Haunted Lake House in Carter County, KY
Is Bit o’ Time Vintage Lake Retreat Haunted?
Paranormal group says yes, but others caution vigilance and respect
By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
|Photo by Jeremy D. Wells, Carter County Times|
The owner of the property, who lived there for years before renting the space out as a vacation and retreat rental, says she never had any definitive experiences during her time living there. But several guests have reported hearing strange sounds – and even seeing apparitions – while staying at the property.
One of those apparitions is a lady in white, sometimes accompanied by a smell of mold, who has appeared not only at the Retreat, but at a neighboring property.
I’d heard some of this already before coming to the property to meet with the folks from Blue Collar Paranormal. The ghost hunting group had set up a booth at Memory Days where they met the owner of the property. From there they were invited to investigate, and did so over the course of a couple of nights.
I found the Blue Collar Paranormal members I met that evening – founders Marshall and Jada Wallace, their daughter Shelby Wallace, and investigators Nicole and Danny Kelly – to be friendly, polite, and most importantly skeptical.
They always looked for logical explanations for anything they experienced, they claimed. But they were also open to paranormal explanations, and believed in ghosts. Because they’d seen them.
Marshall and Jada became interested in the paranormal after having experiences in their own home, shortly after bringing Shelby home, that made them believers.
“He had some experiences in our first home… when we had just brought her home from the hospital,” Jada explained. “He saw the woman that owned our house before us. She had died in the house. And he woke up one night and saw her standing there.”
“After that, I wanted to know,” Marshall added, explaining that he got a lot of possible explanations from folks who hadn’t experienced it, and none of them worked for him. “I knew what I had seen. I knew it just as sure as I’m sitting here talking to you. And ever since then it’s been pick and pick and pick until we find the answers.”
Shelby, for her part, has been involved in paranormal research since she was a small child. Her mother said she had always been sensitive. She wouldn’t stay in the room where they believe the previous tenant slept, and died. She also had similar experiences of overwhelming emotion while on a ghost tour at Gettysburg.
The Kellys became involved after Danny went with some friends to check out haunted locations, and then introduced his wife to it.
“Some of the stuff we actually witnessed, I was like, this is crazy,” Danny said. “I always thought stuff like that would just terrorize me, because I’m a pretty timid person anyway. But, instead, it was like an adrenaline rush. I really enjoyed it.”
As it turned out, Danny had more of a connection to this investigation than chasing an adrenaline rush though. It turned out that Danny’s grandfather had once owned the property. He even built a portion of the current home – the lower section that includes the kitchen and a back bedroom with significant reported activity. The rest was added on later, after his family moved away, but Danny had some childhood memories of staying there, and of a property up the road where his uncle lived. That property, he said, had also seen the white lady.
There’s a reason for that according to Dana (not her real name), a local sensitive who says she has “gifts of the spirit” and prefers to remain anonymous. This individual, who has spent time at the property, says it isn’t necessarily the house that’s haunted. It’s simply that the house lies in the path of something akin to a metaphysical highway and an energy source, which she likened to a ley line, that these spirits travel along. Some of them are going about the same business that they would have in life, coming and going as they would have before the hollers were flooded to create Grayson Lake. Others, she believes, may be drawn to that energy source, and to an old graveyard on the hill.
All of it, she said, is difficult or impossible to quantify,
but whether living, dead or something else entirely, she believes whatever is
moving there deserves respect.
She said after looking at videos of the group’s first night of investigations at the sight she saw significant differences in their approach – where they attempt to capture hard evidence on video or audio – and her own more intuitive approach.
Blue Collar Paranormal, for their part, insists that their investigations are always respectful of the property and the property owner.
I did not bother to look at any of the Blue Collar Paranormal investigation videos before going out. I wanted to go into the investigation without any bias and what I experienced, while it didn’t convince me of a haunting, was intriguing and compelling.
