Click on the above link to see Dianna and Roswell Ghost Tour featured on CBS 46 News, Oct 13th, 2006
Many of the radio interviews mentioned below are archived and may be heard thru the Paranormal Radio show’s Archives pages on their websites.
So honored to receive this award in May, 2007
GA Aquarium Press Release:
Un-BOO-lievable Encounters at Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, GA(October 27, 2008)
In the spirit of Halloween, Georgia Aquarium recently invited Roswell Georgia Paranormal Investigations (RGPI) to explore reports of paranormal activities in Titanic Aquatic and the Aquarium. RGPI was asked to investigate after several volunteers reported ghostlike experiences in the Titanic exhibit, as well as in other galleries. Click here to see video of the investigation!
“After hearing the paranormal experiences described, we thought that, in the spirit of Halloween, it would be interesting for RGPI to investigate the Aquarium after dark,”explains Meghann Gibbons, Director of Public Relations at the Aquarium. The investigators spent two nights at the Aquarium in an effort to determine if the encounters were paranormal or had valid scientific explanations.
The group was broken into three teams to investigate three separate areas of the Aquarium “ Titanic Aquatic, Ocean Voyager gallery and Cold Water Quest gallery. They used scientific methods that measured electromagnetic changes and temperature drops that would be caused by paranormal activity. They also incorporated “sensitives,” which are spirit-sensitive team members. The groups did not share their findings with each other; however they all came back with similar results.
An Aquarium volunteer who had a paranormal experience in the Titanic exhibit’s iceberg room was validated when investigators said that there was an older gentleman residing in the area. An elderly woman was also discovered in the First Class cabin of the exhibit. A young crew member in his early 20s was spotted and felt in one of the last rooms containing preserved dishes and clothing from the Titanic’s wreckage. As for non-Titanic apparitions, all teams sensed a Native American man in the Cold Water Quest hallway, which is outside
of the new construction area.
Other venues that have housed Titanic Aquatic, such as the Orlando Science Center, have reported strange occurrences similar to the ones at the Georgia Aquarium. Billed as “unsinkable,” RMS Titanic hit an iceberg during her maiden voyage in April 1912 and sank within three hours, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. The exhibit houses more than 190 artifacts taken from the shipwreck’s debris field, as well as room recreations.
According to RGPI, water can help sustain and construction can instigate paranormal activity. Georgia Aquarium houses more than eight million gallons of water, and the new dolphin exhibit construction is underway to expand the world’s largest aquarium.
About Roswell Georgia Paranormal Investigations (RGPI)
RGPI is a professional paranormal research group that services all of Georgia. According to their Web site, their investigations attempt to scientifically study and document cases of authentic paranormal activity, as well as help individuals experiencing these phenomena and understand the reasons behind it.
Spook yourself with a moonlit stroll in Roswell for Halloween.
By Walt Lawrence
Halloween, it wasn’t. The chilly night’s breeze suggested indoor pursuits were a good idea this late in February. Twenty-eight people (and three dogs on leashes) huddled in the gazebo on the Square in Roswell. All eyes were on Dianna Avena, leader of that night’s Roswell Ghost Tour.
Avena greeted everyone there, asking questions trying to determine the collective paranormal experience of the crowd. Her petite frame and cover-girl good looks belied her enthusiasm for the experience she was about to share. Until, that is, her face became animated and the quiet passion in her voice rose as she began to weave the legends of Roswell’s past with the various eerie stories told by its modern residents.
That night’s group was a mixed bunch. Some were skeptics, some were weirdness hopefuls, and a few were just interested in the history of Roswell. At least a third of them were repeat tour-takers.
Avena’s husband, Joe, passed out liability waivers to be signed before the tour began. Waivers? Absolutely—just in case someone got spooked by something really creepy and ran in front of a MARTA bus, it was on them. (More about that later.)
The faint of heart need not have come at all. Avena wrote “Roswell: History, Haunts and Legends,”a book of her Roswell paranormal experiences to date, including all the stories she would share on this tour. Those scaredy-cats could have previewed the YouTube video (Roswell Ghost Tour on CBS 46 News) to see what was in store for them. But there’s something about the potential for mass hysteria that adds to the excitement of actually being on the tour.
With all of the waivers signed and fees collected, Joe left. Not because he’s a chicken, but because he and his wife split the Friday night/Saturday night tour duties that generally go year-round. Avena confessed that some tour nights she was skittish and would have preferred the comfort of his company.
