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Ghost hunters help out Gaither Plantation
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Those who explore a dark hall way after hearing a bump in the night instead of quickly covering their heads with blankets will enjoy touring Gaither Plantation the first weekend of November.

Members of East Georgia Paranormal will host guided tours of the antebellum plantation discussing paranormal activity witnessed by investigators, plantation volunteers and patrons of the old home.

They will also host a first-come-first-serve overnight investigation on Nov. 3.

Lead Investigator of EGP Bobby Bishop said he is skeptical of most ghost sightings and tries to disprove them, but Gaither Plantation is one of three sites he has deeply investigated, and he believes it is a hotbed of paranormal activity.

"We call it paranormal activity - most people would call it haunted," Bishop said.

Bishop and other team members have investigated the plantation several times first interviewing caretakers for accounts of unusual happenings then using instruments to read temperature and capture still images as well as video and audio recordings.

Some of what the teams have reported finding suggest former tenants of the home may still roam the grounds.

During one investigation one of the sensitive team members -who can physically sense the presence of spirits - felt uncomfortable ascending the stairs to the dark attic.

Listening to the audio recording later, the team heard a voice whispering, "Don't go up the stairs."

"The voice belonged to someone that was not in our group and we didn't hear it at the time, but our recorder picked it up," Bishop said.

The recording can be heard on EGP's Web site at

Chairman of Friends of Gaither Jerry Love said reports detailing paranormal activity have not made him believe in ghosts but have made him unable to say absolutely that he is a nonbeliever.

"I personally have not seen or heard anything, but the reason I got this started was the questions we got from people who rented the property," Love said. "They would ask 'who's the woman rocking the baby in the upstairs window' or 'who's the man in the grey suit in the basement' when no one was there.

"Because of these stories and things people would ask us about, I said 'I'll bring the ghost-hunters out here and put it to rest,' but that backfired on me."

He said more than a dozen investigations performed by different organizations have found evidence the plantation is haunted.

The eerie part is some of the findings of one group match others, and through the investigations volunteers have discovered things about former residents they previously did not know.

For instance, after conducting an examination of the home, investigators asked about any tragedy which may have occurred at the plantation. No one knew of any deaths other than those stemming from old age or illness until research revealed an accidental death which happened in the 1800s.

A young Gaither accidentally killed a neighbor with a blunt object during an argument about a fire that killed many of the turkeys raised on the plantation.

The man left Georgia and never returned.

Another time investigators asked volunteers what they could tell them about a woman named Celie. A great-granddaughter of Cecilia Gaither revealed children in the family called her Celie because they could not pronounce her name.

Others have claimed to see an apparition of a woman who investigators believe is Cecilia Gaither. She lost the plantation because she could not afford to pay taxes on it and is buried in Covington proper.

Love said sensitive investigators have hypothesized her spirit returns to the plantation because she wants to be buried there with her husband and family.

Caretakers and volunteers have recounted stories of people opening doors and saying 'excuse me' thinking someone was in the room, but no one was there.

A previous caretaker refused to visit the plantation alone at night.

One day when a volunteer and caretaker were sitting the home's kitchen waiting on children on a school field trip to arrive, they experienced something odd.

"They had the front door open and they heard voices out front and that's what they were expecting, so they walked to the front door and no one was there," Love said.

Many have suggested because the women expected to hear voices, they did, but Love doesn't understand why they heard them at the same time.

The creepiness of these stories has garnered attention from coast to coast. Producers from the Sci-fi Channel program TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) Ghost Hunters have expressed interest in featuring the plantation.

"There are so many people in the county who have never heard of it or know where it is, when people in California know about it," Love said.

Bishop said the EGP will donate ticket proceeds from the tour to Friends of Gaither for maintenance and upkeep of the plantation and other buildings on the property.

"An old place like that takes a lot of money to maintain," Bishop said, "and they've been very nice to us with allowing us to hold investigations and all."