Ghosts of Salisbury & Rowan
If any place should be haunted in this town, itís got to be the National Cemetery. It holds the largest number of Unknown Military dead in the United States, possibly over 10,000, however itís not the cemetery which gives people the creeps but the house standing just inside the gates. A supervisor of the National Cemetery who lived in the house in the 1930s said on numerous occasions his 10-year-old son had seen a little girl in a long nightgown climbing the stairs to the bedrooms. The boy said she would gently smile and disappear as he came near. Several times his wife heard footsteps on the stairs when she knew she was alone in the house. Strangely the footsteps
sounded on bare wood, but the steps were carpeted. The family moved from the haunted house and other caretakers have since refused to live there; today the upstairs is used for storage. One of the cemetery workers still wonít go upstairs alone…he says the last time he went by himself something violently knocked the hat from his head.
When Daniel Boone went west to Tennessee and other parts west, he departed from this very place we call the Square. Daniel was a good person and a great explorer but he left on at least one of his trips owing his outfitter some money that he never repaid. In fact, a warrant was taken out for his arrest because of this debt. Sometimes his ghost is seen still lurking around the Square hoping to end the torment of never being able to pay those he owes
Otto Wood was a one armed gangster on the 10 Most Wanted list in December 1931 when he met his demise in downtown Salisbury. It was a cold winter day when Police Chief Rankin got word of Ottoís presence in town. Rankin loaded his pistol at what is now Mills florist but was then the City Hall. Rankin spotted Otto in front of the Hardiman’s Furniture building and crouched behind the front of the car as he opened fire on Wood. Several minutes and a few dozen shots passed before Otto, mortally wounded got in his car to escape. He made it only a half block south where he still roams today.
The bullet holes are still in the wall at Hardimanís Furniture, Ottoís rifle is in the Rowan Museum and gangster Wood wanders about downtown; but heís íarmless.
The Lutheran Cemetery has been around since 1768 and is the final resting place for many of Salisburyís most prominent citizens. It is not one of those who causes the problems here. Since the late 1930ís there have been stories of a stranger with a very bad limp walking around at night. He is always looking down as if he has lost something and cannot find it.
If you go to the cemetery and look up in the corner closest to the Emporium you will find a strange marker there: a marker with the inscription iFoot of James A. Reid severed by a freight train on November 25, 1893.î James A. Reid has been coming back every night for over 70 years, looking for the foot that a freight train took away.
The Wren Building was a place where students learned piano and many other subjects. The teacher who also owned a retail shop downtown lived here. One day, one of her students, who lived across the street, was watching her piano teacher through the window counting her dayís receipts when she saw a strange man slowly easing into the door of her teacherís house. The young girl ran to get her father, but by the time they reached the piano teacherís house, they were too late. The worse had already happened. They found the piano teacher lying dead across her table and all the money in her little tin box was gone.
The house remained empty off and on for years. Later the house was restored to a restaurant and named iThe Academyî. There are stories that piano music has been heard coming from a completely empty room, a door upstairs that has been known to open easily and quietly by itselfÖeven though it is difficult and noisy to open by human hands.. Late in the night when all the wait staff had left, a woman in a long old fashioned gown would appear in the upstairs rooms, straightening things on a mantle. It was said that it became difficult to keep help due to all the strange unexplained occurrences. The Academy finally closed. Today the house is once again a restaurant, called appropriately iThe Wrenn Houseî hopefully now without houseghosts: perhaps theyíll let you eat in peace.
The Utzman-Chambers House is an 1819 Federal townhouse built by Jacob Stirewalt, reflecting the lifestyle of the more affluent citizens of the early 1800s. The house and garden are open to the public. Theyíre also open to a few other things according to the docents who volunteer there. Six children died in the house over the years, and many have sensed, heard or seen glimpses of child apparitions in the house.
One of the most notable was in December a few years ago when Susan Waller tidied up for the Christmas holidays. She fluffed the four-poster bed in the iproblem bedroomî replaced the dust cover and locked the house until after Christmas. Three days later, with no one having been in the house, the dust cover was thrown off the bed, and there on the quilt was the most distinct impression of a sleeping girl.
Old Stone House
Venturing out in to the county, the 1766 Old Stone House near Granite Quarry shows visitors what life was like in the late 18th century. The house has recently received extensive renovation to its exterior, thanks to a grant from the Woodson Foundation. Its legend n confirmed by many members of successive generations, holds that a white ghost appears when a wholesome member of the family is about to die. If the ghost is wearing black, then the expiring family member will be someone much more disagreeable.
East Rowan Farm
Thereís a farm in East Rowan where, in 1785, a girl hanged herself rather than marry the man her father had chosen for her. Despite razing the barn where the deed took place, and scattering the ashes and foundations across the land, all subsequent owners to this day, have heard the beam creaking and seen the girlís lantern flickering, on the anniversary of her death.
High Rock Light
Floating lights are an oft-recurring spectacle among sightings. High Rock Lake has seen a few over the years. 60 years ago two boys noticed a light in the distance and it seemed like an invisible man carrying a lantern. Then in shock, they realized nobody was carrying the light. It bounced up and down 3 to 4 ft from the ground.
The scared boys ran to the house where their mother was standing, also watching the light. The so-called ijack o lanternî sighting has been seen often since then. Sometimes levitating as high as the tree tops and once breaking into 3 pieces and then back together over a period of some ten minutes. Eventually it disappeared down the creek bed into the fog.
ElizabethMoyle & Aaron Klein
Visiting Gold Hill, one finds a peaceful and picturesque village. The shops, general stores and old post office look like postcards.
A visitor in the 1840s would have encountered a different view: a crowded and bustling boom town, noisy with Cornish, Latin, Nordic and African accents as American and European prospectors and antebellum slaves converged there. When Gold Hill’s Barnhardt and Randolph Mines were dug in 1842-1843, word spread quickly that it was the richest mining site east of the Mississippi, and the population quickly swelled. The town even garnered the nickname “Prince of the Atlantic” for a while.
Among those who came seeking fortunes was Aaron Klein, the orphaned son of a Pennsylvania rabbi. He soon became the object of anti-Semitic jokes and pranks at the hands of the rowdy miners. His life in this rough town was made bearable by the love of a beautiful Cornish girl, Elizabeth Moyle. When word spread that Aaron and Elizabeth would be married on Christmas Eve, a particularly brutish miner, “Big Stan” Cukla, was enraged since he had also vied for Elizabeth’s attention.
Aaron had been taking care of a puppy that followed him everywhere. One morning, when arriving for work at the Randolph mine, a group of miners found the puppy dead at the mouth of the shaft, its head crushed. The miners buried the little dog there, holding a mock funeral service. Aaron didn’t show up for work. In fact, he was never seen again.
Shortly after that, there were reports of a strange, moving light near the Randolph Mine. It seemed to follow people. Some said they heard the sound of a whimpering puppy accompanying the light.
Big Stan seemed shaken by reports of the light, and was seen going into the mine at night and digging at the bottom of the shaft as if looking for something. It was probably greed that took him there at late hours, trying to beat others to the discovery of more rich veins.
One day, miners arrived early for a full day of work in the mine, but the skip was not at the top where it should be. They hauled it up, all the way from the shaft’s 850 foot depth, and on it lay Big Stan’s smashed body. Some said greed killed him. Others said it was Aaron.
Funnily (or eerily) enough it is not Aaronís apparition which is seen around the village, but the ghost of Elizabeth Moyle, who never married and is said to be still wandering the area seeking the love of her life.
By Susan Shinn firstname.lastname@example.org Churches have long been known as places of sanctuary and respite. Now a growing number of... read more