Five Hauntings in the ‘City Under Five Flags’

Pensacola occupies land on Pensacola Bay on the Gulf coast of Florida. Starting with the Spanish who created the first settlement in the continental U. S. on this bay in 1559, the city has existed under five different flags throughout its history. Besides the Spanish, the city has been ruled over by France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States, with each leaving their own marks, both physically and spiritually, on the city. This article looks at a selection of the haunted places here.

Blount Building
3 West Garden Street

Blount Building Pensacola Florida
Blount Building, 2008, by Ebyabe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In the early morning hours of November 1, 1905, fire destroyed several buildings on Palafox Street between Garden and Romana Streets including a building owned by lawyer William A. Blount. Following the fire, Mr. Blount commenced construction on a large, and most importantly, fire-proof seven-story structure to house his firm. The Blount Building, designed in the prevalent Chicago Style, was completed in 1907. In 2015, the building underwent a major renovation and it now houses offices of several firms and businesses. A 2005 article on Pensacola hauntings states that the structure “is no stranger to unusual and unexplained activity.”


  • Baltrusis, Sam. “Ghost Hunter: Pensacola’s Most Haunted.” inweekly, Pensacola Independent News. 20 October 2005.
  • Blount Building. Accessed 23 January 2023.
  • Blount Building. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 23 January 2023.

Old Sacred Heart Hospital
1010 North Twelfth Avenue

Old Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola Florida
Old Sacred Heart Hospital, 2008, by Ebyabe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

When it opened in 1915, Pensacola Hospital was the first comprehensive medical facility in the area. Just prior, a citizens committee was set up featuring several prominent locals, including members of the clergy, to bring about the construction of a hospital. The committee partnered with the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul to build and run the large institution. The Sisters insisted on engaging Hungarian-born architect Albert O. Von Herbulis to design the building in English Gothic style. The massive four-story building with two large wings opened in September of that year.

The Sisters operated the hospital as Pensacola Hospital until 1949, when the name was changed to Sacred Heart Hospital. In 1965, a new facility was constructed, and the institution left the large Gothic building. Several years later, the Pensacola Private School of Liberal Arts took over and operated within the building. After a decade of deferred maintenance, the building was condemned by the city for safety reasons. The following year, an investment group took over the old hospital restoring and renovating it for use as a business complex.

Today, the old hospital, now known as Tower East, is home to offices and businesses, with a popular pizza joint, O’Zone Pizza, occupying part of the old basement space. Since reopening, tales have emerged of the building being haunted. Some have suggested that the specter of one of the Sisters continues to glide through the old hospital’s halls, still going about her nursing duties.


Romana Street

Romana Street, named for the third Marques de la Romana, stretches from Pace Boulevard to the edge of Pensacola Bay and runs through much of the oldest portions of the city. From its earliest time, the city has been haunted by pirates. In its earliest days, pirates overshadowed the success and prosperity of Pensacola and even now they, and sometimes their victims, continue to the haunt the city in the form of apparitions and paranormal activity.

The legend of the ghost of Romana Street was created through the work of one of these bloodthirsty pirates. One evening in the 1820s a gang of pirates roaming the streets seized upon a young couple. Killing the man, the group tried to kidnap the young lady, but she put up a mighty resistance. With the large diamond ring she wore, the young lady gouged out the eyes of the pirate and he dropped her in pain. Enraged, he began swinging his cutlass blindly. A moment later, he was able to decapitate the young lady.

In the years since the senseless and bloody murder, people walking along Romana Street after dark have seen the specter of a young lady walking along the street without her head. Interestingly, this is not the only headless wraith in the area, a similar specter has been spotted in Government Street, and at a place called Lady’s Walk on Santa Rosa Island, just south of the city.


  • Brown, Alan. Haunted Pensacola. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010.
  • Johnson, Sandra & Leora Sutton. Ghosts, Legends and Folklore of Old Pensacola. Pensacola, FL: Pensacola Historical Society, 1994.
  • Romana Street. Accessed 30 January 2023.

St. John’s Cemetery
610 North Spring Street

Once St. Michael’s Cemetery, near the heart of the old city, began to fill up, St. John’s Cemetery was opened in 1876. This cemetery now covers 26 acres a short distance from the city’s original municipal cemetery. Supposedly, the spirits of children and the 19th century outlaw Railroad Bill have been spotted here.

One of the most scandalous graves in this cemetery is that of Mary C. “Mollie” McCoy. She was one of the city’s best-known madams operating her upscale bordello on Zaragoza Street. After her death she was buried here, much to the chagrin of more respectable local ladies who eventually had the city remove the grave marker. But not before the marker acquired the reputation of bringing luck to the love lives of those that touched it. A new marker was erected here in 2012.


  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 19 February 2023), memorial page for Mary C “Mollie” McCoy (1843–4 Feb 1920), Find a Grave Memorial ID 94785186, citing Saint John’s Cemetery, Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA; Maintained by Jimbob BillyJoe (contributor 47265124).
  • Moon, Troy. “Pensacola’s spooky past haunts the present.” Pensacola News-Journal. 15 October 2016.
  • Muncy, Mark and Kari Schultz. Creepy Florida: Phantom Pirates, the Hog Island Witch, the Demented Doctor at the Don Vicente & More. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2019.
  • John’s Cemetery. Pensepedia. Accessed 30 January 2023.

St. Michael’s Cemetery
6 North Alcaniz Street

This location has been broken out into its own blog entry and can be found at The glowing skeleton and friends.

The Wraiths of Winchester, Virginia

N.B. This article was originally posted as part of “A Spectral Tour of the Shenandoah Valley,” which I published in 2014. Seeing that the article needed some serious work, I have decided to shift some things around and post each city as a separate article.

Winchester, Virginia’s twisting history certainly makes it fertile ground for hauntings.

Chartered in 1752, the city was one of the most important cities in the region during the 19th century. Nine major roads converged along with the Winchester and Potomac Railroad, making this a crucial market town.

With the coming of the Civil War, the city’s location made it a prize coveted by both armies. It would famously change hands many times during the war. Three major battles took place here with a host of smaller battles and skirmishes taking place throughout the region. This bloody history has most certainly left a spiritual mark on the Shenandoah and especially on Winchester.

Winchester’s ghosts have been documented primarily in Mac Rutherford’s 2007 book, Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. There is a ghost tour, Ghost Tours Old Town Winchester, Virginia, which is hosted occasionally.

The tour is arranged alphabetically by street, with the sites in order by street address south to north and east to west.

East Boscawen Street

Mount Hebron Cemetery
305 East Boscawen Street

Encompassing four different cemeteries, Mount Hebron holds some of the oldest burials in the city. Two of the cemeteries within its precincts date to the mid-18th century, while the large Stonewall Confederate Cemetery was created just following the Civil War. This may also be the most haunted section of this cemetery. The marker for the Patton Brothers, George and Tazewell (Col. George S. Patton was the grandfather of General George S. Patton who lead American forces during World War II), has some reported activity with it involving a lone figure seen near it. Wearing a military greatcoat and peaked hat, the figure walks towards the marker and disappears. Legend holds that the figure may be none other than Nazi Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. During the 1930s, Rommel was one of a number of German military leaders who spent time in the area studying the military tactics of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

Mount Hebron Cemetery Winchester Virginia
Entrance and Gate House for Mount Hebron Cemetery. Photo 2010,
by Karen Nutini, courtesy of Wikipedia.

While the Confederate dead—some of whom were unknown—were buried in the cemetery here, the Union dead were buried across Woodstock Lane in the National Cemetery. Mac Rutherford notes that people living in the area and passersby just after sundown have seen gray figures rising from the Confederate section of Mount Hebron and making their way across the street towards the National Cemetery.


  • History. Mount Hebron Cemetery. Accessed 21 September 2014.
  • Klemm, Anna and DHR Staff. National Register of Historic Places Nomination form for Mount Hebron Cemetery. 25 July 2008.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.
  • Toney, B. Keith. Battlefield Ghosts. Berryville, VA: Rockbridge Publishing, 1997.

