Saturday, April 28, 2012

See the Maco Light, Onstage! (Haunt Brief)


The influence of the American South on the artistic world is immense: not only feeding artists into the world but inspiring, influencing and even producing artistic offspring. The American stage has been just as duly influenced by the South, though possibly to a lesser extent than other artistic realms. The South has produced numerous actors and actresses to grace its boards such as Huntsville, Alabama’s Tallulah Bankhead; Harlem, Georgia’s Oliver Hardy and Charleston, South Carolina’s Stephen Colbert. Columbus, Mississippi, a city with an especially interesting history produced one of America’s greatest playwrights, Tennessee Williams, whose work has influenced generations of writers and other artists. Louisville, Kentucky has, in recent decades, gained influence on the American stage with the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. This festival has brought notice to a whole new legion of American playwrights and promoted new plays such as Donald Margulies’ Dinner with Friends, Jane Martin’s Keeley and Du and Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart.

But the South is not only influential through its artistically bent sons and daughters, its culture is inspiring. The South is an important setting. Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart, for example, is set in Hazlehurst, Mississippi and involves a trio of sisters from a dysfunctional Southern family. Even more well known is Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias which was adapted into a film of the same name. Taking place solely within the confines of Truvy’s Beauty Shop in Natchitoches, Louisiana, the play revolves around a few months in the lives of the female staff and clientele. Even musicals have sprouted from incidents in Southern history such as Adam Guettel’s Floyd Collins (based on the death of amateur spelunker Floyd Collins who died after getting stuck in a cave near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky), Jason Robert Brown’s Parade (based on the trial and execution of Leo Frank, a northern Jew, who was accused of the murder of 13 year-old Mary Phagan, a young factory worker in Atlanta in 1913) and Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys (based on the landmark case of nine African-American men accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931).

Of course, the folklore of the South has been incorporated into many plays as well and that brings us (finally!) to a new play that has just opened in Chicago. At its heart, Bekah Brunstetter’s Take Her to See the Maco Lights revolves around the Maco Light, a spectral light seen near Maco, North Carolina. According to the notice on Broadway World.com, the play “follows a pair of young lovers along a dark railroad track where the past and future converge. [… the story] weaves a ghostly love story with characters who are on a crash course to a certain stretch of overgrown railroad tracks in North Carolina.” A special May 17th performance of the play is preceded by a local walking tour hosted by paranormal researcher and writer Ursula Bielski, whose Chicago books I would highly recommend.

Ghost lights are found throughout the world and the American South is not immune from this phenomena. From the Oviedo Lights in Florida to the Hebron Light in Maryland, ghost lights have lit up dark country roads and mountainsides. Perhaps the most famous of these lights are the Brown Mountain lights in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, but the Maco Light on the coast of the state come in a close second, fame-wise. 

The legend of the Maco Light begins in 1867, in the dark days just after the Civil War. A train passing on the Wilmington and Manchester line near Maco Station in Brunswick County somehow had its caboose come uncoupled. The caboose, a car at the end of trains that provided living and office space for train crews, had a lone crewman, Joe Baldwin, asleep inside. When the car slowed down and stopped, Baldwin was awakened. Shortly, he was horrified to hear the sound of an approaching train and fearing calamity; Baldwin grabbed a lantern and stood on the back of the caboose swinging the lantern wildly to alert the oncoming locomotive. The train did not slow down and plowed into the caboose. Baldwin’s body was crushed and legend has it he was decapitated by the accident. While his body was recovered, his head was never located.

According to some sources, strange lights were first seen in the area just days after the accident. The mysterious lights were a popular attraction for locals and gained some fame from a presidential sighting in 1889. Grover Cleveland told his story in Washington after seeing the lights from his presidential Pullman car. Tony Reevy recounts in his Ghost Train! American Railroad Ghost Legends what most viewers witnessed:
Viewers who saw the light always reported the same thing: the light flared up way down the track, crept towards the observer, then speeded up and began swinging side-to-side. Finally, the light stopped abruptly, hovered for a minute, retreated back to where it started from and vanished. The light always appeared three feet above the left rail, facing east. It was sometimes so distinct that you could see the metal guards of a railroad hand lantern. The light didn’t appear every night. It seemed to appear randomly according to old Joe’s whims.

