“One of Nature’s sublimest poems”—Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock State Park
431 Main Street
Chimney Rock, North Carolina

N.B. Since I’m headed up here tomorrow for the weekend, I figured it would be nice to repost this entry. My writing about the area has inspired my dad to rent a cabin for the family for a nice weekend getaway. Thus, I’d like to dedicate this entry to my parents and my sisters. And I can’t forget Patrick, my sister’s husband who has recently joined the family. Thank y’all for dealing with me and accepting my eccentricities. I’m proud to be apart of such a loving, upstanding and interesting family.

Originally published 5 May 2011.

My mind has been stuck in Western North Carolina recently. Since I wrote the last entry on Lake Lure, I stumbled on some interesting information on Chimney Rock, the granite large granite monolith towering above Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. In the entry on Lake Lure, I described the history of the area which is interwoven with the history of Chimney Rock itself.

Briefly, Chimney Rock was purchased in 1870 by Jerome B. Freeman with the intention of creating a tourist attraction and he opened the park to the public in 1885. The park was purchased by Dr. Lucius Morse and his brothers in 1902. It was Morse who dreamed of creating a mountain resort town based around a mountain lake. His dreams came to fruition in the 1920s with construction of a dam to create Lake Lure and the building of the Lake Lure Inn. Morse’s family owned the park until 2007 when it was sold to the state of North Carolina as a state park. At least that is the “white man’s history.”

Chimney Rock with Lake Lure in the background. Photo by Jmturner, 2008. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

This area has always contained a certain mystique. The Cherokee and the Catawba, the primary native peoples in the area, considered Hickory Nut Gorge sacred. The land beyond the stone pillar of Chimney Rock was called Suwali-nuna. This was part of a trading path that followed the Swannanoa River and then snaked through the gorge to the lands of the Catawaba and Sara in the east. This path was also used in search of tsa’lu or tobacco.

Suwali-nuna was inhabited by mythic beasts and spirits, but most notably, the Yun’wi Tsundsdi or “Little People.”  James Mooney, a nineteenth century ethnographer who recorded much of the Cherokee mythology, history and lore in his History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees, describe them as thus:

There is another race of spirits […] who live in rock caves on the mountain side. They are little fellows, hardly reaching up to a man’s knee, but well shaped and handsome, with long hair falling to the ground. They are great wonder workers and are very fond of music, spending half their time drumming and dancing.  They are helpful and kind-hearted, and often when people have been lost in the mountains, especially children who have strayed away from their parents, the Yun’wi Tsundsdi have found them and taken them back to their homes. […] the Little People do not like to be disturbed at home, and they throw a spell over the stranger so that he is bewildered and loses his way…

In Suwali-nuna, however, these benevolent beings are not so forgiving. They were guardians of the sacred tsa’lu, or tobacco, which they kept there and took harsh action against anyone trespassing in the gorge in search of it. In the beginning of the world, there was a single tsa’lu plant for all creatures but it had been used up. In one version of the story, the plant was stolen by geese and swiftly carried to a place in the south. Nonetheless, without the power of tsa’lu men grew weak and death was imminent. Swift warriors and powerful shamans sent into the gorge in search of the sacred medicine were crushed by boulders toppled by the Yun’wi Tsundsdi. The strong winds blowing through the stone hollow would sometimes throw these braves into the turbulent waters of the river and they would never be seen again.

One young man, worried by the impending death of his father for lack of tsa’lu, traveled to Suwali-nuna in search of it. Reaching the mountains that border the gorge, the young man opened his medicine bag and brought out the skin of a hummingbird. Placing the skin over himself he transformed into the swift bird and flew, undetected into the heart of the gorge. Quickly, he gathered a few leaves of tsa’lu with some seeds and slipped, unseen, out of the gorge. Returning home he found his father very weak but with one draw from the pipe, he regained strength. The Cherokee planted the seeds and have had tsa’lu ever since.

During his explorations throughout the Southeast, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto may have passed under the watchful pillar of Chimney Rock, a sign of the deluge of white men that would flood the gorge in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The gorge became part of Rutherford County, named for General Griffith Rutherford, a military leader who led American forces against Chief Dragging Canoe and the Cherokee during the Chickamauga Wars. As settlers poured into the gorge they were awed by the Cherokee’s mystical land.

