Is the Arkansas State Capitol haunted? Paranormal investigators try to find out
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The State Capitol is one of the most famous buildings in Arkansas. Not only is the House of Lawmakers, it houses memorials and has been featured in several major films, but this historic building hides a secret, which has never been revealed until now.
Our teams were granted exclusive after-hours access with a group known as Sweet N Sour Paranormal. What they found may make you think twice the next time you walk through those huge bronze doors.
The State Capitol is known as the place where laws are made and history is made, but what happens when the sun goes down and the halls are empty? Whispers of spirits floating inside the walls of the Capitol are common among staff, whether it is the warden who cleans the basement or the Capitol Police during the cemetery shift.
“They’re big guys, old-fashioned cops who were serious about their jobs. They had heard things, they could swear they had seen things, ”state historian David Ware said.
Ware said that in order to understand these stories, it’s important to know that the field hasn’t always been home to those who made the laws, but to those who broke them.
“The old state penitentiary site,” Ware said.
He spoke of the mess of a prison that until 1899 sat on what is now the Capitol House.
“So between the disease, the violence that you found when you had convicts locked up in very close quarters, I bet there were quite a few deaths,” Ware said.
This begs the question, where did they put these bodies?
“Certainly the prisoners were buried on what would today be known as the Capitol grounds,” Ware said.
Although there was an effort to remove the remains, Ware said there may still be remains.
“I believe if there are any skeletal remains, they are fragmentary,” Ware said.
With that in mind, Sweet N Sour Paranormal set out to see if they could record these haunting stories. Immediately clairvoyant Michelle Martindill had a strange feeling.
“They shouted my name, then they shouted Chris’s name, then they said go. I’m just saying they know we’re here, that’s all I’m telling you, ”Martindill said.
As she passed the elevator, something brought her back to him.
“One death that we know of is that of a man named Ira Gurley,” Ware said.
Gurley was the secretary of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He was planning to run for Secretary of State. Ware says that in June 1932 his political aspirations collapsed.
“Gurley was getting on the elevator. The elevator took off, Gurley was in the doorway, the elevator went up, he was crushed in the frame, ”Ware said.
From that spirit to the next, the hunters knew they were going to have a scary night.
Taking out their equipment and heading to work, the spirits were quick to make their presence known. Just as our photographer was settling in one of the hallways, they caught a woman’s scream in front of the camera. Near the stairs, Chris Counts was walking up as Martindill noticed that he was not alone.
“There is someone next to you,” said Martindill.
Using thermal cameras, they could see someone else’s silhouette, but there was no one next to Counts. Later, Counts took his recording device to the basement. As he questioned the spirits, he heard another voice.
After five hours it was time to tidy up and go. Although Ware has never had his own paranormal experience in the building, he wonders who or what might be hiding around the corner.
“Am I ruling out the possibility that there are spirits in the building or that someone heard a woman screaming without an explanation?” I don’t, ”Ware said.