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Butchern

The Ghost of Butcherville?

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Posted (edited)

Hello!
 
Last weekend one of our neighbors told us that he had seen a ghostly light out on the canal at night. We live in a small town in the deep south, which, for the purposes of anonymity, we shall call hereafter "Butcherville." Our little town is near the coast, so it is criss-crossed with canals to drain off the heavy surface water when it rains. We have several bridges that cross over these canals in our neighborhood, and our neighbor Mr. Eddie (who is hilarious, a widower, and more than a little "crazy"—but in a fun way) said he saw the light hovering over the canal as he crossed the bridge north of our house as you look toward the train tracks.
 
Normally, I wouldn't give a "Mr. Eddie story" much credence, but my younger sister (14 y/o) latched onto this tale and is dying to see a ghost.
 
Dyyyyyyiiiiinnnnnnnng! (Say that out loud, as loud as you can and with as much teen girl angst as you can muster, and you'll experience just a little of what my week has been like. :D )
 
So, here I am on the internet both to research how to do a proper "ghost hunt," and to document our experience. Mr. Eddie insinuated that others had seen the ghostly light on the canal and that our little town has at least one other famous "ghost light" location. My two sisters and I have lived in this town for almost four years and have never heard any of this, so tonight, after dinner, we are going to take Mr. Eddie some cake that my youngest sister (12 y/o) made and try to get as many stories from him as we can to start our investigation. :D  I also told the girls that we would make a trip to the library this week to try to find out as much about the canals and other mysterious sightings in our town as we could. Wish us luck!
 
I'll update this thread with the progress of our "investigation." I have high hopes for a great time and little else, but you never know. Feel free to comment here, ask questions, or just generally give three complete ghost noobs some advice.
 
-B, B, and C
Edited by Butchern
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Canal....night time....dog walker...torch.

there is a possible situation. Has this been thought of or are we going straight into the ghost without passing go?

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Posted (edited)

Keep a close eye on those younger sisters in the dark by a canal. Sounds like you may be in gatorville.

I'm looking at freetoroam's post and thinking someone had the dog out for a final cleaning out. As far as a ghost hunt, I've never been on one, so I can't help you there. Let us know what Mr. Eddie says.

Edited by susieice
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2 hours ago, susieice said:

Keep a close eye on those younger sisters in the dark by a canal. Sounds like you may be in gatorville.

Oh yes. The reptiles abound. Alligators are all over these canals. But we won't be making any nighttime excursions to the canal just yet. They are managed by the town and treated like county parks—no one is allowed down there after dusk.

 

2 hours ago, susieice said:

. . . someone had the dog out for a final cleaning out . . . Let us know what Mr. Eddie says.

Could be. Or it could be the local police patrolling the walking path looking for dusk ordinance violators. Or it could be something else. We've just started poking around. I'm sure we'll find out more soon enough.

We had a great time with Mr. Eddie. We'll put our heads together tomorrow, and I'll get that all typed up soon!

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An Eyewitness Account of the Ghost of Butcherville:
 
Last night after dinner we took Mr. Eddie a dessert, so he could tell us his ghost story. B made Pink Velvet Cheesecake Brownies (in a round cake pan, because . . . tradition). We call them Pinkies. The Pinkies were delicious. Mr. Eddie loved the Pinkies.
 
kAcJinP.jpg
 
While we ate, Mr. Eddie told us many stories about ghosts in Butcherville. They all seemed to revolve around dead husbands and train tracks. A quick Google search at lunch today confirmed that most of the "haunts" here (and everywhere in the southern US it seems ) involve either houses or train tracks with a dash of dead husband. Our ghost story does take place near the train tracks, so there's that. We are going to do some research on some of the more frequently recurring themes in ghost stores in these parts to see how similar this one is to all the others. We'll report on that as soon as we can.
 
After the Pinkies were eaten, and Mr. Eddie has served us coffee, he told us of his own personal ghostly encounter. He was headed west on one of our "bridge roads" that crosses over the canal north of our house. It was about 10PM (Mr. Eddie has no business out driving at 10PM! At his age?!?!), so he was going even slower than the posted 25MPH. As he approached the bridge, he saw a greenish blue light that he described as hoverin' over the canal, about halfway between the bridge and the train trestle. When he saw the light, he slowed even more as he crossed the bridge, and he rolled down the passenger's side window to see better. He said the light hovered without moving, and he couldn't hear any sound of a train "or any other sound for that matter." He said he wasn't sure how long he looked at the light, but it was still there hovering when headlights flashed behind him, and he knew he had to move on or obstruct traffic.
 
As we were leaving with bellies full of sugar and hearts filled with hope and caffeine, Mr. Eddie said, "I'm not the only one who's seen the ghost light near the train tracks." And then he gave us the names of two more people who have seen lights there on the canal, though he was quick to add that one of them is now dead and ". . . last I saw Jim, he wasn't lookin' so good."
 
