Written by Alicia Barker
In the month of October when everyone's minds wander toward the spooky, scary, and creepy, you can't help but wonder...Is something watching me from the shadows? Was that noise just my cat or something that shouldn't be here? Did I leave my keys there last night or did something...or someone...move them?
We wondered that about the grounds of Callaway Plantation. In the past we have had some reports of people seeing shadows moving across the second floor mirror and some soldiers riding on horseback near the RV park. Sometimes when I am here all by myself I think I hear voices or footsteps, but when I check to see who has come for a tour, there is nobody there.
Callaway Plantation was home to 4 generations of the Callaway family and the family cemetery is still on the grounds. With this much history there very well could be some paranormal activity. Because of this, we decided to reach out to the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research (SIPR).
Denise Roffe and her team came to our picturesque town and stayed at the Fitzpatrick Hotel. This is also where the initial meetup for the crew and attendees took place. During this briefing the team explained what their equipment was used for. I have included some of the equipment below and their uses.
Some of the attendees were experienced hunters themselves and brought some equipment of their own. Now that everyone knew what to do it was time to head to Callaway Plantation to do some investigating.
Once everyone arrived at the Plantation they split into groups of 10. Each group had 1 or 2 SIPR members with them. Each group then rotated to all the buildings on the property as well as the family cemetery. They spent about 10 minutes in each building before moving on to the next.
I asked Janet Parker a few questions about her experience during the investigation. While her group was at the Brick House (also known as the Manor House) “Someone reported seeing a reflection in the mirror that wasn’t their own and seeing shadows on the wall”. They took some EVPS but there was no response in this building. She reported that there were some “cold spots in the Brick House but nothing conclusive”. Her group then went to the Log Cabin. They had no luck getting any evidence here so they moved onto the Cemetery. While here one of the attendees had a flashlight that they set up as an EMF meter and asked some questions. They asked “Are you here?”. When they did Janet recalls “the flashlight turned on” but there was nothing totally conclusive. Some of the other attendees think that it might have been a little boy. From there they moved onto the Blacksmith’s Shop. For this group there was little activity here. One of the other groups reported “seeing a full-bodied apparition at the side of the Blacksmith’s Shop”. At the Schoolhouse “some attendees saw what they thought to be a UFO, but maybe it was a shooting star.”
I also interviewed Denise Roffe about her experience at Callaway. Denise is the founder of SIPR. She founded the nonprofit organization in 2008 but has over 20 years of experience when it comes to ghost hunting. She said that there were “different energies in different buildings”. Her group had a lot of activity at the Schoolhouse whereas other groups did not. She stated that she “felt the presence of what [I] believe to be a confederate soldier.” Her group also felt strongly that there was a child spirit present in the Cemetery. All in all, she said that her experience at Callaway combined her “two favorite things, a rich family history and it seems to be haunted”.
Tammy Tamafi also gave me a few tidbits about the experience here at Callaway. She is the primary user of “Boo Bear”. She reports that “there was something moving in the fireplace at the Cabin”. She also stated that the KII Meter lit up on the stairs of the Manor House.
I searched out multiple accounts of the night from different groups. Each person I interviewed had some claims of activity on the property. Some of the most frightening evidence came to us after Denise Roffe sent a report to all attendees. This is where we received a sound file. When played you can clearly hear a soft voice saying “Hey….hey…hey!” Spooky stuff! I have put the audio file below.
I think there may be something to all these reports. Perhaps Callaway Plantation really is haunted! I say if you want to find out keep an eye out for the next Ghost Hunt or come out to have a tour and do some investigating yourself!
by Susannah Johnson
From daguerreotypes to tintypes, the names and processes can be confusing, but the faces shine through from another time.
Currently on display at the Washington Historical Museum is Vintage Wilkes County Photo Exhibit. The collector and historian of all these wonderful shots will be on hand to show and expound on the various subjects and types of turn-of-the-century photos. Mark your calendars for Saturday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 17 to meet Skeet Willingham and tour the show.
Old photographs have a way of holding your gaze, giving a glimpse of a person and lifestyle long gone. Imagine a Victorian lady holding perfectly still for a long exposure, then turning her head with a smile on her lips, the spell broken, anticipating a beautiful likeness.
Not that all antique photos were humorless; Stern Simmons III was captured on film, all 650 pounds of him! Another man lets his dog hold the rifle. A young lady steps right into a blooming bush, so it looks as though her head and (considerable) hat are one of the flowers.
There's even a pic of dinner on a silver plate - how Facebook!
