SPECIAL REPORT: The ghost of Annie’s Inn

Annie's Inn Bed and Breakfast in Montmorenci, South Carolina

MONTMORENCI, S.C. (WJBF) – “It’s amazing how people talk about this place,” said Ryan Love, lead investigator for Paranormal 64, as he sat in the living room of Annie’s Inn Bed and Breakfast in Aiken County. “All I can hear is about this place and this little girl ghost.”

Built in the early 1800s, Union soldiers barricaded themselves here during the Civil War. Later it served as a hospital.

“I had been looking into the history of this place for a little while since I read online about peoples’ experience with the little girl,” said Brandon Spell, Paranormal 64’s resident historian.

Over the years, multiple guests have reported hearing a little girl roaming the halls calling out for her mother.

“It could be that the little girl lived here and is trying to find her family,” Spell said.

Scottie Ruark has co-owned the property since 1981 and turned it into a bed and breakfast in 1984. She and husband Dallas have heard all the stories…and have a few of their own.

“She’s mischievous,” said Scottie Ruark. “She’s hidden things in people’s rooms. She’s turned the TVs on an off.”

“There are things that go bump in the night,” said Love. “I promise you.”

Love created Paranormal 64, a paranormal investigation team based in Barnwell, after recruiting Spell and Bree Long, who acts as a medium that attempts to communicate with spirits on a personal level. Each has a personal reason for their interest in the “other side”.

“My cousin committed suicide, and about three weeks before he did I had a dream about it,” Love recalls.

“As I got older and developed things in myself, started working on meditation and inner peace and different things like that, I learned my connection with the spirit world,” Long explained.

As for Spell: “I wanted to find out what it’s all about. Maybe there’s something out there that I don’t know about.”

They use simple instruments, including an electromagnetic field reader and a radio frequency scanner, both of which they believe spirits can use as vessels through which to communicate.

“Laws of physics state when a person dies their energy can not be destroyed it can only be changed,” Long explains.

From left: Brandon Swell, NewsChannel 6’s John Hart, Ryan Love, Bree Long and Brandy Hudson

Their investigation of Annie’s Inn begins in an upstairs bedroom where Long, the medium, attempts to make contact.

“Can you say my name,” she asks into the frequency scanner.

Immediately a faint voice comes over the scanner. Everyone in the room agrees that the voice said “Bree Long”.

“That freaked me out,” Long says. “That was my first and last name and I never said (my last name).”

The investigation proceeds to another room where Long feels a presence, but is unable to make contact.

“It was just right there,” she says as she points to a corner of the room.

After the team comes up empty in two adjacent bedrooms, the investigation returns to the room where it started. Investigators feel that room contains most of the paranormal activity in the house, and a startling discovery is made.

“That was not there before,” says Love. “That was not there.”

“That” is a toy doll’s dress that appeared in the floor. Photos of the room taken earlier in the night clearly show nothing in the floor. Investigators determine no one would have been able to access the room while they were out.

“That was not there,” Love reiterates.

The development gives Paranormal 64 new hope, but after three hours the night ends with no further communication from the other side.

So what does it all mean? What did investigators learn about “The Ghost of Annie’s Inn”?

“Honest truth there’s more than just a little girl,” Love concludes as he and Spell stand on the front porch and rehash the evening’s findings. “We’ve tried to debunk everything and we’ve had some interesting stuff happen to us tonight, especially (the dress). I won’t be able to explain that. That’s going to haunt me for a little while.”

To learn more about Paranormal 64 or to contact them, click here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prior to the investigation, Love and his team advised the NewsChannel 6 crew that spirits draw upon energy, so phone and camera batteries would drain quickly during the investigation. The camera battery used for this story usually lasts 3-4 hours. Once the investigation began, it died within 20 minutes.

