Last night, I had the chance to investigate the haunted May-Stringer House in Brooksville, FL. It was my first time to join a private paranormal investigation group, so I was excited to see what the night would bring.
If you recall, the 158-year-old May-Stringer House is reportedly home to a number of ghosts, including a woman-hating spirit known as Mr. Nasty and a forlorn little girl named Jessie Mae. Legend has it at least six other spirits also haunt the historic property.
After docent Bonnie LeTourneau gave our group a brief tour of the home, we split into two teams and began investigating individual rooms. Here’s what my group experienced.
The Military Room
Our first stop was the May-Stringer military room, also known as the war room, a small space featuring numerous artifacts from the American Civil War, World War I and II, and the Vietnam War. Bonnie called it the most active room in the home, relating stories about uniformed busts flying off shelves and taps on glass display cabinets. Bonnie also recalled a time she tried vacuuming the rug in the room only to hear a voice screaming for her to turn off “that infernal contraption.” She now cleans the rug by hand.
We spent about 30 minutes in the war room, conducting an EVP session and measuring electromagnetic fields, but noticed nothing out of the ordinary. It was a blustery evening, so any tapping noises we heard could easily be attributed to branches brushing against the roof or windows.
War room displays
These are the busts that reportedly flew off the shelf
I got to stand next to this guy in the dark
Our next stop was the attic, home of Mr. Nasty, a malevolent spirit known to physically assault women. Bonnie said she refuses to enter the attic, even when giving tours, because of unpleasant encounters with the entity.
The other investigators reported exciting results using the flashlight technique, a controversial method in which ghost hunters place a twist-operated flashlight on a table and ask a spirit questions. The theory is that the spirit will answer the questions by making the light go on and off. We tried the technique, and while the flashlight did seem to brighten and dim in response to our questions, it wasn’t consistent and could hardly serve as proof of the paranormal. We also used an EMF reader, which spiked a few times, but was also quite inconsistent.
During the flashlight test, one member of the group said he noticed the smell of burnt wood. I didn’t smell it, nor did the woman next to me, but she and I heard high-pitched squeaking noises that sounded a lot like the voice of a small child, or a branch scratching along the tin roof. Whatever it was, the sound was interesting and I couldn’t help wondering if it was Jessie Mae or one of the many other children rumored to haunt the home.
Random stuff in attic
Speaking of Jessie Mae, the little girl’s room was our last stop of the evening. Unlike the attic entity, and other spirits inside the home, records show that Jessie existed and lived at the May-Stringer House. Jessie’s mother, Marena, died giving birth to her, and Jessie herself died three years later. Legend has it the little girl now roams the home, calling out for the mother she never knew.
Historians have verified that the room we investigated indeed belonged to Jessie Mae and that the antique dolls in the cradle are hers (or so I was told). Some members of the group brought a ball, toys, and other “trigger objects” in hopes of getting Jessie Mae to communicate with us. However, the little girl didn’t come out to play. There was absolutely no noticeable activity in the room, save for the occasional whiff of something sweet. The woman in my group said she heard the high-pitched squeaking sound again, just before we entered the room, but no one else noticed it. Black mist near the bed also showed up in one guy’s photos.
Photo of Jessie Mae
Jessie Mae’s room
Here are a few miscellaneous photos I took at the property. The May-Stringer House has many other rooms besides the three we investigated.
Creepy mannequin in Jessie Mae’s room
Another mannequin, this one just outside Jessie’s room
Display of old medical equipment
Carving from the memory garden outside
So that, dear readers, was my first experience with a private paranormal investigation group. I plan to tag along on future investigations, so stay tuned for future reports. Is anyone else out there a member of paranormal investigation group? What experiences have you had?
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