Folklorist Kathryn Tucker Windham published a legendary work in 1969. 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery was the first in a series of seven books featuring ghost stories from towns throughout Alabama. Windham work featured ghost stories that have “entertained many generations” and that are still today “a treasured part of Southern folklore”. The book not only focuses on the ghosts, but of the people, communities, and lifestyles of the people who first reported the haunting. Kathryn Tucker Windham passed away in June of 2011, after having published numerous books and receiving countless honors and awards.
Though all cannot be reached today, the quest to experience the communities and people of these sites has become a goal of our in the coming years. Each location tells a unique story of a ghostly pass; each story leaves the reader wondering – what does this place truly have.
Rock Hill Castle was a plantation and plantation house near Courtland, Alabama. The architecture was a mix of neoclassical and picturesque aesthetics. Once a famed structure in Alabama, the house and tower suffered neglect during the 20th century and was demolished in the 1960s. I guess the ghost of the Angry Architect has moved on, as no ruins of the house remain today. (Image from Wikipedia)
William “Bill” Sketoe, Sr. was a little too tall that December 3 day in 1864, when he was lynched beside the Choctawhatchee River. Some say he as hung on false charges, others that he was killed for aiding pro-Union renegades in the Newton area. Either way, the hangman misjudged Sketoe’s height by which requiring a shallow hole to be dug beneath his feet. That hole remained even when filled with dirt from the surrounding bank. Today, the hole is underneath riprap below the AL 134 Bridge. A monument has been erected close by.
The Drish House is a historic plantation house located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The large stuccoed brick mansion built on 450-acres, now sits in a roundabout. This is private property. Thankfully, you can get a pretty good picture from the parking space out front.
A ghostly orb floats the grounds where a cedar garden maze once stood outside the former home of C.C. Pegues. Pegues was a commander in the fifth Alabama infantry during the Civil War, who converted the house from a jail into his residence in 1830. Today the horse head fountain remains, as does the ghost of C.C. Pagues.
Pickens County Courthouse stands tall in the center of Carrollton, Alabama. The original structured was burned to the ground by the Union army. Twelve years later, November 16, 1876, the community again saw their courthouse turned to ashes. Though the true reason for the fire is unknown, a freedman Henry Wells took the heat. Arrested and charged with arson, burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, and assault with intent to murder; Wells had no chance as any angry mob gather below. He starred out the window when a flash of lighting sealed his forever feared look into the panes of glass adorning the upper stairs window. Today you can see the face by standing across the street. It is marked with a large arrow on the side of the building.
Sturdivant Hall, located in Selma, Alabama, features a Greek revival architecture. Haunted by John Parkman, visitors and staff have seen his apparition in the halls. Parkman, was a failed banker, imprisoned for his action in the federal prison at Cahawba. Killed by guards during an elaborate escape, he returned home and today is most often seen in the same windows where he watched his two girls plat outside. Today you can see Sturdivant Hall from outside the fence or take one of the available tours.
Grancer Harrison was born in South Caroline, moved to Coffee County Alabama and established a large plantation near Cripple Creek. Grancer loved festivities: hosting barbecues, dances and horse races every Saturday. Facing the fact that no one lives forever: Grancer began construction of an above ground tomb; in which to be buried with his dancing clothes and clogs on, laying on his feather bed. Today eerie sounds of fiddling and dancing can be heard by passers-by of the Harrison Cemetery when the weather fine.
Pratt Hall dormitory still stands on the campus of Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. Today visitors can see a Red Lady, thought to be the ghost of Martha, an unhappy former student who arrived reluctantly by the orders of her father. Her alleged early termination of her life is said to have trapped her spirit on the fourth floor of the dormitory still wearing the same red dress as to which she arrived on campus.
We’ll add the rest of the places as we get there. Until then, purchase a copy of the 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery from Amazon or your local bookstore.