What is it about the paranormal that intrigues people? Why do some investigators keep coming back for more year after year? It’s easy enough to dismiss what you see on TV as potentially fake, or at least over-acted. But, the fact is, there are huge numbers of people dedicating years of their lives to investigating this unknown side of things. Things that are supposedly 100% nonexistent – according to popular “logical” or “scientific” belief. The other truth, though, is that ghost stories can be found throughout history, in nearly every culture across the globe. Stories of the paranormal being passed down through the ages, without any of us having any real proof that the tellers of these stories meant them as anything less than 100% true. All these question marks and popular beliefs can put a little skepticism in the best of us. So, what better way to find out the truth than to go and see for yourself?
Last month, my friends and I decided to do exactly that. We booked a weekend stay and ghost hunt at the Thomas House Hotel in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. I won’t give away the ending yet, but let’s just say I walked away more a believer than a skeptic and totally convinced that this is one of the most haunted places in America.
The Thomas House Hotel, originally named the Cloyd Hotel for the family who built it, has had a long and colored past. Opened in the 1890’s as a resort & spa, it drew countless visitors with the promise of the healing mineral springs the town is named for. Right off the bat, this means that for decades so many of the visitors were sick. One has to think, how many prayers of desperation were sent up in this place?
The springs also attracted a huge influx of wealthy tourists, naturally leading to all the things rich vacationers need: like a red light district, gambling halls, and a steady supply of alcohol – especially during Prohibition. But the most bizarre twist in the Thomas House Hotel’s history is that it was purchased by a cult in the 1980’s; the cult of Anzara. (You can read more about the cult here.)
During the pre-hunt presentation and viewing of Chad Morin’s, president of Ghost Hunt Weekends, documentary about the hotel, as well as the Ghost Hunter’s episode filmed there, we learned many sad and sordid stories from the hotel’s past; along with a laundry list of paranormal encounters and amazing otherworldly evidence captures. But the most incredible thing was how people’s paranormal experiences and evidence all correlated with things that had actually happened in the hotel.
The saddest stories involve young children who died in the Thomas House Hotel or on the grounds. These kids, named Sarah, Edwin, and Robbie, have been seen and heard as well as captured on audio and in pictures. In Room 37, Sarah’s room, balls roll on their own, flashlights and other equipment turn on and off, EVPs of children’s voices have been captured, and items placed in the room across the hall appear in Sarah’s room with no human hands having moved them. Sarah is thought to be a member of the original Cloyd family, but no one is entirely sure.
On the other hand, we know exactly who Edwin is. In 1961, a seven year old boy named Edwin Rush was swimming in the hotel’s pool. His older brother, the lifeguard, left for lunch and came back to find Edwin’s lifeless body floating in the pool. This story is absolutely verified; visit the Thomas House Hotel and you yourself will see the frontpage article from the town’s newspaper. So many EVPs have been captured and were played for everyone to hear. Multiple ones sounded like the same little boy’s voice, southern accent and all, saying things like “There was no lifeguard,” and “I was choked back there.” The story of Edwin really got to me and hearing that little voice left no doubt in my mind that he’s very much still there.
As far as personal experiences, we all had plenty. My friends and I saw shadows moving, voices were coming through spirit boxes, REM Pods were going off and so were light-up cat balls that only turn on when physically touched. K2 meters were even registering seemingly intelligent responses in the old church across the street; a building that hasn’t had power in years. The official hunt ended around 1am, but seeing how the whole hotel is always rented out for the event, everyone was free to keep investigating as long as they pleased. So, we did – and that’s when things really got nuts.
Sometime after 3am, I went to meet my friends who were already in the Seance Room – great name, right? Conveniently ominous time of day, perhaps? As I walked in, all three K2 meters that were on the large central table hit red… that’s, of course, as high as they go. And they held there for a few seconds. My friends said, “That’s strange. Those haven’t gone off at all, until you walked in.” At this point, I’m officially creeped. And what happens next doesn’t help.
They take out their SLS camera and point it at me, my friends both looking intently at the screen I cannot see. “Yeap, it’s right there. There’s a figure mapping in right behind you.” I didn’t need them to tell me which side it was on either… I could feel it. I just knew. As I moved around the room it followed me; at one point mapping in directly on top of the table as I sat in a chair, hoping to regain some personal space. Eventually they turned it off, we went outside and I felt better. But, as much as that experience may have freaked me out in the moment, it was an absolutely amazing one.
I had come to the Thomas House Hotel looking for answers. I had come seeking some insight into the paranormal world and into those mysteries which are still unexplained. I wanted to know if spirits are real. And, as far as I’m concerned, I got my answer. I came wanting to have an experience and left with more than one.
The Thomas House Hotel does not disappoint. If you’re looking to have your own experience, this is the place to go! Ghost Hunt Weekends hosts events there monthly – a room, as well as breakfast, dinner, and late night snacks are always included. For more information, click here.
PS: I was also in the church when the doors opened and closed on command multiple times. The best part, it was caught on video! Check out that video here.
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