After suffering somewhat of a disappointment at the hands of Hales Bar Dam the night prior, the team, now well rested, drove from Tennessee to Franklin, Kentucky for the next investigation in 2018’s Expedition. With Gravy behind the wheel the drive was short work. The team even had a chance to quickly stop by the Old South Pittsburg Hospital, a location that was intended to be included in 2018’s expedition, but due to unsafe conditions, had to be cancelled. Upon their arrival at Octagon Hall Museum, the team were in high spirits (no pun intended) and ready to spend the night in the purportedly haunted mansion turned Civil War museum.
The group arrived at 2:00 pm, about an hour before the location, which is a public museum, was to close for the weekend and allow the team sole access for its investigation. As the location is a public historical site, this time was seen as an opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the property, taking outdoor team and location photos, enjoying Kentucky’s summer heat, and even making a Facebook Live post before being let in.
Bill Byrd, owner and proprietor of Octagon Hall, arrived to the location at 3:00 pm. The team signed waivers and began moving equipment into the museum. Shortly thereafter, Bill led our investigator Tom on a tour of the building. Bill covered the historical significance of the mansion during its operation as well as key locations and accounts of paranormal activity on the premises.
Meanwhile, Brandon was also moving through the museum, taking readings in each of the rooms to be investigated using a single-axis MEL-8704R EMF meter, and concurrently taking photographs of the interior. He then moved outside to take measurements of outside conditions with a Kestrel 3000 Weather Station.
Just before 3:30 pm, Bill handed off the building’s main keys to Noah and he, along with the remaining employees of the museum, left for the weekend. At this point, the PIM team began assembling their equipment. Putting cameras on tripods, recorders in Faraday cages and preparing anything else that might be used during the investigation. The group then began placing the equipment in their designated spots and adjusted accordingly to make sure the camera views and recorders were in the best suited places for covering the well-known hot spots of reported activity.
A Ghost Pro Full Spectrum camera was placed at the foot of the main stairway on the main floor, capturing both the landing between the first and second floor, as well as the entryway from the backyard.
A Sony FDR-AX100 4K camera was placed on a tripod near the doorway of the basement’s kitchen, facing the room.
A Sony HDR-CX-160 Full Spectrum camera was placed in the dining room on the main floor, past the table facing out toward the room, capturing the room, as well as the doorway into the living room.
Another Sony HDR-CX-160 Full Spectrum camera was placed in the living room near the fireplace, capturing the entirety of the room as well the three entrances from the building’s front door, dining room and back entry way.
A Sony HDR-CX-160 Full Spectrum camera was also placed in the Basement Library, near the entrance, facing the alcove used to hide Confederate soldiers.
Stationary Zoom H1 recorders were placed in the Basement Kitchen, Main Floor Living and Dining Rooms, and the Upper Floor’s Master Bedroom and Infirmary.
A TASCAM DR-5 audio recorder was place in the Basement Library
A Sony HDR-CX440 Full Spectrum camera was a placed near the closet of the Upper Floor Nursery, capturing the room, as well as the trigger object bank nearby.
A Single-Axis EMF Mel-8704R-VIBE meter was placed alongside the trigger object bank in the Upper Floor Nursery, along with a DM X-930 Dark Matter Detector. The trigger bank consisted of a toy horse, a ball, a set of five jacks, a Slinky, a baseball, a stuffed cat, a large silver marble and a touch flashlight.
Trigger object banks are used to try to elicit a response from any spirit who may recognize the items included. Learn more here
An EMF Pump was placed near the trigger object bank on the table in the Main Floor Dining Room, alongside a custom built PIM Geophone and Extech RHT50. This trigger object bank consisted of a cigar, assorted forms of currency, a pair of bullets, a pair of dice (showing 5 and 2), a deck of cards (showing the queen of clubs), a bible, a crucifix, two cigarettes, a rosary, an American flag, an army man figurine, a pocket watch, a harmonica, and a touch flashlight.
A HDR SR-7 camera was placed in the Upper Floor Master Bedroom, placed against the back wall, capturing the bedroom and the Upper Floor landing.
During this investigation, Marilsa also wore a Ghost Pro Full Spectrum camera as body camera.
