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Life After Paranormals: Season 5, Episode 1
We spoke with Jenny Scott about the terrifying events depicted in "Voodoo Preacher."
Haint Blue paint. Demonic images in the mirror. Insect infestations. And, of course, the Boo Hag! We spoke with Jenny Scott about the terrifying events depicted in the Season 5 premiere "Voodoo Preacher."
Before moving into the house, had you ever had a supernatural or paranormal experience?
Not that I know of. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, so I was always taught that the only 'real' ghost was the Holy Ghost. I still tend to believe that most of the spirits people encounter are evil, but there are also good spirits which I personally believe are angels. But, no, I'd never encountered anything like I did when we lived in the Rockford house.
What was your first thought when you saw the blue paint on the walls?
I thought it was AWFUL. It was a shock. You had to be there to see the color, because I have a hard time describing it. It put off an energy. It wasn't just the awful color, but the fact that it had been painted onto EVERY surface. I could see that it was done in a hurry. You couldn't just see the violent brush strokes, you could reach your fingers out and feel them. It made me feel uncomfortable, and I was obsessed with painting over it as soon as I could.
The moment where you took the duct tape off the attic - what did you imagine you’d find?
Actually, I had no intention of going into the attic. I just wanted to take the tape off and paint over it. In the hallway, even the ceiling was painted blue. I couldn't imagine why anyone would do that -- tape off an attic entrance and paint over it. It gave me a strange feeling. Every house we had ever lived in, I'd always explore the attic. I had so much fun finding old treasures. This house was the only house where we have ever lived that I had no desire to explore the attic. I never went up there.
I heard there's a blog detailing the incidents in the house. Can we read your take on the experience anywhere?
Unfortunately, that blog was deleted a few years ago. I was a blogger for a local magazine, and I don't work there anymore. I have saved the posts and plan on posting a few of them on my new blog, called This Southern Blog. I don't write much about the paranormal, but I do plan on reposting some parts of the old blog.
How do your kids talk about these incidents now?
They really don't talk about it. My youngest daughter is too young to remember, and my stepdaughter really won't talk about it. My son isn't afraid of reflective surfaces anymore, except for one: the mirror that scared him so badly when we lived in the house. I kept the mirror, because I think it's beautiful, but I keep it in a closet. My son makes me cover it up with a sheet if I ever get it out, and the dog barks at it. I should probably get rid of it. We don't talk about the things that happened to us. Before we were contacted by the Paranormal Witness folks, we were just going to do our best to forget what happened.
A common thread in instances like this involve children being the first people who become aware of these things. Was that the case and why do you think that is?
I definitely think it manifested itself to the children first. I think my son was the first one to notice that something was wrong, through his fear of mirrors and anything that had a reflective surface. Somehow, he was able to see things that we couldn't at first. I absolutely think that it went after the weaker members of the house first ... whatever it was. The worst thing you can do to a mother is hurt her children, and that's what it did to me. It wanted to get to me, and the one way it could tear down my defenses quickly and weaken me was to frighten and manipulate my children.
At the courthouse, you discovered that the previous owners had been part of an infamous murder involving rumors of voodoo. How did this information affect your experience?
Actually, we don't know if the owners were involved with voodoo. We know that the land the house was built on once belonged to the family of the Rev. William Maxwell. We know that he frequented the area, but we don't know for sure that there was a direct connection between the family who owned the house and the Maxwell family. We just know about a connection with the land. We reached out to the owners of the house, but they were reluctant to talk about anything. To this day, most people in the area are still afraid to talk about the events that happened nearly 40 years ago.
Can you describe the feeling when you were pushed down the stairs?
Absolute shock. This is the one event I can't explain, or even try to figure out a reason why it happened the way it did. I should have fallen head-first down the stairs. The stairs were carpeted, and I was wearing socks. Instead of jerking my body forward, I jerked it back and my socks slipped on the stairs where I landed squarely on my bottom. It hurt like hell. I just sat there for a minute. Before I fell, I felt the pressure of two hands on my shoulder blades, and I knew my little toddler couldn't have done it. After that, I knew we were dealing with something evil. I could have fallen and broken my neck. That didn't enter my mind until much later ... but like I said, we never talk about what happened in the house, and I certainly didn't think much about it after we'd moved. I just wanted to forget it ever happened.
