MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Barton Academy in downtown Mobile was once used as a school, a hospital for Union soldiers during the Civil War, and finally, a central office for the Mobile County Public School System. The building has been sitting empty since 2007, and some people believe it is haunted by spirits that have been lingering since the 1700s.

“We had a big white mist that was very prominent and probably the most prominent paranormal experience I’ve ever had and I’m honestly a skeptic,” said anthropologist Lani Kosick.

Skeptic or not, some things just can’t be explained.

“I don’t want to be in this room. There’s something in this room that feels uncomfortable,” Kosick exclaimed.

First, let’s go back before ‘Barton Academy’ was built, to the 1700s when the property was empty.

“This area would’ve been kind of the northwest outside wall of Fort Conde, which was basically the outside of town at that point. So that’s where you’d have bodies and trash being thrown that you don’t want inside of the walls of the fort,” Kosick told Cherish Lombard.

Could those people just dumped along with the trash still be among us in some form, now tied to Barton? Or could they be soldiers who died here when Barton was transformed into a hospital during the Civil War? Some believe the spirit of a boy who attended Barton Academy in 1908 may still remain.

Kosick recalls, “There was a young boy that was killed in the yard outside. He was playing and the story goes got skewered by a twig or some sort of fence post through the head.”

His name was Clarence Benson– and he was only 13 years old.

There are other stories of workers who died making repairs to the building.

James Rosier is a Corporal with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department. He picked up ghost hunting as a hobby, and he’s now done more than 350 paranormal investigations around the Gulf Coast. Like Lani, James became interested in the paranormal through skepticism.

He said, “I watched the shows on TV and thought well that’s the biggest crock of hogwash I’ve ever seen. And I decided to go out and try it myself and when I started to replay some of the audio that I captured I became hooked.”

And he has some of the same ghost hunting equipment you see on TV, including a ghost box.

“It is exactly an AM/FM radio. It’s just been modified to continuously scan the stations. It should not stop. It should be technically impossible for it to stop. The theory is that with the change in stations, the frequencies and such, that whoever’s on the other side can use the spaces of white noise and the bits of speech to communicate with us,” Rosier told News 5.

We put the ghost box to the test at Barton Academy, and this is some of what we heard.

James: “Is anyone here with us in the board room tonight?”
Unidentified voice: “Board room.” 

Paranormal investigator: “Can you see us?”
Unidentified voice: “Yes. Can you see us?” 

James: “Cherish said she will scamper out of here like a groundhog gone nuts if you turn on a light. Isn’t that right, Cherish?
Cherish: “Want to see me run? Not many people have.”
Unidentified voice: “Nope.”
Unidentified voice: “No, not me.”09:14:39;11

James suggested we ask some controlled questions to see if what we were hearing was more than just a coincidence.

Cherish: “What’s 6 + 2?”
Unidentified voice: “8.”
Paranormal investigator: “Sounded like he tried to get through there. It sounded like 8.”
Paranormal investigator: “Alright, what’s 5 + 5?”
Unidentified voice: (Inaudible.)
Paranormal investigator: “What is 5 + 7?”
Unidentified voice: “Equals?”
Unidentified voice: “Thank you kindly.” 

Paranormal investigator: “How many women do you see in this room?”
Unidentified voice: “Three.” 09:17:20;03

Paranormal investigator: “How many men do you see in this room?”
Unidentified voice: “Two.”
James: “Could’ve been two.”
Unidentified voice: “It is.”09:17:39;27
Paranormal investigator: “So that makes how many people total?”
Unidentified voice: “Five.” 
Unidentified voice: “Five here.”
Unidentified voice: “Five in total.”
Unidentified voice: “Five.”

Kosick: “So we’ve established how many of us there are. How many are there of you?”
Unidentified voice: “Eleven.” 09:17:54;16

Although James does not believe in “evil” spirits, he does think they let us know when they’re finished trying to communicate and are ready for us to leave.

Paranormal investigator: “Do you like us being here?”
Unidentified voice: “No.” 
Paranormal investigator: “Where do you want us to go?”
Unidentified voice: “Home.” 

We took the cue, packed up, and left the unexplained, just as we found it.

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