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hauntedheadnc
Sep 27, 2007, 6:45 AM
Stores have begun to set out their Halloween displays here lately, and you can feel summer's life slipping away as we get into autumn. With that in mind, I decided to do a photo tour of all the haunted places in the area that I know of personally and which are open to the public, or that at least can be easily visited. I'll add more as I take more photos. In the meantime, let Andy the cat, who poked out his left eyeball on a cactus spine, be your guide as we start off downtown, shall we?

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Click here for Part I's terribly fitting theme music. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8z6pJXXkKQ) Give it a second. About 15 of them actually. It takes a while to start.

Asheville City Building

The details are sketchy, as details of hauntings typically are, but it would appear that shortly after the stock market crash of October, 1929, the city finance manager jumped to his death from the roof, and it's believed that he's the resident ghost of City Hall. He appears in the basement snack bar, wearing an old-fashioned suit and bowler hat, where he waits patiently in line, only to disappear as he approaches the counter. Periodically also, city workers will arrive for work in the morning only to find their offices in disarray, despite the fact that security cameras showed no one going into or coming out of that office all night long.

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It looks awfully lonely there all by itself doesn't it? Let's put a friend or two into the picture...

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Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria

Barley's is located in an art deco building originally constructed as an appliance store, that was built near the epicenter of Asheville's worst mass murder. In November, 1906, an habitual felon named Will Harris became enraged when a woman he was infatuated with refused to have anything to do with him. He shot his way down Eagle Street, then up Broadway, killing five, screaming that he was the devil and didn't care if he got sent back to hell. He was, a few days later during a snowstorm when he was tracked down and cornered near the Biltmore Village train yards, and shot nearly a hundred times. Today, Barley's reports misbehaving elevators, voices, phantom lights, and most bizarre, phantom pedestrians seen strolling past the second floor windows.

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Basilica of St. Lawrence

This was the last project of master architect Rafael Guastavino, whose most famous commission may be New York's Grand Central Terminal. Guastavino is interred in the wall inside, in the Chapel of St. Mary. Meanwhile, the parish house next door and across a little courtyard, is haunted by a priest who keeled over in 1983 while watching The Thornbirds mini-series.

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The Chapel of St. Mary:

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The Main Sanctuary:

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The organ loft:

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Battery Park Hotel

Asheville made national news in July, 1936 when New York socialite Helen Clevenger, visiting the city with her uncle, was found murdered in room 224. She had been beaten and shot, and investigators originally thought the murderer had also attempted to remove her face, although it later turned out that she had been beaten with the butt of a gun, which had a jagged piece of metal protruding from it. Miss Clevenger, bloody and disoriented, is sometimes seen staggering through the halls on stormy summer nights like the one on which she died.

Meanwhile, tragedy visited the Battery Park twice more, in 1943 and 1972, when two men, Clifton Alheit and Michael Byrnes respectively, jumped from the roof. Both men used chairs to climb to the parapet of the roof to leap. Byrnes was a patient at Highland Hospital, a local mental institution, and had been allowed to leave the hospital to attend mass at the Basilica of St. Lawrence, across the street. There's no telling which one it is, Alheit or Byrnes, but the Asheville Police Department has actually taken calls from horrified witnesses who say they saw a body falling from the roof of the Battery Park and vanish halfway down.

The Battery Park Hotel, like other grand downtown hotels such as the Asheville-Biltmore and the George Vanderbilt, has been converted into low-income apartments.

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The falling bodies are seen on this side of the building.

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Chicken Alley

Chicken Alley is a scruffy little lane that runs from Woodfin Street, makes a 90 degree turn, and ends at Carolina Lane. It's always been seedy, and it's haunted by the ghost of Dr. Jamie Smith, who was knifed in a bar fight at a Chicken Alley tavern in 1902.

Scratched into the wall at the corner of Chicken Alley and Woodfin Street:

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Looking in from Woodfin Street:

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Looking toward Woodfin Street:

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Looking in from Carolina Lane:

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Church Street

Church Street, like many downtown streets, was built over a filled-in ravine. The difference is that the little cemeteries at the churches that give the street its name were not relocated first. Perhaps as a result, the ghosts on Church Street include a woman in old-fashioned clothing who appears to be searching for something and a nun.

These are the churches of Church Street.

Trinity Episcopal:

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Central United Methodist:

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First Presbyterian:

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First Presbyterian has its very own ghost -- a woman in a black dress affectionately known as "Black Abbey."

City gallows

The town gallows of Asheville were located at the spot where Merrimon Avenue intersected with Broadway, which was in turn located where the I-240 bridge crosses today. Merrimon and Broadway no longer intersect in the tangle of interstate, onramps, and offramps. On May 29th, 1835, James Sneed and James Henry, convicted of stealing a horse, were hanged. Sneed and Henry went to their deaths proclaiming their innocence. Paranormal phenomena centers around phantom sounds that include the clip-clop of horses' hooves, the sounds of a horse drawn wagon passing by, and the unmistakable sound of a gallows trapdoor slamming open.

