Case: 020 Ballard Building

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Black Diamond Paranormal Society©

"We are the light that cuts the darkness. Therefore, when you see... truth must be honored."

Final Report and Analysis

Case 020

Ballard Building

May 1, 2010

Pocahontas, Virginia


Rodney Shortridge, Amy Flick, Matt O'Quinn, Heather Lamantia & Jerry Conner

     On May 1, 2010 the BDPS team investigated the historical Ballard Building located in Tazewell County in the town of Pocahontas, Virginia. I would like to take this moment to thank Mayor Cannoy, the Pocahontas Town Council and the Historical Pocahontas Society for giving us permission to investigate such a historical building. We decided to use two teams to investigate this site. The first team consisted of me and Amy. The second team consisted of Matt, Heather and Jerry. We started our investigation around 9:00 p.m. and finished around 2:30 a.m. We started the investigation by investigating the upstairs of the building, while team two was watching the monitor. Each team worked on a rotation. This was a huge experience and very helpful in our training of the new investigators.

     Equipment used at this site included (6) DVR's (Digital Voice Recorders), (1) Microcassette Recorder, (4) Zero Lux low lever IR (infer red) cameras, (2) digital cameras, (1) Canon PowerShot SX 20 IS camera, (1) K2 Meter, (1) EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) Meter, (1) Laser Thermometer and (2) handheld video recorders.

     We placed (1) DVR (Digital Voice Recorder) in each of the rooms which consist of a living room, two bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. (1) IR camera was placed in the living room, (1) IR camera was placed in one of the bedrooms, (1) IR camera was placed in the dining room, (1) IR camera was placed in the bathroom door way focusing on the long hallway, (1) Microcassette Recorder was carried by each team during their investigation. Also, each team carried along with them during their investigations one of the following: K2 Meter, EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) Meter or Laser Thermometer.

History: Interview with Tom Childress about the Ballard Building, interview conducted by Matt O'Quin

The Ballard Building was built in the 1920's and was originally the First National Bank of Pocahontas. In1928 the CEO of the bank stole a large amount of money from the bank and the bank went caput. The bank was put into receivership and taken over by the Bank of Pocahontas where the town hall is now. The president of the Bank of Pocahontas and also major stock holders was Isaac T Mann, ‘the hit man'.  And he was also the president and major stock holder of the Bank of Bramwell. His name is on the deed. They sold that building to doctors Alexander and Stump. It stated in the deed that no-one in perpetuity could ever operate a bank in that building again. The doctors eventually paid off the deed of trust and clear and open. They had an associate practice with the coal company, the Pocahontas Fuel Company and that was the name of the company from 1924 on.  And they went into that building in 1929 or somewhere close to that. They took care of all the company patients as well as private patients and anybody that got injured or anything in the mines they would be brought in there and treated and so-on and so-forth if they were not super serious they would not be moved on to the hospital. When doctors Alexander and Stump died the building was eventually bought by Dr. Ballard and that's what most people call it The Ballard Building. Mr. Childress does not know if he died, Dr. Ballard, in the building upstairs in the apartment. He may have Mr. Childress didn't remember, but Dr. Ballard died in the 1960's and then his wife died after him but Mr. Childress did not know if she died in the apartment building or not. Dr. Ballard had other doctors from time to time that practiced with him as associates and one of them is still alive and lives in Roanoke his name is Dr. Sproles and he's up in his 80's close to 90 now.            

Q: So the Ballard building was used as a doctor's office?

A: Yes and Amy Flick knows how to get a hold of him.

Q: Do you know if anybody or any patients ever died in the building or anything?