Thus assembled, the group ambled across Mimosa Boulevard to Bulloch Avenue to trek to Bulloch Hall (childhood home of Teddy Roosevelt’s mother). In front of this massive structure, a brief history of Major James Bulloch and family began, only to be interrupted by an amateur sleuth in the crowd. “Oh, my God,” he yelled. The window’s temperature just dropped 20 degrees—it must be a spirit!” At that moment, he had a laser beam trained on an upstairs window from a hand-held whiz-bang ghost detector. (Barely 15 minutes into the tour, there was real-time drama.) Technically, he used a “non-contact infrared thermometer temperature gun laser,” available on eBay for $46. The crowd settled down in time to hear about the 1850s journal of a Bulloch woman who witnessed midnight candlelight processions of slaves burying their dead in the woods behind the mansion.
The tour then made its way to Founders Cemetery at the end of Sloan Street. Town founder Roswell King was buried here in 1844. There are 27 other marked graves, but controversy remains as to how many bodies are actually buried on that hill. Some two-thirds of the original cemetery was sold off and houses built upon the land—a scandal in the 1980s. Stories have been told about homeowners finding coffins and bones during modern excavations. It’s also said that slaves were buried outside the cemetery proper, using only large flat rocks for headstones.
The crowd stopped in front of the “Old Bricks” on Sloan Street as they headed back to the Square. This was housing for Roswell Mill foremen’s families. These were the first townhouses built in the United States. The ghost of a confederate soldier dubbed “Fred” is said to cause occasional mischief there.
But the most dramatic paranormal manifestation took place in 2006. (Remember the aforementioned MARTA bus?) Fifty-three eighth-graders and a few chaperones were listening to Avena tell Fred stories when the apparition of a young girl appeared several times through an open doorway. The youngsters viewed her with curiosity and interest until the girl suddenly seemed to launch her body out of the building toward them. Pandemonium ensued. Fifty-three screaming children stampeded toward Atlanta Street and safety. Adults stopped them before they reached the thoroughfare, but tour waivers were soon required.
Next stop: the “Creepy House” behind the abandoned restaurant on Atlanta Street. (Dishes and glassware still gather dust on top of white-clothed tables.) Avena relates the building’s historical horrors. It's hard not to notice that the heretofore rambunctious dogs are now standing stone-still, eyes averted from the building.
The tour ends on the sidewalk just across from J. Christopher’s. Here, Avena shares the evening’s most poignant story, a legend about love and loss: Michael and Catherine (“Romeo and Juliet,” plus ghosts). The most commonly told version is that Michael was a young Union soldier in Roswell during the Civil War. Catherine was a young local girl who fell in love with him, his Yankee roots being no obstacle to her affections. For reasons unclear, Michael was hanged for treason from a tree in the Square, while Catherine watched from the commissary (J. Christopher’s). Later, she hanged herself from a beam on the second floor. Their ghosts, in full uniform and fancy dress, are said to be seen there by children to this day. Waiters periodically report unexplained happenings in the building.
Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, the mile-long stroll through the Roswell night is an entertaining opportunity to search for ghosts and watch others as they do the same. It’s almost the best-kept secret in Atlanta. SP
But the ghosts her Roswell Ghost Tour groups may encounter don't only appear in October and Halloween is just another day for paranormal investigators.
Sure, if they run a ghost tour on October 31st they may get more shrieks and screams from a scare-ready audience, but for them it’s just life. A life filled with trying to explain the unexplainable.
While no ghostly encounters are ever guaranteed, just walking through an old cemetery at night as wind rattles through the trees can be a spine-tingling experience.
As Avena and her other guides tell the haunting history of Roswell and stop by Antebellum plantations, mill homes and abandoned houses, sometimes spectators will feel a spectral chill. The blend of tragic history and ghost stories creates an atmosphere of expectation on the two-hour tour.
Avena, paranormal investigator and owner of Roswell Ghost Tour in Roswell, Georgia, says that while her interest in the paranormal is year round, she understands that many people only think to go on her ghost tour in October, around Halloween.
While paranormal enthusiasts agree that Halloween is one of their favorite holidays, the theatricality of costumes, ghouls and vampires is worlds apart from the realities of their job.
“We do like [haunted houses] but we feel that we are doing two completely separate things. We feel that way about other ghost tours as well. A lot of people prefer to have the 'street theater' tours where people are in costume and they’re speaking in Savannah accents and it’s more story telling – we feel those tours are completely different from the way our tour operates,” says Avena.
Paranormal investigators understand Halloween is a part of their jobs and use it to educate about their passion.
“We don’t feel put out. As a matter of fact I love that [people come around Halloween] because we educate quite a bit on our tours. We talk about the various types of hauntings, the various ways to experience a haunting and go as far to explain the labels of the different experiences. We do a lot of educating we feel and that’s a positive for people who don’t already know [about the paranormal],” says Avena.
