It’s Friday the 13th and the ghosts and goblins are preparing for their tricks or treats on All Hallow’s Eve.
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to put a little fear in your step and a creep in your shadow.
Here are the Top 5 Huntsville Ghost Stories
The mansion known as Cedarhurst, which now sits in a small subdivision off Drake Avenue, is known to be the haunting ground of Huntsville’s most famous ghost. That ghost is fifteen-year-old Sally Carter, who died in the house in 1827 while visiting her sister.
In 1919, a young man staying in the room saw Sally and was told by the ghost to fix her head stone, which had fallen in during a storm. This appearance was only the beginning of the Sally Carter legend.
Over the next several decades, Sally’s ghost was repeatedly sighted. During these decades, children and teenagers would often visit Sally’s grave and eventually caused problems for the family so in 1982, when development for a new neighborhood began, Sally’s family had her body, along with the others in the family plot exhumed, and buried in Maple Hill Cemetery. The family never revealed the location of Sally’s new grave, but reports of her ghost continue to this day at Cedarhurst.
Huntsville’s Haunted Depot
Entering the historic train depot on Church Street, one of the oldest in Alabama, takes us back to yesteryear. The depot saw its last passenger train come through in 1968, and has since been converted to a museum. But at this museum, not everyone goes home at night.
The depot is the eternal home to several Confederate soldiers who were held prisoner in the building during the Civil War. The spirits have been seen on both the second and the third floors, while visitors to the museum report ghostly occurrences throughout the facility. There have even been reports of a phantom train engineer walking the platform out back, insuring that the tracks entering the station are clear.
Thomas Bibb was a State Senator, the second Governor of Alabama and a wealthy plantation owner. After his death in 1839 he was buried in a plot behind his plantation known as Belle Mina in Limestone County, but his eternal rest would prove to be anything but peaceful.
Not long after his burial his body was exhumed and taken to Maple Hill Cemetery where he was once again laid to rest.
It seems that Thomas Bibb is not happy with his new grave though because it is said that on the night of a full moon, a spectral carriage driven by white horses can be seen pulling up to Thomas’ grave, and the former governor will then exit his grave, get into the carriage and ride around the cemetery attempting to find his way home to his beloved Belle Mina.
The Dead Children’s Playground
Behind Maple Hill Cemetery sits a small park named Maple Hill Park, but more people know the park by its nickname, The Dead Children’s Playground.
The park gets this nickname because the ghosts of children buried in Maple Hill Cemetery can be seen and heard playing in the park once the sun goes down. Rumors of the haunting go back almost as far as the cemetery, but the main confluence of the stories center around the many children who died during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak.
Tales of swings moving to the rhythm of ghost children, the sound of phantom footsteps, and disembodied childish laughter enthrall visitors to the small park which has become somewhat of a supernatural icon.
Mary Bibb’s Rocking Chair
Mary Chambers Bibb was the daughter-in-law of Thomas Bibb, who on her wedding night was inadvertently poisoned by one of her servants. After an agonizing few weeks, Mary finally succumbed to death in May of 1835 leaving both the Chambers and Bibb families grieving. Such was the grieving that they wanted a monument to Mary’s life, to wit they had the first mausoleum at Maple Hill Cemetery constructed for her to be buried with her rocking chair.
It’s an oft-celebrated ritual among children in Huntsville to visit the old mausoleum in the oldest section of the cemetery and pay their respects to Mary Bibb not because of her prominence in life, but her prominence in death. It is said that if you visit the cemetery and knock on the wall, Mary’s ghost will answer your knock by rocking in her chair inside the crypt for you to hear.
Wil Elrick hails from Guntersville, Alabama where at an early age he developed a love for both trivia and history. He has spent the last 20 odd years, fine tuning the art of communication while working in law enforcement, writing, television media, historical research, and public speaking. He lives in North Alabama with his two boys, and a neurotic German Shepherd Dog. He one day hopes that Bigfoot is proven real. Wil’s new book Alabama Scoundrels is available from History Press.