Stories written as told- not polished but personal accounts

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Jemm
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Stories written as told- not polished but personal accounts

Postby Jemm » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:44 pm

Stories written as told- not polished but personal accounts

Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2008
Spiritchaser

Baldwin Hill
By Joyce Brannan
I was looking outside of my back door onto my deck when I saw a column of mist float by. It was a deliberate movement. It wasn’t randomly blowing. It stopped at the French doors. It seemed like a long time to me, but it must not have been more than thirty seconds. Then it drifted away. I thought to myself, "What is that? A ghost?" Several months ago, I would have been very skeptical if anyone had said anything to me about ghosts.

Well, I explained it away to myself—river bottoms, mists, that sort of thing. Then later in the week on Friday night, I was sitting in the same place, and it was a dark night, and I saw these lights. I don’t know how long I had been seeing them. I wasn’t looking toward the highway—I was looking in the opposite direction. And I stood up, and I thought that maybe it was coming from where people park. So I kind of walked around here—I didn’t come out. I went to the utility room, and there were no lights reflecting from there onto the window. I went back to the living room and walked to my bedroom to see if there were any lights coming from my neighbor’s. The house was just as dark as it could be. The lights were flashing little bulb-like things—two were red and one was orange.

Then the following week when I locked up my house at night, I always open the front door, look outside, and lock it. So on this particular night I opened the front door. There’s a post outside at the end of the sidewalk, and I saw a man in a blue uniform standing there. I shut the door; then I opened it again, and I didn’t see it.

And then Sunday night, I’m going to bed. It’s just inky-black out here. I go into my bedroom, and standing here where I can’t see the highway, there’s a glow outside. The glow could be explained by the streetlight, so I’m getting ready for bed, and those lights start up again. There’s nobody outside, so I walk into my living room, and these lights are all over. I’m wondering, "Are these lights coming from Livingston? I need to get a topographic map. Maybe someone lives out there and I don’t know about it. The lights were so thick. I don’t understand."

This property is owned by Ken Seal. I have not met him, but his sister Lucy Seal and her husband Ken Baldwin own all of the property around here. And Ken is taking care of the yard and maintenance around the house, and I asked him about the ghost. He said, "Talk to my wife. She’s the one who’s seen the ghost." He also said that the girl next door has seen the ghost too. I can’t believe that I’m the only one out here who has seen everything.

(the stories are in the public domain )

Birmingham Public Library Archives
by Jim Bagley
Fate Magazine did a story on the library’s ghost. There’s one person here who thinks she has seen the ghost. She doesn’t want to be identified, but she has given me permission to tell her story. This was the Public Library until 1984. It was built in 1927. Thornley was the director in the 1950’s-1970’s. On the third floor of this building is the auditorium. Most of the sightings had been in that area. Our former archivist never actually saw him—doors opening, that sort of thing. That’s when the archives were on the third floor. Then two or three years ago, a young lady who used to work in our administrative offices was in the auditorium preparing for a reception. She was putting out drinks and things. When you go into the auditorium, the stage is in this end of the room. In the back are tables where they set up refreshments. There’s a doorway that leads to the kitchen. She said she was putting things out and she was alone and it was late in the day. She looked over and there was a man in a suit standing in the kitchen door. She said she looked at him, and he vanished. We tried to do a line-up with her. We took up some photographs. I showed her a picture of Fant and some other people and she wasn’t able to pick him out.

There’s a story about an electrician who was trying to work in the stacks area. I’ve heard different versions of the story. In one version, a man appeared and actually spoke to him. In another version, after he saw this person, he was frightened enough that he never went back into the stacks by himself. We have had staff members who haven’t seen anything, but because of the doors [opening and closing] won’t go into the stacks. We had one young lady a few years ago who wouldn’t go back into the stacks unless someone went in there first and turned on all the lights. The stacks are pretty dark and dingy, and there’s a light down each aisle.

What Marvin Whiting saw in the auditorium at that time was the swinging doors. Fant Thornley always smoked cigarettes—Chesterfields. He [Marvin] was up there late at night working, and he heard the elevator come up. The doors opened and closed, and he smelled cigarette smoke. At the time, there was no one in the kitchen. It was late at night, and there was no one in the building except Jim, the security guard. Jim said he never went up there, and a lot of people talk about the elevators. There are other people who have said that they have been in the library alone, and the elevator door opened and there was nobody there. I sometimes wonder if some of the staff haven’t been perpetrating Mr. Thornley’s legend. There was a staff member named Rochelle Sykes who said she heard the elevators running, but there was no one there. So that’s basically it.