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Jackson Building

Akin to the reputed ghost of the City Building, the Jackson Building is haunted by a suicide who flung himself from the roof upon losing his fortune in the stock market crash. A man in a 1920's-era suit has been seen in the open air gallery on the top floor, looking forlornly out over the city. He was captured on film once in the early 80's while the building was closed for renovation, when no one at all should have been in the building.

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Miles Building

The Miles Building was built in 1901 as a gentlemen's club before conversion into an office building. Among its tenants today is the city's local independent weekly, the Mountain X-Press. It's in the X-Press offices that staffers have heard the sound of someone settling into a squeaky swivel desk chair in an empty office, and where they have seen a man's arm in a white dress sleeve reaching out of the air toward a desk before disappearing.

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Pritchard Park

The land on which Pritchard Park is located was used as a staging area for local Civil War soldiers marching off to battle. Ghosts in the park include phantom mists and lights, and a confused-looking Confederate soldier.

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S&W Cafeteria Building

This building is sometimes considered the city's finest art deco edifice, although it's a stiff competition with the likes of the City Building and First Baptist Church. Nevertheless, a ghostly little girl has been seen on the interior balcony that overlooks the main dining room, in addition to a waiter in the hallway to the kitchen who will not hesitate to walk through anything or anyone in his way. In the kitchen itself, the cooler doors open and close on their own. Currently the building is vacant, but there are plans to open an upscale restaurant and coffee shop on the first and second floors, convert the third floor into condos, and build an addition atop the building housing more condos.

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Bonus shot: Next door to the S&W Building, they've been cleaning all summer, slowly and painstakingly, the facade of the Drhumor Building.

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Thomas Wolfe House

Like the Biltmore House, the Thomas Wolfe House is not "officially" haunted. Nevertheless, visitors and employees at this North Carolina State Historic Site have seen the ghost of a woman in the dining room, the ghost of a man rocking in a rocking chair in an upstairs bedroom, and a face peering from an upstairs window at night after the house is closed to tours. In addition, the sounds of a phantom typewriter clacking away have been heard in the house.

This is the boarding house where author Thomas Wolfe grew up and later immortalized as Dixieland in his novel Look Homeward, Angel. It was this extremely dense novel, whose title was inspired by a marble angel for sale at Wolfe's father's tombstone shop (which was located on the site where the Jackson Building now stands), that introduced many a high school student to Asheville against their will, engendering a hatred for the city called Altamont in the novel, that likely burned for years. Perhaps it was a disgruntled student who set fire to the house in 1998, heavily damaging the house and destroying 200 of the 800 artifacts on display. It took a six-year, $2.4 million renovation before the 1883 house, restored to it's 1916 appearance and condition, reopened to tourists.

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Bonus shot: This is the 9-story condo building rising next door to the Wolfe House.

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More to come later.

denveraztec
Sep 29, 2007, 4:47 AM
Thanks for the great pics and the detailed history about the haunted structures. Gets one in the mood of the season! Love the Basilica of St. Lawrence, beautiful but eerie once you know it is haunted.

hauntedheadnc
Sep 29, 2007, 5:01 AM
Thanks for having a look! I'll have more pictures to add next week.

LSyd
Sep 29, 2007, 6:46 AM
great pics. i can't wait to get back and visit. i felt an eerie feeling when looking at that corner of the battery park hotel, although i didn't see anything (and i think i've seen at least a couple ghosts in my lifetime.)

-

hauntedheadnc
Sep 29, 2007, 10:36 AM
great pics. i can't wait to get back and visit. i felt an eerie feeling when looking at that corner of the battery park hotel, although i didn't see anything (and i think i've seen at least a couple ghosts in my lifetime.)

-

Thanks!

hauntedheadnc
Oct 1, 2007, 8:24 AM
Barney the cat, who is going bald on his belly, shall be your guide as we explore farther afield.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Cats06.jpg

Click here for only the most appropriate theme music for Part II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWW3-rHbOEA)

Our first stop is Montford, a Victorian neighborhood just northwest of downtown.

Asheville Seasons Bed and Breakfast

The ghost of a kindly-seeming old woman, accompanied always by a small spectral dog, is seen walking from room to room at this small upscale inn.

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Riverside Cemetery

Riverside Cemetery is the largest in the city, and more than 13,000 people are buried inside its gates, including such luminaries as novelist Thomas Wolfe, short-story writer William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), politician Zebulon Baird Vance (Civil War-era governor of North Carolina and strong proponent of tolerance toward Jews in a very intolerant era), and photographer George Masa, a Japanese immigrant who was influential in the establishment of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A phantom Confederate regiment is sometimes seen marching in the cemetery, accompanied by the sound of gunfire. In April, 1865, the Battle of Asheville was fought roughly a mile away on property now preserved as the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

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Moving east away from Montford, we come to the Charlotte Street neighborhood, which encompasses the street, and the areas along several cross streets. And here we find the...

WhiteGate Inn and Cottage

There are two spirits at this inn popular with gay and lesbian visitors to the city. The ghost in the basement seems to belong to a suicide who hanged himself there and is described as "obviously disturbed." The other ghost, known as Miss B., is seen in the guest rooms and is described as "calm and warm."

