked again.
We asked about the Stringers (it was also their bedroom). The needle did spike on former owner, the Stringers. Yet, it also seemed to respond to “James” more often than any other name asked. (We asked several times with several of the male presences reported on the premises).
We did ask that if we were the 57/58th team to come out for one of the ghost tours, was the entity bored? The answer was a resounding spike. We did attempt to ask some unusual questions (did he play sports? Did he ride horses?) but got no results.
We did ask if this person had a sweetheart – spike.
When I first walked into the attic, I smelled a very strong aroma of fireplace smoke (cedar smoke?) I had a second smell shortly before we left to go back to the first floor – it was very sweet. It reminded me of almost a hand sanitizer or a body lotion. None of us were wearing perfumes and it did not happen anywhere else or at any other time.
While we were in the attic, the temperature physically dropped. It started at 84 degrees and slowly dropped to 80 degrees during our EVP session. It climbed back up to at least 84 by the time we were ready to leave. No reason found to account for this.
The upstairs attic area: I had a piece of my hair touched very lightly (top, left of head). I also had the sensation of extreme heat on my face – almost as if I was blushing extremely hard. To my knowledge, my complexion was normal. While this was going on, I also felt an odd burning sensation on my right cheek. As I explained to the guides that the burning reminded me of when a pet scratches the skin – either it is broken but not bleeding or it is about to bleed. There is an odd burning feeling associated with that phase. The burning sensation started only in the attic, remained focused only on my face, and did not stop until I left the house. I have no real explanation for this as there were no marks on my face either when I got home or the next morning (or in the days afterward). There were no bug bites (we saw no bugs; if bitten I tend to have welts left behind).
During the reveal phase with our remaining guide (Bonnie had to leave a little early that night), we learned that at least one other tour guide had seen a spectral lady in the house. It was during a quilt exhibit. The woman came in to open the house for a tour and saw the lady examining the quilts. The woman spoke to the guide (“This one is mine”). The guide complimented the woman on her dress; at some point, the guide turned around or left the area briefly. When she returned the woman was gone. No one had come in or left the house.
There was also a story reported to the museum by a former resident of the home. The man said that as a child he was bouncing a ball in the house. He saw a woman come out of his room and say “We don’t do that here”. She was dressed in a long dress, took the ball away from him and walked back into his room. Then he heard the ball drop. When he went in to see where she was, the woman had vanished.