CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You know the lyrics, sing along: “There’ll be scary ghost stories And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago!” It’s the most spookyful time of the year… or so it was. Ghost stories and Christmas don’t seem an obvious pairing, but there’s a long standing tradition of sharing tales of hauntings during the holiday. After all, one of the most famous Christmas stories, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” features not one but three spirits. “We’re in the darkest time of the year and people used to sit around fires on the long dark nights and tell stories,” says Cheralyn Lambeth, Historical Interpreter at Historic Rosedale.
So why haven’t you been telling ghost stories around the yule log with grandma? “With America, it’s not as popular because the Puritans didn’t like that tradition when they started the country. As America did become more of a melting pot the tradition did come back,” says Jason Tapp of Spooky CLT. Halloween has now become the time for ghost stories to shine, but Christmas is still heavily influenced by the tradition of telling ghost stories.
Since 2020 is itself a scary story, why not bring back the tradition and share a few of Charlotte’s wintertime ghostly tales? Here are a few of our favorites:
The 6th Street Sledder:
“Haunted Charlotte: Supernatural Stories from the Queen City” by Roy Heizer tells the story of 10 year old Tommy Miller, out enjoying his new sled in a snowfall during January, 1936. As he slid down the hill near what’s now Old Settler’s Cemetary, he collided with a bus and was tragically killed. “According to local legends you can still see a young boy in winter garb on the corner of 6th St around this time of year,” says Tapp.
Haunted Holidays with the Caldwell Family at Historic Rosedale:
Historic Rosedale is home to many ghosts who are said to still be very active today. While taking down this year’s Christmas decorations, “I heard footsteps very strongly above me,” says Lambeth, “and I was the only one in the house.”
Former Rosedale owner, Dr. David Caldwell lived in the house from 1833 until his death on Christmas Eve 1861 and it is believed his spirit still resides. Haunting the Rosedale House seems to have become a Caldwell family tradition. Dr. Caldwell’s youngest son Robert “Baxter” Caldwell, lived in the house until his death in November 1919. “We have stories of his ghost being heralded by the smell of cigar smoke in the garden (there is no smoking allowed on the grounds),” says Lambeth. A more recent family member, Dr. Caldwell’s great granddaughter Mary Louise Davidson, lived in the house until it was sold to the Historical Foundation in the 1980s, and died on December 27, 1997.
“We know she is still at the house,” says Lambeth referring to the photo is Mary Louise in life and the similar image captured in infrared by the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society during an investigation a few years ago.
Do you have a favorite holiday ghost story? Join us in the tradition and share!
For more information on the Haunted History Tour and other events visit https://historicrosedale.org/
For more Charlotte ghost stories, follow Spooky CLT on Instagram at @spookyclt