In 1806, an account appeared in the papers of the period describing an extraordinary vision witnessed by a family living near Chimney Mountain. On July 31st, an eight year old named Elizabeth Reaves spotted a man on the mountain. She brought this to the attention of her eleven year old brother, Morgan, and told him that she saw the man rolling rocks and picking up sticks. Incredulous, her brother went to where she had seen this sight and he was greeted by the sight of “a thousand things flying in the air.” They were joined by their fourteen year old sister, “a Negro woman” and their mother who also witnessed the spectacle.

The mother described a host of beings of a variety of sizes that were rising off of the side of the mountain and collecting at the top of Chimney Rock. After gathering at the rock, three appeared to lift off and rise towards the heavens. Summoning Robert Siercy, a neighbor, they all witnessed the sight together watching as the crowd eventually vanished.

Five years after the Reaves spectral vision in 1811, an elderly couple witnessed a different, though still extraordinary vision. Late one afternoon the couple, who lived near Chimney Rock Falls, witnessed the battle of a spectral army mounted on winged horses. The armies clashed and the couple heard the ping of steel upon steel and saw the glint of the weapons in the sunlight. After a battle of about ten minutes, one army was defeated and withdrew to the victorious cheers of the remaining army. It was also reported that other “respectable men” in the area witnessed the winged warriors, though not engaged in combat.

In the two hundred years since these amazing visions, there are no further reports of such astounding sights, these stories do set the stage for the hauntings at the Lake Lure Inn and the Lodge at Lake Lure. I suspect there are further spirits walking the scenic shores of Lake Lure and floating about Chimney Mountain’s stone spire. Silas McDowell, who recorded the testimony of the witnesses to the 1811 vision described Chimney Rock as “one of Nature’s sublimest poems, where objects are so weird, beautiful and grand that words cannot translate them, and they can only be seen and felt when we look, wonder and admire in dumb amazement.”


  • Carden, Gary and Nina Anderson. Belled Buzzards, Hucksters & Grieving Specters: Appalachian Tales: Strange, True & Legendary. Asheboro, NC: Down Home Press, 1994.
  • Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 5 May 2011.
  • Mooney, James. History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. Asheville, NC: Bright Mountain Books, 1992.
  • Russell, Randy and Janet Barnett. Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1988.
  • Rutherford County, North Carolina. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 5 May 2011.

“There’s a light”—Christ Church, Frederica

Christ Church
6329 Frederica Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia

In the velvet darkness
Of the blackest night
Burning bright
There’s a guiding star
No matter what or who you are
There’s a light.
–“Over at the Frankenstein Place” from The Rocky Horror Show music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien

Christ Church lies some distance from the hubbub that is the southern portion of Georgia’s Saint Simon’s Island. The past few decades have turned this quiet, island retreat into a vacation mecca. I’ve been coming here since I was young and I’ve watched with sadness as the island has been developed. Quiet marshes have become condo developments and gated communities. Restaurants and shopping centers have replaced forests of palmetto and live oak. Though, with the masses that arrive from all over the region to relax at the beach, the roads have not been widened to maintain the stately oaks lining them.

Christ Church, 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.

The further north you travel, the development becomes more and more sparse. Interestingly, the Frederica area, the first area settled by Europeans, is not as well developed. This leaves the remains of Fort Frederica and Christ Church in far more bucolic settings. Though, some years ago I was heartbroken when a residential subdivision sprung up behind the church’s fabled cemetery. This place is one of my favorite places on earth. The beauty, history and mystery of this place provides me with solace. When I “go to a happy place” in my mind this is it.

Cycads grow in this Edenic cemetery. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.

Underneath the sprawling, moss-laden ancient oaks, this church and cemetery bear witness to a marvelous history. Fort Frederica, a fortified town a short distance down the road from the church was first ministered to by the inimitable Wesley brothers, John and Charles, in 1736, only three years after the founding of the colony of Georgia. John Wesley, General Oglethorpe’s Secretary on Indian Affairs and Chaplain, worked tirelessly to plant the seeds of faith among the rowdy bands who populated this most Southern of the colonies. Wesley would go to found a religious sect that would take the name of Methodists for the methodical way they led their lives.

