Botetourt County has an active Paranormal Society comprised of several family members– a brother and two sister Sean Russell, Jackie Nelson and Susan Jennings and her daughter Heather Murrell. They make up the membership of the Botetourt Paranormal Society. They live around the county, but the headquarters for the BPS is in the basement of Jennings’s home in the Troutville area. They grew up in the northern section of the county in Eagle Rock. An open mind is a good thing to carry when traveling in the paranormal realm.
Russell said, “We saw and heard some really crazy things growing up. I once saw the end of the bed jump up and down.” Jackie had a trailer before she built her home and they have believed it to be a residence of spirits. Typically they try to capture Orbs- circular floating spirits captured on camera and EVP’s-electronic voice phenomena with digital recorders.
Full society membership is currently closed but they occasionally invite guest investigators to participate. Russell said, “We are always interested in hearing from open-minded individuals, skeptics and other paranormal research groups.” They invited the Botetourt View along for a Saturday night of investigation.
So far they have investigated the historic home Avenel in Bedford, Fincastle Library, the Kyle House in Fincastle and Oakey’s in downtown Roanoke on Campbell Avenue. For some of their investigation results, read their blog.
In a mission statement on their website, they stated: “The society was founded on the belief that there are elements in the world around us which have not been identified. Our focus is on investigations of locations with reports of ghosts, hauntings, and cryptozoological creatures. We acknowledge not everything that goes bump in the middle of the night is a ghost – and intend to explore all options when debunking claims of activity.”
Russell says much of the fun comes in the research of the history they perform on the places they visit. “We have learned a lot about the places we have investigated.”
They use electronic digital recorders which are super sensitive recorders according to Russell, digital cameras and a motion camera like are used on animals in the wild. They have a computer armed with recording and vocal software that they load their EVP information from the site visit into the computer to process the sound waves. Some of the sounds included high pitched rapid voices from the basement garage. They tell the reporter of all their adventures and display a picture of Susan, Jackie and Heather in the Oakeys. They use the blog to make public their experiences.
A trip to a local historic private residence produced an exciting night, but thus far the technical difficulties associated with the equipment have made it hard to access exactly what if anything they found in the home. They carefully placed recorders around the home, took digital photos and set-up the motion camera. The home has a slave cabin out back and the crew found it fascinating.
They stayed for three hours investigating the various areas of the 200 year- old home where the owner had heard or seen unusual things. Heather did capture some photos of what she called an orb in the house and in the yard of the house on her digital camera. Already they are searching for their next investigation site. To contact the group, visit the Web site here.