As Halloween rapidly approaches, and the spectral displays begin adorning the homes of Lake Norman residents — witches and zombies, carved pumpkins with ghoulish faces and fluttering apparitions — we take a second look as we drive by the haunting efficacious ghostly images, they look so real, sitting in the branches of an old oak tree. Was that really just a display?
Visitors to Lake Norman have talked about apparition sightings going back to the late 1960s after the lake was flooded. The circulating rumor, especially around this time of the year, was that a significant number of graves were not moved before the lake was created and the souls of those disturbed have become agitated and restless.
But in truth sightings were occurring long before that. It is not only the ghosts of former residents who set out on midnight walks in search of their peace of mind. The Lake Norman area is pockmarked with revolutionary war burial sites where it has been reported that apparitions of soldiers wandering through the cemeteries in their battle uniforms, viscid bloody bandages clinging to wounds, and despair on their young faces. It was at the Battle of Cowan’s Ford in 1781 that Gen. William Lee Davidson was famously slain. Taken from life so violently and so young, it is said that his soul continues to march, and lead his men in battle.
Around the north end of Lake Norman leading out of Statesville, there is the tale of a couple who had been casually strolling along on the old railroad trestle when they were both somehow killed. The circumstances of their death are lost to history, whether it was an accident, a murder-suicide or something else, but we can surmise they may have plunged to their deaths as below the trestle some 150 yards, on dark, murky nights, when the air is calm, the ghostly image of the woman will appear on or near the anniversary date of their deaths.