The tracks were a part of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad which was acquired not long after the accident by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The line later became the Seaboard Coast Line. Later mergers added the line to the thousands of miles of rail owned by CSX which took up these tracks in 1977. Sightings of the light are reported to have ceased around that time.

But have they? North Carolina paranormal investigation group, NC HAGS (North Carolina Haints, Apparitions, Ghosts and Spirits) investigated the area in 2007. Following up on recent reports of people seeing the Maco Light, the group investigated and captured an odd image. Most photographs taken that evening turned out quite dark with little to be seen but one photograph taken just after an investigator asked Joe Baldwin to appear, shows a series of lights that seem to resemble the silhouette of a man. Is Joe Baldwin still stalking the site of the old Maco tracks? At least for now you may have to either venture out to the bug-ridden coastal piney woods of North Carolina or you may sit in an air-conditioned theatre in Chicago to answer that question.

Sources
Broadway World News Desk. “Prologue Theatre Co. Presents TAKE
     23 April 2012.
Maco light. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 28 April 2012.
NC HAGS. MacoLight Investigation. 2007.
Reevy, Tony. Ghost Train! American Railroad Ghost Legends. Marceline,
     MO: Walsworth Publishing, 1998.
Ward, Kevin Thomas. North Carolina Haunts. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 2011.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Southern Spirit Guide to North Carolina


Asheboro, Randolph County

North Carolina Zoological Park
4401 Zoo Parkway

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2010, by Eleazar, courtesy of Wikipedia.
North Carolina lawyer and folklorist Daniel Barefoot has done much to preserve North Carolina and Southern legends and ghost stories in his books. His series, North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred provides a single ghost story or legend from each of the state’s one hundred counties. From Randolph County, smack dab in the middle of the state, comes the legend of the aptly named, Purgatory Mountain, now home to the NC Zoo. The state-owned zoo is the largest walk-through habitat zoos in the world and a major attraction in the region.

During the Civil War, much of rural North Carolina was resistant to seceding from the Union and, as a result, the state was the final state to secede. Still, many citizens, including the peaceable Quakers of Randolph County resisted joining the butternut ranks. Recruiters were sent to these areas to nudge and sometimes force the inhabitants to join. One particular recruiter in this area earned the nickname, “The Hunter,” for his harsh methods.  He rounded up a group of Quaker boys, tied them roughly and marched them to Wilmington to join the army, but a few escaped and returned, bedraggled to their rural homes. When the recruiter returned, this group of escaped boys shot him outside of his cabin at Purgatory Mountain. His malevolent spirit is still supposedly stalking the crags of his mountain home.

Sources
Barefoot, Daniel W. North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Vol.
     2:  Piedmont Phantoms. Winston-Salem, NC, John F. Blair,
     2002.
North Carolina Zoo. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     11 April 2012.

Asheville, Buncombe County

Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Avenue

Originally published in “HauntedHotels and Inns of the South, Part II,” 3 November 2010.

Grove Park Inn shortly after it opened in 1913. Photo by Herbert
W. Pelton, courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
Division.
Throughout ghost literature there are tales of female wraiths. Over time many of these female spirits have acquired nicknames, usually relating to the color of their clothing: “White Lady” and “Grey Lady” being the most common. Of course, they do appear in other colors; Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, for instance, has a “Red Lady, but I know of only spirit that appears in that most feminine of colors, pink, and Asheville’s Grove Park Inn is her home.

The legend is almost typical in ghostlore: a young flapper in the 1920s plunged to her death from a fourth or fifth floor railing and her spirit has been seen ever since. Time has kept her anonymity, though I’m curious if a close scan of local papers might reveal her identity. Anonymous she may be, though, the details of her activity seem to be well known. People staying in rooms 545, 441, 448 and even 320 have experienced a variety of strange activity including the appearance of a young woman wearing a pink dress. A North Carolina police chief staying in room 448 felt someone sit on the edge of his bed while a female journalist staying in 441 the same night had doors in her room open and close mysteriously.