West Boscawen Street

38 West Boscawen Street, private

One of Winchester’s most accomplished daughters, the singer Patsy Cline, is associated with this building. It was here, at the G&M Music Store, where Cline bought her first guitar and made some of her first recordings. Visitors to the room that once housed the recording studio have experienced a coldness and claim to have felt the spirit of the famed singer.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

125 West Boscawen Street, private

This circa 1790 home is now occupied by a law firm. Like many buildings throughout the city, this structure served as a hospital for the wounded during the Civil War. Employees of the businesses that have occupied this space over the past few decades have reported hearing footsteps regularly and feeling a cold chill in certain rooms.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Fuller House Inn
220 West Boscawen Street

This magnificent home was constructed in 1854 incorporating the late 18th century servants’ quarters from the Ambler Hill Estate. On the eve of the Civil War, the house was purchased by prominent local dentist, Dr. William McPherson Fuller. This building was also commandeered for use as a hospital during the Civil War and that may explain the presence of a soldier who has been seen in the house. The house serves as an intimate event space and lodging.


  • Varhola, Michael J. Ghosthunting Virginia. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2008.

South Braddock Street

South Braddock Street
Between Cork and Boscawen Streets

Soldiers from the Civil War have been seen along this street. After the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1862, which was a Confederate victory, Union forces retreated along this street. According to Mac Rutherford, they held their formations along this street until they reached the center of town where they broke rank and ran for their lives. The reports of soldiers seen here usually include large formations of many soldiers.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Braddock Street United Methodist Church Parking Lot
Intersection of South Braddock and Wolfe Streets, Southeast Corner

This block has spiritual activity from two different wars. The Braddock Street United Methodist Church Parking Lot has possible activity dating to the French and Indian War (1755-1762). During that war, Fort George, one of two forts built in the area under the purview of Colonel George Washington, stood near here. This piece of property was used for drilling recruits and Colonial soldiers have been seen in the area and in the building that once occupied this site.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

North Braddock Street

Kimberly’s (Lloyd Logan House)
135 North Braddock Street

Lloyd Logan, a local tobacco merchant, built this home around 1850 and it was considered one of the finest homes in town. When war came, the house was taken over by Union generals Franz Sigel and later by Philip Sheridan. Under orders from General Sigel, Lloyd Logan was thrown in jail and the house and most of its contents were confiscated for army use. Logan’s wife and daughters were later removed from the house and unceremoniously dumped along the Valley Pike. This incident may contribute to the spiritual activity within the home.

From Braddock Street, look up at the two windows on the south side of the second floor. Passersby have seen the figure of a man pacing and throwing his hands into the air. One witness described him as not “really clear, sort of gray and fuzzy. I think he was even pulling at his hair.” Employees of Kimberly’s have also seen the man in that room and state that he is accompanied by a woman crying in the corner.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

West Cork Street

Cork Street Tavern
8 West Cork Street

Occupying a pair of early 19th century residences, the Cork Street Tavern has a pair of ghosts, though there seems to be some uncertainty as to why they’re there. Much of the structure’s history is well-known except for the period during Prohibition when the building may have been used as a speakeasy and brothel. The pair, nicknamed John and Emily by the restaurant staff, have both made their presence known with a variety of activity. Apparitions of both have been seen in the building while Emily’s voice has been heard calling, “John,” a number of times. A spirit has also been known to trip female patrons walking into the non-smoking section. The level of activity here is high enough that it led an investigator to remark during a 2009 investigation that “nothing holds a candle to Cork Street.”


  • History. Cork Street Tavern. Accessed 17 September 2014.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.
  • Varhola, Michael J. Ghosthunting Virginia. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2008.
  • Williams, J.R. “Paranormal investigators examine Cork Street Tavern for ghost activity.” The Northern Virginia Daily. 3 August 2009.

South Loudoun Street

Water Street Kitchen
(formerly Old Town Café)
2 South Loudoun Street

This large, brick building was originally the family home of the prominent Holliday family and this was the home of Frederick Holliday who served as governor during the 19th century. The building has seen a variety of uses including post office, a dry goods store and drug store. Since its use as a restaurant, the owners have discovered that the building is also the residence of two ghosts. A male spirit has been seen ascending the stairs from the basement, though he always just stops and stares upon reaching the top. A woman’s spirit has been seen entering the building’s front door and rearranging items on the shelves inside the restaurant.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Red Lion Tavern Building
204-208 South Loudoun Street

This historic tavern building was constructed in 1784 by a German-born Revolutionary War veteran named Peter Lauck. He is known to have had seven daughters, one of whom may still be seen and heard in the building. People recently working in the building have been thanked by a soft, feminine voice saying, “danke.” The shadowy figure of a woman in colonial dress is sometimes seen when the voice is heard.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007. 

North Loudoun Street

Old Court House Civil War Museum
20 North Loudoun Street

Of all the buildings throughout Winchester that were impacted by the Civil War, the biggest impact was possibly on this building which was constructed in 1840 as the Frederick County Court House. The building served as a hospital and, after the Third Battle of Winchester, a prison for captured Confederates. Many of the scars left on this building including the graffiti left on the walls by soldiers from both sides have been preserved. The building has also been the scene of some rather intense spiritual activity.

old frederick county courthouse winchester virginia
Old Frederick County Court House, 2011, by Saran Stierch. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Some spiritually sensitive passersby have witnessed gray forms huddled in the building’s courtyard where Confederate prisoners were kept. In the old courtroom, voices have been heard ranging from faint whispers to obnoxious shouting and the cries of the wounded that once crowded this space. During the building’s renovation, workers had tools and equipment moved. Three workers walked off the job when scaffolding was moved from one side of the room to another during a lunch break.


  • Austin, Natalie. “Local ghost expert shares stories of the supernatural.” The Northern Virginia Daily. 30 October 2004.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

33 North Loudon Street 

Near this address be on the lookout for a young woman in Civil War era clothing hurrying along the street with a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. This is believed to be the spirit of Tillie Russell, a local woman who legend calls, “The Angel of the Battlefield.”

A small engagement occurred at Rutherford’s Farm outside of Winchester on July 20, 1864. Union forces attacked a Confederate division on General Stephen Ramseur throwing that division into confusion. Capt. Randolph Ridgeley of the 2nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry was seriously wounded when Tillie Russell found him and nursed him through the night. Ridgeley was found the next morning being cradled by Miss Russell and survived his wounds.

For years, people have seen the spirit of Miss Russell leaving the building at 33 North Loudoun pulling her shawl about her shoulders as she heads off towards the battlefield at Rutherford’s Farm.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Village Square Restaurant and V2 Piano Bar and Lounge
103 North Loudoun Street

These two establishments occupy a series of haunted structures all built in the early 19th century. Spirits flit and float throughout the restaurant, but the V2 Piano Bar and Lounge has the real story to tell. This building formerly housed Miller’s Apothecary which opened on this site in the mid-18th century. The apothecary was operated by the Miller family until 1992 when they decided to shutter the business. Subsequent owners of the building have all had run-ins with the resident spirits including Jeanette, a young woman who lived with the Miller family in the 18th century.

Perhaps one of the saddest stories of this location comes from the Civil War. Union soldiers from the 29th Pennsylvania Infantry were quartered in the upstairs rooms. A young African-American male was lynched by the group in a tree just outside the building. The pacing of boots and the shouts of arguing soldiers are still heard here.


  • Varhola, Michael J. Ghosthunting Virginia. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2008.

Taylor Pavilion
125 North Loudoun Street

In its heyday, the Taylor Hotel offered the grandest accommodations in the city. Opening about a decade before the Civil War, the hotel provided accommodations to many of the generals leading troops through the area during the war. Sadly, one of the red-headed call girls who served at the hotel still lingers in this building.

In 2011, the old hotel was purchased by the city and renovated to hold five apartments and restaurant space as well as an outdoor events venue. Apparently, something doesn’t like the restaurant space, though. Kitchen staff have reported that grease burners, often turned off at night, will be found to be on in the morning. One cook installed surveillance cameras to put an end to this. However, he saw that the burners were turned off by the night staff, though they were found on again that morning.


  • Brehm, Brian. “Spirits frequent several Winchester haunts.” Winchester Star. 24 October 2017.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

151 North Loudon Street
(formerly Olde Town Armory and Heirlooms)

Originally constructed as the Arlington Hotel, this building houses a ghost that is known to make a bathroom run every morning. Past operators of a shop here reported that the front door would frequently open by itself followed by the sound of footsteps racing into the store and up the stairs. The water in the bathroom would be turned on in the upstairs bathroom. After some time, the spirit began leaving a penny outside the bathroom door. In one case, the spirit left a penny on the floor and placed a penny on the breasts of a female mannequin being stored just outside the bathroom.


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Brewbaker’s Restaurant
168 North Loudoun Street

With a core dating the late 18th century, this old commercial building has been home to a continuous line of restaurants since 1910. However, the history does not explain the apparition of a young woman who appears near the fireplace. A photograph taken here some years ago seemed to show the shadowy figure of a man wearing boots; a figure some have interpreted as a Confederate soldier.