So, there's Eddie's story such as it is. We were all very excited to think we were making progress . . . or maybe that was just the caffeine talking.
 
Up next: 
-Find out when (if at all) the town patrols the canal, and if there was anyone down there that night that anyone knows about.
-See if we can talk to Jim about what he saw.
-Visit the "scene of the ghost" on foot and take pictures (during the day, of course).
-Do some research on ghost stories like these in this area and in this town.
 
We'll keep you posted.
-B, B, C.
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Deputy Tank Top and a Ghost Named Stinky

Deputy Tank Top:

Almost as soon as Mr. Eddie told us the story about the ghost light, I realized that we were going to need a law-enforcement connection to get anywhere with this "investigation." There is no good place to legally park to walk to the section of canal where he saw the light without parking in someone's yard or beside the "no parking" signs in the neighborhood just to the east of it. We can't get onto the canal at night when the lights are seen, and we have no way to know how frequently people are busted for being on the canal or even if it might have been police lights that he saw—from what people say, the police to patrol the canal regularly. But we don't know anyone in law enforcement . . . and then I remembered Deputy Tank Top.

I am a daily runner early in the morning before work, and often B and C will run with me at least part of the way on weekends. Because I keep a regular jogging schedule, I tend to see the same people every morning. Most of them don't live on our street or the adjacent streets, so  I don't know them by name. I have given them names in my head though. :D There's "Delilah," the woman in her 50s who gets dragged all over the neighborhood by her Bernese Mountain Dogs named Samson. I know the dogs name because he is in a constant sate of nearly pulling her off her feet and she constantly yells after him, "Samson! Samson! Heel Samson! Stop Samson!" and so on. There is also "Heart Attack," a very overweight man in his 40s who jog/walks (good for him!) but constantly looks like he is about to go into cardiac arrest. I also regularly see "Man Dog," a white-haired man who walks his labradoodle, and the two of them look just alike. Uncannily alike. And I regularly see Deputy Tank Top.

Deputy Tank Top lives about three blocks from our house and works for the county Sheriff's Department (I know this because her cruiser is parked out front; I'm not stalking, honest!). She is in fantastic shape, has an arm sleeve of beautiful tattoos, and rocks white tank tops when she jogs . . . in way that, honestly, makes me a little dizzy. Note: if you were sitting in my living room right now, you'd see me on the couch typing this and my two sisters sitting on either side of me reading over my shoulder. They just got to the part about Deputy Tank Top and are giggling and blushing. The teasing will begin any minute . . .

So, I decided this morning to take Chip (aka Captain Puppers, aka the Froggy Doggy) out for a walk to try to catch Deputy Tank Top before she headed out to work to ask her if she would humor us by answering some questions about the lights. I caught her as she was letting her dog out. So we talked while our dogs sniffed each other's butts,

I introduced myself and told her about Mr. Eddie's story. She smiled and nodded knowingly. Everyone in our neighborhood knows Mr. Eddie; he's lived here since he came home from Vietnam in 1971. I asked Deputy Tank Top if she would talk to my sisters about reports of lights on the canal near the train tracks. I offered to bribe her with coffee and cookies. Hey, it worked on Mr. Eddie. She agreed and is going to stop by on Sunday. As I was walking away, she said, "You know, one of our lead Deputies apparently had an up-close encounter with the lights back in the 80s and wrote a book about it and other ghosts in Butcherville." Finding that book is now on our list of things to do.

A Ghost Named Stinky:

I've gotten ahead of myself though. Deputy Tank Top makes me do that. Now C is just staring at me and B is still snickering. On Tuesday after I got home from work, I grabbed the girls and we headed out to the canal. We parked at the little parking lot beside the canal and began walking toward the train tracks. My jogging app said it was about three miles to the bridge from which Mr. Eddie saw the lights. I'd doubted we would make it there that late in the evening and with it about to rain and us with no dinner yet, but I'd never been down on that end of the canal before, and who doesn't want to take a walk? Chip certainly was excited! We made it to within a mile of the bridge before the threat of rain turned us around, but we did discover a possible clue to the canal lights. It really, really stinks in places. One of the "drains," a smaller canal that intersects with the main canal, must have a leaking sewer pike or some sort of sewer vent, because the air near that side canal was filled with the smell of rotten eggs. I know nothing about "swamp gas" or sewer gas, but if it is naturally flammable, even a little, that may be what people are seeing. It sure did smell potent. Here is a picture of Canal de Stink:

8rE0uPP.jpg

At some point B suggested we start calling the ghost Mr. Stinky, but C objected on the grounds that it might hurt its feelings and that Mr. might be a Miss or a Mrs. and that regardless we shouldn't say it to his (or her) face, so we all agreed not to call the ghost Mr. Stinky while we are on the canal and/or if she turns out to be a girl type spirit. :D

When we got home, we looked up the spot on Google Maps and snagged the image. On the map below you can see the train tracks in the top right corner and the bridge from which Mr. Edde saw the lights in the bottom left.

tbiRSv8.jpg

And the investigation continues. I'll be sure to let you know what Deputy Tank Top tells us on Sunday.