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From Charlotte Street, one would need to head through downtown to reach the River District. On the way, one comes to Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, which grew up around the oldest building still standing in this city that was founded in 1797.

Smith-McDowell House Museum

The Smith-McDowell House was built circa 1840, and was a rare, and surprisingly opulent, brick mansion in a region that was at the time poverty-stricken and whose common building materials were wood and field stones. It is preserved as a history museum and there are four ghosts known to haunt the house. Visitors have reported having their names called out in empty rooms, whispers in their ears, and paranormal investigations at the house have recorded videos of balls of light moving about the house with a peculiar intelligence.

On the day that I visited, the house was decked out in black funeral bunting.

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In the River District itself, one finds a wealth of Victorian factory buildings and warehouses, now either falling into decrepitude, or being renovated for use as artists' studios and galleries. There is also the...

Craven Street Bridge

The ghost seen on the bridge is that of a naked young boy who is thought to have drowned after jumping from the bridge for a swim in the French Broad River.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville092403.jpg

Stay tuned for the next installment next week, when I run out of black cats, but not haunted locales!

RockHillJames
Oct 1, 2007, 11:06 PM
Spooky!

Why do so many people in Asheville kill themselves?...

Sweet tour.

Mr.YGuy
Oct 1, 2007, 11:42 PM
Great stuff! It is rather creepy.

Buckeye Native 001
Oct 1, 2007, 11:42 PM
Very awesome and entertaining tour, hauntedhead :tup:

hauntedheadnc
Oct 2, 2007, 12:46 AM
Thank you very much for looking and commenting. I really appreciate it!

Spooky!

Why do so many people in Asheville kill themselves?...

Sweet tour.

The supernatural reason would be the curse on the city, of course. Although, as I understand it, the way the curse is supposed to work more determines who gets to stay here and who doesn't. It dates to the Trail of Tears, when the native Cherokee were forcibly removed on a death march to Oklahoma, and cursed the land so that it would have as much of a hold on the white man as it did on the Cherokee. Basically, if you believe in such things (and I just think it makes for damn good folklore), if you come to Asheville and the city decides it wants you to stay, you will stay or else die or go insane. If you visit and the city does not want you to stay, you will die or go insane if you try to stay.

Now, the more realistic answer is that the city experienced a rash of suicides after the stock market crash because this was the quintessential Roaring '20's boomtown. Real estate speculators and investors were unabashed in their attempts to turn this city into the next Miami. And why not? From the 1880's on up until the Depression, Asheville was one of the most stylish and fashionable resort cities in the nation, if not the world. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived here for a time (and whose wife Zelda did go insane and was locked up in Highland Hospital), mentions it in his novels alongside the likes of Newport, RI and Palm Beach. There was a lot of money bet on building up Asheville in the 1920's and when the market collapsed, more than a couple of millionaires were left penniless. And so, they found a high place and jumped off. The men who jumped off the roofs of City Hall and the Jackson Building were just the most flashy of the suicides. There were also more than a few quiet deaths in the grand hotels, mostly slashed wrists and the like.

In addition to being a playground for the rich, Asheville was a health resort, which means that the city was littered with hospitals and sanitariums. People came here to get well, and I'm sure that when many realized they weren't they decided to end it on their own terms rather than let the tuberculosis dictate it for them. A legacy of being the premiere place for rich people to party also, this area got to be known for its nuthouses like Highland Hospital. This was where crazy relatives of wealthy families got shunted off to and locked up so that the gossips back home in Philadelphia and New York wouldn't have anything to talk about. Michael Byrnes, one of the suicides who jumped off the Battery Park Hotel, was a patient at Highland Hospital who'd been let out to go to church that morning. He couldn't resist the lure of an, ironically, 13-story fall instead.

So to sum it up, lots of sick people, lots of crazy people, and lots of money down the crapper. That's why bodies were falling like satanic rain, and the blood was flowing down the drain in Asheville.

Ooh... that rhymed. Spooky! :sly:

Austinlee
Oct 2, 2007, 3:31 AM
Nice tour. Love the downtown area. That graveyard is very photogenic also.

OfCourse
Oct 2, 2007, 7:12 AM
Nice. I love stuff like this. Creeping myself out. :yes:

hauntedheadnc
Oct 2, 2007, 8:14 AM
Thanks for looking and taking the time to comment. I'll put more photos up next week. If I can swing it, I'll be heading up to the most famously haunted locale in town.

raph93
Oct 2, 2007, 8:48 AM
Where is the famous synaguogue ??

hauntedheadnc
Oct 2, 2007, 1:47 PM
Where is the famous synaguogue ??

I'm not sure what you're referring to.

raph93
Oct 2, 2007, 3:47 PM
I'm not sure what you're referring to.

->> AMAZING ASHEVILLE FACT OF THE MONTH!-- SEPTEMBER!

