Since I’ve been on this southern history and literature reading frenzy lately, ghosts pop out everywhere. I would venture to say it is almost impossible to read a Southern writer without stumbling over the ghosts and grannies fogging his gaze.
Down here, between the thick aroma of honeysuckle and the slivered shade of the magnolias, we live in the comfortable clutter of dusk; what is hidden can be overlooked in an ongoing battle with mosquitoes. When we look back, we lose our sense of direction and linger. So it is with the South and its grumpy ghosts, spirits left on the margins of history, memories who have turned the margins into mansions.
You can’t see the South without catching a glimmer of its ghosts. Call it fiction, fantasy, crazy, or folksay. Call it whatever enables you to read it. What folllows is a list of favorites to bring along during your summer travels.
The infamous Jeffrey, illuminated by the stories of Ms. Windham.
alina’s favorite alabama ghosts & their stories
Albertville has a cemetery in which you can hear a girl ghost humming Amazing Grace at night.
Mobile is home to a number of forlorn spirits. Confederate soliders haunt the Spanish Fort area. A home in Midtown is haunted. And the ghost in a historic Mobile home unnerves its “rightful” inhabitants. According to staff, the Mobile Carnival Museum is haunted.
Jacksonville has a tunnel in which a worker was buried. His ghost is said to haunt his unburied body.
Huntsville‘s Cedarhurst Mansion remains haunted by history.
Suggsville is home to the eternal story of a father’s love for his son and its spiritual remains, which lurk in the Cleveland House.
In Oxford, a bridge is called Hell’s Gate because it is said if you stop on the bridge and turn around, the road behind you will look like the fiery gates of Hell. Many years ago a young couple lost their lives on this bridge. On a dark night, if you stop on the bridge and turn off all the lights, a member of the dead couple will get into the vehicle, leaving a wet spot on the seat.
In Union Springs, I’ve uncovered a few mysteries and secrets that verge on the ghostly.
Gulf Shores has its ghosts as well. Fort Morgan is said to be haunted by the ghosts of long-ago wars.
In Florence, the UNA Bookstore is said to be haunted.
In Tuscaloosa, Smith Hall is rumored to be haunted. As is the old Bryce Hospital. And various fire towers. And lake landings. And trails near campus. And gazebos. And anyplace under a harvest moon.
Selma offers respite to the ghosts of the Sturtivant Home.
Demopolis boasts the legendary ghosts of Gaineswood.
In Birmingham, the ghost of John Jowers still lingers around Sloss Furnaces.
Montevallo is frequented by the ghost of Colonel Reynolds, who insists on his rightful due at Reynolds Hall. And Col. Reynolds is not the only spook in town. Trummy also haunts Palmer Hall.
The ghost in the courthouse window of the Pickens County Courthouse has become a legend in our state.
In Anniston, the girl’s locker room of the Anniston High School is haunted by a former, heartsick student. Also, the Stringfellow Memorial Hospital has two ghostly residents, while a suicidal nun haunts the Parker Memorial Church. If you fancy dining with a ghost, have a meal at the Victoria. And if you want to be seriously scared, set up shop in the old Blockbuster building.
In Coatopa, there is all kinds of spiritual excitement at Leehaven.
Athens has its share of spiritual events. The ghost of winsome Abigail appears arounf Macandless Hall.
Munford harbors the ruins of a foundry said to be haunted by the ghosts of children killed on its soil. The Hill Elementary School is said to be guarded by the ghost of the former principal and founder of the school, Ophelia S. Hill, who died outside the school by being struck by lightning. Also, there are many odd things which happen at Cemetery Hill and Gravity Hill which no one can quite explain.
In Gallant, the ghosts of children come out to play in the Conn Cemetery.
Never Mind Them Watermelons is an Alabama ghost story about a man who didn’t believe in ghosts.
Little Cottage in the Woods is a ghost story (that includes an audio version) which takes place somewhere in the echoes of Montgomery.
The Last Confession is a ghost tale which includes a Catholic priest, a Bronco, and the town of Phoenix, Alabama.
You Can’t Keep Up is a ghost story that takes place in an unamed small town on hiking trails and lakes. Classic style.
Stranger in the Church is a ghost story (with audio version) adapted from folklore in Red Springs, Alabama.
The Clik-Bok Tree is an awesome spirit story which travels from the sands of Africa to the red dirt of Alabama. A great read for kids.
Sleepyhead is a tale (with audio version) that hails from South Alabama and includes a witch.
Skull Lake is a goose-bumping tale (with audio version) about a death, a mineral company, a swimming hole, and a memory that can’t sleep.
There is an old haunted house in Clay County along the Ashland-Watts Mill Road.
The ghost of Mr. George Dunning will not fade away.
And then there’s the lovely, recently-deceased Kathryn Tucker Windham, a legendary local storyteller and a very special lady.