-B, B, and C.

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If you have been following our ghost hunting adventure, then you know we have come upon a possible case of the infamous "swamp gas" theory. Specifically, as we began to explore the canal near where the ghost light was most recently sighted . . .

On 4/19/2017 at 7:33 PM, Butchern said:

A Ghost Named Stinky:

. . . One of the "drains," a smaller canal that intersects with the main canal, must have a leaking sewer pipe or some sort of sewer vent, because the air near that side canal was filled with the smell of rotten eggs. I know nothing about "swamp gas" or sewer gas, but if it is naturally flammable, even a little, that may be what people are seeing. It sure did smell potent.

Last night and tonight we all did a little bed-time reading on swamp gas, sewer gas, and ghost lights. It seems clear that methane from swamps and sewers can spontaneously combust and burn with a blue-green flame. I would love to know how we might discover if such a thing is happening on our canal. Here's what I know from our exploratory trip and our brief and amateurish internet search:

-When we get within a mile or two of the spot where the ghost light was seen, we get a strong rotten egg smell from one of the side canals. That could be hydrogen sulfide which is common in sewer gas and is, itself, "explosive."

-The rotten egg smell could be from decaying plant matter in the canal that smells at various times due to changes in water level. That rotten smell is common on just about all the waterways around here.

-It is unlikely to be swamp gas because the water in the canal typically flows too fast for the proper conditions to be met.

-During heavy rains, the sewer has overflowed into the canal creating a stink, but that hasn't happened yet this year that I could discover.

So . . . 1) I'd love to hear what you think/know about sewer/swamp gas and ghost lights and 2) I'd love to know how we might safely "test" the area when we hike out there Sunday to see if there is swamp gas around the place.

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Two things:

1. I got a note from Deputy Tank Top asking if she could come over Saturday evening instead of Sunday. She has something going on Sunday night. So we are going to get together for dessert on Saturday instead. We are going to make "monster cookies" to celebrate the occasion.

2. If you are only subscribed to this thread and don't read the "Paranormal" forum, please check out my latest questions here:

 Any expertise there would be appreciated.

 

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Posted (edited)

Okay, we found a site with serious skeptics that were super helpful. We are on our way to the beach for the afternoon, but we are going to stop off at the hardware store to collect the rest of the supplies for our home Methane and Hydrogen Sulfide test kits: plastic bottles (for air, water, and marsh samples), small plastic trash bags (to help with collecting air samples), duct tape (for . . . everything), Hydrogen Sulfide test strips, 8 feet of plastic hose (for siphoning gas and water), some fire-resistant work gloves, and kitchen matches.

We plan to take some air, water, and marsh samples from all the drain pipes that dump into the canal near where the ghost lights are frequently seen to test them for combustible gasses. I'm also on the lookout for someone with an professional gas meter that can be used on the area if needed. I know one of our lab techs does home inspections on the side. I'll bet he has one or knows someone who does.

I still would love input from any citizen scientists on this site who can give us any tips for ruling out the possibility of flammable gas as the cause of the Butcherville lights.

Edited by Butchern
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I'm going to merge your threads Butchern. It's easier to keep this whole thing under one topic instead of introducing new threads about it.

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It's cool. I keep using this thread to update our research but won't need to post any more questions here.

We hiked down to the actual spot today and ran some of our "tests." We has some issues with some of our plastic bottles and duct tape scientific equipment. :D So we need more samples and to do some more tests, but we got pretty good results from what we have so far. I'll post all that up tonight if I have time. Right now we are getting ready for Deputy Tank Top to come over to talk ghosts. Turns out she couldn't come last night after all.

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7 minutes ago, Butchern said:

plastic bottles and duct tape

I like the sound of this, over much research done by ghost researchers with all the "in" ghost hunting gadgets, the results all seem to be the same as using plastic bottles and duct tape - nadda.:lol:

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Posted (edited)

As a test for the presence of combustible gasses in detectable quantities, our duct tape, bottles, and bags method works pretty well. We tested it on a control group with propane. Our equipment failure was related to the transportation of the samples that required either curing (methane leached from disturbed marsh sludge) or the use of the test strips (for hydrogen sulfide . . . which we left at home).
 
And I have the stinky, muddy backpack and t-shirt to commemorate our failure. :D 
 
As I said above, we are working on procuring professional combustible gas detector and technician to either confirm or exclude "swamp gas" as the cause of the lights people keep seeing in that spot.
Edited by Butchern

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