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Haunted Gwinnett
Ghost tours tap into county's spooky legends

DULUTH - Sherry Ingbritsen had walked into the darkened New Dawn Theater in Duluth alone one night when she felt a slight, cool breeze gently blow past her.

"As soon as I felt that there was just this brush of white light that went in front of me," she recalled. "It looked like something walking past."

When Ingbritsen turned to examine the light, there was nothing to see.

"It kind of threw me for a minute because I didn't know what it was," she said.

Not having turned on any lights inside the building yet and having closed the door behind her, Ingbritsen, one of the original founding members of New Dawn Theater Company, said the source of the light couldn't have been a blown light bulb or anything from outside.

That experience and those of other members of the theater company - particularly voices heard in the building when people were alone - prompted a paranormal investigation earlier this year.

Ghosts of Georgia Paranormal Investigations spent a night inside the building recording audio and video in search of answers to the yet unexplainable occurrences in the historic building.

One of the tactics to elicit a potential ghostly response is simply asking questions.

"On several questions, we got a response," said Ingbritsen, who participated in the investigation.

One voice, she said, kept asking, "Where's Phillip?"

On one recording, a spirit seemed to be frustrated with the ongoing questions posed by an investigator and responded, "Just shut up."

Despite any annoyance on the part of the potential ghostly residents of New Dawn Theater, Ingbritsen said she doesn't feel scared or threatened in the building.

"I'm there alone a lot and I don't feel worried or anything like that," she said. "It's nothing that it's a negative entity. I just think there's something there that's not going away."

Tours

Ghostly presences, eerie occurrences and unexplainable phenomena are the focus of three tours taking place this October in Duluth, Lawrenceville and Norcross. On each walking tour, guides regale guests with stories of suspense and the supernatural as groups canvass each city's historic downtown area.

Duluth

Duluth's historical ghost walks includes tours of the Main Street area where buildings built in 1880 have been sites of reported paranormal activity.

The offerings will also include a paranormal investigation of the city cemetery with Buford resident and investigator Shannon Edwards.

Edwards will teach guests how to use equipment to conduct an investigation, including an infrared thermal scanner that records temperature fluxuations.

"When a ghost is present, they need energy in order to manifest," Edwards said. "They'll use the air, which causes cold spots, which is very prominent in hauntings."

Another device is the electromagnetic field detector, which picks up any electric activity and can't be used in investigations of homes with electricity.

"When you're out in the middle of a cemetery and you start getting readings," Edwards said, "there's something there."

Lawrenceville

New to Lawrenceville's offerings is the addition of trolley tours that will transport guests to locations off the downtown square that are believed to be haunted, including the historic city cemetery, the final resting place of prominent figures in the city's history, including William Maltby and his wife, Philadelphia, daughter of Elisha Winn, who was prominent in Gwinnett County's early years.

Norcross

This year organizers for the Norcross ghost tours have added a new element to their eerie offerings: appearances by paranormal authors. Roswell-based author Dianna Avena will be in Norcross on Thursday, followed by psychic medium and cold case researcher Reece Christian on Friday and concluding with Corinna Underwood, author of "Haunted History: Atlanta and North Georgia" on Oct. 29.