The Inn brought in writer and investigator Joshua Warren to investigate the legend of the Pink Lady in 1996. His results, published in his book Haunted Asheville, include some photographic anomalies, but also a number of personal experiences. The Pink Lady still walks this 1913 edifice.

Sources
History. GroveParkInn.com. Accessed 1 November 2010.
Bordsen, John. “Room with a Boo.” The Charlotte Observer. 25
     October 2009.
Kermeen, Frances. Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of American’s
     Haunted Inns and Hotels. NYC: Warner Books, 2002.
Turnage, Sheila. Haunted Inns of the Southeast. Winton-Salem,
     NC: John F. Blair, 2001.
Warren, Joshua P. Haunted Asheville. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain
     Press, 1996.

Helen’s Bridge
College Street
Between Windswept Drive and Beaucatcher Road

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

Helen's Bridge, 2008, by Molly Hare. Released
under a Creative Commons License. 
Celebrated in legend and literature, the Zealandia Bridge, often known as “Helen’s Bridge” spans College Street as it rises up Beaucatcher Mountain. The rustic stone bridge was constructed as a carriageway for the Zealandia Estate in 1909. It was designed by R. S. Smith, who worked as an architect on the building of the Biltmore Estate. The looming structure has been threatened at least twice, once during the building of nearby Interstate 240 when supports were added to protect the structure during nearby blasting. In 1998 with the supports still in place and stones falling from it the city considered demolishing the structure. Local history buffs and preservationists won the fight and the supports were carefully removed. The bridge was structurally quite sound and it has recently been bought by the city to use as part of a greenway.

One of Asheville’s favorite sons, writer Thomas Wolf, walked under the bridge many times while growing up and included it in a passage in his most notable work, Look Homeward, Angel. But it is perhaps the lore of the bridge that draws most. The legend speaks of a woman named Helen who lived near the bridge with her beloved daughter. After she lost her daughter in a fire the distraught Helen hung herself from the bridge. Her anguished spirit is said to still appear to motorists and curious teens out for a scare.

The legend has many versions, sometimes including a date or approximate date and providing more of an identity to the mysterious Helen. Some versions associate Helen with Zealandia, the nearby estate built for Pennsylvanian John Evans Brown who made his fortune raising sheep in New Zealand, thus the estate’s name. One version places the fire resulting in the death of Helen’s daughter taking place there while another version has Helen as the mistress of the estate’s owner who hung herself after she became pregnant. Researchers have found nothing to document the existence of an actual Helen, regardless, there still are stories of dauntless teens having interesting experiences there.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press,
     2011.
Asheville Community News. “Savings Helen’s Bridge.” 1999.
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.
Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS: University
     Press of Mississippi, 2004.
Burgess, Joel. “City acquires historic bridge.” Asheville Citizen-Times.
     25 November 2009.
Tomlin, Robyn. “Zealandia Bridge Repairs Completed; Fixing historic
     bridge cost much less than originally forecast.” Asheville Citizen-Times.
     1 June 1999.
Warren, Joshua. Haunted Asheville. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain
     Press, 1996.

Balsam, Jackson County

Balsam Mountain Inn
68 Seven Springs Drive

Originally published in “HauntedHotels and Inns of the South, Part II,” 3 November 2010.

Photo 2009, by Brian Stansberry, courtesy of Wikipedia.
 Passengers departing from their trains in Balsam, North Carolina just after the turn of the century were met with an inviting and palatial hotel overlooking the station. They would enjoy the cool mountain air from the double porch with views of the town below. Though the train no longer brings them, visitors today can enjoy the same air and views and, if they stay in room 205, perhaps a nice back rub from a spirit. One guest staying in this room with her husband had a bad back and was awaken by a back rub from him, until she realized he was sound to sleep next to her. The unidentified ghost on the second floor of this hotel which opened in 1908 also rattles doorknobs of rooms on that floor.

Sources
Bordsen, John. “Room with a Boo.” The Charlotte Observer. 25
     October 2009.
Kermeen, Frances. Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of American’s
     Haunted Inns and Hotels. NYC: Warner Books, 2002.
Turnage, Sheila. Haunted Inns of the Southeast. Winton-Salem,
     NC: John F. Blair, 2001.