BigKidD
Oct 2, 2007, 9:12 PM
Great photo thread hauntedheadnc. Also, has anyone put the film online?
Akin to the reputed ghost of the City Building, the Jackson Building is haunted by a suicide who flung himself from the roof upon losing his fortune in the stock market crash. A man in a 1920's-era suit has been seen in the open air gallery on the top floor, looking forlornly out over the city. He was captured on film once in the early 80's while the building was closed for renovation, when no one at all should have been in the building.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 2, 2007, 9:14 PM
->> AMAZING ASHEVILLE FACT OF THE MONTH!-- SEPTEMBER!

That was just a passel o' facts regarding this city's Jewish population as a whole. I do that from time to time. Once my little fact (and I know they're not amazing in the slightest, but I'm all about the irony) was about the city's Greek community. Another time it was about the African-American community. There's nothing special about the oldest synagogue in Asheville except for the fact that it was established in the 1890's, in a little city in the Southern Appalachian mountains, which would have been not unheard of, but certainly not expected back then.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 2, 2007, 9:18 PM
Great photo thread hauntedheadnc. Also, has anyone put the film online?

I haven't seen the picture online, but I did see it in a book about local ghosts called Haunted Asheville. It was taken by someone from the ground, around 2 in the morning one night in 1983 while the Jackson Building was being renovated and when it was locked and shouldn't have had anyone at all inside. It does indeed look like there's a man in a suit up there leaning out over the railing. Was it a ghost, or was it someone in a suit with a key to the building and an urge to walk up 15 flights of stairs who was feeling morose that night? Who knows? It's a good story though.

BigKidD
Oct 3, 2007, 1:51 AM
I haven't seen the picture online, but I did see it in a book about local ghosts called Haunted Asheville. It was taken by someone from the ground, around 2 in the morning one night in 1983 while the Jackson Building was being renovated and when it was locked and shouldn't have had anyone at all inside. It does indeed look like there's a man in a suit up there leaning out over the railing. Was it a ghost, or was it someone in a suit with a key to the building and an urge to walk up 15 flights of stairs who was feeling morose that night? Who knows? It's a good story though.
Thanks for the response. I always find these types of stories to be very interesting whether or not there is much truth to them.

xzmattzx
Oct 3, 2007, 2:11 AM
Interesting tour. The stories are a nice read. It seems that Asheville has some really nice neighborhoods as well, like Montford, Charlotte Street, and the River District.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 3, 2007, 3:01 AM
Thanks for looking. I went back and added theme music for each part. Wish I'd thought of that earlier.

Stephenapolis
Oct 3, 2007, 4:16 AM
You should invite the guys rom TAPS to Asheville. If you do not know who TAPS are, watch SciFi on Wednesday nights or they have a bunch of clips on YouTube as well.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 3, 2007, 6:45 AM
I've heard of TAPS but unfortunately, Anne Boleyn could ask one of them to hold her head while she skips rope and they still wouldn't classify her as a ghost.

Matthew
Oct 3, 2007, 4:51 PM
Interesting thread and beautiful pictures! It seems almost every old building and home in Asheville is haunted.

Ex-Ithacan
Oct 3, 2007, 5:34 PM
I've visited the city a couple of times and thought it was a great place. Still do, and hope to visit again. Wonderful pics and narrative, but you may have frightened the bejeebuzz out of me, and my return could be in jeopardy.

:eek: :uhh: :runaway:



;) :D

Thanks for the tour hh.:tup:

hauntedheadnc
Oct 3, 2007, 7:55 PM
Thanks for your comments. I wasn't able to get up to the haunted location that is the most famous in town, but I got the next best thing: the most well-known haunted location that refuses to publicly acknowledge that it is haunted no matter how many employees or visitors get the poo scared out of them, and the location where a job recruiter openly admitted to me personally that the place was crawling with dead things when I applied for a job there. I'll post the pics on Monday.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 9, 2007, 4:15 AM
For the next couple of installments, I'm going to have to take a scattershot approach, because I wasn't able to get all the pictures I wanted. I wanted to approach this neighborhood by neighborhood, like I did with downtown, but I'm going to have add pictures as I take them. Thankfully, I've been able to find theme music that is fitting for the entire city rather than just for specific locations. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q90dFq40380)

Let's start south of downtown in Biltmore Village. The centerpiece of Biltmore Village, naturally, is...

Biltmore House

Asheville would hardly be worth its spectral salt if it could not say its greatest landmark was haunted. Thanks heavens then, that dead people at Biltmore are so numerous that they fairly jostle one another at morning roll call. For starters there are disembodied conversations heard after hours in the Library and Oak Sitting Room, a woman in a black dress on the second floor (she's been known to follow employees home), a maid standing guard by a door on the third floor, a maid bearing a tray of champagne flutes who disappears and reappears as she walks along, a drunk 1920's flapper in the Halloween Room, screams and demented laughter that issue from the drain in the basement swimming pool, a man who glowers at visitors from behind the piano in the Music Room, and a headless orange cat seen in the gardens.

The gates are guarded by sphinxes.

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Another artistic shot ruined by lack of a tripod. As a result, Biltmore House lists to the right, as though taking on water.

