Some visiting paranormal investigators say there’s somebody lurking in the shadows at Orman House.
On Saturday, March 18, Knight Eyes Paranormal Investigations (KEP) from Panama City made a nocturnal visit to Orman House Historic State Park to seek out spectral residents. With a park employee observing, eight investigators visited the house and grounds from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on March 19.
The researchers were divided into two teams of three who explored the site with two more monitoring the control center.
Nathan Collins, KEP founder, said one team searched the interior of Orman House while the other explored the grounds and then, half way through the investigation, they switched places. He said this allows both groups to make independent notes on paranormal activity without discussing what they have experienced. The notes are compared after the investigation is complete.
“We experienced quite a bit while we were there,” Collins said. “We got a really positive response. The house almost seemed to be entertaining us when we were there.”
Phenomena witnessed by both teams included disembodied voices in the attic and library; cold spots in the attic and upstairs bedroom, an unseen hand tapping the keys on the piano, and quite a few orbs, anomalous globe-shaped spots which are not seen with the naked eye, but show up in photographs taken at allegedly haunted locations. One team videoed the attic door opening by itself.
The investigators were able to record both the whispers and piano although Collins said they experienced equipment problems. He said despite the use of infrared light to brighten the scene, the still photos and video came out dark and cloudy. He said they also had problems with the sound equipment and video cameras repeatedly shut off when KEP was attempting to film the attic.
They did not capture any apparitions as far as they know, but Collins said they are still reviewing photos and sound and video recordings. He said KEP deployed eight digital video recorders (DVR) around the house. The team uses as many as 32 but, since the Orman House is small, eight was enough to give good coverage. All of those recordings have to be reviewed.
In addition they deployed K-II meters to detect spikes in electromagnetic energy; ELF (extremely low frequency) detectors to search for abnormal radio waves; and noncontact thermometers to detect cold spots.
They also used a laser grid to detect the motion of unseen residents at Orman House. Collins said invisible ghost can still disrupt the beams of concentrated light.
Collins said the extreme temperature changes were recorded in the attic, which at one point plummeted from 74 to 56 degrees in less in less than two minutes.
Although KEP believes they did detect spectral inhabitants at Orman House, the ghosts were not talkative.
”There is nothing to fear at Orman House,” Collins said. “We didn’t find anything evil. The spirits were timid and childlike. We had to use psychology to get them to communicate with us.”
KEP had received reports that a set of building blocks kept in the nursery sometimes displays inexplicable messages but on March 18 the resident haunts were not in the mood to play with blocks.
The entire investigation was streamed live on KEP’s Facebook page and portions of the video are still online. More than 400 people watched the live feed including viewers from France, Australia and the Philippines.
To view this footage search for KEP Investigations on Facebook.
KEP chose to investigate Orman House because of its age, it was built in 1838, and because there were existing reports of paranormal encounters on the property.
Communicating with the Orman family
Arlene Delloeur is the great-great-granddaughter of Orris Orman, brother of Thomas Orman who built the antebellum home overlooking the Apalachicola River in 1838. She visited the Orman House as a child and on several occasions in her teens and 20s, and stayed there for several weeks at a time.
“The house is alive,” she said in a telephone interview. “I visited Orman House after it became a museum and as I approached the house, it hit me. They’re all still here. Almost all of them who lived there are still there.”
Delloeur said she communicates with ghosts and has seen deceased members of her family, who sometimes visit her at her Orlando home or go with her to church services.
She said most of her siblings share her talent for communicating with spirits. She believes her mother and grandmother were aware of the spectral residents of Orman House.
Delloeur said during her last visit to Orman House with her sister and brother, the three were approached by an owl while crossing the lawn, which she took to be a sign from a departed ancestor.
She said that, when she spent time in the house, it was not unusual for doors to open unexpectedly and without explanation.
She said that, on one occasion, her sister Ruth was looking at an untidy stack of clothing on an old bench and said aloud that she wished the clutter was gone. At that moment the items were dumped behind the bench where they could not be seen.
Delloeur said after her grandmother died, her sister Mary received a visit from her grandmother, also named Mary, as she lay in bed. The younger Mary decided the visit was because her grandmother was concerned about her ailing husband. The next morning, Mary checked his prescriptions doled out for daily consumption and discovered a mistake in the distribution of pills that could have had serious consequences.
Delloeur said the strongest presence in the house is Judge John Fennimore Cooper Griggs who in 1921 added the library to the front of Orman House, where Delloeur said he remains to this day.
Family members are not the only ones to encounter spirits at Orman House. The following story was told by a lifelong Apalachicola resident.
“During the 1960s, I was married to a girl whose mother owned the Orman House. She never saw anything, but she believed there were ghosts in the house. One morning, I had come to fix a hot water heater. I had been working all night at the mill, so I was tired when I finished. I decided to go upstairs to one of the bedrooms and take a nap before going home. As I lay there falling asleep, I heard footsteps on the stairs. I don’t think it was a dream. For some reason, I thought it was my mother-in-law. The footsteps stopped at the door and the knob rattled so I got up to let her in. When I opened the door, there was nobody there. It scared me half to death. I went down those stairs three at a time. I don’t know what that was, but I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore.”
Mike Kinnett, a park ranger at Orman House, also has some tales to tell. He said on one occasion, he was leading a tour of the house with a large group of visitors and they had stopped in the entryway to view artifacts on display there. Kinnett said, at that point there was a knocking on the door and the knob jiggled. Everyone in the group heard it. Kinnett thought perhaps the door was stuck or had accidently been locked. He said the hall was so crowded members of the tour group had to move away from the door so he could open it. When he turned the knob, the door easily opened but there was nobody on the porch and nobody to be seen in the yard.
On another occasion, one of a pair of electric candelabra flanking the piano was turned on five mornings in a row.
“After the second day, I made sure I had turned it off, but every morning it was on again,” Kinnett said. “It had never happened before and, after five days, it never happened again.”
Collins said KEP hopes to return to Franklin County soon. They are discussing with the park service a Halloween meet-and-greet at Orman House. They would also like to investigate the Raney House, an 1838 residence owned by the city and administered by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society.
Collins said his group was very impressed by the people of Apalachicola. “The people were great. I never experienced a warmer welcome anywhere. It seems like when you enter Apalachicola you’re really home,” he said.
He said KEP doesn’t charge for its services, although they do raise funds for travel and equipment by selling t-shirts and ball caps online.
If you suspect you have a haunt, you can contact KEP through their Facebook page. Collins and his associates will come by and do a daytime walkthrough to see if they can help you out. They like to appraise the situation before they commit to investigate and usually research the history of the area.
Collins said they try to avoid negative entities. “We had pennies thrown at us once and captured the words ‘get out’ on tape. We left,” said Collins.
He said it is possible for entities to follow someone home from a haunting and that he was once followed by the spirit of a small girl who appeared to his wife the morning after an investigation.
“She had been a skeptic before that,” said Collins. “Now she’s a believer.”