Haunted Horton? Local group investigates

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The team from Southern Innovative Paranormal have partnered with Henry Horton State Park for an evening of dinner and ghost hunting, following up on reports of ghostly activity at the park.
Tribune photo by Erin Morris

Last weekend, Southern Innovative Paranormal invited the community to join the ghost hunting team and assist in exploring Marshall County's very own Henry Horton State Park. After hearing countless stories about paranormal activity, SIP decided to visit and conduct a professional ghost hunt.

The group was established in 2014 and is well known for investigations at the Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The team's mission is to help people living with and experiencing any paranormal activity. The eight investigators have come together to help local communities by investigating various locations and organizing ghost hunts.

Henry Horton State Park's haunting tales include: various apparitions appearing like Gov. Horton, doors slamming, strange voices and unexplainable noises.

"I don't think this place is haunted," Pat L. Matthews, a 67-year-old room clerk, said, "I know it is."

She described the entities as friendly and passive. "I'm used to the weird stuff now."

Several other guests and workers have confirmed experiencing paranormal activity including Park Ranger Julia Cruce. Cruce has been a park ranger for five years and has many stories about the haunted park.

She described a strange incident from last winter. It was a normal day for her; she was driving near the cabin area.

Cruce caught a glimpse of what she believed to be a woman in an antebellum dress in front of cabin seven. She dismissed the sighting because she assumed the park was hosting an event.

After finishing her daily rounds, Cruce returned to the inn only to discover no one was staying in that cabin. To this day, she firmly believes she saw a spirit of the past.

The team welcomed guests by having dinner followed by wine tasting at The Governor's Table restaurant, before leading the group to several locations: rooms at the inn, one of the cabins, the "haunted spring," the restaurant's kitchen and the conference lodge area. Previously, all the locations showed remarkable activity from previous investigations.

Before exploring the outside location, the group headed to cabin seven where Cruce spotted the female apparition last year. Shortly after arriving at the cabin, the equipment detected something unusual. As the group settled in, the equipment functioned wildly. Guests of the group claimed to have seen movement just then.

Next, the group divided into teams and explored the rooms at the inn. In the lobby of the inn, guests reported an unexplainable white fog that forms and quickly disappear. The teams tried communicating within the rooms. One team left abruptly after a meter used to measure electromagnetic activity, that so far had been still, began to flash insistently in response to the question, "Do you want us to leave?"

After hiking less than a mile, the group found the "haunted spring." The story behind the location is a woman was carrying her baby and walking alongside the bank. She lost her footing, and the baby fell down the bank into the water. By the time she got to the infant, it was too late.

People claimed to see the apparition of a woman searching the spring often. From prior investigations, this spot was known for setting off K2 meters even though there is absolutely nothing to set it off.

When the group arrived, most members noticed the unusual mist developing as the tour continued.

Cruce said, "I don't go back there by myself anymore."

Later, SIP directed the group to the campground's restaurant kitchen area. Workers and visitors reported an apparition of Gov. Horton here. Ronnie W. Headley, a 59-year-old paranormal investigator with over 10 years of experiences, described an uncanny event. A worker of the restaurant was using a knife to prepare vegetables for the day. She left her station for only a moment. When she came back, the knife had disappeared. She searched every place in the kitchen that day, but never found the utensil. The next day, she found the knife in the exact place she had left it. According to Headley, the haunted park has made several employees quit over the years.

Finally, the group ventured to the last location. The conference lodge is where SIP witnessed a table moving and captured several unusual audio clips during a prior investigation. The team spent the remaining hour with hopes to have a similar experience. In the lodge, unexplainable noises occurred and equipment acted abnormally that night.

SIP ended 2017 by exploring Marshall County's Henry Horton State Park. The paranormal investigative group will start back early next year and will continue to explore middle Tennessee's highly active locations.