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Society reaches out to Chester Inn ‘residents’

By: Serina Marshall – Staff Writer

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The Chester In welcomed visitors in May, some living and dead.

Southern Research Society is not another ghost hunting team, according to the team, they are true researchers of the paranormal. And they came to conduct research at the Chester Inn for their latest pursuit of phenomena.

“We started doing paranormal investigations at the Inn with SRS in 2021,” said Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance Anne Mason. “I was skeptical at first, but I always enjoy working in the group, and I have become more of a believer as we’ve gone along.”

SRS investigator Tori Starnes joined the team a little over 2 years ago and says that the Chester Inn has been the group’s main focal point in Jonesborough, but there are other places hopefully in the works and in the near future.

“My favorite story of investigating in Jonesborough would have to be connecting with the spirit of a young man who worked in the barber shop in the lower level of the Inn and finding his love of playing marbles,” Starnes said. “The best part is he made us aware of his photo on the windows of the Inn. Being able to see a beautiful face with a lost soul brought so much peace.”

It isn’t only the paranormal research teams that feel something within the Inn, but Mason has had her own experiences she can’t explain.

“I certainly can’t explain some of the things I’ve felt and heard while on an investigation with them. They are very respectful of our site and our visitors, both alive and deceased,” she said.

SRS was founded in 2007 by Matt Sorge. Through the years, Starnes said their team has grown into what it is today.

“We are a team, yes, but the title does not do us justice,” she said. “We are a family. A family of different backgrounds, lifestyles, and upbringings that create a bond that is so special I cannot put it into words.”

Starnes said that her favorite thing about being an investigator is not only being a voice for those lost to history but being able to connect with loved ones at public investigations and give peace of mind to troubled hearts and souls.

“The Chester Inn is so full of life, living and passed on, that it is so exciting to bring forth stories of new and old, learning things about the Inn that you may never know in a book, from historians or hearsay,” she said. “We visit the Chester Inn quite a few times a year with our public investigations. We are also working on other locations in Jonesborough that are full of wonderful history and stories to tell.”

SRS does paranormal investigations all across the nation at various venues, and Mason agrees it is definitely worth experiencing.

“If you’re looking for something different to do, this is it,” Mason said.

To learn more about SRS and what they do, you can visit their website at