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The daddy long-legs spider on Diana's head does not care about the previous ruined shot.

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A tourist fell down the stairs, which wind upward inside this staircase tower, the day I visited. Incidentally, one of the other supernatural phenomena reported here involves people complaining that something is shoving them bodily down the Grand Staircase.

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Note that in the upper left corner, I am accidentally giving the gargoyles the finger.

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Moving beyond Biltmore Estate into the neighborhood outside its gates, here's the...

Biltmore-Oteen Bank Building

It's last use was as The Melting Pot restaurant, which went under, literally, when the Swannanoa River behind it burst its banks during the floods of 2004. It's been empty since then. Its ghost, however, dates from the 1920's or 1930's, shortly after the bank was built. The ghost is that of a man who appears to be searching for something hidden in the walls.

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Elsewhere in Biltmore Village is the...

Midnite Rodeo Club

Pictured with the hauntedmobile parked in front, this nightclub is located in a building that is part of a warehouse complex nearly a century old. Remodeled to within an inch of its life, you'd never know it though. Hauntings were first widely acknowledged about ten years ago when another nightclub, called Coolworld, was located here. These strange phenomena included balls of lights flitting about the dance cages, and a blurry, translucent gray figure caught on security cameras walking along a hallway. Another such figure,or perhaps the same figure, was seen by eyewitnesses to walk across the dance floor and disappear at a spot where there used to be a door leading to an office.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville092404.jpg

Beyond Biltmore Village, you get into a large group of neighborhoods, some inside the city limits and some outside them, collectively known as South Asheville.

Pond Road

Pond Road, located in South Asheville near the Biltmore Square Mall and the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market, is haunted by a ghostly dog. Seen near the rock quarry about halfway along the road's length, a giant black dog is first heard howling, then seen trotting into view. It breaks into a dead run, leaps into the air, and vanishes.

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Looping northwest from South Asheville you come to West Asheville, a singular neighborhood. Like many of the city's neighborhoods, it was a separate city for a time until aggressive Asheville absorbed it. Other once-independent neighborhoods that befell annexation by the central city include Oteen, Montford, Biltmore Village, and Victoria.

Pastabilities Italian Restaurant

Located on the main street of West Asheville, this restaurant (excellent salads, decent pizza), occupies the old Isis Theater, which was built in the 1930's. The ghosts here include a little girl, a man, footsteps that ascend and decend the stairs to the old projection room, and the sounds of whispers and whistling. Objects leap from shelves, and most poignantly, the ghost of the owner's daughter seems to appear here. My waitress when I ate here told me that a mother and her young daughter were dining at the restaurant, and the little girl was carrying on an animated conversation with no one. Her mother asked her who she was talking to, and she replied, "Susie." Then she asked her mother to scoot over so that Susie could sit down. Susie was name of the owner's daughter.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville092502.jpg

In the northern part of West Asheville is a gem of a place, an old estate recently turned into the city's largest park. The estate was called Richmond Hill, the park Richmond Hill Woods Park, and the mansion at the edge of the estate, overlooking the French Broad River is now the...

Richmond Hill Inn

A man in an old-fashioned suit and starched collar is seen walking through the halls at night, and a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Zelda Fitzgerald haunts the F. Scott Fitzgerald Room.

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From Richmond Hill, you'd cross the river to get to Riverside Drive, which will take you northward into the Asheville suburb of Woodfin. It's a dumpy little town, but it has its charms, such as...

The Church of the Redeemer

Constructed in 1888 as a family chapel for a nearby mansion that burned down decades ago, this episcopal church features two Tiffany windows. The ghost here is that of a woman seen descending the stairs from the cemetery behind the church, descending the stairs that run all the way down the steep hill from the church, whereupon she reaches and crosses Riverside Drive, and walks into the river to disappear.

The cemetery. Those are the stairs running uphill through the middle. The church property, except for the spot where the church itself is fitted into the hillside, and where a small parking lot has been graded out, is sloped at about a 45-degree angle from the top of the cemetery all the way down to the road and the river beyond.

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From Woodfin, the easiest way to loop around the city is to go through another suburb, Weaverville, which has a charming little downtown. On Main Street, fittingly enough, there's...

The Inn on Main Street

This upscale bed and breakfast was built over a century ago as a doctor's office. This perhaps explains the blood stain that will not sand out, and which reappears if it is painted over or if new floorboards are placed over it. In addition, the back door locks and unlocks itself, opens and closes on its own, and on New Year's Eve, for whatever reason, pictures and paintings have a tendency to leap from the walls.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville100804.jpg

Beyond Weaverville, in northern Buncombe County, you'll find an historic homestead.

Vance Birthplace

Maintained as a North Carolina State Historic Site, the Vance Birthplace features several reconstructed cabins and outbuildings built atop the ruins of the originals. The main cabin features original fireplaces and chimneys thought to date from the 1790's. In 1830, Zebulon Baird Vance was born here. After distinguishing himself in a law career, he was elected governor of North Carolina in 1862 and served as governor throughout the Civil War. Later, he made a name for himself as a staunch proponent of tolerance toward Jews. This included impassioned speeches advocating allowing increased immigration of European Jews in search of a better life in America. Apparitions of men and women in very old-fashioned clothing are seen in the main cabin.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville100803.jpg

It's not far from the Vance Birthplace to...