  • Brehm, Brian. “Spirits frequent several Winchester haunts.” Winchester Star. 24 October 2017.
  • History of Our Building. Brewbaker’s Restaurant. Accessed 24 September 2014.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

West Piccadilly Street

Phillip Williams House
(formerly Joe’s Steakhouse)
25 West Piccadilly Street

A Confederate officer is frequently seen staring out the windows of this circa 1845 mansion. Legend holds that this is the spirit of Colonel George S. Patton (the same one buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery above) who died here September 19, 1864 from injuries sustained during the Third Battle of Winchester. He is believed to have passed away on the second floor.


  • Austin, Natalie. “Local ghost expert shares stories of the supernatural.” The Northern Virginia Daily. 30 October 2004.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Handley Regional Library
100 West Piccadilly Street

Handley Library Winchester Virginia
The glorious Beaux-Arts facade of the Handley Library.
Photo 2011, by Missvain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Opened in 1913, this glorious Beaux-Arts library was constructed as a gift to the city of Winchester from coal baron, Judge John Handley. The face of a man with a “drooping mustache” has been seen peering from the windows of the building’s rotunda. A full apparition of a man with a mustache and wearing a frock coat has been seen by library staff inside the building. Perhaps Judge Handley is checking up on his gift?


  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Indian Alley

Figures of very tall Indians have been witnessed along this street. There are a number of legends dating to the 18th century regarding very tall Native Americans who once lived in the area. Perhaps the spirits of these original inhabitants return? The Indians are generally seen during the first and last light of the day.


  • Austin, Natalie. “Local ghost expert shares stories of the supernatural.” The Northern Virginia Daily. 30 October 2004.
  • Rutherford, Mac. Historic Haunts of Winchester: A Ghostly Trip Through the Past. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2007.

Located southeast of downtown is this site:

Abram’s Delight
1340 South Pleasant Valley Road

One of the best places to understand the early history of Winchester is in the restored home of the Hollingsworth family, one of the first white families to settle in the area. Built by Abraham Hollingsworth in the mid-18th century, the house remained in the family until the City of Winchester purchased it in 1943. The house is apparently haunted by spirits of family members who once lived there. The family’s mill, which is now home to offices for the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, is also the scene of some paranormal activity. Please see my blog entry (An independent spirit—Winchester, Virginia) for further information.

Haunted North Carolina, Briefly Noted

North Carolina has a plethora of haunted, mystic, and legendary places. Some of these locations were covered in the early days of my blog, though they have been updated and rewritten when necessary.

Biltmore Greensboro Hotel
111 West Washington Street

Built in 1903, the building that now houses the Biltmore was constructed as an “up-to-date and well appointed” office building for a textile manufacturer. When that company moved its offices to larger quarters, the building hosted other businesses and a post office before becoming an apartment building. According to a local ghost tour, during this time the apartments were used by ladies of the evening. After a disastrous fire, new owners in the late 1960s sought to turn the building into an upscale hotel. They hired noted local interior designer, Otto Zenke (who may be the spirit inhabiting the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department), to create an elegant and sumptuous boutique hotel that was opened under the name The Greenwich Inn. After renovations in 1992, the hotel reopened as the Biltmore Greensboro.

Two deaths within the building have left spiritual impressions on the Biltmore. During the building’s initial incarnation as offices for the Cone Export and Commission Company, which operated a number of a local textile mills, a young accountant, named as Philip in local legend, was discovered dead one morning in an alley outside. The reason for his death never came to light and speculation purports that he may have discovered inconsistencies in the company’s books. In fact, questions remain as to if Philip was murdered or died by his own hand.

Room 332 is believed to have once served as Philip’s office and his restless spirit has been blamed for activity in and around that room. Guests have been disturbed by the sounds of footsteps in the corridor that sound like someone walking on a bare wooden floor, despite carpeting. Others have seen the spirit standing at the foot of their beds or at the window.

The spirit of Lydia, a former resident and perhaps, a lady of the evening, also makes her presence known. Room 223 is her former room and guests have complained that the light in the room’s bathroom often turns itself on along with the faucet. The door to the room has problems staying closed while housekeepers continue to find long strands of red hair next to the sink in the bathroom, as well. A mother staying in the room several years ago reported that her son encountered a “pretty red-headed lady” in the bathroom. That room has been decorated in pink and gifts of lipstick have been left in the closet in order to appease the feminine specter.


  • Biltmore Greensboro Hotel. “History.” Accessed 4 May 2018.
  • Bordsen, John. “Find the most haunted place in these Carolina towns.” Dispatch-Argus. 31 October 2010.
  • Ford, Hope. “Haunted Biltmore: the Ghost Stories of Greensboro’s Hotel.” 4 July 2016.

Harper House
Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site
5466 Harper House Road
Four Oaks

With the exception of the coast, North Carolina was spared much of the fighting during the Civil War. It’s hard to imagine what John Harper and his family endured when they found their farm embroiled in battle in 1865. The family’s home was commandeered as a field hospital and their inner sanctum was disturbed by the screams and cries of the wounded, blood staining the floor, and piles of amputated limbs stacking up outside. The Harper family abandoned their home not long after the battle; perhaps due to the phantom screams and cries that were still heard in the house at night. The Harper House and the Bentonville battlefield have been preserved as a state park and visitors and staff continue to encounter paranormal phenomena.

Harper House on the Bentonville Battlefield, 2009, by Straitgate. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

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 visitor’s center, they were told that there was no such living history exhibition at the house.


  • 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.

High Hampton Inn
1525 Highway 107, South

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.

The High Hampton Inn, 2006, by RichardKenni. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Upon her marriage, Zachary’s property passed to her husband, Hannibal Heaton, 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. According to legend, a large white owl continues to haunt the grounds of the High Hampton Inn.


  • 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.

Horace Williams House
610 East Rosemary Street
Chapel Hill

The Horace Williams House, 2007, by Jerrye and Roy Klotz, MD. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

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 mid-1850s by University of North Carolina chemistry professor Benjamin Hedrick, whose designs were based on the book, A Home for All or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building, by phrenologist Orson Fowler. Fowler posited 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 and noted 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. Native American and Civil War artifacts discovered around the house indicate that some spiritual activity may be caused by a range of people who have inhabited the property in the past. Activity in the home includes the appearance of a professorial apparition of a gentleman, most likely that of Williams.


  • 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.

Körner’s Folly
413 South Main Street

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.

Körner’s Folly, photo by Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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.


  • 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.

Old Burying Ground
Ann Street

Among the oldest cemeteries in the state, Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground lies in a verdant peace under ancient oaks. Established in the early 18th century, this burying ground holds victims of the Tuscarora War which was fought in the area from 1711-1715. Other conflicts are also well-represented including the War of 1812, and the American Civil War which provides a member of the Union Army’s Colored Infantry.

Old Burying Ground, 2012, by Carl Griffith. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Perhaps the most poignant grave here is that of a little girl. Bearing the inscription, “Little girl buried in rum keg,” this small plot is the origin of many stories, including a ghost legend. The girl was the progeny of a local family who longed to see Britain. Despite her mother’s worries, the girl’s father took her abroad with a promise that he would return the child to her mother. When the child passed during the journey home, the father preserved the frail corpse in a keg of rum. Instead of placing the small body in a coffin for burial, the parents decided to bury the child in the keg of rum.

The small grave is marked with trinkets and toys visitors have left as offerings to the little girl’s spirit and she is said to stroll the burying ground after dark. A member of the local historical society noted that the legend is bunk, but ghost tours continue to tell the story.


  • 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, Nic. “North Carolina’s Old Burying Ground.” Garden & Gun. April/May 2015.
  • Shaffer, Josh. “Tale of Beaufort girl buried in rum keg lures visitors.” Charlotte Observer. 7 October 2012.

Haunted Florida, Briefly Noted

“Attention, blog readers! Cleanup on the Florida aisle!” Since the move from Blogger, I’ve been sitting on several articles that needed a bit of cleanup before being reposted. This article combines the remains of my original “Haunted Florida” article along with some theatre entries that were written for a book on haunted Southern theatres, that was never completed.

Athens Theatre—Sands Theatre Center
124 North Florida Avenue

Henry Addison DeLand dreamed of creating the “Athens of the South” when he began developing land around a small Florida settlement called Persimmon Hollow. He opened a small academy, DeLand Academy, but after a freeze in 1885 destroyed the orange crop, DeLand returned north short his investment. Wealthy Philadelphia hat maker, John B. Stetson, took over the academy and reopened it as John B. Stetson University, later just Stetson University.

