Randomly searching Amazon.com our local bagpipe player extraordinaire has come across RG's new book, Ghosts of the Yadkin Valley!
No kidding. How about that? I haven't even seen it yet, but I hope to get one in the mail this afternoon. How did Amazon.com find it so fast?
Ghosts, whether you believe in them or not, have become big business. And North Carolina is Famous for dozens of them. We all know ghost stories.
We took the Ghost tour at Wilmington, where we smelled the sweet scent of dried tobacco, not burning cigarettes, but dried on the auction floor tobacco. I wondered how that could be, but being in a section of town with old boardwalks, I rationalized it, until we came around the corner and the guide stopped us in front of house where two 20th century reporters were chased out of their overnight stay by furniture moving across the floor in front of them. "Some people," the guide said," see the rocking chairs rocking or may smell tobacco in this spot"
I just about lost it. Now I know what tobacco smells like. I lived in Wilson, NC for a short time. In the late summer/fall, when the tobacco market opened and the news announced the prices of various kinds of golden leaf, you could smell the sweet scent in the air. It was kind of reassuring, like flowers all over the furniture market I guess. So I have actually had a ghost experience in NC and I can talk about it.
We also went with PJs band to competition in Williamsburg, Va. where we took a ghost tour. RG went on a ghost tour in Savannah, Ga. So why not? One night we were in Wilkesboro walking around the courthouse and thinking about The Tory Oak, ol' Tom Dooley and Anne Foster, etc. and we both thought it would make a great ghost tour site as well.
RG is President of the Wilkes Heritage Museum which is housed in the old court house. He wrote a script and sent out the word to the friends group that the museum wanted to create a ghost tour to earn some money. Word spread! Folks invited RG to visit to tell them all about their experiences in the square around the courthouse (surveyed and laid out by William Lenoir). He went on so many interviews, he felt like a private investigator or a counselor. Anyway, there were plenty of stories.
The ghost tours were born in 2005. About 400 people attended the first series after it was listed in the Winston-Salem Journal. The paper even went on the tour and wrote a great story. RG was so proud he announced he was going to write a book and so help me the paper printed it. Uh-oh, now he has to write a book!
But he put it off. Finally, someone called from Canada wanting to know some of his stories. He politely suggested they come take the tour . And another local author started working her way up the river with stories. He decided he'd better write it this year and so he did. And so look at that! Published.
We are going to a book signing at the local Barnes and Noble soon. That's my photograph of the courthouse on the front of the book, so he has invited me to stand around and greet the masses too.
The NC Department of Commerce, tourism division listed ghosts of NC as a theme for economic development. But seriously, we have had paranormal investigators in the buildings finding EVPs. RG was on an internet radio show about the ghosts and a ghost-hunters convention is to be held in Wilkesboro later this year because of it. So we will have tourists. We hope to land those guys from TAPS. NC PBS has already had it on NC Weekend. There is a following for these kind of things.
Wilmington "hosted" Lord Cornwallis and his headquarters was featured in the Wilmington Ghost Walk. My next quest is the ghost tour at Beaufort. I'm not sure about their Revolutionary history. I'm going to look for it. But! I know they have Blackbeard!
PJ should be enjoying Gettysburg by now. Last time his friend went, he and his mom heard drums in cadence. AND, RG's book has arrived!!! It's full of colonial ghosts. Pleasant Dreams....