Some ghost tour operators even take the time to get out their own costumes. Kris Williams, co-lead investigator of SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters International,” says that enthusiasts she knows completely get into the spirit of Halloween.
“It makes what we’re doing okay and normal. People love [the paranormal] especially around Halloween,” she says.
However, being linked with the spooky holiday does bring up misconceptions that paranormal enthusiasts hope to dispel. People like to be scared on Halloween. Paranormal investigations are more about waiting than scaring.
Patrick Burns, paranormal investigator and author of “The Other Side: Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal for Teens” emphasizes that researching hauntings involves a lot of waiting around for activity to happen.
“It can be hours upon hours of sheer boredom marked with moments of 'What the heck was that?'” he says.
You expect to go into a haunted house and have things jump out at you. Not so much for your neighbor’s house. The majority of what paranormal investigators do is to debunk hauntings, not prove them.
“Not every location is haunted – not every little bump in the night is a ghost. Sometimes it’s a raccoon in your attic,” says Williams
Sick of the theatricality of Halloween and want to get into real nitty-gritty paranormal investigation?
Paranormal enthusiasts all have the same advice: read, read, read. Williams suggests authors like Troy Taylor, who was recommended to her when she first started. Avena adds that many of her inquiries come from younger aspiring ghost hunters. She also suggests they read — and then consider training when they turn 18.
Halloween’s fake haunts are definitely not the most controversial issue plaguing paranormal investigators. They have science to deal with. And as much as paranormal investigators try, in today’s scientific climate they will always be hindered.
“The cruel irony is the more compelling your evidence, the clearer your video footage, the more crisp your still photograph or the better the audio recording you collect the more people, especially from your peers, will assume it’s been fabricated or hoaxed. As weird as that sounds we know that the evidence we collect from a scientific perspective is pretty poor. It really doesn’t withstand hardcore scrutiny when it’s presented as such,” says Burns.
After Halloween, life goes back to normal for the paranormal community—not good, not bad, just normal. With a general acceptance of the paranormal thanks to popular television, paranormal investigators still feel the love even after the rest of us pack up our costumes for next year.
“The television programs have certainly done a good job in that they have brought the paranormal into the mainstream to the average person who just 10 years ago most people in the population had no idea what a ghost hunter was – when I told them I was a ghost hunter I think a lot of people thought I was out poaching in the middle of the night with a flashlight in the middle of the woods somewhere. But of course, now “ghost hunter” is part of our pop culture vocabulary,” says Burns.
Joe and Dianna Avena were interviewed on STAR94 on October 31st, 2011.
ROSWELL GHOST TOUR was featured on Comcast On Demand in their "What To Do Around Atlanta" section in 2012-2013. Click photo above to see the 4 min long video!
Click banner above to hear Dianna's interview on The "Better You" Project radio show that aired on May 16th, 2012.
Dianna and Chip Coffey were interviewed on the Frank & Wanda morning show on July 13th
Featured on "Fun Things To Do in Atlanta" on July 22, 2012.
Featured in Atlanta Parent magazine in August 2012
We were featured in the Fall 2012 edition of Lifestyles magazine
Click on photo above to read article written about the Roswell Ghost Tour (October 2012)
In October 2012, we were listed by CBS Atlanta as the Best Haunted Graveyard Tour Near Atlanta.
Georgia Traveler's host, Michelle DeShields' blog post about the Roswell Ghost Tour. Click to read more...
JEZEBEL MAGAZINE, October 2014...
"Considered one of the best ghost tours in the nation..."
Dianna and Joe were filmed touring the haunted houses of Netherworld with Britt Griffith from SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" on Oct 3, 2014. Click on the YouTube photo below to check out the video!
So honored to have been chosen by ATLANTA magazine readers for Best of Atlanta's Fun Things To Do in August 2015!
Click on photo above to read an article from July 2015
Dianna was interviewed on FATE Magazine Radio in October 2015
Dianna was interviewed on A World Awakening in 2015. Click photo above to hear her conversation with Andrea Perron and George Lopez (start it at 1 hr, 4 min).
Click on the photo above to see where we were chosen as one of the 10 best Atlanta Attractions in The Perimeter & Beyond category.
B98.5's Melissa Carter is a fan of the Roswell Ghost Tour! Click photo above to read her article of top picks of ways to see Atlanta in a different light 2015
So honored to have been given the Tourism Partner Award by the Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau for 2015
Dianna and Joe were interviewed on the Tad & Melissa Show on B98.5 on October 24th thru the 31st, 2016.
Dianna and Joe were interviewed on Beyond Reality Radio on November 9th, 2016
Dianna Avena was interviewed by Business RadioX's John Ray at the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo in March 2017. That interview is posted here.....