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Is Benton Farm haunted? Paranormal investigators say maybe; show to air on Amazon TV next year

By Hannah Carver
NKyTribune reporter

Delving into the some of the world’s most mysterious phenomena, the crew from “The Paranormal Journey:  Into the Unknown” will feature the Benton Farmhouse in its season three.

The team listens to recorder playback from inside the home. They’re looking for EVPs or “electronic voice phenomena.” (Photo by Hannah Carver)

The show, which first aired on Amazon TV on Halloween of 2017, features Gavin Kelly, Paula Purcell, and their team. Together they work to explore reportedly haunted locations, seeking proof of the existence of life after death.

The Benton Farmhouse in Walton is their first “blind” investigation, Purcell said. Usually, as the team historian, she researches the background of the places they go to beforehand. However, this time they wanted to do things a little differently.

Mary Benton, who runs the family farm, said she hopes with crews coming in to investigate, she and her family will get to learn more about the house and the property.

“We don’t know the story,” she said. “We don’t know what happened between 1900 and 1940. That’s a lot of years to be unreported, and everyone feels like that’s the time where a lot of things did happen.”

Paula Purcell interviews Mary Benton about the house she grew up in as a part of the investigation. (Photo provided)

What is known is that Benton’s grandparents moved to the property in the early 40’s.  They bought the farmhouse and land from a prominent Dr. Ryle, whose son suffered a serious head injury near the farm.

Benton’s parents then raised her and her siblings up in that house before building a new one that was handicap accessible. It was at that point that Benton’s father offered up the house to Ryle High School Future Farmers of America to do a haunted house fundraiser.

“After all the walls were torn out is when people started to notice small strange things,” Benton said. “So that’s when paranormal groups were invited in.”

What people experience isn’t always the same, but Benton said there are some consistencies among what teams report, such as hearing a little girl and seeing a dark, tall man with a brimmed hat.

Paula Purcell and Gavin Kelly investigate the attic of the Benton Farmhouse. The two have been working together since 2012, when they first started looking into Purcell’s own home. (Photo provided)

“When you hear that the last five years over and over, you can’t go read about these things.”

So what goes into the investigative process?

“You just have to be open, believe, that’s your main thing,” Purcell said. “Believe in what you might experience. A lot of things are unexplainable.”

Patience is also a key.

“It’s like fishing,” Kelly said. “We might not get anything, and the next group comes in and gets a whole bunch of stuff,” Purcell said. “It’s about taking time.”

Apparently, it didn’t take too long for things to get active in the Benton Farmhouse, though.

“We got tons of EVPs… Benton Farms didn’t disappoint,” Kelly wrote on Facebook after staying the night.

EVP stands for “electronic voice phenomenon,” a sound that is only found on a digital recording, which some interpret to be a voice from beyond.

The team wrote afterward that the EVPs they captured were incredible.

“The house came alive in the wee hours, from a female’s voice to loud bangs from within the house. Truly a harrowing experience for everyone.”

Kelly may have actually suffered some sort of attack while in the Benton Farmhouse, according to the team’s publicist, Dustin Stuart.

Gavin Kelly sets up his equipment ahead of a night of investigation. Benton describes the “Paranormal Journey” team as one of the more sophisticated groups to ever visit the house, saying she’s never seen so much equipment. (Photo by Hannah Carver)

“The crew was up in the attic when things went haywire. Gavin wasn’t feeling good, and decided to crash on the mattress when things got heated up in the attic.” Stuart said. “Something happened, which affected Joe, and at the same time, Gavin was having severe chest pains.”

“The pain was unbearable,” Kelly said. “It was like a hand reached into my chest, took a tight grip around my heart, and it started to squeeze it.”

He went outside with another team member to get some fresh air, before venturing back inside to finish the investigation.

The team is used to the bizarre, though.  Both Kelly and Purcell described being pushed and scratched in their explorations. Purcell said she’s even spent the last six years living in a haunted home in Paducah, Kentucky.

That’s how she and Kelly started working together.

In January 2012, Purcell’s house caught fire. After renovating the damaged areas, Purcell said she started noticing a lot of crazy activity: Tapping on the pipes, TV channels changing unexpectedly, a strange perfume odor, and even an imaginary ball seen bouncing down the hall by the whole family.

She and Kelly, who had an interest in investigating the paranormal from other shows he’d watched, teamed up. Now, as cliché as the saying is, the rest is history. Their wedding is coming up in a matter of weeks.

The second season of “The Paranormal Journey:  Into the Unknown” will air this fall.  The episode at Benton Farms is scheduled for the third season, which comes out October 31, 2019.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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