Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Lonely Lakeforest Ghost

Lakeforest is a quiet neighborhood.  It is hidden away in one of those areas that used to be farmland and swamp.  It is off the beaten path.   The houses there vary is size and type.  The houses around the lake are million dollar mansions.  They are large and presumptuous.   They are the houses of people who want the world to know their wealth.   In other areas of the neighborhood, the houses are more middle class.  They are four bedroom, three bathroom American homes that are perfect for the average family.  The neighborhood is new and clean and typical and seems like the least likely place for a haunting.  The neighborhood is so young, it is hard to imagine any accumulation of sorrow that could create a ghost.

However,  tragedy and ghosts do lurk in the quiet history of this ordinary neighborhood.   The pool at Lakeforest is a crowded party during the long Alabama summers.  During the day, children fill the water.  The sounds of splashing and laughter drift up from the pool and linger in the air around it.  During the sticky, hot evenings and weekends the adults come out.  They sneak in beer and alcohol that is strictly forbidden by the pool rules.  The adults don't care.  It is all in good fun.   It was one such group of adults that begins this tale of ghostly woe.

One Saturday night, a group of  friends gathered around the pool, drinking and laughing and trying beat the heat. The night progressed and they decided to go back to the house.  They all loaded up in one truck.  People sat in the bed of the truck.  They knew they were drunk but it was such a short drive they thought they couldn't get into any trouble driving.  On the way home, the driver hit a bump.  In his tipsy state, he didn't realize what was coming.   When he hit the bump, one of the men in the back was thrown from the bed of the truck onto the driveway of a house he was passing.  The man died in that driveway while he was waiting for an ambulance.

The homeowners will never forget that night.  Finding a dying man in your driveway isn't something you forget.   They watched the man draw his last breaths and watched him be driven away.   It isn't just the memory that haunts them.  It is also the ghost of the man.   He lingers in the shadows of their home.  He makes odd noises and sometimes they can even catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of their eyes.   They aren't sure what he is waiting for.   Maybe he just doesn't know where else to go. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ghost Photographs from the Pope Mansion

The plaque in front of the Leroy Pope Mansion reads:  During the original Madison County Land Sales of 1809, LeRoy Pope of Petersburg, GA, secured among other purchases a majority of Section 36, Township 3, Range 1 West, the site of the future town of Twickenham, as Huntsville was originally known. Pope created Poplar Grove Plantation on this site and erected his home in 1814 in time to entertain Gen. Andrew Jackson on his return from the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The residence was among the earliest brick structures in Alabama. Inherited by his son, William H. Pope, the mansion was sold in 1848 to Dr. Charles Hays Patton, who commissioned George Steele to add the handsome Classical Revival portico. Nearby during the Civil War, Federal forces built an earthen breastwork to defend the eastern approaches to the city.




But there is more to the story of the Pope Mansion than can bread on plaques.  It is said that Leroy Pope Mansion is haunted by the ghosts of two slaves who still roam the property. These two ghosts like to bother audience members of touring groups, and one was even mistaken for a costumed character once.  Steve Genty caught some wonderful photographs of ghosts at a recent ghost walk. 

Huntsville Ghost Walk meets at Harrison Brothers Hardware Store. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and are available at the hardware store all month. It’s good to get there at least 30 minutes early since the walks start promptly at 6 p.m. Cost is $12 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. Visit the website or call (256) 509-3940.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Passing Phantom


 
A fellow ghost enthusiast I know shared this little spooky tale with me.  He is a nurse who has spent many years working in nursing homes.  He has seen death and knows his face better than most.   Having a patient in a nursing home die is a common occurrence, but it isn't common for that patient to linger after they have died.   My friend witnessed one such occurrence late one night at a nursing home.


One of my friend's favorite patients had passed away that day and he walked into her room to say goodbye.  The room had been cleared out and little remained of the woman he had cared for, however when he entered the room a resonant thudding filled the room.  My friend looked around the room and checked the bathroom.  The thudding appeared to be coming from an empty, plastic box.  He left the room and brought others in the verify what he was hearing and help him discern the origin of the noise.

The noise was irregular.  It came and went but it never left the room or the box.  Everyone who entered the room that night heard it.  The security guard had to leave the room he was so put off by the noise.  The next day the noise was gone and no one could figure out where it had come from.   My friend believes it was the ghost of the woman who had just died coming to say goodbye.  She didn't want to leave without one final farewell. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Dark Figure

A coworker told me this story.  He has never been quite sure what to make of it, but it still bothers him.  A long time ago, he had a home in the rural portions of South Alabama.  The house was one of those old houses that groans complaintively at night as if it is protesting its age.   The sounds of old pipes and old wood fill the house and make it easy to ignore small noises and sounds that might be out of place in another house.

However, one night he saw something he couldn't ignore.  It was late at night and my coworker was in bed. His children and wife were out of town so the house was quiet.  Something woke him from his sleep and he opened his eyes to see a dark figure standing in the corner staring at him.  At first, he assumed the figure was of natural origins.  Being a proper Southerner, he reached for his gun to drive the intruder from his home.  Upon careful inspection, he knew the figure wasn't anything that could be driven away by a gun.  He blinked and pinched himself trying to make sure he wasn't trapped in some bad dream.  The figure remained.  Finally, the figure left.  He never told his family about the event.  He didn't want to scare them, but he'll never forget the shadowy figure that lived in the old house, deep in South Alabama.