Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Are there “things that go bump in the night” at Old Santee Canal Park’s Stony Landing House?
If you ask two investigators, the answer is yes.
Lots of things, in fact, according to paranormal investigators Ashley Field and Pam Nance of Spirit Hunters of the South. Fields and Nance, who spent time at the historic structure earlier this year, recently presented their findings to a crowd of more than 60 ghost enthusiasts and skeptics at the Santee Cooper headquarters in Moncks Corner. The event was sponsored by the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center.
“This is very old property,” said Field during the presentation. “The landing on the property was in use before the Revolutionary War. It provided a place to transport goods downriver to sell and purchase supplies brought upriver from Charleston.”
Spirit Hunters base their study on Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), what they claim is the transmitting of the human voice over an electronic recording device, sometimes as simple as a digital recorder.
Field and Nance’s recent study of the house at Old Santee Canal Park, which was built in the 1840s, showed evidence of paranormal activity dating back to before the house was built, they said.
The investigators said they encountered potential evidence of the brutality of the Revolutionary War when they may have picked up EVPs of Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton of the British Legion, also known as “Ban the Butcher” and “Bloody Tarleton” for the atrocities committed during the Carolina campaign of the Revolutionary War and his pursuit of General Francis Marion.
“While there is no documentation supporting evidence that Stony Landing House experienced any of the brutality committed by Tarleton, the EVP suggests the surrounding area did,” Field said.
During the investigation, Field’s voice is heard asking on the recorder, “What’s wrong with this house?”
The EVP apparently replied, “They burned it,” and “Help. Beat him. They beat him. They beat him to death.”
According to the investigators, EVP evidence also may have depicted life in early Moncks Corner when the town served as a travel and commerce outpost on Biggun Creek, which branched off the Cooper River.
Field played an EVP, which replied to the question, “Who is the boat captain?”
After a moment’s pause a whisper of a voice replied, “Benny.”
A second question – “How many warehouses were there?” – elicited an EVP reply of, “Four.”
Field said that she believes the EVPs described the early days of Moncks Corner when it served as a crossroads for travel and commerce between Congaree and old Charlestown. Benny was the name of a barge captain that ferried goods up from Charleston
“We speculate that warehouses or storage buildings existed near the landing but we’ve found no documentation substantiating this,” Field said.
Field is from Savannah. She said that, since early childhood, she has been aware of spirit presence, experiencing such phenomena as lights turning on and off, the sound of footsteps in her bedroom and on the staircase, and doors opening and closing. This resulted in a desire to understand her environment and its associated paranormal activity.
“Ashley sometimes picks up on physical energies that come from the spirits,” Nance said. “She got a really sharp pain in her eye while we were investigating some of the families known to have occupied Stony Landing House.”
The pain could be a connection to William Ravenel, the eldest son of Dr. John Ravenel and brother to St. Julien, who was said to have suffered from seizures.
A photograph of William Ravenel shows evidence of a malformation of his right eye, possibly the result of the seizures. The investigators claim that one EVP seems to support their evidence: “Help. Husband. A fit,” the recording said, followed by, “My Will. Will. Will.”
In 2012 Field and Nance spent the night at Wampee House in Pinopolis and claimed to have discovered evidence of members of the Ravenel family who moved between the two plantation homes.
“We encountered an ‘Edward’ at Wampee,” Nance said. “The connection between Stony Landing and Wampee, was St. Julien’s sister Harriott Rutledge lived at Wampee. Edward would have been the baby brother of St. Julien and Harriott.”
While spending the night at Wampee, staying in one upstairs room reputed to be the center of paranormal activity, the investigators said that they experienced their own paranormal phenomenon when they heard what they thought to be someone talking.
“We were in the upstairs bedroom and it sounded like the person talking was standing out in the hallway,” Nance said.
Spirit Hunters hope to eventually take their paranormal investigations to television, but during the interim they conduct investigations such as the ones on Stony Landing and Wampee throughout the South.
Field said some “ghost hunting” TV shows can be misleading.
“When you see these ghost hunter shows on TV, the investigation is condensed into an hour and it’s really exciting, but when you’re there all night it’s not always so exciting,” she said.
For more information on Spirit Hunters of the South and their paranormal investigations of Wampee and Stony Landing Houses, visit www.spirithunter.us.