DeLand grew over the next few decades, becoming a center of learning and culture on the east coast of Florida. The Athens Theatre was opened in 1922 with the hope of continuing that cultural influence. The magnificent Beaux Arts style theatre opened as a vaudeville and movie house. In 2009, the building was renovated, restored and reopened as the Sands Theatre Center, a performing arts center for the community.

Athens Theatre, 2007, by Ebyabe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Within the walls of the theatre two spirits linger. The shade of a stagehand who fell to his death still resides here, but it is the lively spirit of a young actress who is most often felt. Legend speaks of a young actress starring in a show who began a torrid affair with the theatre’s manager. The manager’s wife appeared one day to find the two in flagrante delicto and, after a shouting match, the wife bludgeoned the pretty, young actress to death with a lamp. Actors using the actress’ old dressing room sometimes incur her contempt which is sometimes expressed through objects being thrown or the room’s temperature drastically lowered.


  • DeLand, Florida. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 18 March 2013.
  • Martin, C. Lee. Florida Ghosts and Pirates. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 2008.

Coral Castle
28655 South Dixie Highway

Coral sculptures at Coral Castle, 2005, by Christina Rutz. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Edward Leedskalnin, an eccentric and possibly brilliant Latvian immigrant, began work on his masterpiece in nearby Florida City in 1923. In 1936 he moved himself and the castle to Homestead where he worked until he died in 1951. There have been questions about how Leedskalnin, who was five feet tall and weighed less than a hundred pounds, maneuvered the massive blocks of coral that sometimes weighed a few tons. When visitors would ask how he did it, he would only answer, “It’s not difficult if you know how.” This has given rise to numerous theories of how this massive complex was constructed including the help of aliens, though engineers surmise that much of his work was done using known techniques.

It is only appropriate that this legendary place has legends attached. More sensitive visitors have noted the existence of energy vortices throughout the complex. Throughout the site, Mr. Leedskalnin’s presence is felt. Other visitors have seen figures appear among the castle’s huge coral blocks.


  • Coral Castle. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 26 March 2012.
  • Lapham, Dave. Ghosthunting Florida. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2010.
  • Moore, Joyce Elson. Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2008.
  • Temkin, Maria & Michael Zimny. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for the Coral Castle. 2 April 1984.
  • Thuma, Cynthia and Catherine Lower. Haunted Florida. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books,
  • Walls, Kathleen. Finding Florida’s Phantoms. Global Authors Publications, 2004.

Deering Estate
16701 Southwest 72nd Avenue

It seems that the former estate of Charles Deering, the founder of International Harvester, may be just crawling with spirits. And a variety of spirits at that. One investigation photographed the possible spirit of a Victorian woman while spirits of Native Americans may be associated with burial grounds nearby. The Deering Estate also features ghost tours of the estate that the League of Paranormal Investigators (LPI) dubbed, “ground-zero for lost spirits.” LPI has documented at least two full-bodied apparitions as well as numerous EVPs.

Richmond Cottage on the Deering Estate, 2010, by Zoohouse. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The estate has been preserved by the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County as a cultural and educational facility. Two buildings dating from 1896 and 1922 remain and are surrounded by swaths of land in its natural state. Battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, restoration of the estate took years and the grounds did not reopen to the public until 1999.


  • Charles Deering. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 27 December 2010.
  • Charles Deering Estate. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 26 March 2012.
  • Cohen, Howard. “Halloween howling.” The Miami Herald. 27 October 2011.
  • Malone, Kenny. “Miami’s Deering Estate: A real haunted house?” 28 October 2009.
  • “Miami-Dade Estate deemed ‘severely haunted.’” The Miami Herald. 22 October 2009.

Henegar Center for the Arts
625 East New Haven Avenue

Henegar Center, 2010, by Leonard J. DeFrancisci. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

A fine example of adaptive reuse, the Henegar Center is located within an old school building. Having opened in 1920, the Melbourne school was named after a former principal, Ruth Henegar in 1963. The building was closed as a school in 1975 and reopened as the Henegar Center for the Arts in 1991. In addition to opening with a 493-seat theatre, the building also came with a resident ghost, Jonathan. According to Kathleen Walls, Jonathan’s antics include the usual noises attributed to spirits as well as moving actors’ props. The theatre’s balcony seems to be his favorite area of the theatre and he has been spotted there on occasion.


  • Henegar Center for the Arts. “Our Rich History.” Accessed 25 March 2013.
  • Walls, Kathleen. Finding Florida’s Phantoms. Global Authors Publications, 2004.

Hotel Blanche
212 North Marion Street
Lake City

For decades, travelers heading down Highway 441 from Georgia to Florida would stop at the luxurious Hotel Blanche in Lake City, among them, gangster Al Capone on his way to Miami. This landmark, the heart of downtown Lake City, has been witness to the city’s history for more than a hundred years. Recently, one of the building’s owners described part of the building as a “death trap.”As the hotel’s clientele dwindled towards the middle part of the 20th century, the hotel began to deteriorate. The ground floors have remained occupied with businesses and the second floor has occasionally been used for office space and meetings, but the third floor has not been in use for some time. In fact, the door to the third floor has been screwed shut; perhaps to contain some force from the Other Side?

Over the past few years, arguments have arisen over what to do with the massive white elephant. The city has considered purchasing the building, though I can find nothing to definitively say if that has occurred. Taking up nearly a block of downtown Lake City, directly across from City Hall, the Hotel Blanche was once the heart of Lake City. The hotel was constructed in 1902 by Will Brown and named for his daughter. The hotel added two wings amidst the tourist boom of the 1920s. The hotel closed in 1967 and its third floor has not been used since that time.

Hotel Blanche, 1908, from a postcard. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.

The paranormal history of the hotel is less clear. Greg Jenkins reports in his Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore that the hotel may very well have a “large collection of spirits,” though this hasn’t been officially investigated. Apparently many sounds are heard including children running and giggling. The sounds of door slamming have also been heard as well as many odd smells including perfume, vinegar, and sulfur (which may be an indication of a malevolent entity). The spirits, though, do seem as unsettled as the recent plans for the building.


  • Burkhardt, Karl. “Renovation of the Blanche Hotel, Lake City’s most famous historic structure, may restore it as a downtown centerpiece.” Lake City Journal. 18 July 2011.
  • Hotel Blanche. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 27 December 2010.
  • Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore, Vol. 2. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2005.
  • Lilker, Stew. “Conversation with Steve Smith, Blanche investment trust spokesman.” Columbia County Observer. 21 October 2009.
  • Lilker, Stew. “The Blanche Hotel: The seventh inning stretch.” Columbia County Observer. 3 March 2010.
  • Lilker, Stew. “The Blanche: The city steps up, Councilman Hill wants to slow down.” Columbia County Observer. 21 October 2009.

Miami International Airport
2100 Northwest 42nd Avenue

It’s not unheard of that an airport could be haunted. An airport may be the last place that a plane may board before an accident or perhaps a destination that is not reached. Either way, an airport may attract spirits. Miami International was the destination for Eastern Airlines Flight 401 on December 29, 1972. As the plane flew over the Everglades on its approach to the airport, it crashed killing 77 including both pilots. While the plane never arrived, legend speaks of the form of the plane’s captain, Robert Loft, being seen in the airport near where the ticket counters for Eastern Airlines once stood and disappearing into the old Eastern concourse.

Miami International Airport, 2007, by Jason Walsh. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In the annals of paranormal phenomena, this plane crash is the focus of many stories. Stories abound of the appearance of the captain and 2nd Officer Don Repo on planes that utilized parts recovered from the crash site. After these stories began to surface, Eastern Airlines reportedly removed all these parts from service. Additionally, during the recovery efforts for victims, many working in the swamps late at night heard whimpering and sobbing and saw phantom faces in the black water.


  • Eastern Airlines Flight 401. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 27 December 2010
  • Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore, Vol. 2. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2005.

Richey Suncoast Theatre
6237 Grand Boulevard
New Port Richey

The patron attended a performance at the theatre. He sat in his favorite seat, BB1 in the balcony, for the performance and a few hours after leaving was dead of a heart attack. Not only was Willard Clark not just a patron, he was the president of the theatre. Following his death in 1981, he has apparently returned to the theatre he loved so and is not happy when his favorite seat is occupied. Patrons unfamiliar with the story have experienced a distinct chill while watching performances from Clark’s favorite seat. Others have spotted a gentleman in a tuxedo in that seat. For awhile, the seat was simply reserved for the ghost and patrons were told it was broken.

