Ghosts in the Gorge
“A very numerous crowd of beings resembling the human species, they were of every size and all clad with brilliant white raiment, and they appeared to rise off the side of the mountain.”
This account was told by a woman named Patsy Reaves on July 31, 1806. She and her children related that while they could not make out any distinct features, the images ranged from infant to adult with no distinction as to gender. Legends of ghostly sightings within the Hickory Nut Gorge and the tales they sparked date back to the early 1800’s. The Reaves family’s report was confirmed by other eyewitnesses. One such testimonial was given by a man by the name of Robert Siercy.
After spending the next hour watching the strange spectacle, he told of seeing the mystical throng rise to the top of Chimney Rock. When all but a few had gathered there, three members of the crowd advanced upward above the others, hovered there then led the congregation of shining beings up through the air to disappear heavenward. Five years later, in 1811, five other people witnessed the same sight in the same place, further fueling the Reaves family account.
Ahh, but what of the fierce battle enacted high in the air?
Subsequently, this strange event was seen in Chimney Rock as several witnesses claim to have seen a pair of armies, riding tiny, winged horses. These armies met in a fierce battle high in the air. Over the next several days, the warriors, brandishing swords, would circle one another in the sky over Chimney Rock. The witnesses told of hearing clashes of metal and groans of the wounded, which lasted about ten minutes. At the end of the battle, the defeated army retreated, and the victorious army disappeared into the darkness.
Soon after, a public meeting was held in the nearby town of Rutherfordton to discuss this. The attendees concluded that the battle was a divine vision. It was believed to represent a time warp, revealing highlights from the not-to-distant Revolutionary War. A peek into the future? Maybe. Maybe not. But certainly, an awesome sight to see!
Fast-forward a hundred years or so,
tales of the ghosts who haunt the Lake Lure Inn, built in 1927, raise a few chill bumps. In the 1930’s the story came about of a jealous groom who murdered his wife for talking to another man in the Inn’s lobby. The couple were staying in room 217-218, which was at that time one large room. Since that tragic time, guests have described an overpowering smell of roses in those rooms, furthermore, some have even reported seeing a lady in white roaming the halls.
The Bottomless Pools located nearby were the spot of a 1985 calamity. A young boy from a nearby town slipped on a mossy spot and fell from a rocky ledge. Tragically, he perished in the pools. Several people have told of seeing a boy fitting his description wandering the halls of the Lake Lure Inn. Housekeepers have also whispered of hearing the sound of bouncing balls in the basement, and of one in particular being teased by the boy. On one instance, she said she felt her hair being pulled straight up above her head. Hair-raising, indeed!
The beautiful Flowering Bridge is a popular spot for visitors to the area and full-time residents alike. But few know is it used to be referred to as Clementine’s Bridge. The bridge is said by some to be haunted by Clementine, a beautiful young woman who was water skiing in the 1960’s, lost her balance and as a result was hurled into the bridge, where now her spirit still lingers.
So many stories, told and retold through the years. Many of them based upon actual facts, many embellished, but every one of them important. For it is through our stories that our history is formed. The history of Hickory Nut Gorge.
Written by Andrea Stewart and Melva Dye