Beaufort, Cartaret County

Old Burying Ground
Ann Street

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

Among the oldest cemeteries in the state, Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground lies in a verdant peace under ancient oaks. Created in the early 18th century, this burying ground holds a number of interesting graves including that of a young girl who died at sea. To preserve her body, it was placed in a barrel of rum and it was the same barrel that she was buried in. She may be the spirit of a little girl that has been reported walking among the graves.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press,
     2011.
Beaufort-nc.com. “Old Burying Ground.” 2011.
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.

Cashiers, Jackson County

High Hampton Inn
1525 Highway 107, South

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2006, by Richard Kenni, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Set amid some 1400 acres in the Appalachians, the High Hampton Inn looks over a sheer mountainside that rises above a 55 acre lake. When I visited a few years ago, I was struck by the serenity and beauty but also the old-fashioned charm that seemed to envelop the resort. That same beauty and charm have given rise to a legend concerning a white owl.

High Hampton began as a hunting lodge for the wealthy Hampton family of South Carolina and in 1922, an inn was constructed on the property and the grounds opened to the public. Prior to the ownership of E.L. McKee, who built the inn, the property was owned by noted surgeon, Dr. William Halstead. Halstead did much to expand the property, purchasing nearby land and farms, among them the property of Louisa Emmeline Zachary. Zachary had married Hannibal Heaton and her property had passed to her husband who sold it to Halstead despite his wife’s threats to kill herself if he did. Shortly after the sale, Heaton discovered his wife’s body hanging in a barn with a large barn owl flying about. A legend has sprung up about a large white owl, a barn owl is part white and part brown, seen around the grounds of the High Hampton Inn.

Sources
High Hampton Inn Historic District. Wikipedia, the Free
     Encyclopedia. Accessed 8 February 2011.
Williams, Stephanie Burt. Haunted Hills, Ghosts and Legends
     of Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina. Charleston, SC:
     History Press, 2007.

Chapel Hill, Orange County

Horace Williams House
610 East Rosemary Street

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

An interest in phrenology, the study of how the shape of the head affects intelligence and character, led to the interesting octagon design of the Horace Williams House. Construction on the home was begun in the 1850s by University of North Carolina chemistry professor Benjamin Hedrick. The book, A Home for All or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building, by phrenologist Orson Fowler influenced Hedrick’s design. Fowler preached that the design of the home affected and influenced harmony between those living in the home. Subsequently, this book was important in the building of many octagon homes throughout the nation.

The home passed through a few hands until it ended up with Professor Horace Williams, a beloved professor of philosophy. Upon Williams’ death in 1940, the home and contents were left to the university and the house has been preserved as a museum. Activity in the home includes the apparition of a professorial gentleman, most likely that of Williams. Native American and Civil War artifacts discovered around the house indicate that other spiritual activity may be caused by a range of people who have inhabited the property in the past.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press,
     2011.
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.

Chimney Rock, Rutherford County

Chimney Rock State Park
431 Main Street

Originally covered in “’One ofNature’s sublimest poems’—Chimney Rock, North Carolina,” republished 29 March 2012.

Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights
reserved.
The spectacular Hickory Nut Gorge in southwestern North Carolina was considered sacred to the Cherokee and Catawba who once inhabited the area. Chimney Rock stands as a sentinel above this gorge and extends, thumb-like, from Chimney Mountain above the modern resort villages of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock. When developers came to this remote area in the late nineteenth century, they saw the immense natural beauty of the area and the tourist bucks the area could draw. Part of the gorge was flooded for Lake Lure and the area around Chimney Rock was purchased as a tourist attraction. The park remained in the Morse family for most of the twentieth century and was sold to the state of North Carolina as a state park in 2007.

While there are no documented modern ghost stories about Chimney Rock, there are two incidents that were recorded in the early nineteenth century. In 1811 a group of beings were seen ascending from the sides of the mountain towards the stone pillar of Chimney Rock. These beings were then moving towards the rock where they ascended to heaven in groups of three. This was witnessed by an entire family, one of their neighbors and “a negro woman.” Five years after that, an elderly couple living nearby witnessed two spectral armies in the sky pitted in battle on winged horses. Both of these accounts were recorded in newspapers of the time. 