The history of this theatre reflects much of the bumpy history of Florida in the early 20th century. Land booms, busts and the Great Depression fill the history of the state and the theatre felt shockwaves from all of these.

Richey Suncoast Theatre, 2010, by Karm Atwin. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thomas Meighan made a name for himself in silent films. After his 1919 film, The Miracle Man, he officially had become a “star” and he appeared opposite great leading ladies like Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford (known popularly as “America’s Sweetheart”) and Norma Talmadge and under the direction of such greats as Cecil B. DeMille. Talking with his brother, James, a realtor, Meighan became very interested in Florida and bought land there in 1925. Inspired by dreams of making the New Port Richey area a celebrity winter playground, he built a home there and encouraged his friends to visit. When a new theatre opened in town in 1926, it was named, appropriately, the Thomas Meighan Theatre.

The grand opening of the theatre on July 1, 1926 was heralded with a showing of Meighan’s film, The New Klondike. The theatre experienced ups and downs in its business and improvements were made to allow for the latest in film technology: “talkies.” But with the hardships imposed on the area during the Great Depression, the theatre closed its doors. The theatre reopened under a new name in 1938 and continued operating under a variety of names until 1968 when competition from a local multiplex led to the theatre’s closure. It was purchased in 1972 for use as a community theatre. The Richey Suncoast Theatre has continued to operate as a successful community theatre ever since. And Willard Clark continues to watch fabulous performances from his favorite balcony seat.


  • Cannon, Jeff. “Ghostly Encounters in Pasco County.” com. 25 October 2012.
  • Fredericksen, Barbara L. “Attention ghost: Exit stage left, through wall.” Tampa Bay Times. 31 October 2006.
  • The Meighan/Richey Suncoast Theatre.” The History of Pascoe County. Accessed 3 April 2013.
  • Spencer, Camille C. “Is New Port Richey a truly ghostly town? Or is it a myth?” Tampa Bay Times. 30 October 2009.
  • Thomas Meighan. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 3 April 2013.

Venice Theatre
140 Tampa Avenue, West

Venice Little Theatre has grown so much they dropped the “Little” from their name in 2008. Founded in 1950 and first performing in an airport hangar at the Venice Airport, Venice Theatre has expanded into one of the premier community theatre companies in the nation. After the city needed the airport hangar for storage in 1972, the company purchased its current building: a 1926 structure with a tower resembling the St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice, Italy, the town’s namesake.

Where actors now play, cadets from the Kentucky Military Institute—which summered in Venice—once sweated and occasionally the spirit of a small girl still roams. She has been seen curiously watching groups of juvenile actors and bouncing a ball in the corridors that once served as the military institute’s gymnasium. Who she is or what she’s doing in this particular building remains a mystery.


  • Cool, Kim. Haunted Theatres of Southwest Florida. Venice, FL: Historic Venice Press, 2009.
  • History. Venice Theatre. Accessed 31 March 2013.

Sunrise to sunrise in Fort Pierce, Florida

The sun was rising on what had been a small backwater town in the early twentieth century. The population was growing rapidly and one of the most prominent of local businessmen, Rupert Koblegard, wanted to invest some of his fortune into something that would benefit the citizens of what was being called, “The Sunrise City.” When he approached the city council, the response was, “build a theatre.” After getting a design from architect John N. Sherwood, Koblegard presented the plans to the city council again. He was told that the theatre was too big, to which he replied, “better too large than too small.”

Described as the largest theatre between Jacksonville and Miami, the SUNRISE THEATRE (117 South 2nd Street) opened on 1 August 1923 with a grand parade through downtown. Onstage, the Fort Pierce Band gave a concert. On screen, the newsreel was followed by a pair of films including a Charlie Chaplin comedy, The Vagabond. The opening of this grand, vaudeville theatre was heralded by the local paper as, “one of the most important events in the development of the town into a wide-awake city.”

Sunrise Theatre, 2009, by SebasTorrente. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The stage attracted some of the top vaudeville acts including cowboy entertainer Tom Mix and his wonder horse, fan-dancer Sally Rand and actor Edward G. Robinson. Management passed from Rupert Koblegard, Sr. to his son, Rupert Jr. in 1928 just as the first talking picture equipment was installed in the theatre. Even as other businesses generally limped through the Depression and through World War II, the theatre remained quite vital. The theatre closed in 1983 when its business was sapped by strip malls and development away from downtown.

After sitting derelict for many years, the theatre was purchased by the St. Lucie Preservation Association and was restored in 2006 as a centerpiece for a renovated downtown. The theatre features top-rung entertainment and, quite possibly, some resident spirits. In 2009, three years after its grand reopening, paranormal investigators from the Florida Ghost Team explored the theatre.

In two investigations, the team found evidence to support the assertion that the theatre had paranormal activity. While a group of investigators were investigating the third floor apartment of the theatre’s founder and owner, Rupert Koblegard, Sr., several members of the group had the batteries in the cameras drain. Shortly after, knocking was heard in possible response to an investigator’s questions. Another team member watched as an exit door opened and closed on its own volition. While the evidence is scant, it may very well prove the existence of some spiritual activity within the theatre.

From the stage of the Sunrise Theatre, one must only make a short jaunt to see real sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean from the steps of the majestic BOSTON HOUSE (239 Indian River Drive) which has wistfully been staring out to sea since 1909. Now sidled up next to a starkly modern neighbor, the house seems to retain its peaceful, old-fashioned aura as well as some of its tales. Like the Sunrise Theatre, these tales originate in the sunrise of the city of Fort Pierce.

Along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, many tales begin with Henry Morrison Flagler. Originally a partner of John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil, two visits to Florida in the late 1870s provided him with the impetus to develop this rural state into a vacationer’s paradise. Flagler’s project built a railroad line, the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC), from Jacksonville all the way to Key West. Along the way, the trains stopped in towns and cities graced with Flagler’s grand hotels. This little Florida project for Flagler developed into a lifelong obsession for him and a coup for a backwater state that has turned it into one of America’s greatest “Vacationlands.”

It was the FEC that brought William Turpin Jones to Florida, initially as a mechanic but he rose to be an engineer and was relocated to Fort Pierce. Around this time, Jones was an engineer on a train that struck dynamite that was left on the tracks by careless workers. Jones was seriously injured but after his recovery he returned to work. He was awarded a settlement of $6000 for his injuries. With this princely settlement Jones constructed a magnificent home in Fort Pierce which he named Cresthaven. The house was completed in 1909 and William Jones moved in with his wife and five children.
The Boston House, 2009, by SebasTorrente. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

It was the FEC that brought William Turpin Jones to Florida, initially as a mechanic but he rose to be an engineer and was relocated to Fort Pierce. Around this time, Jones was an engineer on a train that struck dynamite that was left on the tracks by careless workers. Jones was seriously injured but after his recovery he returned to work. He was awarded a settlement of $6000 for his injuries. With this princely settlement Jones constructed a magnificent home in Fort Pierce which he named Cresthaven. The house was completed in 1909 and William Jones moved in with his wife and five children.

Jones retired from the FEC and worked on maintaining his groves of oranges and pineapples and selling real estate until he was unexpectedly appointed as sheriff of St. Lucie County in 1915. This unexpected turn of events took place after the previous sheriff, D.S. Carlton, was shot to death downtown by Marshall D.J. Disney in what was described as a “wild west shootout.” Known for his honesty, the governor appointed Jones to the position and he held it until he resigned in 1920. Though he had commanded much respect as sheriff, Jones’ business interests were taking a financial loss and he resigned to turn his attention back to those interests. Eventually, he returned to work for the FEC.

During his time as sheriff, a shade of tragedy was drawn over this home. In 1918, Jones’ 10-year-old son, Clifford, was involved in an incident with one of his playmates. The boys were playing in the home’s living room. Clifford reached for his father’s gun and it fired striking his young friend, William Fee. The young friend was mortally wounded and died later that evening in the hospital.

After the Depression hit, Jones struggled just as many did throughout the country. From a friend he accepted a loan using his home as collateral. The friend passed away and the note on Cresthaven passed to Rose Whitney, a sister of the friend. Unable to meet the terms of the loan, Jones was forced to sell the house to Ms. Whitney who moved in with her sister. Since the sale of the house to the sisters, the house has passed through a series of owners. Subsequent owners have used the large house for offices and most recently it housed law offices. The grand edifice is currently for sale.

