The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Haunted Houses and Ghosts

By Monroe Tipton © 1984

Issue: October, 1984

Back many years ago, my great-grandfather, John Floyd Tipton, was much of a man, so people tell me. He was not afraid of anything, weighed around 200 pounds and was never whipped in a fist fight.

There was a two story frame house down on Big Reed Island river near Allisonia, Virginia and no family would stay more than a night or two and then move on. It was found out the reason was that it was haunted.

Now my grandfather said there was no such thing as haunts, so the owner of the place offered him $100.00 if he'd stay all night and be there the next morning when he came with the $100.00.

My grandfather took an oil lamp, some books to read and piled 13 big back logs against the door. He lit the lamp and settled back to read. A little after midnight, the door flew open, the light went out and John Floyd hit the river full speed ahead. He left his hat and was not seen for almost a week, as all that back then was much of a wilderness. Anyway, people tells me he did not want to talk about it. The old house finally burned down.

Another house down the other side of Indian Valley was where no one would stay but a short time. I passed there and a family was moving out. I asked them why so soon and they told me that every night around 3:00 a lock chain would be dragged down the steps. They were not going to put up with that any longer.

I had a cousin, and we used to go courting over at Grape Hill at Burkes Fork. One night, I couldn't go, but he did. When I saw him the next Wednesday, he told me this. The road we walked on went by a cemetery. Now, on that Saturday night he got right beside of that cemetery and happened to look up there and he said something white was waving for him to come up there. He said his hat began to raise up on his head and cold chills were running up and down his backbone. He looked down at his feet and said, "Don't fail me now." He run all way home, which was about a mile and a half.

Next day, he decided to go back and have a look around. What he found was a white piece of cloth hanging on a blackberry briar and the breeze was making it look like something waving at him.