A: I don't know but would not be surprised if there wasn't because it was a very busy place and I was in that place to visit the doctor and I was little and when I was a teenager because Dr. Ballard was still practicing. It was a place in the 30's 40's and 50's when they get hospitalizations for various things like small pox and that's where you went. After he died (Dr. Ballard) the building was bought by Charles W. Gilmore and he let a guy by the name of Fred Liveral live upstairs and he more or less trashed the place. We got it about eight years ago and got the deed to it from Charles Gilmore and he gave the deed to us.  To the east of it are the buildings that are standing they were originally Bloch and Beach General Store. They were Jews and then they sold out to the Ellet's and if changed hands three times since then and the Ellet's ran a store from the late 20's to the mid 50's general merchandise and grocery store and on the other side was the St. Clair building and Alex St. Clair and he was the one who originally sold that land and a general store in the building came several things garages and other things and one is gutted out now and is just the front and the Opera House. There were a lot of plays and musicals and other things in its heyday and when the restored it was the first time in the 1970's a man by the name of Collins a land agent for the Pocahontas Fuel Division Consolidation Coal Company was up there for a dance and dropped dead of a heart attack. That was the last person that died right there and I presume other people have died there too. And there were a number of people died in the downstairs in the town hall below the Opera House in the jail over the years. The last one that died in 1866 his name was Vincent Shumate. Back in its heyday Pocahontas was a very rough place there may have been a number of people beat up and shot right around the area of the Opera House.

There is a church still active in Pocahontas and active churches unless it would be a Catholic church, would be Protestant  churches would be very unwilling to allow paranormal organization in there because Protestants churches really do not believe in the unquiet spirits they believe when you die you go straight to the day of judgment and you're not lingering. In the Methodist church a minister dropped dead in the pulpit in 1928 and I'm a member of that church but there's no way I can get you all in that church. In would not be allowed. It goes against theology.

Reports & Claims: There was no report of activity. It was one of the buildings that the town of Pocahontas wanted BDPS to come in and investigate.

Personal Experiences:

Rodney Shortridge: While me and Amy were investigating one of the rooms I had the experience of walking into a very cold area of the room. The base reading for the room temperature was 72 degrees but in the cold area where we were standing the temperature was around 59 degrees. This caused the hair to stand up on my arms along with Amy experiencing the same as I witnessed this when she showed me her arms. There was no draft because the windows were boarded up. It was a very hot and humid night and the base temperature throughout the building stayed within 5 to 7 degrees of the 72 degrees in each room. Later during the investigation I was watching the monitors with Matt and Jerry while Amy and Heather were upstairs conducting their investigation there was a loud crashing noise that shook the building. It was raining and the sound came from inside the building I thought the roof had collapsed because of the sound of rushing water, so I went to check on Amy and Heather and try to help find the cause for the noise. We searched the entire building inside and out and could not find an explanation for this event. It was caught on our DVR's.

Heather Lamantia:  I had numerous experiences in the Ballard building while investigating. During my first round of investigation I was with Matt O'Quin and Jerry Conner. We were in the room with camera #1 when I felt a chill come over me as I stood in the doorway that connected the room to the next room. I then felt a touch on my right elbow. I told Matt, but he registered nothing on the K2 and no temperature change. During this same round of investigation I was alone in the room facing the stairway banister, containing Camera 2 or 3 (cannot recall). In this room I was asking questions when I felt something touch me on my left shoulder. I once again announced that I had been touched. Nothing else occurred in that room.

My second round of investigation was with Amy Flick, and I had more aggressive experiences take place during this investigation time. The first room we went into was the room containing Camera #1. In the same area bet the door where I had my first experience Amy said something touched her. Right after that I felt a grab on my right wrist. No K2 or temperature changes registered. Amy said she was touched again and I asked "it" to leave her alone she was scared and we went into adjoining room. We headed to the kitchen area where Amy told me about some "dirty videos" that were made in the apartment. We began to question the "presence" if it was the man who had made the tapes. Shortly after leaving the kitchen and going into the adjoining room (no camera in that room) I felt a chill and got goose-bumps all over. I showed Amy. She felt the same thing she said and showed me that she also had goose-bumps. I soon felt something pull-up the back right side of my shirt. I got angry and I began to provoke the "presence". There was a loud "bang" that seemed to come from the hallway outside of the room containing Camera #1. It sounded like the ceiling had fallen down. Rodney called over radio to see if we were okay and I asked him to please come up with us, I was SCARED!! Rodney, Amy and I looked around, checked doors etc. We found nothing to suggest what made that sound. Nothing was disturbed or out of place. Rodney left and we began again. I was mad at this point and was asking questions and provoking. I was in the room just off the kitchen with Amy and I felt a burning scratch across my left ankle, which continued to hurt for several hours. Amy took a picture. Shortly after that something moved my shirt on the same back right side and pushed me. Amy said she saw a red mark and took a picture. We then left the building. During third investigation, I had no experiences at all. (All Statements declared within above document are true and accurate as I recall the events). Heather Lamantia May 2, 2010

Photo evidence: There are photos with orbs.