Equipment setup was finished at 6:25pm. The team then began the process of starting the now placed and positioned recording devices, timestamping each as they went, from the top floor to the basement. After this, the team left the building for two hours with the recording devices rolling to get dinner nearby, as well as any necessary provisions for the night ahead. The team returned to the building at 8:00 pm, and filmed a Facebook Live update before returning to the building.
Received a timestamp for each of their control recorders and then began the investigation.
Upper Floor – 8:29 pm
The investigation began after the team moved to the Upper Floor, with Noah occupying the Infirmary, Gravy in the Master Bedroom, Tom in the Second Bedroom, Marilsa in the Nursery, and Brandon seated on the stairs of the Upper Floor Landing. The group observed a minute of control silence and noted that the sound of crickets could be heard outside, as well as the hum of a nearby factory, traffic noise, and the house settling as the building cooled.
At 8:32 pm the team began an EVP session. After a couple of questions, Gravy noted that he heard the consistent thumping of what was assumed to be a large insect colliding with the window.
At 8:36 pm Brandon, on the Upper Floor Landing, felt something lightly touch his ear. He reported that there was no sound of buzzing beforehand which would indicate a flying insect. Tom came out onto the landing and helped Brandon look for any other insects in the room. None were found.
A noise was heard by both Noah and Gravy at 8:42 pm, that was described as the sound of someone dislodging a stuck car door. The noise was from the outside – there is a small business’ parking lot across the street from the museum. Shortly after taking the time stamp of this noise, at 8:45 pm, Noah went down to the Equipment Room to grab a flashlight.
Four minutes later, at 8:49 pm, Brandon reported hearing the sound of a doorknob being lightly touched downstairs near the Equipment Room. He followed this by noting that Noah had just been in the room and it was possible the doorknob was settling after use.
At 8:52 pm, Brandon heard the sound of what could be described as breathing downstairs
End Time: 8:57 pm
Upper Floor/Main Floor – 9:00 pm
At this point it was decided to try to debunk the claims of footsteps being heard on the Upper Floor by people on the Main Floor when no one else was in the building. Tom, Marilsa, and Brandon positioned themselves in different locations on the Main Floor and listened while Noah and Gravy walked around on the Upper Floor. The footsteps could be clearly be heard and tracked when a person was walking in the room above any of the investigators on the Main Floor.
Main Floor – 9:05 pm
The team regrouped on the Main Floor after the test, then spread out to begin another EVP session with Tom, Noah and Gravy in the Living Room while Brandon and Marilsa were in the Dining Room. It was noted that something near the Dining Room trigger object bank was clicking at a high rate, the team investigated, and it turned out to be the fans on Gravy’s EM Pump. With the pump functioning normally, the team observed control silence.
At 9:09 pm, Noah, Gravy and Tom hear what was decided to be building noises from the Upper Floor. The EVP session began at 9:11 pm.
At 9:13 pm, all three investigators in the Living Room heard what they described as a couple of footsteps in the Infirmary on the Upper Level. This was not heard by Brandon or Marilsa in the Dining Room.
End Time: 9:31 pm
Living Room – 9:31 pm
Noah noticed a light moving across the wall of the Living Room at 9:31 pm, as though a car is pulling up the driveway to the museum or someone with a flashlight is outside. Noah and Gravy then both heard voices outside. They leave the building to make sure that no one is on the property. After checking around the building, no one was found to be on the premises. However, the business across the street had lights on and there is a good chance that the sounds were coming from there. Noah and Gravy returned to the building to the building at 9:46 pm.
Basement – 9:49 pm
After the team reassembled, the they moved to the Basement, spreading out with Noah and Tom in the Basement Hallway, Marilsa and Gravy in the Library Hallway, and Brandon in the Library. At 9:52 pm, control silence was observed, no noises were noted as contamination.
At 9:56 pm, the EVP session began. Attempts were made to antagonize the reported shadow figure in the Basement Library, as well as any Confederate sympathizers who may have been present.
Brandon reported hearing something fall from the ceiling or move slightly in the Basement Library at 10:01 pm. This noise was captured on the his control recorder.
