Haunted Chapel Hill

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Clockwise from left: Gimghoul Castle, Horace Williams House, Carolina Inn.


By Jennifer Abella

The story goes that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein after having a waking dream of a man hovering over a “hideous phantasm.” Creepy, right? We might not meet in Chapel Hill and Carrboro until the summer, but here are a few local ghost stories to celebrate Halloween.

The Carolina Inn

The most well known hotel in Chapel Hill, the Carolina Inn was built in 1924, meaning it’s had plenty of time to develop a more than a few hauntings — about 20, in fact. The most notable one involves a Dr. William Jacocks, a physician with the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, lived in the hotel from 1948 to 1965. Although he didn’t die at the hotel, he’s said to be a resident still. More of a prankster than a malevolent spirit, he is said to often lock the doors of his room, No. 256, despite a renovation that turned his quarters (then Suite 252) into parts of four separate rooms. Some guests have reported music or items moved.

Gimghoul Castle

In the mid 1800s, a young man named Peter Droomgoole was in love with a woman named Fanny; the two would often rendezvous on the rocks at a site called Piney Prospect. A rival for her affections prompted Peter to challenge him to a duel at the site. There, Droomgole was killed as Fanny watched. Built in 1926, Gimghoul Castle now stands on the site. Some say you can see Peter there looking for Fanny or Fanny there thinking about her lost love, or see blood stains on the rocks during rainstorms.

Horace Williams House

Built in 1854 by a UNC chemistry professor, this house changed hands a few times until philosophy professor Horace Williams acquired it in 1897. After Williams died in 1940, some people reported item moved around inside the house, or seeing an old man there. Others hear footsteps, while some paranormal investigators recorded audio that seemingly included a little girl singing in the back yard.

Sources: “Ghosts of the Triangle: Historic Haunts of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill”; “Ghosthunting North Carolina”

Find links, photos and friends on our Jane Austen Summer Program page on Facebook — and follow @JASPhotline on Twitter and @janeaustensummer on Instagram!

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Find her on Twitter: @nextjen.

 

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