Monday, July 4, 2011

Old Salem Ghost Story

I recently returned from a trip with my family to Old Salem village in Winston-Salem, NC.  It's a completely restored 18th century Moravian village with surprisingly few ghosts lingering around.  One ghost story, however, did catch my eye because it's not scary -- just very evidential.  One night, a sickly gentleman checked into Old Salem's tavern.  He later died that evening, and because he had no identification on him, the tavern owner told his employees to put his saddle bags in storage and bury him in the stranger's section of the cemetery.

But just days later the employees started complaining of hearing strange noises, things moving and seeing a ghost reaching out to them in the hallway.  Each time, the employee would run and tell the tavern owner who did not, of course, believe in such foolishness.  About a week after the stranger died, a female employee of the tavern keeper ran into his office and said, "He's there!  The ghost!  He's in the hallway."  The tavern keeper had had enough of these alleged haunting, so he slammed his ledger book closed, walked out into the hallway and almost into the ghostly figure of the stranger who had died in his tavern.  But the tavern keeper was not a man to turn tail and run.  He stood his ground and said, "What do you want?"

The ghost said, "Please, write this all down."  The tavern keeper went to his office, retrieved a piece of paper and wrote down all the ghost had to say.  He told the tavern keeper his name and gave him his brother's name and address in Texas.  "My family must know what happened to me."  The tavern keeper gave him his word and the ghost disappeared.

Now, the tavern keeper could hardly believe what had just happened to him.  Still, a man's word is his honor, so he wrote a letter to the man the ghost had called his brother and told him about the untimely death of his brother and mailed it off.  A few weeks later, a letter arrived confirming that he was indeed the brother of the ghost and asked that he send his saddle bags and any other belonging to the Texas address.

The tavern keeper never again referred to talk of ghosts as foolishness.

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