FOLEY - The Holmes Medical Museum is a place known and respected by many, not just in the county, but from outside of it as well. The museum is located on the site of Baldwin County’s first hospital, which operated between 1936 and 1958 when it was run by William C. Holmes. Like so many other older places in the county, there has been talk of strange occurrences from visiting guests who enter the building: the crying of babies, the tugging at one’s pant leg when no one else is around, voices turning up on recordings when no one else is present. The one question that remained unanswered until recently was: what is the Holmes Medical Museum like at night? What goes on there when the lights go out? Most importantly, could the museum, like so many other hospitals around the world, be haunted?
Until Saturday, April 29, no investigation had ever been performed inside The Holmes Medical Museum. On that night, Queen of Foley Zana Price invited Gulf Paranormal Society, based out of Foley and including founder Todd and his crew Harold and Brian, into the museum to begin decoding some of the location’s hidden secrets. Along with Zana and the Gulf Paranormal Society, training members Steven, Leah, and myself were invited to come along for the adventure and to watch as the GPS attempted to contact any spirits which may be inside the museum.
The team began setting up shortly after 5PM, when Todd laid down some of the rules for those of us who had never been able to personally investigate reports of paranormal activity.
“Use your normal voice when we’re upstairs,” Todd said, “so it won’t interfere if anyone tries to contact us. Normally if a ghost communicates, it records as a whisper, so try to talk like you normally would so we can distinguish you from anyone else.”
We were also instructed to speak up if we were the cause of any creaking floors, chairs scrapping, or even if anyone’s stomach growled. When the recordings were reviewed later, everything had to be documented to separate the living from any other presence in the museum.
Cameras were placed in various locations both upstairs as well as downstairs, where an apparition of a young boy has been reported being spotted. It did not take long for what are called ‘orbs’, unexplainable balls of light, to begin being seen on the film. Paranormal believers speculate that these orbs represent energy that is given off by an entity, and while some could be explained away as dust, others moved with a more distinct pattern and even cast shadows upon the floor.
At 8PM the equipment was in place, and the operation was moved upstairs where the real investigation began. GPS came prepared with cameras, recorders, plasma balls used to emit large amounts of energy, and a spirit box, a device used to help communicate with any spirits in the immediate area.
The crew and their guests were given the chance to each ask questions, both with the use of the spirit box and without it. Questions ranged from the simple to the complex, and included: “What is your name?” “Does the traffic outside bother you?” “Were you born in this hospital?” and “Was Dr. Holmes your personal doctor?”
After the questioning, the team was allowed to move around the museum, asking inquiries in specific rooms, and watching for changes in temperature using a special infrared thermometer.
Be someone a skeptic or a believer, The Holmes Medical Museum produced some interesting results. Voices were caught coming over the spirit box, some in perfect response to questions that were posed. When asked to drain the power in one of the pieces of equipment, the lights dimmed instantly. In the surgical wing, the ether machine, which at one time was used as an anesthesia, sometimes with lethal consequences, was noticeably colder than all other pieces of medical equipment in the room, as recorded on the infrared thermometer. All results proved to be non-threatening in nature, from sudden drops in temperature to a mysterious drumming from behind closed doors.
The Gulf Paranormal Society used both science and technology during their investigation, recording facts and figures as they helmed the investigation. They are trained professionals who are skilled in using the specific equipment involved in ghost hunting, and have searched some of the most reportedly haunted places in the county, the top being Fort Morgan. If you are interested in learning more about the group or would like to contact them if you believe you have had an encounter with the paranormal, then you can learn more about them on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GPSFoley/, or visit their website at gulfparanormalsociety.webs.com.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or are skeptical, The Holmes Medical Museum is a fascinating place. It is a part of Baldwin County’s history and the place where the medical practice began for the county, and the pieces of equipment and knowledge that can be found inside are unlike anything you can imagine. No matter if you wish to visit the museum to take a trip through history or to do some recording of your own in the hopes of picking up some unexplainable phenomenon, you won’t be disappointed.