We have had so many interesting investigations and experiences at historic Avenel we decided to go back. If you haven't read the previous report for an earlier investigation at Avenel, I would suggest that you go back to that page and read it before this one.
We arrived at the impressive home called Avenel at 7pm. Taffney was already there and filled us in on some of the latest stories concerning the home. As always she was the perfect host setting up a coffee maker for us and telling us to make ourselves at home. We thanked her and began to set up all of our equipment as she left. We several new pieces of equipment to try out including a security camera that fed video to a monitor a member already had and a couple of digital thermometers. Members present were Alissa, Brandy, Amy, and Alan.
We started to set up our equipment and go over the plan for tonight again. Many times when we've had everyone together in the same room upstairs, we'll hear muffled voices and/or footsteps downstairs or in other parts of the house. This time we decided to place some of the equipment in parts of the house that we weren't in. We set up the security camera in the Pink room facing the hall door and Brandy's camcorder facing the bathroom door. We then set up my camcorder in the conference room with the lights out facing the Lee bedroom and a motion detector in the Formal Parlor. The team members assembled in the Lee room and settled in. I sat on the floor near the dresser with a mirror, Brandy as on the couch, Amy sat in a chair near the door to the second story porch, and Alissa sat on the bed. In the past we had heard of others getting photos of mists and/or ectoplasm in the Lee room and one of our members had too. I took some photos of the bed and had what appeared to be a mist over it. This was the first time for me. I took several more and found that the phenomenon slightly different each time, but repeatable. Brandy took some from her vantage point with the same results. The Lee room and the Dining room below it have a covering over the windows that helps to prevent sun damage to the furnishings. It appears to be made of some type of plastic. We noticed that the thick curtains were open in the Lee room and decided to close them and try the photos again. It quickly became apparent that the window film had caused the unusual photos.
We settled back in and it wasn't long before Alissa said that her stomach was hurting. Amy and Brandy took several photos of her at the bed and orbs appeared in them. From where I sat I could see the stairway and the window that separated it from the other set of stairs. In the past we had shut the door to the Lee room in order to observe a shadow that usually appeared under the door as if something was moving in the hallway. This time we had decided to leave it open. After a while we decided to take a break and reposition some of the equipment and sit in another room. I took my camcorder from the conference room and placed it on the landing outside of the Pink room. It faced the other landing on the other side of the house. This landing has Taffney's office on one side, the Conference room on the other, and an exterior window in-between. The lights were off in Taffney's office, the hallway and staircase, and the conference room. Brandy had placed her camcorder in the hallway in another part of the house facing the Lee room. This hallway had it's light left on since she could not film in darkness with it. The Team settled down in the Pink room with Alissa and Amy sitting on the bed, Brandy near the full length mirror, and with myself on the floor near the bathroom door.
When I reviewed my video tape from this time period the next day I found something that's hard to explain away. The video camera recorded someone passing by the window on the landing at the other end of the house. The problem is, this window is on the second floor. The image is walking past the window and then turns to look towards the camera as it continues on. At first I thought it must be some sort of reflection of one of us going into the Pink room. I reviewed it several times before continuing on to the rest of the video. At about 13 minutes after this image is seen in the window, you see me walk around the camera go down the stairs in front of it and out of sight. About a minute later the rest of the team does the same thing. I paid close attention to the window in question while reviewing this but there were no images in the window at all. Also later in the night I return back to the bedroom to retrieve another camera taking the same path and then leaving again. There wasn't anything in the window this time either. I tried to come up with some sort of reason for this image, but haven't yet.
Back to our vigil in the Pink room. I took several photos of the room and found an unusual shaped orb in one of them. I had gotten this sort of shape before, but only at Avenel. It was an ellipse and resembled an eye. It was interesting, but I didn't get too excited. As we sat there, Amy and Alissa said that they could hear something like footsteps outside the room. I could not, but my hearing isn't the best by any means. They walked as quietly as they could to the door of the room and listened. They quickly concluded that it was coming from the second story porch which has a door to it here. I walked softly to the door while they readied their cameras. As I opened it Alissa and Amy both took photos of the open doorway and both said that a small rocker placed on the porch about 5 feet from the door was moving when I opened the door. They described not as a rocking movement, but one as if some one was sitting in it and had gotten up. Since the door opened in my view was not clear like theirs was. We did some experiments with chair trying to see if it would move when the door was opened. We couldn't get it to move even when I open the door very quickly. The floor of this porch is covered with a sort of roofing paper with grit added. The sounds Amy and Alissa heard were apparently the small rocker moving back and forth rather than footsteps. We ruled out wind as a cause for the rocker since the porch was sheltered from it on three sides and because there was no wind to speak of that night.
