Old Ashe County Courthouse – Museum of Ashe County History

Old Ashe County Courthouse
301 East Main Street
Jefferson, North Carolina

Ashe County, North Carolina, lies in the northern corner of the state where it meets the eastern tip of Tennessee and southern Virginia. Tucked away in an Appalachian valley lies the county seat, Jefferson, the first town named for the illustrious American founding father, Thomas Jefferson in 1799. Jefferson is fairly small with a population of about 1,500 people while Ashe County can only boast around 27,000.

Over time, the county’s long history has left a few spiritual marks as well. One of the more prominent hauntings is an odd set of granite stairs carved into the side of a mountain outside of West Jefferson along North Carolina State Road 194 at the bridge over Buffalo Creek. With the menacing name, THE DEVIL’S STAIRS this formation was created during blasting for the Norfolk-Western Railroad line that once ran through the area. Legend speaks of a laborer killed during the construction and later a woman who tossed her infant into the waters of Buffalo Creek below. Since the creation of this formation, tales have been spun about people passing the area at night and encountering apparitions and even picking up vanishing hitchhikers.

Also nearby is the GLENDALE INN SPRINGS AND RESTAURANT (7414 NC-16) in the village of Glendale Springs. Built in the late nineteenth century, this grand house has served as an inn for a number of years though it was closed and put up for sale in 2008. According to Sheila Turnage, the inn is haunted by a mischievous spirit named “Rosebud.”

As interest in the paranormal has spread, paranormal groups have sprung up throughout the country and Ashe County can also boast of a group dedicated to investigating local hauntings: 3P Paranormal. A recent article in The Mountain Times highlighted an investigation by the group of the Old Ashe County Courthouse. Over the years, tales have been told of odd occurrences within this 1904 courthouse. The museum’s curator even mentions a recent incident where an intern heard a telephone ring on a floor above followed by footsteps across the floor towards the phone. This happened when the intern was alone in the building.

Ashe County Courthouse, 2012, by Jblevins47. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, the article only details the setup for the investigation. The group has an excellent website but it has not provided any information on the results of the courthouse investigation. The article, however, does provide a tantalizing tidbit about another local haunting: that of the nearby Old Ashe County Hospital, where the group uncovered some very interesting evidence. I look forward to hearing what the investigators discovered. It seems that this rural county may offer some haunted gems.

UPDATE 5 June 2011

When last we left the investigators of 3P Paranormal, they were wrapping up an overnight investigation of the Old Ashe County Courthouse. The results of this investigation have been revealed. The investigators had surmised that there was likely some residual energy in the 1904 courthouse and indeed, the team captured some striking evidence of it.

The team captured only audio evidence and among that evidence is a recording of a voice saying “Order!” and what sounds to be the banging of a gavel. In the same courtroom, heavy footsteps and breathing were also captured. Voices were also picked up in some of the other rooms. Certainly, it appears that there may be some residual energy in the old courthouse.


  • Ashe County, North Carolina. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 23 May 2011.
  • Barefoot, Daniel W. North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred, Vol. 3, Haints of the Hills. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 2002.
  • Campbell, Jesse. “A Haunting in Jefferson? Paranormal Team Investigates the Old County Courthouse.” The Mountain Times. 19 May 2011.
  • Campbell, Jesse. “The Results Are In: Paranormal Team Reveal Signs of Possible Haunting.” The Mountain Times. 2 June 2011.
  • Jefferson, North Carolina. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 23 May 2011.
  • Turnage, Sheila. Haunted Inns of the Southeast. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 2001.

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