As you step outside, you might notice there is a crispness in the air and colors changing in the foliage. Local shops and big box stores are dishing out the best Halloween décor and merchandise; it is obvious that the spooky season is upon us! In my opinion, it is definitely one of THE BEST times of the year! With fall and Halloween knocking on our doors, it is only appropriate that we swap ghost stories and the coolest haunts in town.
As some of you may know, I grew up as a local here in Huntsville! My dad often tells me stories of growing up in downtown HSV and all the fun things he would do back in the day. One particular story that stands out to me, is one of the local teens in the 60s who would often visit Sally Carter’s haunted grave! I would say I definitely get my love and fascination of the paranormal and all things spooky from my dad.
If you are unfamiliar with this particular ghost story, let me indulge you with a quick tale. The year is 1837 – Sally Carter, just three weeks shy of her 16th birthday, was visiting her sister at the Cedarhurst Mansion in Huntsville, Alabama. After falling ill during her stay, Sally sadly died in her sister’s home and was even buried on the property. The ghost stories began in 1919 after a young man staying in Sally’s bedroom was visited by her ghost in the middle of a stormy night. He claimed she told him to fix her gravestone, which had fallen over during the storm. The next morning, he visited her grave to find that the gravestone had INDEED fallen over. Teens and adolescents (and maybe even adults) visited the gravesite throughout the years, and many reported seeing the white ghostly figure of Sally Carter herself. The Cedarhurst mansion has since been transformed in to a clubhouse for the surrounding community, but there are still stories of paranormal encounters with Sally Carter to this day.
While you may not be able to visit Huntsville’s infamous “Sally Carter’s Grave,” (the family understandably exhumed and relocated the bodies to an undisclosed location at Maple Hill Cemetery), there are still plenty of opportunities to have an excitingly spooky good time. Below I have listed three of my favorite local haunts where many people, including myself, have claimed to have had paranormal experiences. I even included some information on Huntsville’s popular ghost walks downtown for y’all. Might I dare you to visit these locations and find out if they are haunted for yourself?
The Historic Lowry House
1205 Kildare Street
One of the most haunted locations in Alabama, the alluring and mysterious Lowry House was built in the 1850s and encompasses much history on its property. It is open to the public and offers personal or group tours of the preserved home. The tour includes fascinating information on the history of the home and a variety of different exhibits. Many ghost sightings have been reported here, including one of a full body apparition in the kitchen. Click on the link below to watch a short clip on this historical haunted house! Visit the historic Lowry House to learn some history and maybe even encounter a ghost!
The Weeden House
300 Gates Avenue SE
The historic Weeden House was built in 1819, the same year Alabama became an official state! This famous Huntsville location is not only a museum, but is a beautiful site for weddings and other events. Furnished with original period pieces and artwork, this house is the oldest house in Alabama that is open for tours. It is full of history and many claims of paranormal activity; the Weeden House is even included in the Huntsville Ghost Walk tour.
Dead Children’s Playground
1351McClung Avenue SE
“Dead Children’s Playground” – such a dreadful name for a place that is supposed to be a joyful and fun place for kids and adolescents. How did this location earn such a name? Well, if you are unsure let me fill you in on the details. In 1918, the Spanish Flu Pandemic ravaged through Huntsville killing hundreds of the Tennessee Valley Children. Maple Hill Cemetery, which adjoins the playground, is said to be the final resting place to most of these children. Legend says the spirits of these children haunt the playground, using the swings and playing in the afterlife as they did in the previous one. Orbs have been captured in pictures, and tiny children’s handprints have been reported to cover cars that have been parked there at night. Visit this spooky location, and don’t forget to take pictures! I visited this location as a teenager, and I can affirm the swings DO swing on their own. CrEePy! 😉
Huntsville Ghost Walk
124 Southside Square
Huntsville offers ghost walks on Friday and Saturday nights during the months of September and October. There are three different tours through various sections of town: Old Towne Historic District, Twickenham Historic District, and Haunted Downtown. I have personally taken the Old Towne and Twickenham Ghost Tours, and I have to admit that it is an educational, fun, and creepy experience. I highly suggest inviting a group of people and making an adventure out of this experience!
This city is grounded in history, and with all this territory dating even before the civil war, there is no doubt why there are so many claims of paranormal activity. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, one cannot deny that the stories and experiences are exciting – tickling the cognitive senses (maybe more if you have actually encountered a ghost). If you go on a ghost hunting adventure, be sure to tag @wearehuntsville and @mandyypanda on Instagram and Facebook so we can follow along on your excursions! Know any good ghost stories or other haunted locations? Let us know in the comments!
Mandy Panda is a Huntsville native, who has a passion for fun, adventure, and living life to the fullest. She can be found gallivanting around Huntsville with her five year old daughter or her friends! Mandy holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from The University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is also a life loyal alumnae member of the sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi. Mandy was recently featured as the first Voice of Huntsville for The Scout Guide in December 2020. In her spare time, Mandy loves to hangout with family and friends, go on nature walks, paint, or play her ukulele. Be sure to follow her adventures on Instagram and YouTube!