The house, built by Dr. Small around 1870, has been the focus of two paranormal investigations, both in the last two years.
Last year, an 11-person team from Triangle Paranormal Investigations (out of Clayton) spent a night inside the house to check out any ghostly activity. More recently, on Sept. 18, another team of investigators, this time from Haunted North Carolina, Inc. located in Durham, conducted a six-hour investigation in the hous that is now the home of the Sampson County Arts Council.
Both companies came back with the same outcome — the Small House does, in fact, have paranormal activity taking place in it.
“We really didn’t realize what a legend this house is in the supernatural world,” said council member Susan Bristow. “But last year, when TPI came out to investigate, they let us know everything that was going on here. This year, a new group came out and did so many things. They had psychics with them — they call themselves ‘intuitives.’ They would go in the house at separate times and each would submit their thoughts and findings separately. When all the results came in, all of it was the same.”
According to Steve Barrell, lead investigator with Haunted North Carolina, Inc., there were plenty of EPV’s (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recorded during the investigation. One recorded in the waiting room said, “evening sir” as the team entered the room. Another EPV recorded is from the office where Dr. Small used to practice, that said, ‘Leave her alone. This is my house. She’s always been around here.”’
More proof came from the back stairs where an investigator remarked, “Oh, I just heard a Matt or Matthew in my ear.” Since all investigators came into the investigation with no prior access or knowledge of historical information, the investigator could not have known that the house was formerly owned by a Leamon Matthews, who killed himself in the bathtub situated near the back stairs.
Bristow said that all of the EPV’s provided by Haunted North Carolina, Inc. will be part of the tour, as well as video shot during the investigations.
“We have always had things that led us to believe that this house was haunted or had spirits in it, and there have always been people who told us some stories about this place, but to have these companies come in and actually have the proof is something else,” she said. “We include all of it in the tour. We are not here to say either way — we will let you see the evidence and you can decide.”
Bristow said one of the most famous stories about the house is the portraits of Dr. Small and his wife that sit in the hallway.
“They are always facing each other,” she said. “But for some reason, when people come back they always insist that they are facing the opposite way. That has happened to numerous people over the last 20 years.”
Bristow and fellow council member Debbie Roberts accompanied the team when they investigated.
“There are certain rooms that give you the creeps in this house,” Bristow said. “His doctor’s office, the actual place where he saw the patients, is really creepy. On the EVPs, you can hear a man’s voice saying, ‘leave her alone, let her stay’. He was saying it to Debbie, which was really weird. But we didn’t know who the voice was. None of us every heard the voice of Dr. Small, but Debbie knows someone who did. His name is Don Hollingsworth, who is 81-years-old now. But he was a very good friend of Dr. Small, in fact, Dr. Small delivered him. So we called him in to identify the voice ...”
When asked what Hollingsworth’s findings were, Bristow gently teases, “you will have to come, take the tour and find out.”
Bristow said that she also had a personal experience in the house during the recent investigation. “I was sitting in the art room upstairs,” she explained. “All the lights were off and sitting on the floor. All the psychics were saying that they felt the presence of a little girl touching or poking at their arms. I had this overwhelming feeling that it was a little boy. And I was sitting on the floor and I felt this cold feeling going over my legs and I went, ‘woah’. I felt it come back and I got poked in the eye.”
Curiously, Bristow said that although her eye was red and irritated, she didn’t feel a sense of fear. “Being a Christian, I felt at peace because it made me feel like there is something out there, beyond all of this ...”
The spirits are not mean, Bristow said. “Most of them are children. They are not mean, they are not scary, they are just there ...”
Which is one big misconception officials of the Sampson County Arts Council had to deal with last year.
“Everyone thought this was going to be one of those ‘jump out and scare you’ tours,” said Bristow. “It is nothing like that. We tour the Small House, we take a walking tour, which is about a block, and then we come back and listen to and watch the documented evidence. It is all up to you to decide what you believe and what you don’t. I think people were surprised last year because they thought it was going to be scary for the kids. But this is something that the whole family can enjoy.”
Bristow said the tour takes roughly 45 minutes to complete and begins promptly at 7 p.m.
To accommodate visitors, the tour is taken in groups (there is a per person charge).
“What we didn’t publicize last year is that we are also doing private tours,” she said. “It may be a little late now, but we plan on doing it again next year too.”
For more information on the tours or the Sampson County Arts Council click on to www.sampsonarts.org.
To participate in the tours, be at the Small House on Oct. 18 and 25. A tip, get there just before 7 p.m. The last tour will be at 10 p.m.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to email@example.com.