Ghost stories are one of the most fascinating ways to uncover an area’s history, past residents, culture and stories.
Nestled on the banks of the Albemarle Sound, in a remote part of eastern North Carolina, lies the small town of Edenton. Incorporated in 1722, it was the first capital of colonial North Carolina and as such has a rich history dating back to its early days as a maritime seaport of pre-Revolutionary War America.
Given the age of some of the historical homes and buildings in Edenton, not to mention that there are graveyards with graves dating to the early 1700’s, its not hard to believe that Edenton is haunted by the restless souls of its past.
Edenton has several very old homes that have been painstakingly restored to their previous glory. One of these is the Cupola House, built in 1758 and occupied for 141 years by the Dickinson Family. However, with limited income, the last of the family were unable to properly maintain the house.
Weather and time eventually have damaged a lot the mansion. Its once formal gardens were sold for commercial development until only a small portion of space remained beside the house. Exterior paint was worn away, and the building was suffering from disrepair. Its loving, but impoverished, owners found no recourse but to sell off family treasures, such as the magnificent first floor Georgian woodworks.
It was 1918 when citizens rallied to form an organization to save the Cupola House, an effort that eventually became “The Cupola House Association”, dedicated to its protection.
Today the Cupola House stands proudly watching over the bay and the formal gardens have been restored. It stands empty, but it can be visit by appointment. Upon first glance, the gorgeous gardens and Georgian-style home present most of the fascination. Look closer, though, and you’ll find that the home isn’t as unoccupied as initially thought…
When my brother toured the house with a guided tour, he found out, along with the rest of his group, that they were not necessarily the only people in the house.
Strange enough, the tour guide rather nonchalantly pointed to the bed in one of the upstairs rooms and explained that a ghost routinely sits at the foot of the bed. There was effectively an indentation in the mattress, exactly like what one would expect to see if someone had been sitting there.
In addition, the beds in the house have period-correct goose feather mattresses covered with handmade quilts, that wrinkle easily and the mattresses, which are basically just big bags of feathers, and do not recover easily from being sat down on like today’s mattresses.
The guide also explained that no matter what anyone does to the mattress and quilt during the day that the indentation will always return by the next morning. In fact they are several volunteers that routinely unlock the house and dust the furniture and they all report the same thing – when they clean the house and smooth out the quilt on the bed, the indentation always returns once the house is locked up and left for the night.
What’s the story behind it all? It is believed that a dying child once occupied the bedroom, and that the ghost of the child’s mother now returns to sit at the edge of the bed to grieve.
It is believed that it is her ghost that causes the indentation in the sheets. Interestingly, none of the other beds in the house are affected by this bedside ghost.
In any case, if you’re in the mood to stroll the sidewalks of a quaint little town full of history, a visit to Edenton is recommend.
You can also take a boat ride along the historic shoreline of the town, as well as a trolley ride through the tree-lined streets. And don’t forget to take the walking tour, which includes a visit to the Cupola House where you will be able to see the evidence of the bedside ghost of Edenton with your own eyes….
Images from web – Google Research