Sources
Carden, Gary and Nina Anderson. Belled Buzzards, Hucksters & Grieving
     Specters: Appalachian Tales, Strange, True and Legendary. Asheboro, NC
     Down Home Press, 1994.
Mooney, James. History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee.
     Asheville, NC: Bright Mountain Books, 1992.
Russell, Randy and Janet Barnett. Mountain Ghost Stories and True Tales
     of Western North Carolina. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1988.
RutherfordCounty, North Carolina. Wikipedia, the Free Encylopedia.
     Accessed 5 May 2011.

Four Oaks, Johnston County

Harper House
Bentonville Battlefield State Park
5466 Harper House Road

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2009, by Straitgate, courtesy of Wikipedia.
It’s hard to imagine what John and Amy Harper and their family thought when the war that had been so distant suddenly was being fought around their home. The wounded were brought into their home and the Harper’s sanctum was violated with the screams and cries of the wounded; blood stained the floor and piles of amputated limbs stacked up outside. The Harpers abandoned their home not long after the battle and perhaps it was because of the screams and cries that locals said were still heard in the house at night. In the Harper House and throughout the battlefield, visitors and staff have encountered odd and possibly paranormal phenomena.

One of the most interesting encounters was experienced in 1990 by a family who visited the Harper House. The family was guided by a woman through what they believed was a living history reenactment with wounded soldiers being brought into the house and treated as well as a civilian man who appeared as John Harper. When the family described what they saw to the staff at the visitors center, they were told that there was no such living history exhibition at the house.

Sources
Barefoot, Daniel W. North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Vol.
     2:  Piedmont Phantoms. Winston-Salem, NC, John F. Blair,
     2002.
Toney, B. Keith. Battlefield Ghosts. Berryville, VA:
     Rockbridge Publishing, 1997.

Greensboro, Guilford County

Biltmore Hotel
111 West Washington Street

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

Built in 1895, the building that now houses the Biltmore Hotel was the first in the city with indoor plumbing, electricity and an unmanned elevator. It opened initially as an office building for one of the local mills but became the headquarters of the post office just after the turn of the 20th century. In the 1920s, the building opened as a luxury hotel, but it fell on hard times after the stock market crash of 1929. After that, legend holds that some rooms were rented to ladies of the evening. The building was remodeled in the late 1960s following a disastrous fire and remains a luxurious boutique hotel.

Among the spirits that roam the halls of the Biltmore is that of a young woman, quite possibly one of the ladies of the evening that “haunted” the halls and local street corners in the early 20th century. She is said to haunt one particular room and the staff works to keep her satisfied. They will often leave gifts to appease her and activity will quiet down for a short time.

Sources
Biltmore Hotel. “About Us.” Accessed 9 January 2012.
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.

Kernersville, Forsyth County

Körner’s Folly
413 South Main Street

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
Division.
In the mode of the most recent advertising campaign for Snapple, “The Strangest House in the World just got stranger.” After a paranormal investigation of Körner’s Folly revealed evidence that the house may be haunted the 85-year old granddaughter of the home’s builder Jule Körner, stated that, “he would be thrilled to death to know this was haunted. He always liked things that were out of the ordinary.” Indeed, Körner’s legacy is unique. The house was begun in 1878 and “completed” in 1880, though Körner continued to remodel the house until his death in 1924. Jule Körner made his name as an advertising painter for Bull Durham Tobacco but was also talented as a designer and he put his talents on display throughout the house in a town name for him.

It is believed that a number of spirits may dwell within this unparalleled edifice. Visitors and staff have spotted a woman as well as a child in Victorian clothing, but much of the activity is aural. During some recent paranormal investigations digital recorders have picked up a number of voices. One voice responded with curiosity to an investigator asking about setting up for EVPs, “What is EVP?” Another recorder picked up a voice saying. “Hauuuuunted.” According to the house museum’s paranormal advisor the spirits in the home are curious and happy to remain in this unique place. Strange stuff, indeed.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2011.
History of Körner’s Folly. Körner’s Folly Website. Accessed
     6 February 2011.
“Paranormal News: Korner’s Folly Certified Haunted.” Ghost
     Eyes: Most Haunted Places in America Blog. Accessed 6 February
     2011.
Renegar, Michael and Amy Spease. Ghosts of The Triad: Tales from the
     Haunted Heart of the Piedmont. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2011.