Some of the earliest stories of paranormal activity in the house date back to the early 1970s. These reports include the sightings of Native Americans on the home’s front lawn, a red-haired maiden and “hanging victims.” There is also mention made of possible séances being held in the house, though there is no record to support that assertion.

The activity that seems more believable (to me, at least) is the activity reported while the house was occupied by law offices for almost 30 years. During that time employees would sometimes open the building in the morning to be greeted by the odor of coffee brewing. The smell of flowery perfume has also been associated with activity.

The second and third floors seem to have hosted much of the activity. One office employee was shocked as her keyboard levitated and a plant bent over. The daughter of one of the partners watched as random letters appeared on the screen of a word processor monitor, though it was turned off. Lights would turn off and on and on one occasion a passerby called one of the lawyers to report that every light in the building was on late one night. When the lawyer opened the building the next morning, not one light was on.

Even more curious is the apparition of a woman. One poor copy machine repairman was surprised to see a woman in Victorian clothing on the third floor. The figure disappeared into a wall. One of the lawyers watched as the silhouette of a woman appeared in a third floor window. He was standing with a group of eight people and all but one saw the shadow.

At some point in the past few decades a story has sprung up to explain this feminine shade. The story states that the elderly spinsters who took over the house after William Jones lost it utilized the house as a bed and breakfast. Among the vacationers staying there was a family named Perkins. The father and his young son went fishing and did not return. The spirit of the wife, Mrs. Aleacon Perkins, is still waiting for her family to return.

Research conducted by members of the GRIM (Ghostly Research into the Metaphysical) Society has found no historical record to support this tragic story. However, the group has compiled an impressive history of house, some of which was used in compiling this profile. So for now, the lady staring into the sunset from the upper windows of the Boston House remains lost in the twilight of history.


  • Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted Southland. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
  • Grigas, Catherine Enns. “Living History: Boston House Home to Haunting Tales.” Indian River Magazine. 21 January 2011.
  • GRIM Society. “The Historic Boston House.” GRIM Society Blog. 14 October 2007.
  • Harrington, Tim; W. Carl Shiver and Brent A. Tozzer. National Register of Historic Places Nomination form for the Sunrise Theatre. September 2001.
  • “Koblegard Theatre Interests Sold.” The News Tribune (Fort Pierce, FL). 3 April 1955.
  • Mattise, Jonathan. “At Sunrise Theatre, things did go ‘bump’ in the night, Paranormal investigators said.” Fort Pierce Tribune. 28 September 2009.
  • Mattise, Jonathan. “Unsettling experiences noted when Florida Ghost Team returns to Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce.” Fort Pierce Tribune. 5 October 2009.
  • Pincus, J.h. and Michael F. Zimny. National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Boston House. 20 February 1985.
  • “The Restoration of the Sunrise Theatre.” Palm Beach Post. 19 February 2006.
  • Sunrise Theatre. “History.” Accessed 5 April 2013.

Spirits at the Heart of American Theatre–Actors Theatre of Louisville

Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 West Main Street

The two buildings at this address are at the heart of modern American Theatre. The theatre company here, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, has striven to become one of the premier theatre companies in the nation and they have succeeded. From humble beginnings in a former tea-room, the company moved to an old train station which was renovated to house a 350-seat theatre. At that time, Jon Jory, son of Hollywood actor Victor Jory, joined the company as an artistic director. He expanded the horizons of the company and oversaw their move to this current space after the train station was demolished in 1972.

With the company, Jory envisioned and created the Humana Festival of New American Plays, now considered the “preeminent annual showcase of new theatrical work.” The festival has introduced new American plays such as David Margulies’ Dinner with Friends and Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart to the American theatrical consciousness; both of which garnered Pulitzer Prizes for drama.

Western theatre’s deepest roots lie in Ancient Greece, thus it’s appropriate that the entrance and lobby for this venerable theatrical institution is a remarkable Greek Revival structure. Built in the mid-1830s, for the Bank of Louisville, this building’s marvelous architecture and the participation of noted architect Gideon Shryock in its construction have led it to be named a National Historic Landmark. The adjoining late-19th century commercial building also belongs to the theatre.

Bank of Louisville Building, now the lobby of the Actors Theatre.
Photograph taken in 1987 by William G. Johnson for the Historic
American Buildings Survey. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Part of the ghost story of this venerable institution begins in a field in the Hamptons in 1970. Rodney Anderson and his wife, Pamela Brown—an actress and scion of Kentucky’s prominent Brown family—were setting off on a journey with pilot Malcolm Brighton to cross the Atlantic in a Roziere balloon (a hybrid between a hot-air balloon and one held aloft by gases like helium or hydrogen). Friends and family gathered to fete the trio and watch as the intrepid voyagers headed into the horizon aboard The Free Life. One of the friends in attendance recalled that the event was “kind of a last hurrah.” She continued, describing the atmosphere as“all that hope and joy of the 60s that seems to have gone so sour, a last little flickering flame before everybody got serious again.” Grasping the euphoric hopes of a libertine decade the balloon ascended heavenwards into a perfect sky. Some thirty hours later, those hopes were dashed when fate caught up with them off the rocky coast of Newfoundland.

In the Brown family’s grief, the Actors Theatre was granted a substantial sum to build a theatre in Pamela’s honor. Built directly behind the antique buildings fronting the street, the 643-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium stands as a memento mori to the idealism of youth. The young, promising actress who was lost so young is still glimpsed in the theatre bearing her name while another specter is seen as well: the shade of an African-American male, possibly from the 19th century. He quietly goes about his business and disappears when he detects he has been spotted by the living.


  • Actors Theatre of Louisville. “The History of the Actors Theatre.” Accessed 15 March 2013.
  • Cummings, Mary. “The Day a Dream From Springs Crashed.” New York Times. 22 January 1995.
  • Free Life (balloon). Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. Accessed 15 March 2013.
  • Parker, Robert W. Haunted Louisville. Alton, IL: Whitechapel Productions, 2007.

Greystone ghosts–Knoxville, Tennessee

WATE-TV Studios in Greystone Mansion
1306 North Broadway Street, Northeast
Knoxville, Tennessee

N.B. This article was revised and expanded 31 January 2019 and 13 June 2021.

Throughout the South, hauntings can be found in unlikely places: Walmart stores, fast food restaurants (I’ve covered the haunted McDonald’s in Hermitage, Tennessee), and amusement parks among them. Some years ago, WATE-TV 6, the Knoxville ABC affiliate, revealed that their own studios may be haunted.

The studios occupy a rambling Victorian mansion that resembles a classic haunted house. The Richardsonian Romanesque mansion was constructed for Major Eldad Cicero Camp, Jr., the wealthiest man in East Tennessee at the time. He initially arrived in the area towards the end of the Civil War while he was serving Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Impressed at the region’s untapped mineral resources, he decided to make Knoxville his permanent home

Eldad Cicero Camp Knoxville Tennessee
Major Eldad Cicero Camp, circa 1917. From Knoxville Men of Affairs.

Camp settled here when the city was still reeling from the divisions brought about by the war, and Camp had his own lingering dispute to settle. During the war, a number of men under his command had been held as prisoners of war under Colonel Henry Ashby in atrocious conditions. Camp held Ashby personally responsible for their mistreatment and, after the war, pressed charges of war crimes and treason against him. Ashby fled Knoxville but returned when the charges were eventually dropped.

On the afternoon of July 9, 1868, Ashby ran into Camp on the street. The gentlemen struggled as Ashby struck Camp with his cane while Camp fought back with his umbrella. The following day, Ashby appeared at Camp’s law office near the corner of Walnut and Main Streets. The two took their quarrel outside where Camp drew his revolver and fired. Henry Ashby was struck in the chest and killed. Camp was arrested and charged with murder, but the charges were dropped.

The following year, President Grant appointed him as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Taking advantage of the region’s natural resources, he organized the Coal Creek Coal Company and served as president of two other companies, building a name for himself as a businessman.

With his wealth, Camp began building Greystone Mansion in 1885. The home took five years to construct and featured elaborate woodwork, jeweled stained glass windows, and imported marble mantelpieces. He lived in the house for some 30 years until his death in 1920. He was buried in Old Gray Cemetery not far from where Henry Ashby was also laid to rest. The house remained in the family until 1935 when it was sold and divided into apartments. WATE-TV purchased the house in the 1965, restoring it and adding studio space at the back.

haunted Greystone WATE-TV studios ghosts
Oblique view of Greystone. Photo 2010 by Brian Stansberry.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Since moving in, station employees have had experiences throughout the old house. Footsteps and other odd noises have been heard, and a door on the second floor closes by itself. Several years ago, a custodian filmed something moving on the second floor with her phone.