The pictures are a peek into what was. Some of the earliest scenes of downtown Washington show the old bank building, now torn down, and the old courthouse that was more to center of the square than our courthouse today. There's the Fitzpatrick, with a trolley car parked in front. One captures a lady crossing a muddy street - imagine the hours of scrubbing the hems of those long dresses, as the dirt would have been unavoidable. Another lady looks to be quite proud of her hat, including the full-size dove diving down to the brim in front! Yet another is clearly four generations, posing on the front porch.
Fascinating also is the c. 1907 photograph of the museum, then the Barnett-Bounds house. Two children are in the front, one holding what looks to be a badminton racket, another youngster on a small horse, another in front of the horse, a parked bicycle, parents (presumably) on the porch, and there...look closely...just behind the ornamental grass planted in the front, is a wee bairn sitting on the porch steps in a white pinafore.
Take your time, and look carefully. There's more there than meets the eye with a casual glance!
Join us November 10th and 17th at 10:30 am for a special Curator's Tour of the exhibit given by Robert M. Willingham Jr. $7 (pretax) includes museum admission and the tour. Tickets available day-of, come early as space in the gallery is limited. See you there!
Fall is the perfect season to visit Historic Washington Georgia, and we've got a full calendar of events and programs for you to enjoy when you get here. See what we've got for you and be sure to come check us out!
Family Day & Exhibit Opening at Washington Historical Museum
Saturday, September 29th, 1-3 pm
To celebrate the opening of our new permanent exhibit "Children of the Georgia Piedmont 1820-1920" we're planning a day of family fun and games at the Washington Historical Museum! Have fun making your own corn husk doll, play gallery games, and get an old-time family photo. $10 per family, tickets available at the door
Ghost Hunt 101 at Fitzpatrick Hotel and Callaway Plantation
Saturday, October 6th, 6-11 pm
Join us for Ghost Hunt 101 sponsored by Fitzpatrick Hotel, CJ's Pizza, and Southeastern Institute for Paranormal Research! Ghost Hunt 101 will start at the famously haunted Fitzpatrick Hotel on the Square in Washington and cover all the basics of paranormal research including hauntings, psychic studies, investigation equipment, and evidence. The group will then break and meet up for a live ghost hunt at Callaway to include the Brick House, Grey House, Log Cabin, Schoolhouse, Blacksmith Shop, and Family Cemetery! Tickets are $23.00 each and include admission, sales tax and online convenience fee. We will be treated to a light dinner courtesy CJ's Pizza. Reservations are first come, first served, no holds. This one will sell out, so sign up now!
Kids Ghost Hunt 101 at Fitzpatrick Hotel and Callaway Plantation
Saturday, October 6th, 11 am - 4 pm
Join us for Ghost Hunt 101 sponsored by Fitzpatrick Hotel and Southeastern Institute for Paranormal Research! Specially offered for ages 12 - 17, Ghost Hunt 101 will start at the famously haunted Fitzpatrick Hotel on the Square in Washington and cover all the basics of paranormal research including hauntings, psychic studies, investigation equipment, and evidence. The group will then break and meet up for a live ghost hunt at Callaway to include the Brick House, Grey House, Log Cabin, Schoolhouse, Blacksmith Shop, and Family Cemetery! Adult chaperone required. Tickets are $28.00 each and include admission for one ghost hunter and one adult , sales tax and online convenience fee. A bag lunch will be provided. Reservations are first come, first served, no holds. This one will sell out, so sign up now!
Mule Day at Callaway Plantation
Saturday, October 13th, 10 am - 4 pm
Join us for the 38th annual Mule Day Festival at Callaway! Mule Day is a celebration of rural farm life in Georgia from the late 1700’s to 1900. The mule was the "tractor" for these early farms. There will be Mule Plowing Contests and a Mule Show with cash prizes. As you walk the grounds throughout the day, demonstrators will show how farms produced their own turpentine, wood shingles, pine straw baskets, soap, and so much more. A blacksmith will even be showing how horse shoes and nails were made.
Children can enjoy many hands-on activities such as mule plowing, rope making and weaving on a loom. They can interact with animals through pony rides and a petting zoo. A talented group of musicians will be playing the hammered dulcimer in the Manor House and other instruments. Vendors from around the Southeast will be selling their delicious foods and beautiful arts & crafts. $10 per car, tickets available day-of. More at https://muledaysouthernheritagefestival.org/
Scare on the Square
Saturday, October 13th, 5:15 - 10:15 pm
Witches. werewolves and ghosts, oh my! Our second annual Halloween celebration is Saturday, October 13th! Join us for Trick or Treating, Costume Contest, and watch a special outdoor showing of Hocus Pocus on the Square! More at https://www.downtownwashingtonga.com/
Knifemaking Workshop at Callaway Plantation
Saturday, October 20th, 10 am - 5 pm
Join us at Callaway for our knifemaking workshop! During our full-day class we will forge a blade, build a knife handle, and make a leather sheath in the blacksmith shop. Class will be led by John Moran, master bladesmith. Class is limited to 6 - hurry, spots are selling fast. $133 includes class admission, materials fee, and online convenience fee. Bring a lunch, this class meets for 7 hours.