Every Halloween one of the newspapers or TV stations comes over to do a story on Fant. Fant gets a lot of attention, and there’s not that much to the story.
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Re: Stories written as told- not polished but personal accou

Postby Jemm » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:45 pm

Heres another

Cedarhurst
by Dorothy Johnson
Sally Carter was the sister of the owner of Cedarhurst. I can’t remember her sister’s name. Anyway, her sister and brother-in-law owned the place. And she came for a visit. Well, she became very ill and died there. She loved it. She loved the place, so they buried her out in the back yard. And apparently, according to the legend, she walks the halls.

One night, there was sort of a family reunion. And she lived somewhere down in Central Alabama, but I don’t remember where. Anyway, they had a big family reunion, and that night, there was a bad storm, a very bad storm. One of the young men in the party the next morning had gone out and visited the graveyard and said something about Sally’s tombstone was--no, before he went out, when he first got up, he said somebody had visited him that night and told him that Sally’s stone had been knocked over. Well, when the family went to breakfast, he told them that. They made fun of him, so after breakfast, they went outside, and sure enough, her tombstone had been turned over. Now whether he dreamed it or she appeared to him or what happened, I don’t know.

But then the other story is that many many years later--in fact, during our lifetime--the owner of the home had seen Sally many times and didn’t think a thing abut it; she was not afraid of her--she was not an evil person. And one day, a friend of hers came. She [the owner] said, "Well, take your coat and put it in the upstairs bedroom." Which she did. And when she came back down, she said, "Oh, who was that lovely young lady I met on the stairs?" And she [the owner] very nonchalantly said, "Oh, that was Sally" and went right on.

And that’s really all I know. Now they did exhume Sally’s grave and put her in Maple Hill Cemetery. Now where in Maple Hill has been kept a guarded secret because the teenagers had got to the point where they were driving this lady crazy. And they would come in at all hours of the night and visit the graveyard, and it was terrifying her. She was elderly. So she put up a security light, and that didn’t help. So finally, they just moved Sally to Maple Hill Cemetery.

Cedarhurst is now used as a clubhouse. No one that I know of has noticed anything out of the ordinary there, but the people who are there now probably wouldn’t take about it if they did. I have never been to Cedarhurst. I felt like I would have been one of those unwelcome guests. I didn’t know the lady, and I didn’t think it would be the right thing to do to knock on her door and ask to visit the graveyard.
Cleveland House
by Louis M. Finlay Jr.
Well, Steven Cleveland was an adventurer. He was born here in Suggsville, which was quite a town back in the antebellum period. At a young age, he went to California to participate in the gold rush. He came back and built this house and married a local girl. He was also active in the Civil War. He helped to organize a troop of men to go and fight in the war. They were called "The Sons of the Grays." The story is told that when he went off to war, they gathered here in the yard of this house and went off to war.

Apparently, he was a very devoted family man. He had two children. As far as I know, he was a very well-respected citizen. He was an attorney who practiced law here.

Well, the story relates that when he went off to war, his son Walter was asleep. And rather than wake him up and go through a painful farewell, he rode off without saying goodbye. Walter had very hurt feelings. It took him a long time to get over it. So the next time Steven came back, he tried to make up for it. He promised Walter that he would never leave again without telling him goodbye. He took Walter on horseback with him. He rode him up the front steps and around the porch and then down the other steps. Of course, Walter was thrilled to death. He enjoyed it and asked to do it over and over again. And the story is told that when he came back from the war, Walter had died. This was August of 1863. Stephen was desolated by the death of his son. He was always close to Walter, probably closer than he was to his daughter. The clatter of horse hooves late at night and early in the were hours of the morning can still be heard around the house long after Steven’s death. And the story is that the clatter is Steven Cleveland taking his son Walter on a final ride around the porch, the ride that he was never able to take before he died.

Many, many years ago, my wife and I and my first cousin and his wife were spending a weekend here and were playing bridge very late one night. I guess it was about one or two o’clock--when suddenly we heard this loud clatter. It was unmistakably a clatter. It was not a possum or raccoon walking on the porch. Well, we were speechless. We sat there for a minute looking at one another. I rushed to the door and flung it open and looked out on the porch, but nothing was in sight.

People have given their own interpretations of the story. The house is used quite regularly by civic groups that have meetings out here. A lot of people capitalize onto the story and they’ll go out on the porch and make clopping sounds, like a horse is galloping on the porch, just to scare the people inside.
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