As it was a rocking chair built for a smaller person or child on the porch we couldn't help but think about a photo taken by Amy and Alissa a couple of weeks earlier. They had stopped by the home to take a few photos of the grounds. When they had walked around an out building in the back yard, both felt as if someone was looking at them. Amy turned and took a photo of Avenel. In this photo we could see a small boy resting on one arm as he looks out of a window in the Lee bedroom. There is a story about a young slave that was very scared when the Northern Army became close to Avenel as it entered Bedford on it's way to Lynchburg. Everyone in the area had heard of the destruction of homes and burnings of property along with looting and other hardships that General Hunter and the Northern Army had inflicted on the civilian population during his march through the valley on his way to Lynchburg. The child beat franticly on the front door and asked to be let in. The family let him in and Mrs. Burwell tried to calm him, to no avail. She made a bed for him in Mr. Burwell's office, unfortunately however the child never completely recovered from his fright and died several days later. We all wondered if this could be the same boy.
We decided to set up the security camera on the porch but to keep the monitor in the Pink room. We noticed later in the night that occasionally some sort of orbs would go past the camera. I went out on the porch and checked for any sign of insects. I felt as if it was just too cold for any but I want to be sure. I couldn't find any in the air, the walls of the porch, or on the floor of the porch. I also walked back and forth to see if dust might be the cause. The team members watching the monitor said that there were no orbs while I was on the porch.
We sat in the Pink room a while longer and then decided to investigate the first level. We went to the Yellow room that used to be Mr.. Burwell's office first. On the way there I took a photo of the hallway from the bottom of the stairs towards the front door. There is a full length mirror between the door to the Yellow room. In the photo I took of the hall, many people say they can see a face in the mirror as if it's looking towards the camera. We entered the Yellow room and almost immediately Alissa said that she felt uncomfortable. She has described the feeling she gets in this room as an upsetting of her balance, almost like she is on a ship at sea. A few others have said they get slightly dizzy in this room at times. We spread out and stood quietly listening for any unusual sounds. As we stood there Alissa's rosary came apart and the beads made noise as they bounced across the wooden floor. We all helped her pick them up with our flashlights and felt it wasn't a good sign. Amy still had her rosary and medal and I had mine as well. We stood for a while longer in the dark. Amy took some photos and caught an interesting orb in one of them. After we all returned to our homes, Amy was listening to her recorder and discovered a voice that talked to us just after Alissa's rosary came apart. It sounds like a woman. You can hear us talking and the voice says to us "The secret is in the wall". We also got what seemed to be another EVP in this room, but it was debunked as another team member's voice. I've always liked the way this team is hard on accepting their own findings and puts things to the test before accepting them as evidence.
We decided to walk across the hall and into the Formal Parlor. I cut off the motion sensor we had placed there and we sat in the dark with Brandy and Amy on a sofa under a window, Alissa on a couch across from the fireplace and myself on the floor. Several times in the past we had recorded EVPs of a woman's voice in this room. Occasionally members would quietly point towards the Dining/Kitchen area to let us know they could hear some noises from there. Even with my bad hearing I could hear what seemed to be occasional footsteps, but no voices. We sat for a while listening to the sounds. We knew from past experience that if we got up and moved towards the noise it would stop so we sat tight. After a while it stopped so we decided to return upstairs. A couple of members said that they didn't feel comfortable going out the Parlor room door that faced the yellow room. I had to admit that it felt as if someone was watching you from the office. I took some photos as I passed the door to the Office, but there wasn't anything in them.
We went back upstairs to the Pink room and sat for awhile listening before deciding to call it a night. After Amy had reviewed her voice recording from the Pink room she found the voice of a young girl say "Hi Kitty, Kitty, Kitty". We had gotten similar recordings to this several times before. Once on another investigation Scott and I were the only ones at Avenel. He sat in the Pink room while I sat in the Lee room. After about 45 minutes he came to the Lee room and asked if I had heard a girl calling for her cat. I had not. Scott had heard it clearly and was very surprised I had not heard it. He said that it sounded as if the child was not in one place, but was moving around as she called out "kitty". The voice showed up on his recording. Taffney had told us of another group where a member had seen a cat run through a room and then was gone. We had also read about a family member that had been know by that name, but considering the way the child is calling "kitty" it seems more likely to be calling for a pet.
We had experienced another interesting evening at the Avenel Plantation and looked forward to returning again. As always we made a sweep through the impressive home to ensure everything was exactly as we had found it, set the alarm, and went our separate ways.