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Monday, 06 June 2016 10:56
Special to the Daily Planet

The weather was perfect. By perfect, I mean tsunami winds and rain and a temperature dip that hit the mid-40s at night. 

By the time we entered the grounds, the storm had mostly passed, leaving the property with the gothic look and feel that delights all ghost-hunters and fills us with a deviant sense of anticipation and trepidation. 

The air was charged, our pulse was racing and we couldn’t wait to experience whatever the magnificent buildings that rose up mightily before us had to offer.

Built in 1888, Odd Fellows Asylum was an old folks home and orphanage and is comprised of many buildings that have fallen into ruin, but are under renovation. It’s said that more than 10,000 people died here. 

Belvoir Winery is housed in the renovated main building that also contains the skeletal remains of an Odd Fellows member in a glass case. Skeletal remains of deceased members were often used by the Odd Fellows in secret rituals.

Darkness fell, as did the temperature. We split into large groups and ours was led to the old Hospital, the furthest distance from the main building. 

We carefully made our way down a long trail — stepping gingerly around mud puddles and vegetation — to the darkened doorway of the old Hospital. Our flashlights bobbed up and down as we walked inside. 

Cold wind rushed through the broken windows and open doorways. Debris littered the floors. Peeling paint scored the walls. Vines grew through the windows and doorways. Water dripped from holes in the ceiling and asbestos filled the air. 

Caution tape barred our entry to exceptionally hazardous situations such as huge holes in the floors, an elevator that had collapsed, exposing the open shaft, and stairs that abruptly ended partway down. 

Holy crap! There are lots of ways to die in here! I thought back to that release form that my friend, Dave Schrader from Darkness Radio, made me sign. “So my lifeless remains can’t sue you?” I quipped.

“So we know where to send the body, “ he answered. 

Demented Patty, Justin and I took the first room on the left, while the others in our group fanned out to cover more ground. We closed the door and stood in the dark. After about five minutes, I felt the unmistakable caress of a hand down the entire length of my arm. I told the others. The door blew open, making us jump. 

Patty said she saw a dark figure standing behind Justin that was taller than he was and it kept leaning forward and looking around him. It then leaned forward and came close to her face. Then Patty got touched on the arm. And when she raised her arm out, she felt spider webs on her hand!

That was all for that room. The group moved to the front of the Hospital and examined equipment that Bill Chappell, engineer and inventor of equipment used in the TV show “Ghost Adventures,” brought to share with us.

We then moved to a low, moldy smelling building called the Bunker. It was used to store dry goods and made a good hiding place for the children that had lived in the asylum to hide out and keep from doing their chores. The leader of our group kept calling out to the children to talk to us so it could be captured on his recorder. I started sneezing. They caught a couple of Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP.

We headed back to the main building up to the third floor of Belvoir Winery to capture more EVP. That part was still being renovated and all I caught was sawdust up my nose. More sneezing.


Next stop was the Morgue. We had more EVP adventures with Psychic Medium Chris Fleming. He had a nifty little contraption that did instant EVP and lit up if he got an EVP. He played the responses back over and over. 


I couldn’t make out what was said. By that time, others had joined in with the sneezing and we were all dodging and weaving to keep out of the steady drip from the ceiling.


The last building of the night was manned by Dave Schrader. All of his previous groups had experienced shadows and footsteps down the long hallways. All I experienced was cold drafts.


The next day was filled with lectures and a Gallery reading by Chris Fleming. Patty, skeptical by nature, was about to throw down the hooey card when Chris walked straight over to her and started telling her all about her relationship with her deceased mother and about the things her mother said she needed to address in her own life. It was pretty powerful and Patty was understandably shaken.


It was a successful trip in that my friends and I did have experiences and we got to hang out and visit with other friends. The grounds were amazing and we sure did enjoy the wine. 


Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She works at Wright’s Coin Shop in Asheville and is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).




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