Kure Beach, New Hanover County

Fort Fisher
1610 Fort Fisher Boulevard, South

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

The sea face of Fort Fisher following the Union capture, 1865.
Fort Fisher was one of the linch-pins that kept the Confederacy together. Guarding the approach to Wilmington harbor, the fort allowed for blockade runners that kept the Confederacy alive even after so many other ports had been blocked. After the fall of Mobile, Alabama, Fort Fisher became a major target of Union forces. The first onslaught against the fort on Christmas Day 1864 was a dismal failure, but regrouped Union forces launched a second, more successful onslaught resulting in the fort’s capture the next month. The fort was used to house Confederate prisoners and some of those prisoners as well as the Union soldiers guarding them died when the powder magazine exploded. Some 200 men lost their lives. Wilmington fell shortly after and the Attmore-Oliver House there (see later on in this article) was used as Union headquarters.

According to Alan Brown, one of the first incidents of paranormal activity was witnessed in 1868 during a reunion of soldiers was held there. Three former soldiers saw a figure atop one of the gun placements. When they waved, the figure raised its sword into the air, revealing it to be none other than General Whiting who had commanded the fort but had been wounded in the second battle and died in captivity. The figure disappeared before their eyes. Figures such the General’s have been seen repeatedly since and an investigation of the fort in 2004 captured interesting evidence including a human shaped figure that appeared in a photograph.

The beach just outside of the fort was the scene of the tragic death of Rose Greenhow, known as “Rebel Rose.” A Washington socialite at the start of the Civil War, Greenhow used her charm and social standing to solicit plans from Union officers which she obligingly passed to the Confederates. She was arrested and was held in prison with her 8-year old daughter which backfired on the Union when she became a Confederate martyr. After her release she travelled to Europe and wrote a book about her experiences. As she returned, her ship wrecked off Kure Beach in a fierce. Her lifeboat was overturned and legend holds that she drowned due to the proceeds from her book that were sewed into her clothing. Her waterlogged image has been reported on the beach near the fort.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2011.
Brown, Alan. Haunted Places in the American South. Jackson, MS:
     University Press of Mississippi, 2002.
Fort Fisher. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     1 February 2011.
Wardrip, Stanley. “Fort Fisher Civil War Battlefield.” In
     Jeff Belanger’s Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. Franklin
     Lakes, NJ: New Page Books, 2005. 

Lake Lure, Rutherford County

Lake Lure Inn
2771 Memorial Highway

Originally covered in “LakeLure, North Carolina’s Two Haunted Inns,” published 22 April 2011.

Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
Memorial Highway curves around above the banks of Lake Lure before a major curve in the road. The road flattens out along the floor of the valley and it takes a turn around a beach on the lakeshore. Above the valley Chimney Rock keeps a watchful eye over the proud Lake Lure Inn perched on a low rise above the lake. The European design of the hotel is immediately reminiscent of the Alps and for a moment, one might be whisked away to the Old Country. Built in 1927, this hotel was meant to attract the wealthy and elite to this remote location and it did. Dr. Lucius Morse, whose dream of this mountain lake began to come to fruition in 1925 built this hotel and attracted many of the decade’s great names, but that dream fell on hard times in the 1930s with the Great Depression.

After experiencing a rough patch a few years after its construction, the Lake Lure Inn was leased by the Army for convalescing soldiers. For a few years, the inn became a mountain benediction for soldiers who had faced the worst horrors of World War II. Since that time the resort has attracted many guests who have fallen in love with its incredible mountain setting. Apparently, some of those guests have stayed on into the afterlife.

A picture taken recently in the dining room revealed a figure that was not there when the shot was snapped. Staff members have reported hearing voices and seeing a figure in the lobby who may very well be the shade of Dr. Morse. A legend exists of a woman being murdered in Room 215, though no documentary evidence of this tragedy has been located.

