Old Clay County Jail

I found out last Sunday I didn’t get a job I was perfect for, so my week (and beyond) freed up. This meant I could go to an investigation in my sister-in-law’s part of Florida. My friend and fellow investigator David Weiss had organized an investigation at the Old Clay County Jail and Courthouse. For $40 you get to explore both, conveniently located about 50 feet from each other across a courtyard. The investigators on hand were myself, my sister in law, Mel, her father aka Buppa from API, Ed, David, and Jo and Gary, a divorced couple who work at the local raceway. If you do your homework and scour the internet, you can find interviews with Vishi, Lisa, and Lisa’s daughter Cass – women who live and love the jail. Vishi was on “Ghost Hunters” when they came. That particularly evening we got to meet Lisa and Cass. It was a great time. Lisa and Cass have a great passion for this place, and it really shows with all their stories and their love of preserving history. If you enjoy history, as many of us in the paranormal do, that alone could be worth the trip. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Friday morning the hubs, my daughter, and I hit the road for a 6 hour trip down to Jacksonville. It was great to see Nanny, Buppa, Joel, and Mel plus my niece and nephew. Ellie was also excited because there was a house filled to the brim with toys and other kids to play with. Nanny brought her awesome meatloaf for dinner. After dinner a family friend, Ed, joined us for the investigation. Mel lives only 10 minutes from the location. When we arrived I greeted David, and recognized Lisa and Cass (Cass momentarily was confused as to why I knew her and she didn’t know me. I assured her I was NOT a stalker and as the evening progressed she was less concerned about my presence, I dare say she even warmed up to me).

Lisa and Cass gave us a fantastic and informative tour. These ladies know these buildings inside and out. The history is more than memorized, it is part of their lives. This is their life, and as Lisa assured me, they live the saying “If you love what you do you never work a day in your life.” They were also incredibly accommodating: Lisa helped us look for extension cords and let us keep a voice recorder in the archives, even though we weren’t allowed to investigate there due to all the priceless archives there. She stayed in the archives building but made sure to let us know she was always always always available if we needed her. She even said she tried to time her bathroom breaks around our investigations, hahaha. Lisa also provided us with a working list of all the prisoners so we could do “roll call” in the jail. Fantastic service, ladies!

The tour started out with a walk across the courtyard to the courthouse. Lisa gasped, saying she saw someone move from left to right in the front window. We could look around and account for every single person, so the courthouse was empty. When you first walk in to the courthouse, you have to remove your shoes. The old floor boards were loving restored piece by piece by one woman and they aren’t about to let you undo her arduous labor because you won’t take off your Nikes. There is a large area rug where you can leave your shoes. We walk in and close the door behind us; for Florida the evening is quite chilly, in the upper 40s/low 50s. We all take about 3 steps forward, and hear 3 loud knocks on the door. We all turn around to see who we had left out in the cold. No one. Even though everyone was clearly visible to each other, I still asked – “Did anyone do that?” They all slowly shook their head. So everyone heard it, and everyone saw absolutely nothing. I looked to Lisa who gave me this “Yeah, that’s what happens” look. We started our tour, Lisa and Cass showing and telling us about everything in the court house as well as the ghost stories. Lisa pointed out a wall filled with EMF and a room she doesn’t feel comfortable going into. We saw plenty of different types of artifacts like pottery and playing cards. We tried to replicate the sound of the knocks.

We went back to the jail and got the tour again. No special noises that I recall at that time. We then went into the archives to pay up and sign the liability releases. We also got to see where Sheriff Cherry bled out, all kinds of interesting photographs and newspaper clippings (even some giant snake skins). Eventually Ed came in to tell us that Jo and Gary and David were all set up and somewhat investigating already. I sprung into action!

I was running wires and cameras, getting into the swing of things. I believe Buppa told me that I was truly happiest investigating. Can’t say I disagree.

The investigation was interesting. David is certain he got an apparition attempting to form multiple times in the jail on the first floor. When we went to the courthouse Ed got multiple strange readings on the K2. It was lighting up all the way and steady. It would go off if we moved it and light right back up if we put it back. This seemed to happen on the pews (which were donated by a local church). I asked if anyone had their cell phone, and if perhaps the lights for downstairs were causing it. Ed said his phone was in the car, and then held the K2 up to an outlet to show that doesn’t cause the K2 to jump. I scratched my head. That’s all I really could do. I said some lawyer stuff (prosecution, asked Mel to bang the gavel and sentence Abe Middleton, court is adjourned, prosecution rests, etc.). I haven’t reviewed all the evidence so I can’t say if any of that nonsense helped. I heard some voices, at first very clearly but then nothing. We all heard shuffling upstairs and downstairs, the opposite of where ever we were located at the time.

Back to the jail! We walked all up and down every corridor. We heard some things we can explain – the jail is on the corner of a busy intersection off a highway, plus near by rail road tracks and voices echo throughout the empty jail. We may have also heard some things we can’t explain. We heard a lot of clicking and banging when we called to Ed Baker in the front top row of the jail. I think I heard some voices but it was difficult to tell. We did attempt a flashlight and K2 conversation. The flashlight did go on and off, but the K2 (while right next to it) never lit up. At one point in the night, I saw the flash light roll up hill in between the bars of a cell door. It had been going on and off and suddenly rolled to the right. I cussed and asked if Ed or Buppa had seen it, but they had poor vantage points with which to see. However, Ed told me that Buppa had put the flashlight directly in between two of the bars on the door. When I went to retrieve the flashlight it had indeed moved to the right. The floor slopes to the left.

I took pictures while we read names out. I shook chains and dragged my flashlight along the bars of the jail. We opened and closed doors. It appeared to be a quiet night but as I said before, we haven’t reviewed all the evidence.

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About Jane Arrow

Aspiring author
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