Lewis Memorial Park

This cemetery's most notable feature is its art deco gatehouse. A ghost thought to be that of the man who donated land for the cemetery is sometimes seen riding through the graveyard on a horse. Other ghosts include an angry-looking man wearing a red plaid shirt, and a spectral dog that has chased at least one visitor out of the cemetery.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville100805.jpg

From here one can hop on Merrimon Avenue heading back toward town. You'll pass by the...

Northside Grill and Bar

This building once housed apartments on its second floor. At least one suicide, that of a woman, occurred in an apartment there. The second floor now houses a bar, and patrons and employees have reported an overpowering uneasy feeling there, in addition to sightings of a black, shadowy figure walking across the room.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb88/hauntedheadnc/Asheville100806.jpg

I'll have more pictures to add next Monday.

Top Of The Park
Oct 9, 2007, 5:07 AM
...but those two weird buildings at the beginning of the photos...really creep me out!

hauntedheadnc
Oct 9, 2007, 5:48 AM
Which buildings do you mean?

BigKidD
Oct 9, 2007, 8:51 PM
Spooky stories hauntedheadnc.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 9, 2007, 9:00 PM
Thanks for looking. As always, I appreciate it.

denveraztec
Oct 10, 2007, 12:22 PM
Love the additon of the pics of the Biltmore Estate to your thread and the additional history.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 23, 2007, 9:17 PM
Sadly, I wasn't able to get the pictures I'd wanted in time, and I still have five more locations to photograph. Hopefully I'll be able to get it all in by Halloween. In the meantime, here are two more haunted Asheville locations.

Evocative theme music compels you to click. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7h5wtOEYzo)

French Broad River

The French Broad River is estimated to be the third oldest river on earth, after the Nile and the New, and like those ancient rivers, it flows north. Asheville is the largest city to be located on the river. The original inhabitants of the area, the Cherokee Indians, had no name to describe its entire length, but called it Agiqua in the area where Asheville now stands. It was named the French Broad River by European settlers because it flowed northwest into what was then French territory, while the English Broad River flowed east into the English colonies. Asheville, by the way, was known as Kasdu’yi, which translates as "ashes place."

Cherokee legend speaks of two man-eating monsters in the river. The first is a mermaid who beckons, as a beautiful maiden, to people walking by the water. Get too close and she drags you in, reveals her true form of a rotting hag, and eats you. The second is a gigantic, carnivorous leech, large enough to eat a full-grown man.

Thankfully, no visitors to French Broad River Park, where the sculpture festival is in its second year, have been lost to either mermaids or leeches so far. We're keeping a close eye on things though, because you can never be too careful.

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The river is at its lowest level in memory due to the brutal drought that we're locked into around here. If there is a mermaid in the river, she's not happy. Today however, we got about an inch of desperately needed rain and that ought to cheer her up.

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There was a nice Mexican guy with long, braided hair fishing from the overlook near this bridge. I tried to take his picture but it came out too blurry to use. You can see by the marks on the bridge abutments, how high the water is supposed to be.

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Be aware that, mermaid or not, when venturing to French Broad River Park, there is the very real danger that you may encounter white boys break-dancing. (http://vimeo.com/319198/) Also, weird ladies wallowing all over a sculpture that looks kind of like a beached canoe.

Our second stop today is...

Calvary Episcopal Church

It's located in the town of Fletcher, which is a suburb that marks the halfway point between Asheville and the other primary town in this metro area, Hendersonville.

Ghosts and spirits are often thought to be unable to harm humans. This is a blatant lie. They can kick, punch, slap, bite, and harm in most of the same ways that humans can harm each other. Like humans, if they take a notion to, they can also lead you to your death. The ghost seen in the churchyard here is a young woman, caped and cloaked, astride a gray pony. During the Civil War, she was responsible for the deaths of a handful of Union soldiers who mistook her for a civilian out past curfew. They gave chase and she led them into a Confederate ambush. Some of the Unions soldiers were captured, and the others were killed. The woman on her pony still makes her rounds at Calvary Church.

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Not far from from my vantage point for this photograph, there was a freshly-dug grave. It was empty. I checked.

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atl2phx
Oct 23, 2007, 9:21 PM
nice! you should dust off the ashlycrumb tinies for the season.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 23, 2007, 9:39 PM
nice! you should dust off the ashlycrumb tinies for the season.

Thank you, and thanks for even remembering that thread. It is a rather fittingly morbid little poem for Halloween, isn't it?