Fort Frederica was mostly a ghost town by the American Revolution when the island began to be divided into plantations. In 1808 a small, clapboard building was erected within a small cemetery. The cemetery actually pre-dates the church by about five years. Over time, the cemetery became the burial sites for many of the families in the island’s plantations. It is from this pastoral period on the island that the legend of the Christ Church cemetery comes to us.

The azaleas are now blooming in the cemetery at Christ Church. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.

The story has been passed around so frequently that there are numerous variations, but the basic premise remains the same. At some point during the antebellum years a young woman was buried in the cemetery. Her husband began a tradition of leaving a candle on her grave at night and even after his death, the candle still appeared. For years, island locals and visitors would see a light within the cemetery at night. Some versions of the tale tell of a young woman tormented by stories that had been told her by her Caribbean-born (hence a possible voudou connection) nurse. She was so afraid of the dark that she became adept at candle-making and some versions blame her early death on an infected wax burn. Regardless, this beautiful legend of undying love comes down to us to explain the mysterious light.

Alas, the march of progress has obliterated views of the light. A brick wall was built along Frederica Road some time ago. At night, large spotlights shine on the church and there are no modern reports that I can find of the light. Though, it’s not hard to imagine other spirits having the desire to return to this Eden, even in the moss-shrouded velvet darkness of night.


  • History of Christ Church, Frederica. Christ Church, Frederica Website. Accessed 20 March 2012.
  • Killion, Ronald G. and Charles T. Waller. A Treasury of Georgia Folklore. Atlanta, GA: Cherokee Publishing, 1972.
  • Vanstory, Burnette. Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old St. Simons. Simons Island, GA: Coastal Georgia Historical Society. No date.
  • Wangler, Chris. Ghost Stories of Georgia: True Tales of Ghostly Hauntings. Auburn, WA: Lone Pine Publishing, 2006.
  • Windham, Kathryn Tucker. 13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey. Tuscaloosa, AL: U. of Alabama Press, 1973.

Vinoy, Women and Song—Vinoy Renaissance Hotel

Vinoy Renaissance Hotel
501 Fifth Avenue Northeast
St. Petersburg, Florida

Big news! Tween idols Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez actually stayed in a hotel somewhere!

Even bigger news! The hotel was the haunted Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida!

Evidently, this is what passes for news on celebrity gossip sites. But it’s enough for me to write a Haunt Brief on it.

Lately, my concentration has been drawn to Florida and I’ve noticed that much of Florida’s haunted history lies in its hotels. From wooden edifices in small towns like Apalachicola’s Gibson Inn to St. Augustine’s monstrous monuments to the Gilded Age in the forms of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, Hotel Alcazar and Hotel Cordova; all the way to the towering grandeur of the grand hotels of the 1920s such as the Biltmore in Coral Gables and the Vinoy, all of these are haunted by a myriad of spirits.

The Vinoy Renaissance, 2008, by Ebyabe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Of the grand resort hotels from the 1920s, many have very similar histories. These hotels were built to take advantage of Florida’s burgeoning reputation as a vacation spot, a trend started by Henry Flagler in the latter days of the nineteenth century. These resorts attracted many of the great names of the period ranging from silent film stars to politicians to sports heroes. Many hotels experienced issues during the Great Depression and some were purchased by the military for use as hospitals during World War II. Some, like the Biltmore, lingered as hospitals for a while after the war. Those that reopened as hotels after the war had difficulty competing with the motels springing up to take advantage of auto traffic and the state’s new draw, Walt Disney World. Most hotels spent some time abandoned and during that stage paranormal activity was noticed in the empty structures. Recently, most of the grand palaces have been restored and returned to service as first-class luxury hotels.

Bieber and Gomez are just the most recent in a long and varied list of celebrities that have stayed in the Vinoy’s storied halls, a list that includes Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Stewart and Babe Ruth. In fact, this hotel figures into baseball history as hosting the St. Louis Browns in the 1920s when they trained in nearby Tarpon Springs. Nowadays, the hotel hosts Major League Baseball teams in the area to play the Tampa Bay Rays. Among some of these players, there are stories of the hotel’s darker reputation.