Saturday October 20th, 6-9 pm
Venture into Resthaven Cemetery in Historic Washington Georgia, as some of Washington's most notable residents return from beyond the grave on October 20 from 6-9 pm. Join us and hear the stories of the known, and lesser known residents that made Wilkes County one of the most historic counties in Georgia. Shuttles leave from the historic downtown square. Tickets $10 and available on site. One night only. For more information, please call 706-678-5001
True blue. Feeling blue. The deep blue sea. Singing the blues…
The indigo blue color has captivated us for many, many generations. From India to Asia, to Central and South America, through Greek and Roman culture, the plant has travelled though Great Britain and America and marched from ancient times to today. After all, what would blue jeans be if not for its distinctive color? Following are 5 fun facts about indigo to celebrate our upcoming Indigo Dye Day workshop at Callaway!
1. Indigo's Origins
Wondering where the plant is from? It's all in the name - Indigo means "the Indian" or "from India". As early as 5,000 years ago people were using indigo to make the deep blue dye.
2. Indigo Girls
Eliza Luca Pickney introduced the plant in South Carolina in 1744. She planted it on her father’s plantation outside of Charleston. The yield was a whopping 6 pounds, which she exported to England. It was quite a hit! Britain offered a reward to the colonies to grow more. The next year 5,000 pounds arrived. It became the second most important crop, next to rice, for South Carolina. In 1755, Georgia exported 4,500 pounds of indigo.
Not surprisingly, England took away the reward when the upstart colonies started that war. You know, that pesky independence one.
3. Smurf Hands
Most historic indigo was either indigofera tinctoria or suffruticosa. And no young lady of long ago wanted to be betrothed to the indigo maker, because the fermentation process stinks, and his hand were probably blue. "Smurf Hands", you might call it in modern times. But today, we’ve streamlined the process and can offer a class that makes the most beautiful blue in creative designs. And wear gloves!
4. Where Jeans Come From
18th century Genoans were known for their sturdy blue cloth made for clothing fisherman and dock workers. The cloth became known as "Bleu de Genes", or Blue of Genoa. In December 1870 a Latvian immigrant working in San Francisco as a tailor was asked by a customer to create a pair of durable workpants for her husband, who was a woodcutter. Jacob Davis sewed the pants from duck cloth and reinforced the weak points with copper rivets. Davis approached his cloth supplier for financial backing to patent his reinforced jeans concept. His supplier, Levi Strauss, agreed, and a patent in the name of Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss and Co. was issued.
5. How It's Done
The ingredients are stirred together, and then it must rest. Oxygen is the enemy of this dye process. So items to be dyed (100% cotton, wool or silk) must be slipped beneath the surface quietly, with no plop! Sliding it down the side of the bucket is best.
Then take the cloth out – slowly, sliding it up the side, and throw it down on a plastic sheet or pin on a clothesline. It will be pond-scum green. Not kidding! As the air hits it, it slowly turns from green to blue over about 20 minutes. Turn to get the breeze hitting all sides.
Rinse, but probably don’t need to repeat, unless you want a very, very dark blue.
Most of the blue washes off skin, but be sure to wear old clothes, because the process does spatter.
But it’s worth it!!
- Susannah Johnson
Join us for Indigo Dye Day at Callaway from 1-3 on Saturday, September 15th, led by our fiber craft expert Susannah!
Class is $40 ($42 online) and includes a t-shirt to dye, or BYO natural fabric or yarn.
Sign up today - hurry, space is limited!
The butterfly garden at Callaway Plantation has been a huge success with winged visitors as well as the touring visitors.
This year, the herb garden was re-cultivated and expanded. The plants that are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators ring the central herb area with color and flutters. Many of the vibrant plants are perennials and will give nectar and visual appeal for years to come. Some of the varieties are buddleia, milkweed, lantana, salvia, butterfly weed, gaillardia and zinnias.
The flourishing herbs include lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage and parsley.
Callaway campground hostess Jean Ballew has the green thumb that is helping the plants thrive. The herbs and flowers get regular trims, water, food and harvesting under the supervisory eye of her constant companion, Deja the Dog. A hummingbird feeder in the garden has delighted both young and old garden fans.
Paired with old iron tubs sporting sunflowers, morning glories, moonflowers, and trailing lantanas, the old plantation is showing a bright face to new guests and returning friends.
- Susannah Johnson