The Ashelycrumb Tinies: An amusingly morbid little alphabet featuring my town. (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=134881)

DetroitSky
Oct 24, 2007, 11:14 PM
I couldn't stop reading the ghost stories :)

Thanks for posting.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 25, 2007, 12:22 AM
Thank you for looking and commenting.

hauntedheadnc
Oct 31, 2007, 5:34 AM
Sadly, this thread is...

http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/128347587844687500fail.jpg

http://icanhascheezburger.com/?s=fail

I was unable to get pictures of every location that I wanted before my self-imposed Halloween deadline. Therefore, I'll have to post my pictures of the most famous haunted locale in Asheville, while providing website links to the others. I suck.

First up, there's the...

Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa

http://www.groveparkinn.com/

Built in 1913, this is the haunted locale that got the supernatural ball rolling in Asheville. When this 500-room hotel publicly admitted its hauntings in 1995, it blew the doors open for paranormal research in the city. Now we're known as the fifth most haunted city in the country. The most famous ghost at the Grove Park Inn is the "Pink Lady," a beautiful blonde woman in a pink ball gown who is thought to have either fallen or was pushed over the railing outside Room 545, to die on the Palm Court two floors below. The Pink Lady is known for her fondness of little children as well as of police officers. This meant that one year when the hotel hosted a convention of police officers from around the state, it got hundreds of letters about odd experiences from law enforcement officers from all over North Carolina. Parents write in too to describe their children's experiences with the pretty lady in the pink dress. Other ghosts at the hotel include a woman in a lavender gown who has been seen walking on the golf course with the Pink Lady, a man in a bowler hat, a woman in the nightclub, misbehaving lights, migrating furniture, disembodied faces appearing in mirrors behind startled guests, workmen in 1920's garb, and, most frighteningly, bestial "things" that have chased workmen out of the utility tunnels.

On the grounds of the Grove Park Inn is the...

Estes-Winn Memorial Automobile Museum

http://www.grovewood.com/car_museum.php

The spectral phenomena here includes mysterious balls of light that have been captured on film both darting quickly and drifting lazily around the antique autos (inclusing a 1925 LaSalle fire engine) on display.

Other haunted lodging in the city includes the...

Biltmore Village Inn

http://www.biltmorevillageinn.com/

This Victorian mansion in the Biltmore Village neighborhood was built for Samuel Reed, George Vanderbilt's attorney, and his family. Several of the family's children died young, and can now be heard laughing and running up and down the back staircase. In addition, both Mr. and Mrs. Reed make their presence known, and phantom games of pool being played can sometimes be heard in the billiard room.

Moving on, the city is home to at least two haunted schools. The first, and creepiest, is...

Clyde A. Erwin High School

http://buncombe.schoolwires.com/caehs/site/default.asp

In 1973, Buncombe County decided to build a new high school on land it already owned in a suburban area called Georgetown, west of the city. It was originally thought that the land was only home to a small family cemetery that had served the farm that originally occupied the land decades ago. Nobody could remember why the county even owned the land, or when it had bought it, and the records had been lost or destroyed. Crews were called in to excavate the graves beneath a handful of old headstones.

Then more bodies were found. And more. And more. And more. First there were hundreds, and then the number climbed until more than a thousand bodies had been dug up and relocated to a new cemetery across the street from the high school. During lunch and after school, teachers and students from the old high school nearby (now Erwin Middle School), would gather to watch the contractors and excavators at work. One teacher recalled seeing a coffin lifted up and opened. It contained the remains of a woman in a long dress, with flowing red hair still clinging to the skull. In her arms she cradled the remains of a stillborn baby. A student remembered seeing a worker punch a hole into a coffin, pull out a skull and toss it aside to bounce away, shedding a set of false teeth as it went.

It turned out that the land had been used as a cemetery for a nearby tuberculosis hospital and the County Home, and was the resting place for vagrants, orphans, victims of epidemics, criminals, drifters, and anyone else who couldn't afford a respectable burial spot.

Worse, between 100 and 200 bodies are still thought to lie beneath the school grounds. Naturally enough, the school is bedeviled by phantom footsteps and temperamental electronics.

The other haunted institution of learning is...

Warren Wilson College

http://www.warren-wilson.edu/external_index.php

Located east of town in the suburb of Swannanoa, one of the buildings on the Warren Wilson campus was originally built as a slaughter house some time in the late 1800's. On occasion, this building is permeated with the odor of blood and fresh meat, and faculty and students alike have spotted phantom cattle in the basement.

This leaves us with what is undoubtedly the most famous haunted location in the city. Every town has defining urban legend, and this is ours. This is...

Helen's Bridge

Originally, Helen's Bridge connected nearby Zealandia Castle (which is still standing and is now the offices of the Festiva Resorts corporation), to its grounds across a narrow gorge. Supposedly, in either the late 1800's or early 1900's a servant who worked at the castle, Helen, lost her daughter to a fire that began during a party at Zealandia. In despair, she hanged herself from the bridge. Ever since, her ghost haunts the bridge.

To provoke Helen to appear, one must call out three times, "Helen, I have your child," which will cause a gaunt-looking woman with sunken eyes to materialize and demand her daughter's return in a dead and listless voice. Other versions of the legend state that Helen will appear on her own and ask if you've seen her daughter and know where she might be. Turning your back on Helen when she's in such a state or trying to get into your car and drive away will make her angry, and in the 1970's, some local teens got their picture in the paper because after they fled from Helen and her bridge, they discovered that Helen had left them a souvenir -- a handprint scorched into the paint of their car.