The incident with Betty-Lou! Of all the possible explanations that went through your head, what did you think it could've been?
I thought she had either been hit by a car or been attacked by other dogs. We never once heard a dog fight, which can be pretty loud. Hunter found her in the woods, and he didn't tell me the whole story until we did our interviews for Paranormal Witness. He said that some of her body parts were missing. I broke down. I'm glad he didn't tell me right after it happened, I don't think I could've handled it. I don't know what happened to her. Hunter wouldn't let me see her because he didn't want me to see her body the way it was. I just can't imagine how anyone could do that to a dog. I think whatever did it was another animal, or someone (or something) who was just cruel. I've read a lot of reports about people finding mutilated deer in the area, so I think whatever killed Betty-Lou is still out there.
Did you ever look for non-paranormal explanations for what happened? What were they?
Absolutely. I'm a pretty grounded person. Everything that happened in the house, I would write it off at first. I thought the kids were hiding my keys, or maybe my husband was playing tricks on me. I thought the figure in the window I had seen might have been a reflection or a dirty window screen. I thought the sounds in the attic were raccoons at first, and I thought the whole house was slowly being chewed by rats because of all the electrical problems we had. Every time something would go wrong, I could never recreate the event, or find evidence of mice or raccoons. I was so frightened by the thing that attacked me, I was convinced at one point that I had sleep paralysis, which I've read is the most frightening experience a person can have. I'm still not sure. I haven't had another 'visit' from the thing, so I don't know. It was the most terrifying experience I've ever had, and it felt so real. I want to believe it was sleep paralysis, but at the same time, I believe it had a spiritual element to it. I believe I was at my weakest point, so whether it was sleep paralysis or whether I was able to see the entity in the house with my own eyes ... I'll never know for sure.
Has anyone ever expressed skepticism in the story? What do you tell them?
We never talk about it to anyone, so we haven't had any skeptics yet! I'm sure there will be, and that's fine ... it is quite a story. I lived it, so I know. I will say that unless you were there and experienced it for yourself, it is difficult to understand. I still don't understand why some of the events happened or how.
How did you feel when you left the house?
I felt absolute relief. I couldn't get away fast enough. The house we moved into after we left the Rockford house was located next to a lake. I felt like we were on vacation!
Has this experience changed how you feel about the supernatural?
It has. I believe that there is a thin veil between what we can see and what we can't see. I think our family happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and in the wrong frame of mind. I think it was a perfect storm for paranormal activity. I am more openminded about the paranormal now, but I do not seek it out. I will not go to reportedly haunted places and I won't take part in ghost hunts or try to communicate with spirits. That is off-limits for me. Now that I've experienced the paranormal for myself, I seem to be sensitive to it. I can somehow feel if there is an unseen presence somewhere. If I do get that feeling, I get away as fast as I can.
Did you ever experience any kind of paranormal activity after all of this happened?
Possibly. During the time Kim and I were investigating a link between the house and the deaths that occurred in the area in the 1970s, Kim and I both experienced things like pictures flying off walls and problems with electronics. We aren't sure if there was a connection to the paranormal or not, but it seemed to always coincide with our investigation.
What kind of advice would you give someone whose house is haunted?
If you are a Christian, then you need to realize that you have the power of Jesus Christ with you. You can drive out anything negative just by speaking His name. You probably aren't going to get a lot of help from the church, since they may not be willing to get involved. You can also call a local paranormal group ... but make sure they know what they are doing. My friend Kim's group, SCARe (Spirit Communications And Research) of Alabama, did not charge me for the investigation, and they were such a blessing to our family. Also, know that you are not alone. The reason I decided to go on and tell our story is because I DID feel alone during the haunting. I was very uncomfortable talking to other people about it because I thought they would think I was crazy. There are a lot of people in the world who have experienced a haunting, and they would be glad to talk to you.
How is everything now?
Everything is great! Kim and I decided to write a book about the experience and tell the full story. It's called Haint Blue: The Rockford Haunting, and Part One of the digital version is available in the Kindle store and on our website. We plan on releasing Part Two sometime in the fall. It is a detailed account of what happened in the house, and also the house investigation and the research Kim and I did on the house years later. As for me, I am busy raising my children and writing my blog in my spare time. I have a few writing projects I'm working on, but I don't plan on writing any more about the haunting in Rockford. I am very happy to leave the past behind me.