Ghost hunters and history enthusiasts walked the bright, moonlit streets of Gallatin’s downtown square hoping for a glimpse of the paranormal on Friday the 13th.

Along the tour, held May 13, guests heard the tales of ghostly encounters among the square’s old, historical buildings, learned about important events within Gallatin’s history and spoke with local paranormal investigators, Night Stalkers Paranormal Research, as they attempted to communicate with the spirits that allegedly roam the Artisan Hatchery, an artisan cooperative and retail market.

“I felt threatened because I knew (the ghosts) could use something sharp,” said Debby Locke, one of the cooperative’s artists.

Having worked in the gallery about three years, Locke has experimented with different mediums and genres over time – working largely with oil paints.

Her works include a wide array of subjects, but none of them, she says, is more hated by the entities inhabiting the gallery than that of Pennywise, an evil entity that preys upon children in Steven King’s 1986 horror novel It and the later film adaptations.

Locke created the Pennywise painting before last year’s Halloween festivities. That was when she said she began noticing troubling events around the painting.

On several occasions, she found the painting had come off the wall, either lying on the floor or facing the wall. It often moved around the gallery. 

Another time, she found the twine used to hang the painting had been severed, leaving her feeling unsettled and threatened.

Since then, the painting has found a permanent home in Locke’s storage unit, only returning to the gallery for brief periods of time and paranormal investigations.

“Pennywise will go back to storage tonight,” Locke quipped.

Night Stalkers Paranormal Research team members conducted much of their investigation prior to the group’s arrival at the gallery and shared encounters like ghosts hiding in bathrooms, infrared camera captures and a woman named Judy that spoke with the team.