East TN Ghost Hunters lift the veil on the spirit world

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary | Photo by Marc Anthony

C.J. Cox was in the hospital room tending to a patient, who happened to be a prison inmate, when she saw a dark shadow enter the room. The door closed behind it. She watched, spellbound, as the shadow moved across the room and hovered over the patient. And then she witnessed the patient die. 

It’s experiences like that as a nurse that led C.J. to start, along with her friend Bottney Wilson, East Tennessee Ghost Hunters about seven years ago. Since then the women, along with half a dozen or so comrades, have investigated paranormal activities in East Tennessee and surrounds. 

“There has to be something that explains more than what we can see,” she said. 

Armed with an infrared camera and infrared grid, the Ghost Hunters visit mostly historic sites to see if they can capture ghostly activity. Sometimes they see nothing with their naked eyes but catch apparitions and shapes on their recording equipment. They use voice recorders and microphones to pick up other-worldly noises.

And she’s been amazed at some of the activity they’ve uncovered. 

While exploring Old South Pittsburg Hospital, a historic site near Chattanooga, they saw a full-body apparition before them. On another visit, she said they picked up on their recording equipment a voice paging a Dr. Brown to the OR, stat. 

They’ve visited Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky, which at one time housed patients with tuberculosis, several times and have heard voices. On their first visit they were in the children’s ward. Bottney had brought a ball, and they watched as the ball bounced across the room. As they asked questions of the spirit of what they believe was a child who’d been there, their flashlight brightened or turned off in response. She even said she felt the warmth of a child sitting in her lap as they sat on the floor of the ward, singing children’s songs. 

The Ghost Hunters were invited to do a home investigation in Kingsport after the homeowners’ son became afraid to sleep. They narrowed the problem down to a chair in his room; the previous owner of the chair had committed suicide. Once the chair was removed, the problems went away, she said. 

She said the most active site she’s visited is the haunted URA Shinto Shrine in Bristol. “There is evil there. We’re not used to that,” she said. They’ve also interacted with the spirit of a child at the Tipton Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City. 

“We stay open-minded and calm,” C.J. says. “We don’t do anything to provoke the spirits. We listen and we ask questions and we try to help them if we can.”

What about the old Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary near Petros? Have they heard or seen anything there? “Not yet,” she said, “but it’s coming up.”  

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