In search of ghosts at Albany's Bridge House

In search of ghosts at Albany's Bridge House
Albany founder Nelson Tift
Albany founder Nelson Tift
Bridge House designer Horace King
Bridge House designer Horace King

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If you ask anyone who works at the Albany Visitor's Center downtown, they will tell you they've experienced some strange activity in the historic building.

From moving furniture and slamming doors to unexplained voices and footsteps, the 158-year-old structure certainly has a story to tell.

Built in 1857, the Bridge House was designed by former slave and famed architect Horace King who built the first bridge over the Flint River. Albany's found Nelson Tift had the building constructed to serve as a toll house which connected to the covered bridge.

During the Civil War its cellar was used for meat-packing operations where slaughtered hogs and cows were pickled in barrels to feed the Confederate Navy.

The second floor was home to Tift Hall where Albany's elite socialized during the latter half of the 19th century. Some of the biggest named acts of theater at the time performed at the hall. It also played host to numerous social events.

To find out if if the building is really haunted, a team of volunteers with S.P.I.R.I.T Paranormal Investigators came in search of answers.

The team set up electronic camera and audio devices to capture any suspicious sounds or images.

"We're are paranormal investigators, not ghost hunters," says SPIRIT co-founder Amanda Sumner. "We basically go in and try to debunk what may be going on."

The group uses flash lights as a way of trying to communicate with possible spirits. They ask questions in hopes of getting a response with light turning on or off. In the cellar, there was a lot of light activity and recorders picked up a voice which could not be traced back to the group.

"Nearly every case we go on we pick up something, especially if you get flashlight activity," said paranormal investigator Robert Sumner.

Previous investigations into paranormal activity at the Bridge House picked up the presence of a child. Some believe he may be responsible for the buildings elevator moving on its own.

SPIRIT's medium, Tina Rexach said spirits may attach themselves to buildings because it was a place they enjoyed. She said she picked up the presence of a man on the second floor. Workers claim to hear doors opening and closing upstairs when no one is around.

The team is aware many people are skeptical of haunted places but their goal is simple. "We're just here to help," said Robert Sumner.

While staff at the visitor's center say the sounds and activity can be a little startling, they've come to accept it as part of the building.

While the team reviews the evidence, they strongly feel there is a paranormal presence but agree whatever haunts the house means no harm.

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