It doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as it used to, but from time to time we still get some strange phone calls here at The Times-Gazette. One of them came this week.
When one of our employees answered the phone, someone on the other end, identifying themself as being an attorney general’s investigator, wanted to know if we knew anything about any past events that could have led to possible paranormal activity taking place around the Josie Avenue/Glenn Street area in Hillsboro.
When I was told about the phone call, it piqued my interest, because just the day before David Wright, our assistant editor, received an unusual email from a woman in Columbus.
In part, it said: “My name is … and I’m doing some property/historical research for a resident in the S. Glenn/West Josie area of Highland County. While I can’t reveal the identity of the homeowner … I can tell you that the reason I am trying to find out historical information regarding their property and the area around is because they are experiencing unexplained occurrences in their home that they believe to be of the paranormal nature. I understand that not everyone believes in this sort of thing but when someone contacts our paranormal investigation group we always try to do our best in researching the history of their property as well as the historical happenings of the area.”
There was a lot more, including information that the property in question may have belonged to a certain couple (name omitted) in the early 1900s, but you get the drift.
When David shared the first email, I was intrigued, especially since from the time I was around 4 years old until my first week in the fifth grade, I lived on Josie Avenue. So I shot the lady an email, telling her I had once lived there, and that her best bet would be to contact the local Recorder’s Office. That led to a couple other emails back and forth.
When we got the phone call the next day, I shot off another email. This time I was perturbed — largely because someone apparently called here misrepresenting themself, they were taking up too much of our time, and it was too much of a coincidence for the email and phone call to not be related somehow. I made it clear that I was not exactly happy.
I received an email back telling me that the emailer was “absolutely not” the caller, and that as far as she knew no one else with her organization would have called us.
A couple more emails back and forth ensued. To cut to the chase, we eventually found out that the email and the call were from the same “paranormal organization,” but apparently not from the same person.
From what I can gather, the caller is in a bit of hot water.
I should point out that the lady I was emailing back and forth with was quite polite, and “mortified” to find out that the call and emails were from the same organization.
Now my reporter’s curiosity wants to know what the heck is going on around my childhood neighborhood.
Over the years, we have received about every type of call and email you can imagine here at the T-G.
For instance, one time many years ago, someone called and asked one of the ladies at our front desk why some orange juice said “concentrated” on it. It ended up being like a 20-minute conversation. Our employee tried to explain, and then, thinking it must be a joke, she chuckled as the caller kept asking questions. That upset the caller.
“That’s when I learned to never laugh, no matter how ridiculous the calls seems,” our employee said.
That was in the days before the internet, when some people seemed to think we should know the answer to just about any question under the sun. Sometimes they would ask what kind of newspaper we were when we could not provide an answer to their liking. I guess they thought we were like some kind of local encyclopedia, or maybe a forerunner of Google or Siri.
For the record, I do not believe in ghosts. I have never seen any evidence of one whatsoever, and doubt that I ever will. Then again, you never know. When I was a kid living on Josie Avenue, I had a reccurring dream. Each night, about the time I fell asleep, I would have a vision where I could see — and feel the sensation — as my body swung from somewhere above our house, then a short distance out over the woods behind the home. I would start floating back toward the house, then the vision would end.
Maybe it was the ghost of Josie Avenue taking me on nightly rides.
Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-402-2522.