Sources
Baughman, Scott. “Things weren’t normal at this LL
     convention.” The (Forest City, NC) Daily Courier. 11
     March 2009.
Bunch, Pam. “Guests, ghosts share Lake Lure Inn.” The
     (Forest City, NC) Daily Courier. 28 February 2007.
Chimney Rock State Park. “History: Lake Lure and Hickory
     Nut Gorge Tella Story.” Chimney Rock State Park Website.
     Accessed 22 April 2011.
DePriest, Joe. “A place that healed sore soldier’s souls.” The
     Charlotte Observer. 23 November 2003.
“Ghost hunt a high-tech operation.” The (Forest City, NC)
     Daily Courier. 28 February 2007.
Justice, Birchette T. “Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.” in
     The Heritage of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Vol. 1.
     Winston-Salem, NC: Hunter Publishing, 1984.
Strikler, Lon. “Ghostly Gatherings at the Lake Lure Inn.”
     Phantoms and Monsters. 21 December 2010.
Ward, Kevin Thomas. North Carolina Haunts. Atglen, PA:
     Schiffer, 2011.

New Bern, Craven County

Attmore-Oliver House
510 Pollock Street

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2007, courtesy of Wikipedia.
During an investigation of the Attmore-Oliver House by paranormal investigators a door slammed in the face of an investigator. After checking the door, there was no obvious force that could have slammed it besides something paranormal. Along with some EVPs, that was the main evidence of paranormal activity in this circa 1790 house. Legend tells of a father and daughter who possibly died in the attic during a smallpox epidemic, though this cannot be confirmed through historical records, who may be responsible for the spirit activity.

Others look towards the last resident of the house who was known for her eccentricity. Born before the Civil War, Mary Oliver lived in this house until her death in her 90s in 1951. After spending such a long period in the house, it’s no surprise she might return after death.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2011.
Manley, Roger. Weird Carolina. NYC: Sterling Publishing,
     2007.
Mayer, Tom. “Opening the door on the Paranormal.”
     New Bern Sun Journal. 30 July 2006.

Orrum, Robeson County

Lumber River State Park
2819 Princess Ann Road

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2007, by Dincher, courtesy of Wikipedia.
The swamps and lowlands of America were considered bewitched and dangerous places to the Europeans who settled here. During the American Revolution, patriot General Francis Marion, known as the “Swamp Fox,” used these mysterious places to his advantage by utilizing guerilla warfare throughout the swamps of South Carolina and even extending into North Carolina on occasion. The land along the course of the Lumber River is mostly undeveloped and remains much as it was when the Swamp Fox traveled along its swampy run. An old legend from Robeson County tells of one of Marion’s officers who loved a young woman from a Tory family and passed information on to her father. Marion pursued a group of Tories to Tory Island along the Lumber River and destroyed their settlement killing the traitorous officer and hanging him in the ruins where the officer’s lover found him. The pair is still seen roaming the island.

Sources
Barefoot, Daniel W. North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Vol.
     2:  Piedmont Phantoms. Winston-Salem, NC, John F. Blair,
     2002.
Lumber River State Park. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
     Accessed 1 February 2011.

Raleigh, Wake County

Mordecai House
1 Mimosa Street

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

Photo 2010, by Mark Turner, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Certainly one of the grandest landmarks in Raleigh, the Mordecai House is perhaps one of the more active locations in the city as well. This house originally was constructed as a modest home by local tavern owner Joel Lane who was instrumental in the creation of Raleigh as the state’s capital. One of Lane’s daughters married an attorney, Moses Mordecai, who renovated the home into the grand, Greek revival manse it is now. Mordecai also donated land for Oakwood Cemetery nearby, which has been nicknamed “Hell’s Gate” for the paranormal activity supposedly taking place within its gates.

There has also been a great deal of activity reported within Mordecai House itself. So much so, that the TAPS team from the reality show, Ghost Hunters, investigated the house in 2005. Their book doesn’t mention if they got any evidence as much of the team ended up with food poisoning and left the investigation early.

