By Blair Jett
Tonya Taylor, former member of the Paranormal Research Alliance (PRA) played a key role in the research portion of this story, as well as the investigation.
For obvious reasons we have chosen not to publish the exact location out of respect for the families & the locals. Cemeteries have a long history of being vandalized by worthless disrespectful people and we do not want to be responsible for any potential damage by others that might be caused by the publishing of our investigation.
We first learned of this graveyard in the summer of 2009 from the website of another paranormal group in Alabama. As stated on their website, this group conducted a night time investigation of this family graveyard in October 2007, claiming that they believe a sinister dark force resides here and that one of their investigators had been attacked by an unseen force, causing him to become severely ill. Aside from vomiting, this group published a photo taken the next day showing that this investigator suffered two black eyes & scratches on his face.
Absolutely fascinated by this account, I attempted to contact this paranormal group to learn more about this story and to offer my hand in friendship. Personally, I feel that it`s important for paranormal societies to work together towards a mutual goal of understanding paranormal phenomena in hopes of giving this uncharted field more credibility among the sceptical members of society, and even more importantly, to provide a better understanding of life after death in general. This group did not have a telephone number, but I did send an email to the group founder. For whatever reason (I wont speculate, but I have my suspicions) I got no reply. My fellow PRA investigator, Tonya sent them an email, and she too got no response.
So for months I conducted searches via the internet, Google Maps, asking people all around Cullman, Alabama, but could not find any information about this cemetery. There was no record of it on most maps, nor was it listed on the register of Cullman County Cemeteries that I had access to.
None of the locals I asked had ever heard of it.
Finally a break in the case came in March of 2010 when I discovered a listing for it at findagrave.com. Logan is a small rural community about 9 miles outside of the city of Cullman.
In April 2010, I sent an email message to the investigator of the other paranormal society that claimed to have been attacked, but just like his founder of that group, I got no reply.
Why is everyone so secretive about this place?
These people don`t even have the courtesy of responding to emails?
So much for professionalism!
I guess some people have no concept of standard respectable business practices & find it much easier to just ignore anyone they don`t want to interact with. A Google Map search of Guthery Crossroads & Logan turned up no results, so on Friday, March 12th, Tonya & myself went to the Crossroads & successfully found the Bates Graveyard. During the daytime examination of this site, we found nothing "sinister" about this place. We did an EVP session (electronic voice phenomena) with no results. We also took photos. Here`s a few of them.
There are many unintelligable grave markers.
A search of graveyard records at the Cullman County Library states there are between 21 and 23 unmarked graves here.
Although the other paranormal group mentioned earlier reports that there are several children buried here after a small pox outbreak in the late 1700s, we found no information to confirm that. What we did find is that there was a small pox outbreak that killed many children in northern Alabama in 1865.
Note the photo above of James Stephen Bates. No record exists of a month & day, but records do show that he died in 1865 at the age of 9 years old. Also note that his tombstone states he was the first person buried here.
We located a Bates family member & trustee of the cemetery who told us the story. The Bates family had a homestead down the road a ways in the mid 1800s. James Stephen Bates was a shepard and would always take the sheep up on that hill which is now the cemetery. It was little nine year old James` favorite place. Tragedy struck in 1865 when little James was gored by a bull & died from his injuries. And so his parents buried him on that hill making little James the first person to be buried in this cemetery.
Historical records show that the Bates family migrated here from England in the 1600s. First living in what is now known as Virginia & Georgia. Tonya & I spent a great deal of time going through historical records at the Cullman Library. Many documents were hand written & sometimes hard to read, but As best as we were able to determine from historical records:
Royal Bates (born September 1, 1818 - Died September 12, 1893) lived in the Logan area & was the father of James Stephen Bates (first buried above photo), who was the older brother of William Fleming Bates (born January 14, 1853 - died October 13, 1932). William married Mary Tucker in 1873 (Mary JM. Bates). William & Mary had a son William G. Bates (born March 5, 1888 - died July 2, 1903)
This graveyard was a family cemetery for the Bates and other relatives of theirs and we found a hand written deed that William F. Bates officially purchased the less than 2 acre plot from Cullman Land Company in 1915 for the total sum of $18.00. We saw two documents, one stating November of 1915, the other showing December 29, 1915. The Cullman Land Company was part of the North Alabama Land Company founded by John G. Cullmann.
