News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, July 17, 2013
BONEVILLE, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's a spooky sight on Boneville Road where now just the bones of an old haunted house lie smoking.
Joann Jones lives across the street from what used to be the Old Dixie Inn.
"It's not going to be the same. It's not even going to look right. It don't look right from over there," she said.
Last night, Jones got a front row seat to the fire that destroyed the inn.
"It got so hot over there it melted the siding on our house, and you could feel the heat inside the house," she explained.
A big old house from the 1800s, the rubble was once referred to as the Boneville Mansion by the people in town. It was a statuesque two-story plantation home with grand white columns at the front and a second story porch that wrapped around.
Now all that's left, dead and smoldered wood and the many stories of the skeletons in its closets.
Several paranormal societies have investigated the house, including the Georgia Paranormal Society and the South Coast Paranormal Society.
"It was rumored that a despondent guest of the hotel hanged himself. It was rumored this person could be seen hanging from the ceiling and spirit orbs," explained Rachelle Moran, director of South Coast Paranormal Society.
Moran investigated the house in 2009.
The house was converted to a bed and breakfast in the late 1800s. It became a popular railroad stop from Augusta.
"It soon became popular as a weekend getaway as a place for people to picnic and swim in Boneville Pond," Moran said.
Now, very different sounds are associated with the historically haunted house.
"People have witnessed strange sounding footsteps, loud unusual bangs in the house. We did experience some of those things," Moran said.
Some believe the sound of the footsteps are from the spurs of old sheriff and homeowner J.J. Morris.
"It's enough for me to believe there is paranormal activity there, because there's things that happened that we couldn't explain and we couldn't recreate," she said.
What was once a grand house is now a ghost of its own.
The Georgia Paranormal Society, which has been investigating this house since 2005, says they have conclusively proved the place is haunted. They say evidence like cameras shifting off people and sounds of the sheriff's boots walking across the floor led them to that conclusion. All the video and pictures are from their investigation.
Fire officials don't think spirits or apparitions are to blame, but they are calling the fire suspicious. There is no power connected to the house, and the weather was clear the night the fire started.