Friday, October 10, 2008

Just a short post this time. I recently put up the museum's latest exhibit, which explores some of Spartanburg's haunted places. It opened on Tuesday and we have had an extraordinary response since that time. Apparently lots of people are interested in local ghost stories.

Most of the ones I wrote about in the exhibit appear in publications about ghosts in the upstate, but the exhibit also includes a map of the city, with ghost sightings marked on the map with red circles. Several people have contributed their own stories, and we've added marks to the map accordingly.

Ghost stories are best told orally, so I dare not ruin any of the good ones by trying to reproduce them here.

I will, however, say that there are some spots in Spartanburg that need ghost stories, in my opinion.

Very few people know that there used to be stocks, a whipping post and a pillory on Morgan Square, or that the original jail was also located there. Although I've never heard one way or another, I speculate that the jail may have also had a gallows. The later jails did.

Then there is the story of John Henneman, the German-born jeweler and clock-making merchant who later became mayor of Spartanburg. He was murdered after trying to break up a fighting couple sometime in the very late 1800s. Can you imagine today if Bill Barnet heard a domestic squabble, drew his gun (presumably while carrying his concealed weapon permit), walked up into the house, and got shot dead? Don't do it, Bill!

I wonder whether there are any trees still standing where lynchings took place. Comparatively speaking there weren't that many in Spartanburg. But talk about a scary image: A lightning flash illuminates a dark figure, dead weight hanging from a tree limb, a twisted and beaten face.

The best haunted house I ever visited was in an old mill house and ever since then, I've thought that old mill villages at night were very creepy places. Generations of struggling families that could be kept on or cut off by the company at any given moment. Surely, some poor mill worker somewhere got fired and evicted and killed someone as retribution.

That's enough scariness for now. Don't these scenarios have the perfect elements for a good haunting? Maybe these ghosts do exist and no one has known enough to piece the elements together.

If you have a ghost story that takes place in Spartanburg, tell me!

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Nice post. It's a great time of year to talk about Spartanburg's spookier side. By the way, we picked this post for our weekly Blog Report on SpartnburgSpark.com.