Just last year when the Florida Marlins were in town to play the Rays, relief pitcher Steve Cishek reported on his Twitter feed, “Currently crapping my pants…can’t sleep…my room is def haunted.” He later said he heard a thump in the bathroom that sounded like a bar of soap falling, though nothing was out place when he checked.

One of the first and most widely reported stories dates to 2003 when relief pitcher Scott Williamson, who was playing for the Cincinnati Reds at the time, claimed to have had a bizarre experience in his room. He awoke to see an odd light coming from the pool outside. He then experienced an odd tingling sensation. Rolling onto his stomach he said he felt that someone sat on his back, making it hard for him to breathe. He rolled back onto his back and saw a man in period clothing standing near the window. “he was just looking right at me. It was almost like he was trying to get a point across to me or something. I jumped up and turned on the lights but he was gone.”

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the next team in town to stay at the hotel. It was strength coach Frank Velasquez’s turn to experience a figure in his room. He heard and sound and looked up to see a man standing near the window of his room “just staring” at him. The coach turned his head and closed his eyes, but the figure was still standing there when he looked again. On that same trip, two other Pirates coaches had odd experiences: the hitting coach awoke to find that the door to his room was standing wide open after he had closed and locked it while the bullpen coach reported an old dime falling out of the ceiling while he showered.

In 2008, the TAPS team from TV’s Ghost Hunters investigated. Staying mostly on the fifth floor where the activity seems to be concentrated, they uncovered some haunting evidence. One of the most interesting pieces of evidence came from a room where one of the investigators slept overnight. Just after setting up cameras throughout the hotel including one in that particular room, the closet door opened by itself. The investigators made a priority of investigating this phenomena and discovered that the closet door did not open with ease, so there was no obvious explanation to the event. Even more haunting was what happened after the investigator, Jason Hawes, went to bed for the night. He was later awakened by a loud male voice demanding that he “just get out.” Hawes awoke after the voice called out which was all caught on tape. About 20 seconds later the voice again demanded that he get out.

These events are only a small part of the record of activity within the hotel. In fact, one article on the hotel mentioned that the activity was minor but quite frequent.

There are some legends that have surfaced to explain the activity. A female spirit in the hotel has been identified as the spirit of the wife of the hotel’s founder. One male spirit is said to be that of a businessman who killed himself in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash. Needless to say, there are spirits in this celebrity hideaway.

Big news! Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez may not have had any experiences within this hotel!

Oh well…


  • Baxter, Kevin. “Dodgers Report: Hotel isn’t one of their favorite haunts.” Los Angeles Times. 25 June 2007.
  • Ekberg, Aida. “Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s Florida Hotel is Haunted?” com. 11 March 2012.
  • Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted History, Volume 3: The Gulf Coast and Pensacola. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2007.
  • Klinkenburg, Jeff. “Renaissance Vinoy Resort marks 85 years of history.” Petersburg Times. 17 December 2010.
  • Kruse, Michael. “St. Petersburg’s Vinoy hotel haunted, major-league baseball players say.” Tampa Bay Times. 29 February 2012.
  • Rebman, Kimberly P. Haunted Florida: A Guide to the Departed Soul. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2008.
  • Strikler, Lon. “A History of Hauntings at St. Petersburg’s Renaissance Vinoy.” Phantoms and Monsters Blog. 20 June 2011.

A Historic Playhouse–Photos from Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch State Park
2601 Atlantic Avenue
Fernandina Beach, Florida

N.B. This article was edited 26 June 2019.

I’ve finally made it to North Florida and seen Fort Clinch! I’d known about the fort for some years before I wrote my article in November of 2010. That article, “Spectral humor–Fort Clinch,” has since been edited and re-posted.

Exploring the fort is an utterly delightful experience. It’s like a huge playhouse with tunnels, towers, turrets, corridors, odd little rooms, and staircases to explore. Unlike so many historic sites now, the fort is not littered with interpretive signs that you feel guilty for not reading, it’s just open for exploration. Rooms within the interior buildings have been furnished and recreated as they would have appeared during the Civil War, otherwise, the fort is a huge, empty edifice. I was there last Saturday when there was a wind advisory. The wind blowing through and around the structure created a haunting, mournful tone. Other than that, I didn’t see or feel any spirits. Though, I can imagine the place grows creepier after dark.

