Spirit of South Carolina
The following article appeared in South Carolina’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal on July 16, 1988 (edited for clarity). Is it evidence of a rare haunting or an elaborate hoax?
“VALLEY FALLS – A 30 year-old woman who believes she has seen ghosts in her rented house suffered two seizures early yesterday morning. The seizures came after a crowd of friends, relatives, and neighbors gathered to investigate mysterious shadows and lights. Several of the woman’s relatives also believe they’ve seen ghosts in the home.
Yesterday, several family members who have lived at 167 Third Street in Valley Falls for five weeks, said they plan to move their belongings from the small, blue house and will not sleep there again.
Debbie Williams, a forklift driver for a Spartanburg cloth company, said a woman claiming to be a psychic told her she collapsed because an alleged boy ghost may have encountered her body.
The family, however, believes the seizure was caused by fatigue since no one has slept much during the past week.
Mrs. Williams, her 27-year-old sister Michelle Conley; her 50-year-old mother, Hazel Conley; and her 13-year-old niece, Susan Ford, described the boy ghost as a vague, white outline of a child approximately four years of age.
At about 1 AM yesterday, the ghost was tugging at Michelle Conley’s pants legs, Mrs. Williams said.
“Then all of a sudden, he disappeared right quick,” Mrs. Williams said from her room at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Seated in a chair near her sister at home yesterday morning, Mrs. Williams collapsed on the floor for about three minutes while people in the room screamed and cried.
“She threw her arms into the air and started shaking like a devil,” said Cecil Sanders, Mrs. William’s uncle. “She said something touched her. She was laying there jerking and kicking, and her body was cold when you touched it. It’s mysterious to me, but I think she was scared into it.”
The family took her to Spartanburg Regional at about 3:30 AM where she was treated and released, Mrs. Williams said. On the way back to her car, she collapsed and was admitted to the hospital.
She remained hospitalized in stable condition yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Mrs. Williams said she has undergone various tests to discover the cause of the seizures.
Fifteen to 20 people, including friends, relatives, and coworkers, were in the darkened home about 1 AM Friday, while a half dozen more stood in the yard, the family said.
“(Those inside) all said they saw something,” Sanders said. “But all I saw was a little circle of colored lights in the bedroom and that could have been something I imagined from the dark.”
A reporter and photographer at the scene said they saw no mysterious lights or ghostly apparitions in the house, even when family members attempted to point the specter out to them.”
Mrs. Williams, Hazel Conely, Michelle Conley, and Miss Ford believe they have seen four different ghosts in the past three weeks. The family has lived in the house since recently moving to Spartanburg County from Jacksonville, FL, so Hazel Conley could rest with relatives before undergoing an operation.
Last Sunday night, the four women said the ghost boy crawled across their legs and sat down in the bed among them. Tuesday night, a tall male ghost allegedly picked up Mrs. Williams’ seven-year-old daughter, dropping her in a bottom bunk bed when the women screamed.
Parapsychology professors said a multiple sighting – where several people see the same phenomenon – are rare. Experts said investigations usually reveal that most ghostly manifestations are caused by small animals or natural lights that are misinterpreted by the human mind.
People who believe they have witnessed a supernatural phenomenon often attribute naturally occurring events to that phenomenon, said Donna McCormick, a researcher for 13 years at the American Society of Psychical Research in New York.
“It’s largely a matter of the individual’s interpretation of what’s happening,” Ms. McCormick said.
She also said she has never encountered a case where apparitions picked up people after “taking possession” of a person’s body.
“I’d take a good hard look at it,” she said.
Neighbors and owners of houses on the street said they have never heard similar tales and do not believe any of the ghost stories.
Although he remains skeptical about the existence of any wayward spirit, Sanders said he will not return to the house.
“I’m staying out of there,” he said. “I saw enough last night.”
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27 Apr, 2020
Spirit of South Carolina
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