Sunday, October 5, 2008

Appalacian Ghost Stories

This is a Carnival of Genealogy 58th Edition article - and with the spirit of genealogy it is all about those spooky stories about an ancestor. With this particular edition, you all have to guess if it is fact or fiction....and I won't reveal which it is until after October 15th (when the submissions are due)

Without further ado, here's the story:

When I was about 13, I went to go visit my Grandpa in Tennessee for two weeks with my cousin and my aunt.

My Grandpa lived in a small town called Elizabethton in Carter County. It is literally in the middle of the Appalacian Mountains in eastern Tennessee, right near the border of North Carolina. The town has one drive-in movie theatre and two ma-n-pa grocery stores. The real part of "town" is a street with a library, a small city hall, and a donut shop. People live on dirt roads and everybody knows everybody (literally). The place to be on a Friday night are at the church get-togethers or at this gigantic barn where everyone listens to country music and line dances.

So, this story starts off with the second night I was there. My Grandpa had made this delicious spaghetti dinner and everyone was sitting on the back porch talking. My Grandpa started telling stories of his teen years and I made the mistake of asking him what his parents were like. He quickly told me that he did not discuss his parents and I was not to bring the subject up again. Needless to say, I was very confused and a bit hurt but I kept to myself.

As I went to take everyone's plates into the kitchen, my Aunt Phyllis (My Grandpa's sister-in-law) took me aside. She told me in hurried whispers that she could help me fill in some of the gaps that I had in my genealogy. She offered to show me around the area and take me to where my Great Grandparents were buried.

So the next morning, my Aunt Phyllis, Aunt Deb, my cousin Jen and I went driving into the hills of Tennessee. The roads were filled with long winding roads. There were no houses, no street lights, no stores or buildings - Nothing. We finally turned down a dirt road and continued driving up the mountain. We finally reached a driveway that led up to a small one story house. It was abandoned and I learned that it had belonged to my Aunt Bet - my grandpa's sister. We walked carefully through the tall grass (we were warned against snakes) and got to the backyard. The grass was so overgrown, that you could barely see the fence. We walked into the fenced area to find a small family cemetery of sorts.

The most recent headstone was of my great grandparents - and it was one of the few that I could actually read. Everything was overgrown, and I began trying to push back the grass to take pictures. Although it was daylight, the trees and overgrowth made it difficult to see. Everyone was walking around the area, observing the stones and attempting to read them.

As I was trying to make out the letters on one plastic make-shift headstone, I thought I heard my name. I turned around to find everyone doing their own thing. I shook it off as my imagination and kept taking pictures. I was so facinated to be in the place of my ancestors final resting place.

I then began taking notes when I could've sworn I heard barking dogs. I looked around to find everyone looking nervously around - wondering where the dogs could possibly come from. There were no other houses could there be dogs. Then, my aunt screamed and we all began running towards the car. As I was running, I tripped over what I thought was a rock. As I looked down, I saw a small headstone in the ground.

I moved the grass back to find a small headstone with the words "Inf. Dau. of Monroe and Matilda Dugger". I instantly stopped and everyone began gathering around me. Everyone stared in confusion because they had never heard of an infant daughter that had died. My Aunt Deb was thoroughly creeped out and I had the chance to snap a photo before we left.

As we were driving home I noticed that my knee was bleeding. I began wiping the blood away with a tissue in the car - only to discover that there was no cut. I immediately felt the creeps.

Once we were back at my grandpa's house that night, my aunt grabbed a magnifying glass to look closer at my knee. Sure enough, we couldn't find a single cut or scrape...and no one else on the trip had been bleeding.

Alrighty - truth or fake? I think you all have some guessing to do...


Jasia said...

Oh I just love a good mystery! You've definitely got me wondering with this one, Elyse. LOL!

You're a really good writer. So good I can't tell if you're fibbing or not.

Hmmm. I'm going to take a guess and say that I think most of it is true but the ending with the blood on your knee was fictional.

I hope I'm right!

wendy said...

Elyse - I second Jasia's comment. You did a really good job - whether it is fact or fiction. Can't wait to find out!

T.K. said...

Good story, Elyse. I think fact!

Janet Iles said...

I am going to say fiction because of the blood at the end but the rest sure sounds like it could be real.

I loved the telling of your story.

Msteri said...

I think this was a great story and it is true, but I think there may be a spot of fiction in it also!


Steve said...

I can believe that all this happened, so I think the story is fact!


Beulah said...

Interesting to know.