From the banks of the Flint River in Albany, Georgia, this ghost tale made the rounds of newspapers throughout the country in 1888. According to Dale Cox at the ExploreSouthernHistory blog, this story first appeared on July 9th of that year. Cox mentions that the tale of the headless equine is a holdover from Medieval culture and the spirit in the story is usually that of a woman cursed by God for her great sins. Whatever the origin of this spirit, ghosts do remain along the Flint as it passes through Albany especially in Bridge House, the home to the city’s welcome center.
The Wilson Mirror
Wilson, North Carolina
22 August 1888
A FISHING STORY.
How Dink Melvin was Haunted by a Headless Horse.
Everybody in Albany knows Dink Melvin, the fisherman and boatman, and doubtless every one who has ever been on a fishing expedition with him up the Muckalee or Kinchafoonee has heard the story he tells about a ghost that haunts the banks of the river in the vicinity of the Fair Grounds, says the Albany News and Advertiser.
The ghost that Dink describes most eloquently is in the shape of big white horse without a head. The horse is perfect in shape except he has no head, and Dink says that he has been seeing it for the five or six years. Its trysting place is along the river banks in the vicinity of the Fair Grounds, and Dink says that he can show it to any man that will go with him after nightfall. If he gets in his boat and rows across the river the big white horse follows him to a certain place, and then disappears. It has given him several bad frights, and one Sunday evening as he was returning from the creeks above, the thing came right up to his boat and seemed to be trying to put its fore feet in. Dink says that he has been scared a good many times, but this was the worse fright he had ever had in his life.
The reporter was one of a fishing party that camped on the Muckalee one night last week, and heard Dink tell this wonderful story.
“I’d just like to see some man that had the grit to shoot at the thing, but I wouldn’t care to close to be him when he done it,” said Dink.
“Well, sir, you take me there and show it to me, and I’ll shoot at it,” said the scribe.
“No, sir; boys don’t you do it,” interrupted Harrison Pettis, the scribe’s faithful boatman, from the outer edge of the tent, “Kase I tell you why—I knowed a man what shot at a ghos’, an’ he died in erbout three weeks. No, sir; don’t you shoot dat thing, for I don’t want you to die.”
An engagement was made with Dink to visit the haunted spot, but at the appointed time Dink begged to be excused saying that he was sick and did not feel well enough to take the walk and face the ghost. He then promised to call for the scribe between sundown and dark on the following evening, but he failed to show up.
- Cox, Dale. “Ghost of the Headless Horse, Albany, Georgia.” ExploreSouthernHistory.com. Accessed 8 April 2017.
- “A Fishing Story.” The Wilson Mirror (Wilson, NC). 22 August 1888.