LEIGHTON ‑ Lisa Luna knocked twice on a table in the old slave’s kitchen at the LaGrange College and Military Academy site.
Alone in the kitchen, Luna was shocked to hear a response, which sounded like tapping or a bouncing ball. She also heard someone say “rocking chair” when she was near a chair, and heard a child laugh.
Later, while walking in a wooded area behind the cemetery at the site, Luna came upon an unexplained misty image and was able to get it on film before it disappeared.
Kathy Sanderson saw a fireball in the kitchen, and audio recordings later revealed a man’s voice say “fireball.”
Those are among the stories shared Sunday by a local group called Entity Paranormal Research, which investigates paranormal reports. They spoke to LaGrange officials to discuss their findings from the investigation, which was done with the LaGrange officials’ permission.
“It’s a very active place here,” researcher Patricia Harrison said.
Louise Linville-Lenz, one of the LaGrange officials, said she had heard numerous stories about unexplained sightings and voices, but never had an experience until Saturday when she was at the cemetery, holding a camera.
“Something was pulling down on my camera,” Linville-Lenz said. “That’s the first time something has ever happened to me in all my years here.”
Harrison had an odd experience, too. When the group was listening to one of the audio recordings after the investigation, they discovered a voice called out “Patricia.”
Luna played that recording for the LaGrange officials. She also played a recording that sounded like a child laughing in the slave’s kitchen.
They encountered a shadowy figure in the kitchen and misty circle in the cemetery, in addition to the misty entity Luna filmed.
After seeing the fireball, Sanderson did some research and learned it was common in earlier times to make a fireball to start stoves when coal wasn’t available.
Luna, the lead investigator for Entity, said her organization tries to find logical answers to sounds and sights they discover when they do research. They don’t go into an investigation assuming everything they experience is paranormal.
“We try to debunk everything as much as possible,” Luna said.
She also said her group stresses respectfulness.
“When we go in, we don’t provoke,” she said. “We want to learn about the person who is there. We are always respectful and always say ‘thank you’.”
Linville-Lenz said the findings are interesting, and she’s glad she allowed the group to conduct an investigation. She said she has heard numerous stories about strange occurrences at LaGrange.
She said a former caretaker called her one night after seeing someone lean against a streetlight pole. “He said, ‘I saw a man leaning against the pole. I went over there to him and saw him the whole time, and just before I got there, he vanished into thin air. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find him.’ I asked what the man was wearing and he said a suit and hat and I said that was the same man who had been reported here before.”
A woman who lived at LaGrange years ago refused to drive beyond the park at night, because of something that happened when she was young and she and her husband drove a horse and buggy, Linville-Lenz said.
“She told stories about seeing lights that appear in the woods and disappear,” she said. “One night they were in a wagon and something jolted it and threw her and her husband backward and spooked the horses. Her husband thought he might have hit something but there was nothing there. Another time, they had one of the earliest model vehicles and someone appeared in the middle of road and then disappeared. When she told things, to me, it was believable. I knew her and knew she wouldn’t lie and knew she would always be afraid to go farther than the park at night.”
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.