The building has been investigated by Appalachian Paranormal Investigations several times with the group capturing video and audio evidence. According to a WATE, that evidence points to the presence of four possible spirits on the premises.


  • Booker, Robert J. “Greystone Mansion builder shot, killed man downtown.” Knoxville News-Sentinel. 26 February 2018.
  • Greystone (Knoxville)Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 30 January 2019.
  • Eldad Cicero Camp. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 30 January 2019
  • History of Greystone and WATE-TV 6: Greystone. WATE-TV 6. Accessed 30 September 2012.
  • Price, Charles Edwin, Haunted Tennessee. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1995.
  • Williams, Bo. “Paranormal investigators check 6 News home Greystone.” WATE-TV 6. 24 September 2012.

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!


Mad Rivers, Mills and Merrehope—Meridian, Mississippi

Meridian, Mississippi was founded competitively. Lewis Ragsdale and John Ball bet on making a profit from the proposed junction of the Mobile and Ohio and the Vicksburg and Montgomery Railroads. Both purchased land in the area and they began laying out lots, yet they could not agree on the orientation of the streets thus creating streets that sometimes turn at odd angles. There was also disagreement over the new city’s name. Ball favored the name “Meridian,” while Ragsdale had a Native American name in mind, “Sowashee,” meaning “mad river” for a nearby creek. The competition progressed to the point where supporters of the two founders would change the train station’s name nightly.

The cloud of war arrived in the city just after the name Meridian was established, but it brought it many opportunities for the burgeoning town. The town’s strategic location brought an arsenal, military hospital, prisoner of war stockade and many state offices. The city’s importance also caught the eye of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman who decided to capture the city from Confederate General Leonidas Polk. On Valentine’s Day, 1864, the city fell to Sherman who intended to wipe this upstart town off the map. The city, already heavily damaged from the battle, was put to the torch.

Early 20th Century view of 22nd Avenue. The building with the rounded corner, just left of center is the Grand Opera House. This view now looks towards the large Threefoot Building. Postcard from the Cooper Postcard Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Like so many other cities put to the torch by the Union army, such as Atlanta and Columbia, Meridian rose phoenix-like from the ashes.  For the next half century the city served as a shining example of the “New South.” Mills and factories sprang up next to the railroads and workers poured in from the agricultural fields. Businessmen opened businesses to cater to the workers and business districts spring up. Among the many commercial buildings constructed were three in the 800 block of 22nd Avenue: THE PIGFORD BUILDING (818 22nd Avenue), THE MERIDIAN STAR BUILDING (814 22nd Avenue) and  813 22nd AVENUE (formerly the Peavey Melody Music store), all of which are believed to be haunted. The Meridian Star Building still houses the newspaper and takes up a large portion of the east side of the block and sits in the shadow of the Pigford Building which towers above. (I’ve just recently covered the hauntings here.)

The Pigford Building, 2008. Photo by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Pigford Building has a fairly well-investigated and documented haunting. The building was constructed around 1915 for the Knights of Pythias, a secret fraternal organization, and was called Pythian Castle Hall. In the 1920s, the building was purchased by Pigford Realty who rented out the building for retail and office space while the third floor held a ballroom. The retail space on the ground floor has seen many tenants and at some point in the last decade, the top floors have been closed. The windows to those two floors have remained boarded up.

Most of the activity has centered around a dress shop located in the retail space adjacent to the Meridian Star Building. Three different dress shops have occupied the space and both shops have had activity. The haunting was first noticed by employees in the form of spectral female laughter then later, whimpering and crying. Footsteps were heard upstairs in the empty building. Soon enough, clothing and jewelry which had been hung up the night before were being found scattered on the floor the following morning. In 1999, an employee saw an apparition: a lady with long hair in a white gown gliding across the balcony.

The shop’s owner worked late one night and had her young daughter with her when the little girl heard a woman’s voice on the intercom. She responded, thinking it was her mother, the mother asked her daughter who she was talking to and discovered someone else was on the intercom. The same owner had her three-year-old cousin with her another time. The little boy wandered upstairs and came down later saying, “I don’t like the lady in the long dress. She doesn’t like me.” Again, no one else was or should have been in the building. Not long after, the owner saw the lady in white for herself, silently gliding along the balcony.

Owners of the current dress shop had experiences with a vacuum cleaner. In both cases, the vacuum cleaner had been unplugged and moments after leaving the room, the machine turned itself on. The spirit may also have an affinity for a clock in the store. During one investigation, the clock moved forward by two minutes while witnesses were in the room.

Across the street the even older Wagoner Annex No. 3 Building housed the Peavey Melody Music store for many years. The store was opened in this building in 1945 by J. B. Peavey whose son, Hartley, started selling electronics out of the upstairs of this building, eventually creating Peavey Electronics. The store closed its doors in 2006 and the building appears to be unoccupied at the moment.

Devastation from the 1906 tornado. Postcard from the Cooper Postcard Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

This building, however, has a much darker history. The same year the building was completed, a devastating tornado struck the central business district of Meridian, killing nearly 50 people. The Wagoner Annex No. 3 building housed the Smith Funeral Parlor which handled many of the bodies. The morticians were so overwhelmed with bodies that many were stacked on the second floor. Legend holds that there was so much blood that it was swept out of the first floor with a broom. During its time as the music store, employees in the building would occasionally hear the sound of children upstairs. At times they would hear children laughing and running up and down the hall only to discover no one upstairs.

A little ways down 22nd Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets stands another building from the post-war Golden Era, a building that brought prestige and culture to this backwoods town, the GRAND OPERA HOUSE (now called the Riley Center for the Performing Arts, 2206 Fifth Street). Built in 1889 by the owners of the neighboring department store, Israel Marks and Levi Rothenberg, this opera house brought the world to Meridian’s stage including the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt and the actress Lily Langtry, who was a mistress to Albert, Prince of Wales. The theatre operated successfully into the next century and part of it was converted for use as a movie house in the 1920s. The building was leased to Saenger Films of New Orleans and after a dispute over use of the structure, Saenger wanted to convert the building to offices so it wouldn’t compete with the Temple Theatre, the second floor opera house was closed. It remained shut up until the late 20th century, when it was rediscovered. It was recently fully restored and is now owned by Mississippi State University – Meridian Campus.

Grand Opera House, now the Riley Center, 2008. Photo by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Before the Grand Opera House was reopened, people began to tell stories of a ghost. The executive director first encountered a spirit there while giving a tour to a young woman he was dating. Leading the young woman through the dark halls, the pair walked into a cold spot. Later the director would hear from a woman who worked in one of the retail stores that once operated on the street level. She would sometimes eat lunch on the old stairs to the opera house and would hear a woman singing in the dark theatre. Others have witnessed a woman in a white gown in the theatre. Most recently, a member of the cleaning staff and her daughter saw the woman who they said resembled the woman painted in a medallion above the stage. While the model for that painting is unknown, she certainly still gazes down upon audiences over nearly a hundred and twenty-five years since she was first painted.

When the curtain for the Grand Opera House was drawn in 1927, it was done to prevent competition with Meridian’s new grand showplace, the TEMPLE THEATRE (2320 Eighth Street). The Temple was constructed as a temple for the Hamasa Shrine organization, part of the Freemason order. In 1927, the temple was leased to the Saenger Corporation for use as a movie house. The Moorish revival-designed structure house the second largest stage in the country at the time, after New York’s Roxy and contained a marvelous Robert Morgan pipe organ to provide accompaniment for the silent films of the era.

Temple Theatre, 2008. Photo by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The theatre was in regular use until the early 1970s when the Saenger’s lease expired. The building saw nominal use and was only very recently purchased by a Dallas businessman for use as a performing arts center. Staff members have begun reporting odd occurrences. One woman saw a dark human shaped form standing in a doorway while a group of people saw a white haired man standing in the corner of the room just beneath the stage. A group of stage hands who dared spend the night on the stage of the old theatre were frightened by numerous odd noises throughout the building all through the night.

With the Great Depression, Meridian’s economy faltered, but it picked up quite a bit of steam with World War II. Into the 1950s, the economy began a decline as the importance of the railroad waned with the advent of the car and the interstate highway system. The fight for civil rights during the 1960s brought the city some notoriety. When three young civil rights workers were killed in nearby Neshoba County, Michael Chaney, a citizen of Meridian, was among them. These deaths, among many, coupled with the work of the African-American community, helped spur Federal Civil Rights legislation. Meridian later honored Chaney by renaming part of 49th Avenue after him.

