In a castle dark, or a fortress strong…
— Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind) —
On the heels of Halloween, I’m taking you off the beaten path for a My World Tuesday post about local superstition and legends. From the Atlantic beaches to the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina history is rich with folklore and eerie tales of ghostly happenings. Hickory – which is home to the Hickory Paranormal Society and annual conference – and the surrounding areas are no exception. (Sorry, I tried, but I couldn’t come up with any pictures of ghosts.) Here are a few of the places where paranormal events are said to occur:
- The 1859 Cafe downtown is haunted by a unknown fair-haired woman wearing a long white dress who appears in the dining room after the guests have left for the evening. The cleaning staff claims to have seen the woman’s reflection in the bathroom mirror.
- The Alice M. Raeford Memorial Center has doorways that seem to disappear after you walk through. There are also reports of whispers, shadows, mists and people being pushed by unseen hands.
- The Crown Cinema VI was torn down over a year ago but there were many accounts of shadows, ghosts and film projectors running on their own after it was closed to the public.
- The Green Park Inn claims to have many ghosts. The innkeepers have a ghost register at the front desk so guests can record their supernatural experiences. Room 318 on the 3rd floor of the hotel is haunted by a woman who died there years ago. Legend has it that she committed suicide after being jilted by her lover, who later went back to look for her. Some claim he is the source of the smell of pipe tobacco in the room. There is also a voice that warns to beware of the evil in rooms 332 and 333. One person actually died in 226 but there are no records of paranormal activity in the room. Frankly, I thought the bar looked like a great place for spirits… 😉 (I hear you groaning!) The photo above is “doctored” because I wanted it to look more like an old newspaper clipping.
- Appalachian State University – The East Hall dormitory reports footsteps, malfunctioning lights, whispering voices in the hallway, a male ghost in the 3rd floor girls’ bathroom and a girl dressed in white who appears in different rooms.
- Tijuana Fats’ restaurant partially burnt down resulting in the death of a little girl. That section was rebuilt and rumor has it the little girl’s voice has been heard by clients. Click here to read the stories.
- There was also a house on Perkinsville Drive that was reported to be haunted by the previous owner. The house burned down in 2003.
- Burke County is home to the famous Brown Mountain Lights which appear along the mountain ridge – a strange phenomenon drawing thousands of tourists each year. According to Cherokee legend, there was a war in 1200 between the Cherokee and Catawba indians. The women would go out at night with torches to look for the bodies of the warriors and were killed by members of the Catawba tribe. Ever since, their ghosts have wandered the mountainside, searching in vain. There are other stories but this is the one I learned from my grandmother. The lights really do exist (I’ve seen them myself). Scientists have been studying the lights since the early 1900’s and are unable to find natural causes.
If you get a chance, please stop and visit my new blog, Foothills Focus. As the title suggests, it will concentrate on life in the foothills and contain photos of the area with minimal text. All memes will remain on Piedmont Perspective.
My World Tuesday is brought to you by the Skywatch Friday team. For a virtual tour of home towns around the world, please visit That’s My World!