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Case Study: Carter Ghost Town

Updated: Sep 5


As I get more and more experienced in the field of paranormal investigation, I often find myself reflecting on earlier experiences considering new information. When I first started doing investigations regularly with Eli, often it was just the two of us in the dark with a digital recorder and an old Kodak Easy Share camera. While there were plenty of thrills to be had, we will both be the first to admit that there was very little good investigating going on. This being something we always had in mind, the more we learned, the more we would revisit old sites with new equipment and techniques. In most cases, we would find that we were able to debunk about 99% of what we could have sworn was paranormal the first time around. There is one case, however, that sticks out in my mind. It seems every time that we thought more experience and equipment would surely debunk a previous find, we would find just the opposite.

Carter Texas is listed on the registry as a ghost town. But this description is deceiving. The “ghost town” is nothing more than an abandoned church building, an outside awning, and some stone markers detailing the history of the location. The site is hardly in the middle of nowhere as it is surrounded by private property nestled between Weatherford and Springtown. Carter, AKA Cartersville, was established between 1866-1867. It once had a post office and a flour mill. The flour mill burned to the ground on November 14, 1891, and was never reconstructed. Carter was also the site of the last murder of a white man from a Native American in Texas. The town ‘died’ when nearby Weatherford was established. The remains include an old Church, and a small, covered pavilion area, as well as many historical markers, and dedications on sites where significant history took place. Also, inside the pavilion area, there remained an old piano. There was a sticker on the piano that stated that it was last serviced in the year 1973.

Our first trip to the location was with Eli and my sister Kady who did a lot of our scouting back in those days. She liked creepy places and had a good feel for areas around the Springtown area. During that investigation, we were armed only with a recorder and a camera in which we captured several faint EVPs and a lot of pictures of Orbs. However, we found ourselves leaving the property in a hurry when we heard shotgun blasts in the background and decided it was time to get out of there. Later we returned armed with infrared cameras and a lot more experience. By this time, we had debunked orbs almost entirely as being dust and most EVP’s as contamination. We did this several times, the location becoming one of our favorite spots. After upping our EVP game and controlling contamination better, we came away with less strange words on our recorders, but the ones we found were much more prominent and curious. At times we managed to capture video of what looked like shadow people in various frames always watching us from a distance. Several of us felt like we had been touched at times and we even managed to capture video footage of one of our team members having her hair tucked behind her ear. Later we would return to debunk these happenings only to find that a high EMF field existed in the field to the side of the building, but everything inside would be a dead spot. Yet somehow, we managed to get seemingly responsive spikes on our EMF detectors.

With time, as we moved on to other locations, we tend to look back at most of what we did there as silly. We were sloppy, often anxious, and did not really have a grasp of what we were doing. We like to think back on it and tell ourselves that there was nothing paranormal happening. However, we have never really gone back to officially disprove anything that happened, and I think this is an important step in conducting any investigation. We do plan to go back eventually, but time is rarely ever our friend in these matters. The building itself is hard to access now. To many trespassers with ill intent have caused whoever keeps up with the property to seal it up. Some of the things that we want to test are no longer possible. However, that will not deter us. Luckily, our reputation carries some weight these days and we can probably arrange something with the owner that doesn’t involve trespassing.

There are several experiences that I think would be hard to debunk about this case. The shadow figures that we have captured I think would withstand most scrutiny. Even at the time, we were bright enough to take location pictures and we were able to show that the places shadows were being recorded were not just artifacts of the environment. Either someone was standing in those locations that were not part of our group or we managed to capture something paranormal. The most prominent EVP we captured was a voice saying the name of our EVP tech. This was a clear voice just like you or me. However, this voice shows up on no other audio sources that were recording at the time. These days I do not put much stock into EMF readings. High, low, intermittent, it is all random and does not really seem to have any correlation to activity in a meaningful way. Spirit box sessions never turned up much for us and neither have word bank sessions. But none of that gets us any closer to a closed case.

When and if we ever get the opportunity to return, I would much like to run a different style of investigation. A more objective approach and better documented. We are past the days of just using handheld recorders. We have the ability to canvas the area to rule out animal and human contamination which are both very real possibilities. After all, we have seen deer roaming the property. These days we also seek permission from property owners prior to investigations which means that we have good control over the environment and unwelcome guests interrupting our work. Also, less anxiety about getting caught gives us a clear head. Another important upgrade to our approach would be the deployment of a thermal camera. What does not show up in our standard camera can’t hide from our thermal imaging. We would employ better control in terms of sound monitoring and documenting the wind and airflow of the building. It does not matter how concrete you think your evidence may be. Someone will always find a way to doubt it, and rightfully so. It’s our job as investigators to up our game, close those gaps, and prove our theory beyond the shadow of a doubt. Not double down and keep doing the same things repeatedly.

I am not sure if Carter has any real activity going on. Several other groups swear by the location, but I seem them falling into the same pitfalls that we always did and rarely evolving to a more sophisticated approach. I think back on what we did out there and can’t help but to think that we were being willfully blind to obvious things. Then again, having been there myself, I still feel like there is more to the area then what is on the surface. While it is easy to say that our early EVPs were weak and contaminated, the one we got later was very convincing. Having been the one to hold the recorder and knowing its placement at the time it was captured, control measures aside, I think it’s a genuine EVP. I have my doubts about our poltergeist activity on camera, but not about the shadow figures we captured. This is one of the few cases where being there has made me more invested in our weakest captures and more skeptical of our more obvious ones.

Hopefully, soon I have the chance to revisit this spot for a closer look and with more experienced eyes. Haunted or not, I will not be disappointed. I am excited to see it again as a more accomplished and critical investigator.

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