In addition, the bridge has become a hotspot for inexperienced practitioners of magic to attempt to commune with the spirits. This is probably the reason for the various inhuman creatures seen in the woods near the bridge, including a skeletal woman in a white lace gown with an impossibly long neck who I personally saw one night and do not ever want to see again.

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xzmattzx
Nov 1, 2007, 12:34 AM
Wow, so you've seen one of these ghosts yourself? What was the inhuman woman creature like?

hauntedheadnc
Nov 1, 2007, 1:55 AM
Wow, so you've seen one of these ghosts yourself? What was the inhuman woman creature like?

Creepy as all fuck is the short answer. Here's the long answer.

My friend Mitchell, a former practitioner of black magic who had reformed and then only practiced white magic (and yes, there are lots of people here who believe in and practice magic of all sorts), and I went up to Helen's Bridge one night because I'd never seen it before and he knew the way. We got up there, got out and looked around, and I remember thinking to myself, "Yep, that's a bridge alright." For what is the most haunted and most terrifying location in the entire city, it's extremely anticlimactic. We'd arrived around sunset and spent a few minutes poking around before getting back in his car.

We noticed we weren't alone. In the backseat was a woman who looked as though she'd stepped off the set of Titanic. Fancy lace gown, hair all done up. The works. You could see her out of the corner of your eye and in the rearview mirror, but when we turned around to look at her there was no one there. We tried that little trick a few times as we tried to figure out what to do, and basically all we could think to do was to drive to his house, so we started up the car and drove off. Him, me, and our passenger.

As we descended Beaucatcher Mountain, we noticed that while the woman's body stayed in the back seat, her neck stretched until her head was in the front with us. She looked at him, looked at me, and then her neck snapped back to normal. A little bit later, she did it again, and I noticed that when her neck was at its longest, it looked as though the knobs on her vertebrae were popping through the skin. Then her neck snapped back into place.

She did that two or three more times until we could find a gas station and get the fuck out of the car. We went in, got some drinks and tried to figure out what to do about it. It's not like you can just ditch your car if there's something scary inside, and finally, we figured that all we could do was go back to his house and he would try to cleanse the car by burning sage in it.

So we did, and the woman in the back rode all the way there, with her neck that would stretch up to let her look at us with this little smile on her face and never a hair out of place. I can remember how her earrings -- they were dangly and I think they might have been teardrop cameos like women wore back then -- would swing when she turned her head.

We got to Mitchell's house, got out, panicked just a bit because we'd had to drive all the way across town (he lived near Erwin High School ironically enough), and then he went inside and got some sage and a bronze bowl.

Sage is supposed to smoke when you set fire to it, and it's commonly used to chase off hostile spirits. It is not supposed to flare up as though it had been soaked in kerosene, but it did. He put the bowl of sage in the front seat, lit it with a lighter, and a tongue of flame shot up from the bowl all the way up to the roof of the car. It burned like that for a little bit, then the flame died down and sage smoke filled the car. We went in, watched some TV, and when we came back out, he pronounced the car clean and happily vacant.

That is undoubtedly the most intense experience I've ever had with the paranormal, and this is coming from a man who has personally witnessed books flying across rooms, and who once saw a headless man descending the stairs at the hotel where I used to work. I did not like that experience and don't want to go through it again. I know that our little hitchhiker wasn't necessarily skeletal, but I have heard that others have seen her step out of the woods by the bridge with that pretty dress clinging to nothing but bones, with her skull wobbling atop a giraffe neck of vertebrae. At least in our case she was still fleshed out. Seeing such an impossible skeleton would freak me out too much.

In other news, I learned of two more hauntings today that I wasn't aware of. Folks who live near what remains of Highland Hospital sometimes hear screams and see burning people walking the streets near Homewood Castle, which was once part of the hospital. The hospital itself burned down in 1948, and its most famous victim was Zelda Fitzgerald.

The other haunting appears to be not the victims, but the perpetrator, of a murder on Waneeta Street. The ghost is that of a man carrying a bloody length of pipe. In the 1920's two women were bludgeoned to death in a rooming house on Waneeta Street, and the murder was never solved.

For those of you who have enjoyed this thread, would you like me to still put up photos of these locales as I acquire the pictures? I really wanted them all by today, Halloween, but circumstances just didn't allow it in time.

LSyd
Nov 1, 2007, 1:00 PM
thanks for the additional pictures and info.

-

LA101
Nov 8, 2007, 3:20 AM
Very cool idea for a thread. Thanks for posting the pictures and stories/descriptions.

Maybe it will inspire others to do the same next year.

FightinIrish
Dec 5, 2007, 5:41 PM
Haunted, great stuff. The wife and I are visiting Asheville for a whole week the week of Christmas and would love to visit some of these spots, especially Helens bridge. I have read about an abandoned campground in shiloh called the whorehouse. Any ideas on that one and possible directions how to get to both locations.