October 27, 2005
Tifton-- Halloween, with all its ghosts, goblins, witches and scary stories amuses some people, but you're about to meet two people who often find some truth in ghost stories.
Holly Catanzarita and Joe Stinson were skeptics at first, but turned believers based on unexplained events that happened to them. Some houses don't lend themselves to trick or treating for the squeamish.
"There's something always going on in this house," says Holly as she walks to the door of the Tift house at the Georgia Agrirama, with her ghost hunter friend Joe.
"I always feel I'm being watched in this house," says Joe as he sits in the living room with lace curtains blowing in the air conditioned breeze as the sun sets. Holly and Joe know the feelings of being watched all too well. They describe themselves as real ghost hunters. "Always feel a presence here," says Holly, as they make their way to the dining room.
"I was pretty much a skeptic in the very beginning," says Holly who has lived in three haunted houses. Unexplained events, such as objects moved from their original locations, prompted her to learn more about ghosts and spirits.
Skeptics at one time, turned into believers in the super-natural. "I believe I was touched the first night I went out," says Joe about his initial experience with Holly, as they investigated a strange happening.
In the Tift House, the restored home of the late Captain Tifton at the Georgia Agrirama in Tifton, Holly remembers an unusual turn of events.
The group took a break during an investigation, leaving the house, remembering that a picture of Captain Tift's wife was sitting on the mantel. When they returned, the picture was turned sideways, almost 90 degrees, and no one had been in the house since the group left.
Holly speculates the late wife's ghost wanted the group to remember that she lived in the house, too. They've heard more than their share of mysterious footsteps, especially if a haunted house has stairs. Holly and Joe get rather close to the spirits. "There have been occasions where I do get touched. I don't like it," says Holly.
She may have gotten too close for comfort. "And, then you will feel a cold kind of deep down in your skin. It will last for a little while and eventually fade," says Holly.
But the memory doesn't fade. Occasionally, Holly asks the spirits to reveal themselves. "Many times the silverware will be moved," on the dining room table says Holly. "I asked them to move the dining room chair one night," says Holly.
The group hoped it would happen before their eyes, but it didn't. They walked into the nearby foyer, and a couple of seconds later, they heard the sound of a chair being pulled back on the wood floor. "We came back in a found the chair pulled out," says Holy.
They have videotape of what appears as a face in the window that they believe could be the lingering spirit of the homeowner who died 83 years ago. The house was moved to the Agrirama site and the spirits came with it. "I believe ghosts retain the personality they have in life," says Holly.
If they keep their personalities, then Holly and Joe found one that likes to play practical jokes. They left their night vision camera running during one investigation, and later when they reviewed their tape, they noticed something strange had happened.
Soon after they leave the house with the camera still recording, the picture suddenly disappears, but they sound remains. They heard something that sounded like a stumble on what Joe believes was an equipment box sitting next to the camera's tripod.
Holly and Joe go to homes occasionally to help explain strange events, and when leaving, they tell the spirits goodbye. "Thank you. We're going to leave for the night, but you must remain here. You are not allowed to go with us. Good night," says Holly as she closes the door.
Holly leads real ghost tours at the Georgia Agrirama in Tifton Thursday through Saturday nights of this week, starting at 7:30 pm. Occasionally, visitors feel the cold touch of a ghost.
They have a web site: www.southernghosthunters.com.