While repairing its race relations and reputation, the city has worked to preserve some of its history; though this fight is far from over. As industrialization has pulled out of the South, and the nation as a whole, cities like Meridian have watched their cores rot and crumble. Where the bells of streetcars one rang a peal of prosperity, the rumble of the bulldozer brought only despair and emptiness. The 1980s and 90s saw a good deal of work to preserve the historical fabric of Meridian; work that continues today and includes the preservation of the monumental Threefoot Building just down the street from the Grand Opera House and the 800 block of 22nd Avenue. A city landmark, this 16-story 1929 structure is mostly abandoned and was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2010 list of America’s Most Endangered Places. The building, named for the Threefoot family, since 2002 has also served as the centerpiece for the Threefoot Arts Festival. There is hope that this building will be saved and revitalized with much of the rest of downtown.

The name for MERREHOPE (905 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Drive), the culmination of that hope that Meridian has to preserve its history, is derived from “Meridian,” “restoration” and “hope.” Merrehope carries that hope into the future after witnessing so much of Meridian’s history.

Merrehope, 2008. Photo by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Merrehope’s history begins with one of its first settlers, Richard McLemore. A Virginian, McLemore settled the area in 1831, just after the Choctaw signed away much of their land in central Mississippi with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. When Lewis Ragsdale arrived in the area to create his city, he purchased McLemore’s property. John Ball arrived only a few days later and purchased land adjacent to Ragsdale’s property which would all eventually become downtown Meridian. McLemore moved to an area north of his old property and in 1858 built a small house for his daughter Juriah and her husband, W. H. Jackson.

This small house, a few years later, served as headquarters for “The Fighting Bishop,“ Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who also served as the Episcopalian bishop for Diocese of Louisiana. Polk tried to ward off Sherman as he advanced on the city in February of 1864, but he was unsuccessful. The Jackson cottage would be one of only a handful of buildings that Sherman spared and it housed some of his officers. After the war, the house passed to John H. Gary who resided there with his wife and family. He added on to the cottage as did the next few owners; each adding and remodeling portions of the residence.

The house was carved into small rooms for a boarding house in the 1930s and remained that way for some 30 years. It was during this time that a young schoolteacher boarded in the house. Addicted to alcohol and gambling, the young man one night lined the mantelpiece of his room with whiskey bottles and shot them off one by one, then shot himself. His playful, yet mischievous spirit is one of the first that was encountered by the staff after the house was purchased by the Meridian Restorations Foundation and restored as a house museum and events facility in 1968. It is believed that his spirit haunts what is now the Periwinkle Room. The bed in that room is sometimes discovered to have a human-shaped indention in it.

In addition sounds of breaking glass sometimes emanate from this room. Jennifer Jacob, a reporter for The Meridian Star captured a possible EVP when she visited the home in 2007. She took and tour and recorded it on her recorder. When she played back the recording, she was surprised to hear a loud scream in the background. The other people speaking at the time took no notice of it.

Merrehope’s other spirit may be that of one of John Gary’s daughters. Eugenia Gary never lived at Merrehope, as she died before her parents moved there, but her spirit may be connected with her portrait that was acquired by the Foundation not long after they bought the home. Staff members have had run-ins with a young woman in a dress with a solid green top and a green plaid hoop skirt. Evidently, she bears a striking resemblance to the portrait of Eugenia. Staff members have also heard the rustle of her skirts and smelled rosewater perfume on occasions.

The hope of Merrehope has spread to another house, the FRANK W. WILLIAMS HOUSE that is now located just behind Merrehope. Built in 1886 on once fashionable 8th Street, this marvelous Queen Anne Style house was built by Frank W. Williams, the owner of an insurance agency for his bride, Mamie Watson. Williams had found success in this booming city and love with his new bride. After they married, they lived happily in the house until Mamie’s unfortunate death. In her later years, Mamie had become wheelchair bound and an elevator had been installed in the house. One day Mamie opened the door and backed on the elevator, but it was still on the first floor and she succumbed to her injuries a few weeks later. 

Frank W. Williams House, 2008. Photo by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Mamie’s devastated husband became a recluse, locking himself in his library until his death in 1949. In the 1970s as the city’s core began to deteriorate, the house was given to the Merrehope Restorations Foundations in order to save it. The house was moved and is being restored. With the restorations, staff and visitors have noted that the spirits of Frank and Mamie Williams remain. Most recently, a couple visiting last year noted the spirits and left hurriedly after feeling odd sensations. But, in their house as well as the rest of Meridian’s historic structures, hope and spirits linger on.


  • Brown, Alan. Haunted Places in the American South. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. 2002.
  • Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
  • Brown, Jennifer Jacob. “Elusive ‘lady’ spotted at Grand Opera House.” The Meridian Star. 14 September 2009.
  • History of Meridian, Mississippi. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopdia. Accessed 27 August 2011.
  • Hubbard, Sylvia Booth. Ghosts! Personal Accounts of Modern Mississippi Hauntings. Brandon, MS: Quail Ridge Press, 1992.
  • Jacob, Jennifer. “The legendary ‘lady’ of the Grand Opera House.” The Meridian Star. 29 October 2007.
  • Jacob, Jennifer. “Merrehope: Meridians Haunted Mansion.” The Meridian Star. 28 October 2007.
  • Jacob, Jennifer. “The Pigford building’s ‘Lady in White.’” The Meridian Star. 25 October 2008.
  • Knights of Pythias. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 30 August 2011.
  • Livingston, Brian. “Experience creepy with Temple tour.” The Meridian Star. 10 October 2010.
  • Meridian, Mississippi. Wikipedia, the Free Encylopedia. Accessed 27 August 2011.
  • Pigford Building. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 30 August 2011.
  • Riley Center. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 31 August 2011.
  • Sillery, Barbara. The Haunting of Mississippi. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 2011.
  • Temple Theater (Meridian, Mississippi)Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 1 September 2011.
  • Threefoot Building. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 28 August 2011.

Spectral Stars—The Meridian Star Building

The Meridian Star
814 22nd Avenue
Meridian, Mississippi

In my most recent check of news, I didn’t come across any articles of interest. Recently, however, I’ve discovered just how many wonderful newspapers put their archives online for free. Thank you! Until recently, I’ve been paying to use an online clipping service, but now with some free archives, I’ll be sure to check there first. Anyway, with little recent news, I moseyed on over to some Mississippi newspapers to see what I could find. Lo and behold, The Meridian Star has a free archive! And, even better, there’s an amusing article about the newspaper’s own offices being investigated.

Dr. Alan Brown, one of my paranormal writing heroes, is a resident of Meridian and has written about The Meridian Star building. According to him, not only is the newspaper building haunted, but the Pigford Building next door and Peavy Melody Music across the street from the newspaper are also haunted. These are all covered in his 2002 book, Haunted Places in the American South.

But back to the newspaper, local lore tells of one death in the building when a worker was caught under a hydraulic lift in the newspaper’s shop. Another death occurred when a man fell from a second story window (in the Pigford Building?) into an alley that once ran beside the building. Though, it’s not known if any of these deaths are related to the activity that takes place within the building.

In one particularly intriguing story, an employee working late in the building walked to the break room. As she passed through an older section of the building, she was overcome with a feeling of dread. She looked around and saw a toddler walking a few feet away. She immediately looked around for the parents, but when she looked back towards the child, it had vanished. She spent a few minutes looking for the child but found no one. She returned to her office where another colleague was working and told him of what she had just seen.

The Meridian Star Building with the haunted Pigford Building next door. Photo 2008 by Dudemanfellabra, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The same colleague, a sport editor, had also had an odd experience. Walking through the pressroom very early one morning, he felt a chill and witnessed two filmy figures hovering near the ceiling above him. After a few moments, the figures ascended into the ceiling. A reporter had a similar experience a few weeks later.

The article I discovered, from 2006, tells of investigators from a group called Observations who investigated the office one Sunday afternoon. The group spent four hours investigating and did capture an orb on video near the press. One of the investigators mentioned that the orb moved very slowly and deliberately, unlike the movement from dust or an insect.

This article is one of a handful I’ve discovered from this Mississippi newspaper. Please tune in again for more on the mysteries of Meridian.


  • Brown, Alan. Haunted Places in the American South. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2002.
  • Brown, Ida. “Ghost hunters probe The Star for paranormal activity.” The Meridian Star. 23 April 2006.