How haunted is Richmond Hill? Resident Todd Dean wants to know and he’s taking matters into his own hands.
Using word of mouth and the internet, such as the Bryan County News blog site, Dean has been fishing around for paranormal activity in the area. If you live in Bryan County and have had sightings that you just can’t explain, Dean said he’s willing to investigate at no cost to the property owner.
"I would really like to know what kind of paranormal activity is going on in my hometown," Dean said.
By trade, Dean holds an administrative job at a chemical factory in Port Wentworth. In his off time, however, Dean can often be found pursuing his love for ghost hunting.
Dean has explored many areas of Savannah and has even started his own non-profit company entitled Spirit Chasers of Savannah, but Dean said he’d really like to have a Bryan County sighting and is considering changing the name to Spirit Chasers of Richmond Hill.
Dean said he has scoped out several areas of the city where ghosts are rumored to have been spotted, but so far his search has been fruitless."I set up in Fort McAllister, but they wouldn’t let me stay all night – which is often when a sighting will occur," Dean said. "I’ve heard tales of deceased soldiers being seen on the grounds."
Dean boasts that, 33 years ago, he was born around Halloween on Friday the 13th, "and I’ve been fascinated with the paranormal for as long as I can remember."
As a child growing up in Virginia, he used to stake out old abandoned buildings with a polaroid camera and a tape recorder. Nowadays, his equipment is a bit more sophisticated, but his mission is the same.
"The Holy Grail for a ghost hunter is capturing a full fledged image on video and being able to prove it," Dean said. "That’s my goal and much of my life has been spent chasing that."
Dean said he has yet to reach his goal, but ‘the chase’ continues. And he has come close, according to Dean. He said in his explorations he has encountered unexplained incidents of doors shutting and audio such as footsteps and ‘electronic voice phenomena’.
He said his hobby is not always an exciting one, citing times where he has spent hours upon hours waiting for something to happen or filtering through audio on his recorder.
"They make it look a lot more exciting on television in shows like Ghost Hunters, where six to seven hours are edited down to 30 minutes," Dean said. "All the boring parts are edited out."
Dean said he is confident there are ghosts in Richmond Hill, noting the rich history such as the Ford era.
"Usually the most haunted places are historical places where there was a lot of emotion," Dean said. "The more I research, the more I find that this town fits the bill."
Dean said he is not equipped to eradicate a spirit, but rather it is his mission to comfort the property owner by confirming or eliminating the notion that what they suspect is supernatural.
"And I’ll often find that it’s something of a more common sense nature, such as water pressure in the home turning the water on by itself or a water heater making strange noises," Dean said. "If I confirm that a ghost is present, and the homeowner is disturbed by it, I’ll arrange to have the home blessed. I’ll also try to communicate with the ghost to try to make amends for it to respect the wishes of the homeowner."
Dean said not only is he searching for ghosts, but "I love to hear people’s ghost stories. Even when there’s not a sighting, that makes it exciting for me."
Editor's note: Dean said he will allow the Bryan County News to tag along if he gets some local leads, so this story may continue.