Film crew seeks ghosts at local home

Homeowners Keith and Rhonda Jones explain some of the strange phenomena that has occurred in their home to members of Tennessee Wraith Chasers. (Leader photo/Sonya Thompson)

Gallatin-based paranormal investigators Tennessee Wraith Chasers spent Saturday evening investigating an historic home in Portland with ties to the Civil War in hopes of capturing evidence of paranormal activity in and around the home.

But this wasn’t just any investigation; the team was also filming the investigation with a professional film production crew in hopes of landing their own show on television.

TWC made a name for itself in August 2011 when the team competed in the Travel Channel’s Paranormal Challenge, hosted by Zac Bagans of the popular show Ghost Adventures.

The team was pitted against another group of paranormal investigators from Chattanooga as they traveled the halls of the Old South Pittsburg Hospital looking for evidence of paranormal activity.

TWC won the challenge and captured some compelling evidence the group still marvels over. Some of that evidence can be viewed on their website, www.tennesseewraithchasers.com.

Recently the team (Chris Smith, Scott Porter, Steven McDougal, Brannon Smith and Chasey Ray McKnight) was approached by Tremendous Entertainment of Burbank, Calif. with an idea to create a show dedicated to paranormal investigations in Tennessee.

The team filmed at the Palace Theater in Gallatin on Friday and the Duval-Groves House in Portland on Saturday. Footage will be trimmed down to create a “sizzle reel” that will sample the premise for the show.

“A sizzle reel is a demo tape that we pitch to networks to see if they’re interested in the premise and characters for the show,” said Laura Troxel of Tremendous Entertainment. “We’re working with the Tennessee Wraith Chasers and we’re excited to take this out and shop this around to the networks.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Tennessee Wraith Chasers,” added Tim Hamilton, Vice-President of Development for Tremendous Entertainment. “They are a very relatable group of friends that we think will resonate with a wide audience.”

The Duval-Groves House, owned by Keith and Rhonda Jones, was selected for its rich Civil War history and for the numerous reports of paranormal activity in the home. Built in the early 1850s, the home was occupied during the Civil War and used as a hospital and encampment. The property reportedly has unmarked graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers and the Jones confirm that, historically, there has been a great deal of paranormal activity — both residual and intelligent — in their home.

With many in the south celebrating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, conducting a paranormal investigation at a site that saw great turmoil during that time is an opportunity both Tremendous Entertainment and the Tennessee Wraith Chasers were excited about.

As the production crew and investigators arrived at the home Saturday night, the group was launched quickly into action as strange happenings began immediately in the home.

The team gathered their equipment and explained the importance of using EMF (electro-magnetic field) detectors, EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recorders, grid lights, and even a flashlight used to communicate with intelligent spirits.

After several hours of investigation, and interacting with an entity who claimed to be a woman who was protecting the occupants of the home, the team wrapped up their investigation and sent the production crew on its way.

But their curiosity got the best of them and with the permission of the homeowners, the team continued their quest for evidence using hand-held video recorders and splitting up to investigate various rooms and floors of the home.

And, according to team member Scott Porter, the extra investigation was well worth their time.

“With the extra time that we spent to stay and investigate, we found that the feeling in the house got lighter and the aggressiveness of what we were dealing with earlier seem to come to understand that we weren’t there to cause harm,” said Porter.

“While we haven’t had time to go through all the evidence, we did get some really cool responses with our flashlight and our EMF and K2 meters,” added Smith. “Based on responses to our questions and responses with the flashlight, we were able to determine there was a female communicating with us.

“Of course, everything is theoretical, but it was peculiar we were getting some direct responses there. The homeowner was involved in some of the investigation and was able to get affirmation that there was nothing evil in the home. In fact, we had positive response that this was a protective energy.”

“That’s the best part of our job,” Smith added. “We love to be able to go into the home and help somebody. We enjoy doing this and everything we do right now is free. We get a lot of flack sometimes for being big guys with beards who wear black, but we like to let people know that that’s not us at all. We’re very friendly.”

“We can’t wait to get through all the evidence and we look forward to meeting with the Jones to present them with the evidence from our investigation,” added Porter.

The Joneses, who have lived in the home for nine years, enjoyed opening their home and look forward to finding out what the team discovered.

“We’re very happy and comfortable here and love our home and none of our family have ever felt threatened,” added Rhonda Jones. “We figured ‘let them come in and hopefully debunk some of the claims.’ But I live here and I’ve seen things. I don’t want to admit my house is ‘haunted,’ but I know things have happened that I can’t explain.”

If anyone is experiencing any unexplainable activity in their home or business, and would like to have someone come document what’s going on, feel free to contact Tennessee Wraith Chasers on Facebook, via their website, or by calling their hotline at (615) 388-1063.

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