Lakeforest is a quiet neighborhood. It is hidden away in one of those areas that used to be farmland and swamp. It is off the beaten path. The houses there vary is size and type. The houses around the lake are million dollar mansions. They are large and presumptuous. They are the houses of people who want the world to know their wealth. In other areas of the neighborhood, the houses are more middle class. They are four bedroom, three bathroom American homes that are perfect for the average family. The neighborhood is new and clean and typical and seems like the least likely place for a haunting. The neighborhood is so young, it is hard to imagine any accumulation of sorrow that could create a ghost.
However, tragedy and ghosts do lurk in the quiet history of this ordinary neighborhood. The pool at Lakeforest is a crowded party during the long Alabama summers. During the day, children fill the water. The sounds of splashing and laughter drift up from the pool and linger in the air around it. During the sticky, hot evenings and weekends the adults come out. They sneak in beer and alcohol that is strictly forbidden by the pool rules. The adults don't care. It is all in good fun. It was one such group of adults that begins this tale of ghostly woe.
One Saturday night, a group of friends gathered around the pool, drinking and laughing and trying beat the heat. The night progressed and they decided to go back to the house. They all loaded up in one truck. People sat in the bed of the truck. They knew they were drunk but it was such a short drive they thought they couldn't get into any trouble driving. On the way home, the driver hit a bump. In his tipsy state, he didn't realize what was coming. When he hit the bump, one of the men in the back was thrown from the bed of the truck onto the driveway of a house he was passing. The man died in that driveway while he was waiting for an ambulance.
The homeowners will never forget that night. Finding a dying man in your driveway isn't something you forget. They watched the man draw his last breaths and watched him be driven away. It isn't just the memory that haunts them. It is also the ghost of the man. He lingers in the shadows of their home. He makes odd noises and sometimes they can even catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of their eyes. They aren't sure what he is waiting for. Maybe he just doesn't know where else to go.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
But there is more to the story of the Pope Mansion than can bread on plaques. It is said that Leroy Pope Mansion is haunted by the ghosts of two slaves who still roam the property. These two ghosts like to bother audience members of touring groups, and one was even mistaken for a costumed character once. Steve Genty caught some wonderful photographs of ghosts at a recent ghost walk.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A fellow ghost enthusiast I know shared this little spooky tale with me. He is a nurse who has spent many years working in nursing homes. He has seen death and knows his face better than most. Having a patient in a nursing home die is a common occurrence, but it isn't common for that patient to linger after they have died. My friend witnessed one such occurrence late one night at a nursing home.
One of my friend's favorite patients had passed away that day and he walked into her room to say goodbye. The room had been cleared out and little remained of the woman he had cared for, however when he entered the room a resonant thudding filled the room. My friend looked around the room and checked the bathroom. The thudding appeared to be coming from an empty, plastic box. He left the room and brought others in the verify what he was hearing and help him discern the origin of the noise.
The noise was irregular. It came and went but it never left the room or the box. Everyone who entered the room that night heard it. The security guard had to leave the room he was so put off by the noise. The next day the noise was gone and no one could figure out where it had come from. My friend believes it was the ghost of the woman who had just died coming to say goodbye. She didn't want to leave without one final farewell.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
However, one night he saw something he couldn't ignore. It was late at night and my coworker was in bed. His children and wife were out of town so the house was quiet. Something woke him from his sleep and he opened his eyes to see a dark figure standing in the corner staring at him. At first, he assumed the figure was of natural origins. Being a proper Southerner, he reached for his gun to drive the intruder from his home. Upon careful inspection, he knew the figure wasn't anything that could be driven away by a gun. He blinked and pinched himself trying to make sure he wasn't trapped in some bad dream. The figure remained. Finally, the figure left. He never told his family about the event. He didn't want to scare them, but he'll never forget the shadowy figure that lived in the old house, deep in South Alabama.