Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Preserving the Ghosts of the Past—Amory Regional Museum

Amory Regional Museum
715 3rd Street South
Amory, Mississippi

By Mississippi standards, the roots of the town of Amory—in the northeast part of the state, near the Alabama state line—by comparison, are not very deep. The town’s history dates to 1887 in this state with history reaching back millennia towards Native American settlement and through recorded history back to Hernando de Soto hacking his way through the region and the local inhabitants in the 16th century. Amory owes its creation to the railroad as it began to wend its way through the state following the Civil War.

When the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad needed a stop halfway between Memphis and Birmingham, a location in Monroe County was chosen and named for railroad magnate Harcourt Amory. As town lots were sold, citizens of nearby Cotton Gin Port slowly abandoned their much older town—it was established as a base for French explorations of the region in the early 18th century—to settle in the brand new planned town.


Much of this regional history is recalled in the Amory Regional Museum. The building housing the museum factors into the history of the region as the birthplace of many locals including the museum’s director. The building originally served as the town’s hospital, the Gilmore Sanitarium, opened in 1916. It served as a hospital until 1961 when the hospital opened its current location. After that, the building served as a nursing home for four years. After the nursing home’s closure in 1965, the aging, though still vital building stood empty until it opened as a museum in 1976.

It’s unclear when exactly the tales of the building being haunted began to spring up. One tale concerns Dr. M. Q. Ewing, the hospital’s chief of staff around the time the hospital closed. Supposedly, he’s still keeping watch over the old hospital and has been seen and heard around the building. Of course, like any hospital, birth and death are ever present. In a way, these old medical facilities are places where the veil between life and death may be quite thin.

The activity within the facility is significant enough that the local paranormal investigation team, the Independent Paranormal Research Team, has hosted two public paranormal investigations in the museum. Just this month, the group hosted a benefit investigation for a local child suffering from a rare illness.

An August article about the museum states, “Exhibits at the museum showcase Amory’s earliest inhabitants.” That statement is even more literal now that investigators are uncovering evidence that those inhabitants may still be around. The director notes a bit later in the article that, “Every town needs to preserve their heritage, it’s who you are. It’s where you come from.”

Sources
Amory, Mississippi. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 31 December
     2013.
“Amory Regional Museum.” Monroe County Magazine. 2009
Barnett, Sheena. “Join paranormal team on benefit investigation.” Northeast
     Mississippi Daily Journal. 12 December 2013.
Cotton Gin Port, Mississippi. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 31
     December 2013.
Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA. Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State.
     NYC: Viking Press, 1938.
Garrigues, Jillian. “Video—Hidden Treasures: Amory Regional Museum.”
     WCBI-TV. 21 August 2013.
History. Amory Regional Museum. Accessed 31 December 2013.
Van Dusen, Ray. “Paranormal group hosts fundraiser for museum.”
     Monroe Journal. 22 October 2013.



No comments:

Post a Comment