Mysterious Events at Banning Mills
Next to picturesque Snake Creek near Whitesburg, GA, are the ruins of an old cotton mill. The mill was built in the 1830ís and was used to manufacture textiles, including uniforms for the Confederate soldiers during the War Between the States. General Sherman searched for it, hoping to burn it as he did much of Atlanta, but he never found it. It was hidden from view by foliage that was cut and strategically placed to block out any views that the surrounding trees didnít cover.
For years, the old mill was abandoned and rumored to be haunted. My first visit there was in 2004 in the daytime, and two other investigators and I rented nearby cabins and spent the night. During the daytime visit, the investigator that accompanied me was nauseated on one of the floors where there had been a fire at one time. On this same level, I felt ďspiderwebsĒ that werenít there. (Nausea and spiderweb sensations are common at haunted locations.)
That night while staying in the nearby cabins, all three of us had unexpected experiences. I shared a cabin with Debra. She slept downstairs and I was in the loft above her. Twice that night, her bed started to shake. She was frightened and called me to come downstairs. I did and the bed stopped shaking before I got to the room. Debra and I talked for a little while, and then I went back upstairs to the loft. Soon after that her bed started to shake again. This time she asked me to sleep downstairs on the futon near her. I agreed and we left the door open to her room. I was directly across from her room and her bed didnít shake again. But... as I lay there, I saw small colored lights swirling above the door leading to her room. I was wide awake and fascinated as I watched this for several minutes. I knew that there was no earthly explanation for these lights.
The next morning, the other investigator who came with us told us what happened to her. She stayed in the cabin adjoining ours, and woke up around 3:30 am to go outside to smoke a cigarette. While she was outside, she watched two shadowy figures in the woods bending over trying to pull something heavy on the ground. They kept repeating this motion for about 10 minutes, but the object never moved. The forms then vanished. As we compared our experiences, we realized that these events were occurring at the same time.
I have been to the old mill 3 times now. The last 2 times were at night. Each time I was astonished by the events that occurred.
A ghost dog was the highlight of the first night investigation in 2005. In a nutshell, here is what happened that night:
An apparition of a dog was seen by Jennifer. Rick felt the presence of a dog and a man that he believed was the dogís owner. Vicki recorded EVP of a barking dog. (None of us heard a dog bark the entire time we were there.) The distinct smell of a wet dog was experienced by Jennifer. This happened at the same time and location where Vicki shot a picture that revealed a large orb. I was standing next to Jennifer and I didnít smell a thing, but the bright orb was between us, exactly where she experienced the wet dog smell.
The most intriguing evidence that night was paw prints that appeared on the wooden floor of the mill right before our eyes. They kept appearing as we were walking, and the only explanation I have for this was that the ghost dog was following us. They were large prints that must have belonged to a large dog.
On the second investigation, FPR was accompanied by another research group, Ghost Research Investigation Team, GRIT. (FPR could not have held the investigation that night on our own. We were escorted by GRIT, and thank them for that awesome experience.) We had a number of personal experiences that night - such as hearing a swishing sound like a long gown would make as a women walked across a floor, nausea in certain locations, and transient lights with no apparent source.
The outstanding event that night in January 2006, was the materialization of an antique, white wedding gown. Shortly before this happened, a wedding veil was found lying crumpled up in a dark corner. That was interesting in itself, but the discovery of the gown BLEW US AWAY!
Several of us had passed the area where the gown appeared and saw nothing. One of the GRIT members even took a picture of the exact spot where the gown mysteriously appeared and there was no gown in the picture. Later, Sandy took a picture of the window where the gown appeared. Though she saw nothing with the naked eye, in the digital picture there was a transparent white glow in the same location where we soon found the gown.
Rick and I were the first ones to see it. The wedding gown was on a hanger hooked on a nail next to a broken out window. It was hanging at eye level, with the bottom of it trailing on the floor. The gown was old and obviously made to fit a small woman. We stood there and gawked in disbelief, then called the rest of the group to come look. We took pictures, and Jennifer took the gown off the hanger and held it out in front of her. As she did this, Ken was horrified as he saw skeletal like arms extending out from it. He was the only one that saw this, and warned us not to touch the gown.
Immediately after that two of the female investigators felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. Sandy was one of them and she began to cry. Ken called me over to comfort her and I held her until she was released from that feeling of grief. We all believe there was a tragedy associated with the woman who owned this wedding gown.
The GRIT team took the gown and veil back home with them that night. They had them analyzed by the Atlanta History Museum. The historians said the gown and veil are from the late 1800ís to the early 1900ís. They were donated to the museum, and may be there on display if you want to pay a visit. The website for the museum is www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
I have purposely not identified some of the investigators due to privacy issues. The old Banning Mills is on private property and is condemned because it is unsafe. You may be arrested and/or seriously injured if you attempt to go there without permission.
As of this date, we are still attempting to gain permission to return for another investigation of Banning Mills. However due to itís continued deterioration, it is unlikely to happen.
Oct. 9, 2008