Video evidence: There was no video evidence.

Note:  BDPS does not support the idea of orbs as evidence of the paranormal because most orbs can be explained away as dust, bugs, rain, mist, fog etc. There are cases that the orbs we photograph seem to move with some type of intelligent intent. We post these photos because we feel that there needs to be more investigation into the Orb Phenomenon and we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this phenomenon without further investigation and explanation. So we show these photos in an attempt to add another piece to the puzzle and leave this decision up to you to accept or dismiss orbs as evidence. It is also my opinion to show all evidence so we all can learn from what might be an area of the paranormal that may be getting over looked by researchers.

EVP's (Electronic Voice Phenomenon)

We heard the following EVP's (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and unexplained noises on our DVR's (Digital Voice Recorders) & Microcassette Recorder:

 Room 1:


Female Voice "OK"

Male Voice answering a question by Rodney "NO"

Room 2

Female Voice Whispering "Help Me"

Unexplained Inaudible small girls voice

Unknown Breath

Males Voice "NO"

Males Voice "Bring it"

Males Voice whispering "Yeah"

Unexplained Inaudible Female Voice

Unexplained Inaudible Childs Voice

Unexplained Inaudible Voice

Room 3

Male Voice "NO"

A whisper at the same time Rodney is speaking inaudible

Male Voice "Fuck it"

Male Voice "NO"

Sound of kitchen utensils falling

Unexplained Inaudible Female Voice

Whisper "Fuck You"

Female Voice "Help Me"

Male Voice "William Bork"

Room 4

Male Voice "wow WOW"

Whisper "Hey"

Very low whisper "Rodney"

Female Voice "Back off"

Unexplained Inaudible voice

Male Voice "Where she at?"

     We have come to the conclusion that the Ballard Building has medium paranormal activity in the forms of EVP's, and interesting orbs with the photographic and audio evidence that helped us to determine our conclusion. We look forward to one day coming back to investigate the Ballard Building with more advanced equipment. This was our twentieth investigation and it was a great success. I feel honored to have had the success we've had and to be working alongside such a professional team.

     I look forward to our next investigation. If anyone would like for us to do a paranormal investigation of their home, business, church, property or a family cemetery please contact us. If you would just like to speak with us about any paranormal activity you may be having we would love to hear from you. No problem is too small. We would be honored to help and we do not charge for our services. Contact BDPS to set up a time and place for us to discuss your paranormal questions and or problems.

            I feel honored to be working with such a great team. Without the team's hard work and professionalism BDPS would not be what it has become today.

*Check out our NEW!! Website:


1st Annual BDPS Poker Run has been changed to October 2, 2010

For more information contact us at the numbers below.

I would like to thank all of the BDPS members for all their hard work. To all of our clients, a special ‘thank you' for giving us the opportunity to be able to come in and help to the best of our abilities. I know with the team that I have formed we will have exciting investigations in the future. I would like to let everyone know that our members have become more to me than just investigators, they have become my family. Without them BDPS would not be possible. Just like a family we sometimes agree and sometimes we don't agree but each and every member of BDPS is very special to me. Thanks guys you kick ass!!!

     I hope everyone enjoys the photos and the analysis sheet along with the new video we are providing. Also we will have our EVP's, photos and any video evidence on the website for everyone to view and listen to. You can judge it for yourself. If anyone has any questions or comments we would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think.

Thank you,

Rodney Shortridge

Founder/Lead Investigator

Black Diamond Paranormal Society


Heather Lamantia

Case Manager