Starting at 10:06 pm, Noah reported feeling something brush past his leg twice in a matter of a few minutes. After turning on his flashlight to see if there was an animal in the basement, he noticed fresh rodent droppings in the doorway of the blacksmith shop. Marilsa retrieved the FLIR thermal camera from the Equipment Room on the Main Floor, and the team went about doing a thermal sweep in search of any rodents.
During the course of this sweep it was noted that there was a strong smell of urine from the Basement Storage Room. This room also has exposed and accessible dog food, which could attract rodents. Noah recalled that he had seen a crushed cracker on the floor when previously walking through the building and noted that it was no longer present.
After an unsuccessful attempt at finding any live rodents in the basement, the team reassembled at 10:23 pm to continue the Basement EVP Session.
At 10:28 pm, Brandon reported hearing a noise in the library, multiple times. That noise was captured on his control recorder, and was consistent with the noise he heard previously. This was assumed to be masonry falling from the ceiling or the plastic of the windows being disturbed by a draft.
Noah reported feeling something brush up against his leg again at 10:33 pm. A few minutes later at 10:39 pm, the team heard a high pitched whine. This was initially thought to be Marilsa’s stomach, which had been upset during the investigation, but she was able to confirm that it was not.
End Time: 10:40 pm
At 10:40 pm the EVP Session in the Basement was concluded. The team grabbed drinks from the refrigerator and headed out to the circle of sycamore trees in the backyard to post a Facebook Live session, exiting the building at 10:51 pm.
Backyard – 10:53 pm
While walking to the sycamore trees, at 10:53 pm, Tom noticed a flash of red light near the barn that is situated next to the main house. The team paused for a moment, waiting for any other lights to appear, but they did not. The team continued to the circle of trees and recorded the Facebook Live post.
Upper Floor – 11:10 pm
At 11:10 pm, the team re-entered the building from the Basement Entryway, heading back to the Upper Floor and preparing for another EVP session. The team spread out through the rooms in different locations than in the first session. With Marilsa in the Master Bedroom, Tom in the Nursery, Gravy occupying the Nursery, Brandon in the Bedroom and Noah seated on the Upper Floor Landing, the EVP session began at 11:25 pm.
During the course of the session, no activity occurred, and the team concluded the session at 11:41 pm and moved to the Main Floor.
End Time 11:41 pm
Main Floor – 11:41 pm
At 11:41 pm, the investigators situated themselves throughout the Main Floor of the house with Noah and Gravy both occupying the Dining Room, Marilsa on the Stairway of the Back Entryway and Brandon in the Living Room alongside Tom. The EVP session began at 11:49 pm.
A noise was heard by the team at 11:54 pm, Marilsa head what she believed to be the sound of a loose floorboard flexing and creaking back into position. However, the rest of the team was in agreement that the noise was more like scraping. A short time later, and with no further activity, the session was concluded.
End Time: 12:02 pm
Basement – 12:06 am
After the conclusion of the EVP session on the Main Floor, the team moved again toward the Basement. Each investigator chose a new spot to sit for the upcoming session, with Noah in the Library, Gravy seated near the stairs, both Tom and Brandon in the Library Hallway, and Marilsa in the Kitchen Doorway. With everyone seated and ready, the EVP session began at 12:06 pm.
Backyard – 1:30 am
The team concluded recording of the introduction and outro of the upcoming video focused on Octagon Hall for our ongoing Paranormal Review series at 1:30 am, and discussed a game plan for the next day before reentering the building. It was decided to end the investigation at this time, but continue video rolling on the camera in the basement kitchen.
After officially ending the investigation at 1:38am, the team moved through the museum and stopped recording devices that were still running (with the exception of the camera in the basement kitchen), breaking down their equipment as they went, and stacking everything in the entrance hallway to make their exit in the morning move more smoothly. Upon completion they decided on sleeping arrangements and retired for the remainder of the morning hours.
This was PIM’s first experience at Octagon Hall Civil War Museum, and the conditions for the investigation could not have been better. We would like to thank Bill for his exceedingly pleasant demeanor and generosity in allowing the road-worn PIM team to stay as long as necessary in the morning after the investigation. He even helped us acquire some lost information on a clipboard that was left behind.
Although there was no evidence of paranormal activity during PIM’s investigation of Octagon Hall Civil War Museum, the team had a great time searching for the supernatural, and would be excited to investigate this location again.