The last person buried here was in 2006 and clearly someone still maintains this graveyard. For obvious reasons we have chosen not to publish the exact location out of respect for the families & the locals. Cemeteries have a long history of being vandalized by worthless disrespectful people and we do not want to be responsible for any potential damage that might be caused by the publishing of our investigation. For those of you that do know where this cemetery is & plan on visiting, I strongly advise that you do it during daylight hours. Residents nearby watch this cemetery due to acts of vandalism that have occured in recent years. Our investigations at this location did take place at night, but we did so with permission of the Bates family & we provided advance notification to the neighbors that we would be there.
Paranormal Research Alliance Investigates
Date April 2, 2010
Time of investigation 9:45 p.m. to 11:10 p.m.
Winds calm 0 -10 mph
clear with a lot of pollen & dust in the air
Solar Activity Calm
Geomagnetic Activity Quiet
Moon Phase Waning/Near full
After the investigation, we returned a couple weeks later to gather more information. On Friday April 2, 2010. We came up with some pretty shocking evidence at first that led us to believe that we were on to something. Watch the video below & pay close attention to two things here.
First, Erica hears the sound of rustling in the bushes & gets the vibe that we are not welcome here. Second, I (Blair) also hear the sound of rustling in the bushes in the same location as Erica and right directly behind me. I also felt as though someone was behind me, chills on my back & neck, and the general creepy feeling that we`re not alone. Dan also got cold chills & goosebumps on his arms, back, and neck.
Now watch Tonya`s facial expressions in this video. At the same time that we`re all having these personal experiences, you can tell that Tonya is picking up anomalies in her still photos. You`ll see her look at the camera, back in the direction where she took the photo, then back at the camera. She even wiped off the camera lens before she finally announced that she was capturing some strange looking things in the photos. Keep in mind that we are sitting in complete darkness here. You are able to see us in the video because this is recorded using infrared night vision technology. But infrared is not visible to human vision, hence we are in absolute darkness.
Now here are just a few of those photos
Look towards the right of the photo.
It`s hard to see, but if you zoom in you can see what looks like a face behind the tree.
A lightened version of the photo
Do you see it? A greenish looking face To the right & peering around the tree at us?
Erica looking at EMF meter
You can see the same face in this photo. It`s above Erica and to the left, but brighter.
At first Tonya thought these lights were stars
Blair Monitoring The Infrared Camera
But if you look closer these lights or stars are actually faces much like the one peering behind the tree in the earlier photo
At first glance of these photos while still at the cemetery, we suspected that what we were seeing were dust orbs. The fact that I could shine my flashlight in the air and literally see a huge amount of dust to the naked eye confirmed that. What we didn`t know until after we were able to get these photos back to home base & look at them on the computer, is that these appear to be faces in these photos. After listening to the audio from the first EVP session, Erica detected a "boom boom" like sound that sounds as if it`s coming from the outhouse on the property. It wasn`t audible at the time until it was played back on recording.
What was it?
The wind or temperature change causing the aluminum siding on the outhouse to expand or contract?...
Something falling from a tree & bouncing off the top?..
Unlikely, because there aren`t any acorns or anything in those trees.
The outhouse is in a clump of trees off to the side. That same clump of trees is where Erica & I heard rustling. It sounded like human footsteps & movement, but when we would investigate, we couldn`t find any source.
Another photo from the first session
These face like images were in almost every picture
We continued to do a couple more EVP sessions that night, shot more video, and took more pictures. But nothing else turned up in the photos that you havent already seen, and the video & audio were inconclusive. But we did continue to witness more unexplainable activity in the bushes near the outhouse & surrounding wooded area.
Just like earlier, myself, Erica, & Dan heard activity in those bushes.
I heard rustling, Dan and Erica heard the sound of human footsteps in the brush and they both also reported seeing a red glow. They described it as two red glowing dots that would be moving one moment & stand still the next. What`s creepier all the more is that we couldn`t see anyone there.
We believe there was definately something there, but nothing visible other than the red dots that Dan & Erica reported. We`ve had long discussions about this & I think it`s safe to rule out laser pointers or lights off in the distance on the horizon. Unfortunately do to a technical issue, we didn`t have the video camera rolling at the time. We did have the digital audio recorder rolling, but I had to put the recorder in my shirt pocket due to extenuating circumstances in which we had to pick up the equipment and move. It was those same circumstances that caused us to abort the investigation & leave.
Back To The Orbs
Now folks, up until now I thought I had seen just about every type of orb on the face of this planet. But after seeing these I have begun to re-think my stance on the whole orb controversy.
As creepy as the face like image peering at us from behind the tree is, the fact that faces were appearing in nearly all of the 100 or so photos taken that night made me highly suspicious that there had to be a logical explanation for all of this.
