A cowboy, a 10-year-old girl, and a woman of the night. It sounds like the start of a bad joke or an Oscar-winning film. However, they are connected in a way that some will consider otherworldly.
These figures are all ghosts currently residing at the Wicks Tavern, the oldest historical structure in Villa Rica. If willing, one can communicate with them through the assistance of a local paranormal investigation group.
Villa Rica Paranormal Investigation officially opened its doors in April 2023, but it has been in the works for years. One of the Founders, Dee Johnson, has always loved the supernatural since she was a child and began investigating in her adult life.
“I went on my first investigation in 2010 with a group out of Tallapoosa,” said Johnson. “I had gone to the bathroom, and they were using a spirit box… when I came out, they asked, “Where were you? The spirits were asking for you. That’s what got me really interested.”
Years later, Johnson befriended Co-founder Carla Buehler, and the women were able to connect through their love of the paranormal.
“I met Dee probably about eight years ago,” said Buehler. “We were actors at the Ghost Train in the Pine Mountain Gold Museum. Let’s just start up a paranormal company, and I was on board.”
Since starting their new business endeavor, the pair have worked closely with the West Georgia Historical Society, allowing them access to the Wicks Tavern. Their first official investigation occurred earlier this year in May to a sold-out crowd awaiting their chance to witness the seemingly impossible. Multiple ghosts reside there, but the pair admit that some are more active than others.
“There is a lady upstairs, and we found out her name is Heather, and we found out she doesn’t like women,” said Buehler. “There’s a cowboy named Billy. There’s a little 10-year-old girl. Her name is Amelia. This is stuff we found through the spirit box, apps we have, and the mediums we have.”
An array of equipment is used for investigations. Spirit boxes, dowsing rods and even cat balls have been used to communicate with the spirits. Even if participants have limited knowledge of how to use the equipment, the pair allows them to choose what they would like to use during their experience.
“We use different techniques so that we can show people that different equipment picks up different things,” said Buehler. “We let the participants who buy tickets… use this equipment so that they can have their own personal experience.”
Their upcoming paranormal investigation occurs on Halloween night at the Wicks Tavern. The event is open to skeptics and believers alike. If lucky, participants may encounter the infamous spirits of the historic site.
“According to some mediums, that’s when the veil is the thinnest,” said Johnson. “We are hoping for good results.”
For more information on the event or paranormal investigation, visit their Facebook page for more details.