SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Paranormal investigators George Jones and Betty Moore say the old Smith County Texas Jail, built in 1881, is full of spirits.
One spirit, named Rudolph, who over a century ago wrote his name on the walls of the jail, is one of a number of spirits who still call the jail home.
Jones, owner of Tyler ghost tours, and Moore, founder of "Paranormal junkies" have investigated numerous old buildings in East Texas for paranormal activity. They say the spirits they've contacted at the old jail are among the most active.
"We were sitting and talking and were asking who was here and could you give us a name, and he came through, he said Rudolph very clearly," Jones said. "He was telling us 'yes, I was here and I'm still here' and he said 'I did not do it.' He was in jail for not pleading guilty."
Attorney Randy Gilbert bought the old jail in 1993 and turned it into law offices. Much of the graffiti on the walls was covered up during the renovation, but some of the most interesting writings were retained and framed.
Gilbert says that in his research, he found that there were some executions and even some lynchings on the jail grounds, but he insists he hasn't run into any ghosts himself.
"I have not seen or heard any chains rattling or bars shaking or moans or groans," he said.
However, the paranormal investigators, who have been here, have had a wealth of strange experiences. One investigator, who was touched by Rudolph, became so frightened, she left and refused to return.
"We encountered several spirits here, most are male, but we actually encountered a female, which you wouldn't think to find in a jail from that time," said Jones.
Investigators think the woman spirit may have been connected with the jail's earliest days. Built in 1881, the building was a hotel for a short time before becoming a jail.
Ironically, the female spirit seems to be the most dangerous spirit of all.
"We had just finished communicating with her, and as we were coming down the stairs, one of my investigators was in front of me and before she had set foot on the stairs, I was behind her and I saw her shoulders go in like somebody pusher her," recalls Jones. "She was just walking and all of a sudden she was like that and I caught her because I thought she was fixing to fall down the stairs."
The investigator told George that she was certain someone had shoved her.
Paranormal investigators use a variety of special equipment to contact spirits. The electrical field that separates us from the other side is often difficult to penetrate, but they say it can be done.
In addition to picking up electrical signals, investigators say sudden changes in temperatures can also signal the presence of spirits.
George Jones says he always encourages spirits to 'go towards the light,' because after all, he adds, the realm of unresolved spirits is nothing to fool around with.