I started my investigation in the kitchen where they had a few items set up. One was a device with a red and green light, that was supposed to respond to “yes or no” questions. While that machine sometimes seemed to be responding to questions, the red and green lights also came on and off when questions were asked that didn’t have a yes or no answer. They sometimes came on when no questions or comments were made at all.
The other was a machine that scanned radio frequencies, playing mostly white noise but sometimes throwing in snippets of discernable speech. When I asked it if there was anyone there, as if on cue, the box responded with “Ryan” as clear as could be. It later responded with the name “Duncan” when asked again.
Other comments seemed to be non-sequiturs, but I also clearly
heard the words “daddy,” and “bridge,” and the phrase, “Get it!”
Those might be intriguing with more context, but without more story or background they didn’t mean anything to me.
The most intriguing part of the evening for me came when the team sat down in the dining room, a part of the old house that Danny’s grandfather helped build, and attempted to make contact with any spirits that were there. If it was a spirit that was present, it was Danny they were interested in interacting with.
While there was interaction with others, it was when Danny asked questions that the activity seemed to ramp up. When Danny asked any spirits present to turn on a flashlight he had placed on the counter, the flashlight turned itself on. When he asked it to then turn the flashlight off, it did that as well. Something unseen also seemed to be interacting with a laser light grid they had set up throughout the night. The grid, which was motion activated, would go off when no one was in the adjacent room. When activity seemed to be dying down, and they would ask it to return, the grid would go off again.
And while I never saw an apparition, a special camera and program the group uses, based on the Xbox Kinect camera, did seem to show the outline of a human figure sitting in a chair, in the corner of the room where the flashlight kept turning itself on and off.
Those cameras, which are designed to look for and recognize human figures, and track their movements for video game controls, have become a popular ghost hunting tool in recent years thanks to their ability to recognize the human form. Many ghost hunters claim they can detect human or human like figures that are outside the range of human vision. Skeptics, on the other hand, maintain that the same programming that seeks to recognize a human figure and track its movements can also sometimes look too closely for a human figure and, like a person seeing animals in the clouds, perceive a human figure where no actual human figure exists – perhaps interpreting the legs and armrests of a chair as a figure sitting in that chair.
The interesting thing about the figure that was seen sitting in the chair in the corner of the room that evening was that it coincided with the other activity, and that it disappeared when the activity related to the flashlight and the motion detector ceased.
This is hardly what I’d call definitive proof, but it was certainly intriguing, and exciting in that moment.
After the flurry of activity in the dining room, however, the action decreased considerably. The group attempted to add energy to the room, to potentially “feed” any spirits there, by cranking a hand powered generator that created static electricity, but there was no significant activity after that.
The moment, it seemed, had passed.
Throughout the evening they attempted to keep activity and energy levels up, not just literally by creating static electricity sparks for any spirits to pull energy from, but for the team by engaging with their followers watching the livestream on social media.
In all it created something of a raucous and energetic experience – one that was fun to participate in. But I wouldn’t have minded some more quiet time as well. Perhaps a little more time with the spirit box device that scanned radio signals. While I haven’t received any feedback yet that would lead me to believe the names, words, and phrases I heard carried any deeper significance for the home or community, that’s the kind of thing that those with historical knowledge of the community might be able to confirm.
Was there a Ryan or Duncan associated with the property at some point? I’ve asked around, but haven’t found anyone that can answer those questions yet.
Perhaps more time with that device, and the proper questions, might have revealed something that would tie it all together. Perhaps, but probably not.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from years of studying and reading others’ stories, it’s that there is often as much of the trickster in these events and the answers they provide as there is verifiable proof. Almost as if the phenomenon wants to keep you searching, keep your questioning, with the promise of hard answers there just out of reach.
Still, if you gave me the opportunity to go back, on my own, no one else around, and ask some more questions, I absolutely would.
The place may or may not be haunted, but some odd and interesting things happened there. And I saw them with my own eyes.
Make of that what you will.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in the October 25, 2023 edition of the Carter County Times.