|Chris Grady, a Twisted Dixie ghost hunter scans, for paranormal activity|
Grady, 66, is the winner of three purple hearts in Vietnam; his son, Chris, 41, is a former long-haul trucker; and Andy, 46, is a former bodyguard. Now all three Carter men are Twisted Dixie, a team of paranormal investigators — or, to use their less preferred term, ghostbusters. For fees upward of $2,000 per demonic possession, they camp out at night in clients’ houses, barns, businesses or woods and “document paranormal activity,” Andy explains, referring to “ghosts, demons, poltergeists.”
On this night, Twisted Dixie was investigating a supposedly haunted 1820s plantation house and its cotton gin, located deep in the woods around Antreville, S.C. Cotton plantations are good places to find ghosts, Chris explains, because they house a lot of the tortured souls of dead slaves. “We got a call from this woman four weeks ago,” Andy said. “She’s home alone with three young ’uns ’cause her husband’s away a lot. She heard a lot of screaming coming from the cotton gin, and she swears it was running again. In 2005, the former owner bulldozed some old slaves’ quarters in the woods, and we think the slave spirits are furious.”
|not a ghost|
Grady and I sat in the low deck chairs, while Chris and Andy fanned out around the gin, depositing small cameras and tape recorders here and there. Most of their equipment was purchased from Radio Shack and not necessarily as sophisticated as the “discount paranormal research equipment” for sale on Ghost-Mart.com. Not like the Lutron EMF/ELF Electromagnetic Field Tester ($79.99), or the FLIR ThermaCam B2 Thermal Imaging Camera ($8,949.99). Andy said that device is “bull,” but he’d take it if someone gave him one.
Grady and I watched Chris and Andy until we could see only the glowing ends of their cigarettes. Grady popped another beer and told me about his own ghosts. “I had 83 confirmed kills,” he said. “I can’t sleep at night. The terrible things I done haunt me. I see them over and over.” Chris and Andy returned from deploying the equipment, grabbed two more beers from the cooler and lighted new cigarettes. We hung around for an hour or two, talking softly, looking, listening. The conversation inevitably turned to the origins of the paranormal-activity trade. “All the slaves come from Africa, where they were into all kinds of spirituality,” Andy said. “That’s where you get voodoo, things like that.”
Before leaving, Andy called on one last trick. He tried to bring out the ghosts by imitating a 19th-century slave overseer cracking his whip. “You can’t hide from me,” he screamed into the dark barn. “Get your asses back to work. When’s the last time you talked to someone? So why don’t you communicate with us?”
But the ghosts, it appeared, would have none of it. So Andy and Chris collected their cameras (one of which, they claimed, caught a bluish gray orb) and tape recorders (it picked up a hissing noise, they said). They packed up their gear, popped more beers, lighted cigarettes and trudged back through the woods to the old house, disappointed. Andy, who was part angry, part empathetic, could understand why the ghost wouldn’t reveal himself. “We’re disturbing him,” he said.
Source: New York Times