Click below for full-length clips from the investigation that you did NOT see in the story. Then keep reading for links to more places in the CSRA that are thought to be haunted, as well as how you can get up close and personal with the paranormal. Plus a blog by NewsChannel 6’s John Hart about his experience during the investigation:

CSRA’s “MOST HAUNTED” PLACES

According to hauntedrooms.com and hauntedplaces.org, there are a number of other places in the CSRA that are believed to be haunted:

  • Sibley Mill – Employees reported seeing a former worker who was killed in the 1800s.
  • Wylly Barron Mausoleum, Magnolia Cemetery – Visitors claim to hear noises coming from inside the tomb.
  • Augusta University – Bellevue Hall said to be haunted by woman who jumped to her death in 1860s.
  • Ezekiel Harris House – Visitors report encountering soldier hanged there during Revolutionary War.
  • The Partridge Inn – Staff and guests report seeing ghost of bride whose groom was killed on their wedding day.
  • Hotel Aiken – Variety of paranormal activity reported on second floor.
  • Old Aiken Post Office – Roof allegedly haunted by worker who fell to his death. Other ghosts also reported.
  • Graniteville Cemetery – Vistors have reported the dead reaching up and grabbing their feet from the grave!
  • Rosemary Hall (North Augusta) – Room 205 said to be haunted by ghost of original owner’s wife.

GHOST TOURS OF AUGUSTA

Various tours of Augusta’s “haunted” places are offered throughout the year. Click on the links below for more information:

AUTHOR’S BLOG

The idea for this story was about five months in the making.

I was filling in anchoring Good Morning Augusta Saturday on Memorial Day weekend. Shortly after the show an e-mail appeared in my inbox from Ryan Love. It contained a link to a recent newspaper story about his group of local paranormal investigators. My immediate thought was, “What a great story this would make for Halloween!”

Ryan, along with his colleagues Brandon Spell and Bree Long make up Paranormal 64. Each has his or her own reason for their interest in this subject, which you’ll learn more about when the story airs.

Based in Barnwell, they describe themselves as “down home country” and their methods are unabashedly low-tech. Love believes many of the “flashier” paranormal investigators use more expensive equipment that can make it easier to fake phenomena. Instead, his team uses instinct and a pair of simple instruments.

Love is the lead investigator, Long is the medium in charge of contacting spirits on a personal level and Spell is the historian. He’s in charge of knowing everything there is to know about virtually everything that has ever happened at an investigation site.

Spell’s research is what drew Paranormal 64 and, as a result me, to Annie’s Inn Bed and Breakfast just outside Aiken in Montmorenci. Routinely listed among South Carolina’s most “haunted” locations, the building has been in service since being built in the early 1800s. It housed Union soldiers who barricaded themselves inside after fleeing the Battle of Aiken during the Civil War. It later served as a doctor’s office and hospital. It has been a Bed and Breakfast since 1984.

Legend has it that, somewhere along the line, at least one of the house’s inhabitants decided not to leave. Over the years, many guests have reported hearing a small girl wandering the halls calling out for her mother. The Bed and Breakfast’s current owners, Scottie and Dallas Ruark, also report strange phenomena.

And so Ryan and I kept in touch, and five months after that original e-mail appeared on a warm May weekend, I loaded up a camera, drove to eastern Aiken County and joined Paranormal 64 for its investigation of Annie’s Inn just before Halloween.

From left: Brandon Spell, me, Ryan Love, Bree Long and Brandy Hudson after the investigation.

In the interest of full disclosure, I went into this as something of a skeptic. I’ve never given much thought to the paranormal as my faith has always taught me that when you die you go to one of two places. Nor have I had any particular experiences that would lead me to think about it. The closest I get is probably watching “The Walking Dead”, which I assume to be pure fiction.

But Love and his crew are sincere in their mission and their belief in an “in between”. They don’t make any money from it and they tell me their only goal is the truth, like a modern day Mulder and Scully from “The X-Files” (which, again, I only watched sporadically).

I look forward to sharing their story and our experience with you. At the end you can draw your own conclusions.

Watch “The Ghost Of Annie’s Inn”, Monday, October 30th at 6pm on WJBF NewsChannel 6 at 6.

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