Among the reported activity in and around the house are spectral Civil War soldiers who possibly date to the home’s use as a Civil War hospital and a female apparition, quite possibly that of Margaret Lane Mordecai, the wife of Moses. Also on the property is the tavern where President Andrew Johnson was born. Within this building lights are sometimes seen at night.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press,
     2011.
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.
Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS: University
     Press of Mississippi, 2004.
Hawes, Jason and Grant Wilson. Ghost Hunting. NYC: Pocket Books,
     2007.

North Carolina State Capitol Building
1 East Edenton Street

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2007, by Jim Bowen, courtesy of Wikipedia.
So far in my research, I’ve discovered that many current and former state capitol buildings are haunted. Old state capitols in Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia have ghosts as well as the current state capitols for Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina. Of these, only a few have received any paranormal investigation. The investigation here in Raleigh was conducted by none other than the Rhine Research Center, an organization originally established as part of Duke University in Durham (now independent of the university), devoted to the scientific study of parapsychology. The Rhine Center discovered paranormal activity in the capitol including one investigator who saw a man in nineteenth century clothing sitting in the legislative chamber.

According to Kala Ambrose in her Ghosthunting North Carolina, the history of paranormal activity in the North Carolina State Capitol goes back to the late 19th century. While Capitol staff has witnessed activity, along with the occasional governor, the security staff seems to have witnessed the most activity during their nightly vigils in the building. Much of the activity is aural and includes the sounds of footsteps and breaking glass, though during an investigation with a different group, Ambrose witnessed the form of a man in the corner of one room.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Ghosthunting North Carolina. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2011.
Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS:
     University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

Salisbury, Rowan County

Salisbury National Cemetery
202 Government Road

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings
Survey (HABS), courtesy of the Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division.
The treatment of prisoners by both the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War was atrocious and certainly has led to very active haunted locations where the prisons operated. This is certainly evident in Salisbury where an old textile mill was turned into a prison to house 2,000, but eventually held some 11,000. With a number of deaths occurring on a daily basis, a small cemetery was established a short distance from the prison which in 1874, became the Salisbury National Cemetery. According to Karen Lilly-Bowyer, a retired educator and the operator of the Downtown Ghost Walk, the area around the old prison site and the cemetery are quite active and a Union sentry has been spotted around the trenches where the prisoners were interred.

Sources
Lilly-Bowyer, Karen. “A war-haunted landscape.” Salisbury
     Post. 22 January 2011.

Wilmington, New Hanover County

Bellamy Mansion
503 Market Street

Originally covered in “Haunted North Carolina,” published 8 February 2011.

Photo 2010, by Jcolucci1, courtesy of Wikipedia.
A spectacular mix of Greek Revival and Italianate architecture, the Bellamy Mansion has been restored and preserved as a monument to history and design. Dr. John D. Bellamy, a physician, planter and businessman began construction of the house in 1858 and it was completed in 1861, as civil war was breaking out. When Wilmington was captured by Union troops, the house served as headquarters for the Union general. The house is now under the purview of Preservation North Carolina and open as a museum.

The museum staff reportedly doesn’t say much about spirits in the house, but according to Alan Brown, night managers have reported quite a bit of activity. One night manager was called by the police twice in one night because inside doors were opening by themselves. Another night manager has reported seeing the figure of a man and having a wheelchair that belonged to one of the Bellamy family members move on its own accord.

Sources
Bellamy Mansion. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     1 February 2011.
Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS:
     University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

Gallows Hill
Market & Fifth Streets

Originally published in “A Carolina Cornucopia,” 9 January 2012.

The intersection of busy Market Street and Fifth Street was, for many years in the city’s early history, the site of public executions. After the gallows were moved, the area became the site of a number of fine homes including the haunted Bellamy Mansion and a home built by Dr. William Price. Even though executions no longer occur in the area, many spirits apparently remain. According to the owners of Ghost Walks of Old Wilmington, paranormal activity is common all over the block. Activity ranges from phantom smells of tobacco, candied yams (a delicacy of the period) and fresh bread. The halls of the Dr. Price House, now an architectural firm, are filled with fleeting shadows and the sounds of the footsteps of the condemned.

Sources
Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.”
     Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.
“Gallows Hill home called most haunted.” WWAY, News Channel 3.
     31 October 2007.