Rural American Ghost Stories
Deep in the corners of America’s rural landscape, where some of the nation's historic hotels preside over mountaintops, lakefronts, and coastlines, it’s no surprise legends of spirits persist. Are these just squeaky floorboards in the attics of Queen Anne Victorian manors, or is there somebody at home that we cannot see?
Local ghost stories in Blowing Rock, NC
Blowing Rock takes its name from a legend about ill-fated lovers from the native Cherokee and Catawba tribes, vested forever in a spirit responsible for the wind currents that frequently blow vertically around the cliff above a gorge. This North Carolina destination is home to Green Park Inn , which sits smack on the Eastern Continental Divide at the gateway to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
From this particular spot, the watershed runs both east and west. “If you were to spill a drink on one-half of the building, it would flow to the Mississippi River, in theory,” the hotel owner once explained to the Associated Press. “And if you were to spill a drink on the other half of the room, it would flow to the Atlantic Ocean.” Here, where liquid is pulled in different directions, some say you can feel a unique energy at Green Park Inn.
Curl up in a cozy corner of the hotel’s history room where parts of the original in-house 19th-century post office are displayed. This 1891 hotel also keeps a “Ghost Log” in the lobby for its guests to peruse (and add to when they have their own encounters to share). Pay attention to notes regarding Room 318, where Laura Green died. Daughter of the inn’s founding family, she was jilted at the altar. Reports are that she and her pipe-smoking, a would-be groom would rendezvous on the third floor. After reading the Ghost Log, get into a bone-chilling mood at one of the Green Park Inn’s professionally staged Murder Mystery Weekends.
American ghost stories in the Adirondacks
The Sagamore borders the lovely shores of Lake George in New York, the “Queen of American Lakes,” reigning over the foothills of the Adirondack Mountain in upstate New York near the Vermont border. Based on recent prehistoric archaeological findings chronicled by the Archaeological Institute of America, the lake is the site of an ancient burial ground.
Passed down through the ages, a Native American legend exists at the lake — a tale about an Indian girl who was captured by Mohicans and brought to their shores. She and a young warrior chief fell in love, but when he left for battle, the tribe burned her at the stake. As the legend goes, a ghost-like warrior spirit leapt from the flames and carried her body away. Oddly, the chief never returned, and every year, a warrior was found slain on the stone. An inscription scratched on the stone read: “For every hair on the maiden’s head, a Mohican brave would die."
The Sagamore, itself, has its own American ghost stories. Opened in 1883 as a playground resort for summer residents of Millionaire’s Row, this rambling property on a 6 million-acre state park is rumored to accommodate a ghost or two, apparently ones with good taste. Stories persist of the ghost of a silver-haired woman wearing a blue polka-dot dress descending from the second floor to the Trillium, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant.
Another apparition of a woman dressed in white favors Mr. Brown’s Pub, the casual dining room named for the first general manager of The Sagamore. Jump ahead to the mid-20th century, when another story tells of a little boy fond of collecting errant golf balls until one rolled into the road. Killed in an accident by a car, golfers say the ghost of that child can be seen wandering the course to this day.
Queen of the Gulf’s Galveston ghost stories
Stories about the mighty Hurricane of 1900 that hit the Texas Gulf Coast have been passed down a handful of generations since that storm swamped Galveston Island, killing 8,000 residents. More fatalities occurred that day than the combined death toll of all hurricanes to hit the U.S. since.
Although Hotel Galvez & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel and the grand old “Queen of the Gulf,” wasn’t built 1911, hotel staff and guests insist that the spirits of victims of the turn-of-the-century disaster roam these halls, the dining area and even the ladies’ room at the spa. They report candles extinguishing and dishes breaking on their own, and some guests say they can hear the laughter of children when no one is present.
Unexplained orbs populate photos posted on the internet, including those watching the hotel’s fifth floor “Ghost Bride,” associated with Room 501. The cause of the orbs? Retired concierge Jackie Hasan, born on the island and the fourth generation of her family to work at Hotel Galvez & Spa, tells the story of Audra, the bride who hanged herself from the widow’s watch turret when her mariner lover’s ship was reported lost at sea. As the story goes, the sailor did eventually return safely, only to find his bride had given up the wait in despair.
Hotel Galvez & Spa and its ghosts have been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Stories” and on Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab.” Watch for ghost tour packages during the month of September to coincide with the anniversary of the hurricane and an annual Halloween ghost tour and dinner in October.