Things that go bump in the night

Rick Heflin and Bev Greenfield stand in a remote Walton County graveyard as they prepare to make photographs and recordings that they hope will capture some paranormal activity.
Wayne Ford/Staff

By Wayne Ford   |   |  
Story updated at 9:07 PM on Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rick Heflin hunts ghosts. And he packs a gun.

But only once in several years of exploring old houses and graveyards has he had to pull the pistol in fear of the unknown. That happened a few years ago in a rural section of Walton County, when he and two other ghost investigators were alone on a dark night in a remote graveyard in the middle of a forest.

On previous occasions, Heflin had been to the cemetery, where he and others had taken photographs and captured signs of activity such as orbs, which are ghostly balls of light they contend are a paranormal phenomena.

On a return to the same graveyard in the week before Halloween, Heflin, along with Beverly Greenfield and Vicki Luibrand, who are members of his Foundation for Paranormal Research, stood in approximately the same place he was standing that eerie night when he and the others heard a strange "cat's meow and a growl" sound coming from the forest.

In retelling the incident, Heflin said that at the edge of the forest he saw two red eyes.

"I saw the eyes blink. That creeped me out," Heflin recalled.

Heflin recalled asking one companion what he saw.

"He said, 'I see red eyes - two of them,' at which point Heflin asked the third companion.

"She said 'I see a black silhouette darker than the dark around it - like a human shape,''' he said.

Heflin said the eyes moved slowly in his direction.

"That's when I drew my weapon. I could tell they were getting closer," he said. "I leveled off and said 'I'm armed and if you come any closer, I'm going to fire. And it stopped."

Heflin said he then heard the unusual sounds emanating from other points in the forest and it appeared the red-eyed thing was moving silently in the forest.

"I said, 'the 'son-of-a---- is trying to get behind us'," he said, and at that point the three got into their cars and left.

"We had heard this strange sound all night and as a matter of fact, two weeks later we came out here with a wildlife biologist who heard the same sounds and could not identify it," he said.

After Heflin related his hairy tale of the strange encounter, he along with Greenfield and Luibrand took photographs and made recordings of the cemetery. Although nothing out of the ordinary happened on this night, they said one former member once saw the apparition of a little girl in the cemetery where graves date back more than 100 years.

The group took both video and still photographs that might reveal paranormal activity such as the orbs. Heflin has such photographs on the organization's Web site. Or they have gadgets that can detect cold spots, an anomaly that ghost hunters sometimes locate. The ghost hunters determined that this night was quiet, although later they said their recordings documented some strange sounds.

Before they left for their homes in the Atlanta area, Heflin said he is still bewildered by that one night when he felt compelled to pull his gun.

"I don't know what it was. An elemental, an earth spirit. Something that was never human. It's been suggested it was a demon. I just don't know," he said. "But I remember those red eyes glaring at me."

For update of photos taken at the cemetery, see www. foundationforparanormal

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 10-31-06 and online at

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