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Spooky City


Fayetteville’s phantasms prowl the streets at night

THE YOUNG GIRLS who once lived at the Poe House in Fayetteville still like to play pranks, harmless pranks but attention-getting, nonetheless. The sort of good-natured mischief that keeps some employees on their toes.

“It has been going on for years and the greater percentage of them takes place near what once was the girls’ room,” says Heidi Bleazey, education coordinator for the Poe House. One of her latest encounters involved the locking of the door to what was once the girls’ room. “Recently I was upstairs with a photographer and there was a lot of glare, so we decided the best thing to do was to close all the doors to the rooms. When I went back to open the door to the girls’ room it was locked. To lock it you have to actually turn a latch on the inside of the room.” Bleazey is not the only person who has experienced such incidents. “Once we had a young visitor who kept staring at the wall in the girls’ room. When asked why he was staring, he answered, “I am talking to the little kid.” Bleazey said that over time she has become comfortable with these encounters. “I have about two a year, at first it scared me but now I feel I am sharing a space with a presence.”

The Poe House, built in 1897, was the home of Edgar Allan and Josephine Monteque Poe and their family. Poe, despite the spooky stories some tell of the home, was not the famous writer. He was a brick maker and prominent businessman.

Fayetteville is known for its restless spirits, not just the ones at the Poe House. With curiosity about the supernatural at a peak due to television shows such as “Ghost Hunters”, paranormal groups have been conducting their own searches throughout Fayetteville looking for evidence of these spirits. Tom Kuntz, cofounder and an investigator for PROOF, a paranormal investigation group located in Fayetteville, has been to several known haunted Fayetteville sites. The former Marine, said his group conducts their investigations from a scientific standpoint. “We try to look for what would be causing things to happen before we try to explain them as supernatural.”

Kuntz and his group spent a night at one of the most noted haunted buildings in Fayetteville, the Prince Charles Hotel. Local legend has it a young bride killed herself there after catching her groom with one of her bridesmaids following their wedding. “It is believed the bride was so distressed she rode the elevator to the eighth floor and then jumped from a window,” said Kuntz. Another, historically documented death at the hotel took place in 1935. “It is a matter of public record that the police chief at the time, J. Ross Jones, was found dead in a room. The story of his death is shrouded in mystery; no one knows if he was murdered or committed suicide,” said Bruce Daws, Fayetteville historian. Jones was found in room 401. “There were so many odd occurrences in that room, the management turned it into storage space,” said Kuntz. The night he and his group spent in the hotel, they were not disappointed in their findings, which included hearing footsteps walking across the ballroom. An eerie photograph they took shows a figure leaning in a corner at the end of a long hallway. “The figure has long white sleeves and is wearing black pants,” Kuntz added.

Members of PROOF have also spent time in several of Fayetteville’s graveyards. A mist, caught on camera, and the scent of honeysuckle were noticeable the night they visited Cross Creek Cemetery 1, located on the corner of Grove and North Cool Spring Streets. Kuntz said his team searched for honeysuckle or any other flower that may have caused the odor but none was to be found. “The older females in the group would have their elbows grabbed; they would turn around, look down and no one was there,” said Kuntz. “This all happens in a specific area. We have the feeling it may be a young girl.” As they walked through the graveyard, they also heard whispers behind them. “There were two of us walking and we heard the soft voices; we stopped and saw a third shadow behind us,” he said. The group has also investigated at another location at the graveyard where they recorded an older African-American voice saying, “This is Jules,” added Kuntz. Another recording made that night was a whispering male voice. When asked, “Do you mind if we walk on your grave?” The whispering voice answered, “Yes, I do.”

Ghost stories surround many of the historic buildings in Fayetteville, including Cool Spring Tavern, which was built in 1788 and has always been in the MacKethan family. Crawford MacKethan said his sister, Toi, had a mystifying experience. “She was upstairs and heard the sound of a screen door shutting and then heard a voice calling for Lovedy over and over. She went downstairs and never saw anyone,” he said. “We do have an ancestor whose name was Lovedy.”

Another historic building known for having paranormal visitors is the Kyle House. The house was built in the 1850s. “The Kyle House is the most talked about location in Fayetteville having supernatural experiences,” said Daws. Carrie King, head of the Dogwood Festival and the “Historic Hauntings: A Ghostly Ghost Tour” said they have encountered some trouble in front of the house during ghost tours. “One year tractors that pull the wagon kept stalling out in front of the house and it was never the same tractor,” she said. “There was no explanation,” she added. Also, she said the volunteers who lead the tour in the house prefer to wait outside during the tours. They say they are uneasy being in the house.

Not all haunted spots in Fayetteville are so obvious. A man in orange has been spotted on numerous occasions at the Subway Restaurant located on Hay Street. It is located in what was once the Atlantic Coastline Depot, where thousands of soldiers left Fayetteville to fight in wars from World War I to Vietnam. Carolyn Genna, who has worked at the Subway for several years, said she has never seen the man in orange, but a past employee told her that he had seen him. Though she has never seen the man in orange she has had her own chilling experiences while working there. “On several occasions I have been here by myself at night and heard moaning over and over again. I looked around and could not find anyone at all,” she said. Genna said an incident has taken place that has had caused her to freeze in place behind the counter “We have a radio playing in here all the time. Several times I have been here alone and the radio has stopped playing and all of the sudden I heard an old-fashioned telephone ringing over and over again. I admit I could not move. It finally stopped and the radio came back on.”

If you want to delve into more Fayetteville ghost stories, the annual Historic Hauntings tour will give you an evening of chills intertwined with some history. “Along with ghost stories we include history of Fayetteville. It is a unique opportunity for children to learn some history and see it first hand,” said King. The event is held as a fundraiser for the Dogwood Festival. Each year the script changes and different places are visited and many guests like to take the tour year after year. Even if you are still a skeptic, the tour is a great way to enjoy a fall evening and get a glimpse of Fayetteville from days gone by. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one who spots the man in orange.