So I forwarded about 15 of the photos to Kelly & Diana Elkins, who are the founders of Paranormal Investigation Team Of Nevada (P.I.T.O.N.). I`ve interacted with them in the past & decided it was time for a second opinion. I began examining every piece of orb research I could get my hands on. I had long debates with my fellow PRA team members. But I was bound (we all were) to get to the bottom of this.
Although I was highly suspect of dust particles, Kelly & Diana of P.I.T.O.N. mentioned something that had skipped my mind.......pollen.
It took a couple days, but my research had revealed that pollen usually shows up as green & yellow. Most of these faces in these photos are those colors, but most orb research shows that pollen orbs are round & if the orb itself isn`t yellow, there should be a yellow dot in the center.
Finally during the research I found information that due to a design in shutters, some cameras will alter the shape of orbs. Armed with this information, My fellow team members & I went out to a wooded area at night with the camera used at Bates Cemetery and another camera & tried to reproduce these creepy faces ......and we suceeded.
Not only did we manage to get more pictures of pollen, but the camera used at Bates once again produced creepy looking faces while the second camera produced nice round yellow orbs.
Now, just because we feel that we have managed to find a logical explanation for what turned up in the photos, that doesn`t discount all the personal experiences we had that night nor the unexplainable activity in the brush area.
Our biggest regret is that we really can`t back our experiences up with any EMF spikes, nothing conclusive on video nor audio. We used that equipment, but couldn`t manage to catch anything substantial.
I think it`s also clear that if we were to try & fake anything, those photos would have been a good opportunity to embellish our stories. So I think we`re being reasonable, but also not ignoring our personal experiences.
Second Time Around
April 15, 2010
Wind calm 0 to 5 mph with very high pollen count
Solar Activity Quiet
Geomagnetic Activity Storm
Moon Phase 3% Waxing
On Thursday April 15th we returned to Bates Cemetery to examine a few things closer. Now there were a couple things that play into this night that we had to remember. We had been having a geomagneitic storm all day. The moon phase was in 3% of a waxing cyle.
It is theorized that paranormal activity is usually elevated during both of these conditions .
Another thing with the moon in this stage is that there isn`t a moon visible & it was pitch black out.
We pulled up & parked in absolute darkness shortly after 10 p.m. The fireflies were everywhere in the pitch black night lighting it up with flickers. We got out of the car and all of a sudden I (Blair) was overcome with this feeling of dread. We looked towards the cemetery and myself, Tonya, & Erica, were overwhelmed by this horrible feeling that we needed to get out of there. I hate to sound dramatic here, but it was almost as if there was some energy of some kind telling us to leave.
Dan didn`t seem to have those feelings, but the rest of us did. It was so bad that we actually left and came back later.
We arrived later and the geomagnetic storm had finally calmed down. Although it was still pitch black dark and you couldn`t see more than a few feet in front of you, the horrible feeling we had earlier seemed to have dissipated.
We took several pictures on more than one camera. We used a different digital camera than we had used last time, and a regular film camera using 400 speed film.
The photos from the digital camera had many yellow pollen like orbs, but after we had the film developed the next day, the film photos didn`t show any orbs.
We also took a closer measurement in distance from the spot where we saw the "face" looking around the tree. Immediately, all of us agreed that we had miscalculated the distance between us and where we estimate this face like thing was.
It was quite a miscalculation. Originally we figured we were 25 or 30 feet away. But after examination we discovered it was more like about 12 feet. This new finding would help explain why the size of that face in that original photo seemed so large. Hence, I think we can call that photo & all the rest of them debunked.
There is no electricity at the cemetery and we were never able to get any EMF spikes.
Well let see, we all heard what sounded like humans walking through the wooded area even though when we investigated there wasn`t anyone there.
Dan & Erica both reported seeing unexplainable red glows moving about.
Dan & myself both got the chills and a feeling that we were not alone
Erica felt unwelcome
Blair, Tonya, & Erica all had feelings of dread & as though some unseen force wanted us to leave
Other than a "boom boom" sound which resembled the outhouse, the audio & video were inconclusive
We debunked the photos in question
No EMF spikes
So is this location haunted?
We cannot deny our personal experiences those nights and we now must wonder if there could be any truth to the other paranormal group`s claim that a sinister force resides here? We have no scientific evidence to support any paranormal activity, but our personal feelings about Bates Cemetery is that there is some type of energy in this neighborhood.
So with that in mind, I`d say .....We really don`t have any solid evidence that it is haunted...... and until we can back up any haunting, we`ll need to have more evidence.
But perhaps one day we`ll pay another visit
A few random infrared photos from Bates
Dan (left) Tonya (right)
Special Thanks to
The Bates Family
Kelly & Diana Elkins
P.I.T.O.N. Paranormal Investigation Team Of Nevada