The fort does appear to need work. Even with massive cuts to the state budget, I hope that those in charge are seeing to the needs of this marvelous place. Certainly with visitors comes some income and I would encourage all my readers to check out this marvelous piece of our past.

sally port Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
The sally port. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
ramparts Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
The ramparts from the outside. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
barracks building Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
One of the remaining barracks buildings. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
brig Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
Doors to the jail cells in the fort’s brig. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
barracks Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
The back of one of the barracks buildings. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV all rights reserved.
tunnel Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
Looking down one of the tunnels leading towards the parade ground. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
bastion Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
My mother enters one of the fort’s bastions. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
bastion windows Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
Looking out of one of the bastions. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
parade grounds Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
View of the parade ground from the ramparts. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
ramparts Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
One of the rampart walls from the inside. Photo 2012, by Lewis
Powell IV, all rights reserved.
guns Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
A number of guns still guard the fort. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV all rights reserved.
St. Marys River Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
Looking out towards the St. Marys River from the gun emplacements. Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
gun port Fort Clinch Fernandina Beach Florida ghosts haunted
Photo 2012, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.

A Mansion in Marianna, Florida

Joseph Russ Jr. House
310 West Lafayette Street
Marianna, Florida

One of the issues I consistently encounter in researching the South is the lack of resources on hauntings in the rural South. Many major Southern cities have at least some resource on their ghosts, but beyond those city limits, the resources become fewer. Florida is fairly well covered in its well populated areas, particularly Southern Florida, but its northern section is not so well covered. The Panhandle is very sparsely covered and in my list of hauntings, I have no locations listed in Jackson County…until now.

Sitting just below the line separating Alabama and Georgia, Jackson County, Florida is a reminder of Florida before the building booms of the 20th century. The county seat, Marianna, “The City of Southern Charm,” was founded in 1828 and is currently home to around 6200 people. I’ve just realized that I passed through Marianna on the way to nearby Florida Caverns a few years ago. I remember the town being a very pleasant and typical small southern town, but I certainly would have paid more attention had I known of the ghosts.

The home to Marianna’s Chamber of Commerce, the magnificent Joseph W. Russ Jr. House, is apparently haunted. Appearing today in the Jackson County Floridian is a nice article recounting an investigation of the Russ House. As is typical in these types of stories, a reporter tagged along while a group of paranormal investigators, Emerald Coast Paranormal Concepts from Panama City in this case, investigate a local landmark. The reporter describes how the ghost hunters investigate, their beliefs about ghosts and may briefly describe the investigation itself. This article, however, spends a bit more time discussing the investigation and some of the activity the group encountered.

The Russ House’s unusual porch is the first thing that draws visitors. Fanning out from the main house, the porch is supported by Corinthian columns and topped with a cupola. This porch is part of an extensive remodel of the house that took place in 1910. The home was originally built in the Queen Anne style between 1892 and 1895. The property on which the house was built had been owned by the Russ family since they first settled in Marianna and family constructed homes around this house. The home remained in the family for many years. Parts of the property were sold off when the family’s fortunes soured after the Crash of 1929 including part of the front yard which served as a gas station and a series of businesses.

The Russ House, 2007, by Ebyabe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Still, the house attracted visitors. Merritt Dekle, a descendant of Joseph Russ, writes of his grandmother dealing with visitors who would pull over and knock on the door of the intriguing house. Sometimes they would just ask of its history, but other times they would beg for a tour, to which she would decline politely with “I’m sorry, there’s sickness in the family.” By the time the house passed out of the family, much of it had been neglected. The house was deeded to the Marianna Chamber of Commerce in 1996 and has since been renovated for that purpose.

Employees and visitors to the house have reported a variety of odd phenomena. Footsteps, objects apparently moving on their own accord and the voices of children have been heard. According to the article, the house has been investigated by three other groups, though “minimal spirit activity” was reported. In his history of the house, Merritt Dekle mentions that the house has been considered haunted by locals for many years. He recalls staying in the house as a child and later as an adult and while the house was creepy, he didn’t have any unusual experiences.

During the investigation last Saturday, the group had a few odd experiences. Among the more unusual occurrences were a scraping sound and the word “help” being uttered both heard by the reporter and an investigator. A few other odd incidents were reported and the investigators will review the evidence captured during the evening.

