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Here at Backbeat Tours we tell people from all over the world about our unique city everyday. From Graceland to the Grizzlies, Beale St. to the Burbs we are passionate about Memphis. This blog is where we share quirky, behind-the-scenes tales of Memphis, past and present.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spirits Active on Ghost Hunt

July 19, 9pm: It is a beautiful night in Memphis, with cool, dry weather providing relief from the heat and humidity of the Memphis summer. Backbeat Tours is about to venture out on the "Ultimate Memphis Ghost Hunt,"  a special one-night-only ghost-hunting tour to four of the most haunted places in Memphis. Patrick Herrington is leading the tour for Backbeat, but it is Kristeanna, Jess, and Savannah of Ghost Girls Memphis that are the real stars. They are the professional ghosthunters that will help us uncover any lurking spirits we come across.

We here at Backbeat Tours have seen our share of ghosts. So much so that they've become almost routine for us. We've seen orbs and phantoms, felt cold spots, suffered camera and equipment malfunctions, even been touched once or twice by something that wasn't quite there. More than one guide has had a ghost follow them home. (Kristeanna has recommended that we get some lavenderite beads to prevent this from happening in the future.)  But what we experienced on July 19 would have made even the most jaded skeptic stop dead in his tracks.  

The Orpheum Theater:  Right before the tour, we got surprise permission to come inside the Orpheum Theater. Yes! Thank you, Orpheum! The Orpheum is famously haunted by a young girl named Mary, but there's been evidence of other ghosts there as well.  Being able to go inside when the place was empty was a rare treat.

Mary's balcony
The auditorium and stage, so magnificent during shows, takes on a decidedly eerie atmosphere when deserted.  From our vantage point on the stage, we stared into the empty audience looking for signs of spirit activity. One of our guests, Tyler, was using the infrared gun to catch ambient temperatures. A slow scan of the audience showed fairly consistent temperatures reading between 17.9 and 18.2 degrees Celsius. Then, Tyler pointed the gun at the mezzanine seat that is said to be Mary's favorite, seat C5. I looked over his shoulder to find that the temperature was shooting up and down rapidly. It spiked to 26.4 degrees and held for a few seconds, before returning to the ambient temperature we had seen earlier.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Jess from the Ghost Girls was doing an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) session with some of our group. The voice recorder was running while Jess and guests asked Mary questions about herself. Jess asked Mary if she missed her parents. On the recording you can hear a long sigh (which was kind of heartbreaking). Another guest asked if she likes some shows better than others. After a few seconds, we heard what sounded like a "yes," followed by a pause, and then a "no."

That's not one of our guests - at least not one of our living ones!

I went over to talk to Kristeanna, a medium as well as a ghost hunter. During our conversation, she kept looking down at her side. I looked at her kind of funny, and she told me that the spirit of a little boy kept pestering her. The boy didn't like Mary and was unhappy we were so focused on her. 

While we were talking, a dark shadow caught my eye in the upper balcony and shot straight through the whole theater. I looked up to the balcony to see no one there. When I turned back to Kristeanna, she asked, "Did you see that, too?" Kristeanna had seen the same moving shadow that I had and was still getting glimpses of it moving from place to place.

Historic door
Woodruff-Fontaine House: Folks who've read our previous blog post on the Woodruff-Fontaine House know that the house is said to be haunted by the spirits of Mollie Fontaine and Elliott Fontaine.

In the front foyer of the house is a door that is part of the home's history and was signed by construction workers who took part in building the house. When we first arrived, Kristeanna put her hand on the door, and got visible goosebumps all over her arms. We already knew that our visit to this Victorian mansion was going to be ... interesting.

It didn't take long after entering the home before we started registering paranormal activity. A couple on the tour had taken the EMF detector in the house and were standing at the back of the foyer. An EMF detector is designed to read spikes and dips in electromagnetic activity. Sometimes, these spikes and dips can be a sign of paranormal activity.

The EMF detector started going off loudly whenever it was placed next to a glass case of Virginia Fontaine's personal belongings (a fan, a clutch purse, a pair of gloves, and theater glasses). When the couple stepped away from the case, the detector quieted. This went on as a kind of funny game for about three minutes (buzzing near the case, quiet away from the case). Then, the couple moved away from the case and the EMF detector continued buzzing. Whatever was creating the EMF spikes had moved to an antique chair in the room!

A ghost was sitting right there!

Upstairs, we entered the Rose Room, where Molly Fontaine's baby and husband died. The room was the focus of the investigation done by TAPS from Ghost Hunters (the episode aired on the Sy-Fy channel in February of 2014). As we walked into the room, it became eerily quiet. We looked around the room and the attached nursery for awhile, when we noticed that an indentation on the far edge of the bed had appeared out of nowhere. The bed was blocked off, so it wasn't from our group.

The Rose Room, when we arrived
See the indentation, just past the dresses?

One of our guests, Brittany, joined Kristeanna and Savannah in an EVP session and video in the Rose Room. Brittany told the spirit that she was sorry to hear of the loss of Molly's husband and baby in that room and she hoped that Molly could find peace. At about that time, Savannah thought she saw something move the rocking chair in the corner. She panned over to find orbs flying out of the corner right at Brittany. We counted 20 or so orbs while Brittany was talking to Molly.

The Green Beetle: The basement of the Green Beetle was where Memphis' elite in the 1950s would meet for dinner and political talk. The basement is pretty spooky, but then most basements are. This one, though, appears to be haunted. One guest said that he felt someone touch his neck and several others said that they felt like someone was standing behind them.

Ghost Girls in action

Earnestine & Hazel's:  This restaurant and bar, considered by many to be one of the most haunted places in Memphis, never disappoints. I had to get up my nerve to go up the stairs, because in the past, the spirits have pushed me, pulled my hair, and whispered into my ear. One time, I caught a glimpse of a phantom woman turning a corner here. On a previous ghost investigation, with Backbeat Tours' ghost guides Erica and Patrick, the Ghost Girls got a clear EVP of a woman's soft voice. Kristeanna had commented that she bet that the floors of this place could tell a lot of stories. After a moment or two, the spirit responded "yes ... in the ground."

Fortunately for me, Earnestine & Hazel's was somewhat quiet this July night. Tyler did pick up a bit of a stalker while going from room to room. Kristeanna caught several pictures of him in different rooms with the same orb/figure behind him. Could it be the Green-Eyed Girl who is reputed to follow men home from the bar? I hope Tyler has some lavenderite!

Exploring upstairs at E&H, check out the orb
on the empty blue wall, near the baseboard

If you missed the Ghost Hunt, no worries. We've got new ghost hunting equipment that you can enjoy on our nightly Haunted Memphis Walking Tours. And stay tuned - we may offer another Ghost Hunt again in the future. For video of the tour, visit the Backbeat Tours' You Tube channel and the Ghost Girls Memphis You Tube channel.  If you would like to arrange a private Ghost Hunt for your group of 10 to 35, call our group planners at (901) 527-9415. 

If you are concerned about paranormal activity in your own home or office, give Ghost Girls Memphis a call. They really are the best! You can call them at 901-730-2566 or email them at ghostgirlsmemphis@gmail.com.

By Meagan May, Ghost Hunter and Tour Guide Extraordinnaire

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