Stay tuned for the results!


Something in the Shadows–Reed Gold Mine

Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road

Midland, North Carolina

Last March, I posted an article about an odd video someone had taken in the famous Reed Gold Mine. While on a tour, a woman was startled to see a figure ahead of her in a corridor and captured it on video. She claimed the figure was a ghost and released the video on YouTube where it attracted a good deal of attention. The video has since been removed and some remarks, disparaging the video and the woman’s actions, were posted on this blog by someone who was anonymous.

A few days ago, a reader from Lexington, NC who had seen the posting emailed me to let me know he may have captured an odd image in some photographs he had taken in the mine. In an email the reader explained that he, his son and some of his son’s friends visited the mine last Saturday. He wrote, “It was roughly around 11:00 or so that morning, and the place was pretty much dead. We were the only people there on the self guided tour. We had actually wanted to go try our luck at panning for gold, but that part of the exhibit was shut down due to the troughs being reconstructed. Anyway, to make a long story short…we went into the mine shaft that you can tour, and I was taking some pictures with my iPhone, so I could show my wife when we got back home.”

Quickly, let me remind you of the history of this location:

The mine possesses a marvelous history beginning with Johannes Reith, a Hessian mercenary who moved with his family to the area and anglicized his name to John Reed. A different legend involves Reed’s 12-year old son, Conrad, who discovered an odd, yellow rock in Little Meadow Creek in 1799. The story tells that the odd rock served as a doorstop for a few years before Reed sold the rock to a jeweler for the princely sum of $3.50. When he discovered that he was literally sitting on a gold mine he began mining his land. The mine ran until 1912 when it was abandoned. The state of North Carolina acquired the mine later and has opened it as a historic site.

There have apparently been stories told about the Reed Mine for some time. According to Troy Taylor’s Down in the Darkness: The Shadowy History of America’s Haunted Mines, Tunnels and Caverns, there is a legend about the mine. William Mills, a Welsh immigrant, arrived in Cabarrus County with his wife Eleanor to work in the mine. The relationship between William and his wife was quite tenuous and they fought a great deal. One evening, in the midst of a fight, Eleanor tripped on the hem of her dress and pitched head forward into a bench, hitting her head on the corner. William tried to revive his wife, but she was dead. Awakened from sleep and probably hoping that the events had been a bad dream, William checked his wife’s now cold body. He heard her voice begging him to take her back to Wales.

Even though her body was cold, William continued to hear her voice begging him. He wrapped her body up and threw is down one of the unused shafts, the Engine Shaft, at the Reed Mine. The legend continues that he continued to hear Eleanor’s voice and was driven to drink as a result. Meanwhile, others began to hear ghostly screams and cries emanating from the Engine Shaft.

Besides the recent video, I’ve not seen much said of the modern haunting of the Reed Mine.

Our reader, upon pulling the photos up on his computer discovered that one had an odd figure in it. Standing at the end of a corridor is a pair of legs and what, to me, appears to be part of a torso. The rest of the figure is missing. Upon zooming in, the figure does appear to be three dimensional, but it remains strange. One odd detail that emerges is that there is a ray of light that seems to be shining onto the torso. Without having been present when it was taken, I cannot vouch for the photo myself, but it does appear very odd. Both myself and the photographer would like to hear what you think.

The original photo. The figure is the faint and grey in the center. Photo by Bobby Troxler, used with permission.
The original photo after I lightened it. All rights reserved.



Zooming in, the figure becomes more distinct. Is it a figure or just something that resembled one? Photo by Bobby Troxler, used with permission.

I’d like to thank Mr. Bobby Troxler for letting me post his picture.


  • Knapp, Richard F. “The History of John Reed’s Mine.” Reed Gold Mine. Accessed 29 May 2011.
  • Reed Gold Mine. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 29 May 2011.
  • Rettig, Polly M. National Register of Historic Places Nomination form for Reed Gold Mine. Listed 15 October 1966.
  • Taylor, Troy. Down in the Darkness: The Shadowy History of America’s Haunted Mines, Tunnels and Caverns. Alton, IL: Whitechapel Press, 2003.