The cooler weather, talks of Halloween, and historical places often lead to stories featuring ghosts. If you’re stationed at Camp Lejeune, you’re in luck. The nearby town of New Bern has lots of opportunities to explore these places. Check out the combination of history—influenced by Great Britain and then by slavery—and see how many ghosts of New Bern you can find.
Tryon Palace in New Bern became the representation of the English Crown in America. Later the Crown’s position would be moved to New York. With New Bern, NC being the first capital of North Carolina there is an intensely deep history in the region. With history comes ghosts, so let’s talk a little about the ghosts of New Bern.
Getting to know the Ghosts of New Bern
There are several ways to visit the ghosts of New Bern, but should you want to venture out on your own, these haunted homes should be on your list:
One of the most famous ghosts of New Bern is Miss Fannie Taylor. Fannie Taylor’s family home is one of the oldest in town, it was built in 1792 by her father Isaac. And it is home to the oldest alley garden in New Bern, today it is a garden and event area.
The story: A week before Fannie’s wedding, her fiancé left this home for an evening stroll and collapsed on the street, dead. That day Fannie swore that she would never leave the home again. She locked herself inside the home and lived there until her death. Fannie kept her promise and now locals claim to see Fannie’s ghost in the front window of her home. She is such a common sight in Downtown New Bern, that superstitions have developed in regards to how to behave around Fannie. Apparently, if you do not tell Fannie “Goodnight” bad luck will find you.
A Family Affair: The Stanly House
Your second stop on the tour is to the home of The Stanly Family. The Stanly House is one of the grandest homes in New Bern and considered to be the greatest example of Georgian architecture in the South today. Built for the incredibly prominent businessman John Wright Stanly in the 1780s, this lovely house would be home to his wife and their nine children.
When their youngest child was just three months old, Mr. Stanly and his wife both died of yellow fever on the same day. New Bern suffered greatly from a Yellow Fever Epidemic in 1789. The children would abandon the home for the following decade until the eldest son came of age. But it’s not the Stanlys that haunt this house.
The story: The real ghost of the Stanly House is another of John Stanly’s sons. One he had with an enslaved African women of the Ebo tribe. John Carruthers Stanly was generally acknowledged to be the son of John Wright Stanly, yet he was born into slavery. He would later buy his way out and become a very successful businessman in Craven County. He would haunt his father’s happy family because he was never a part of it.
Other Hauntings of New Berns: Not Just Homes Are Haunted
There are several ghosts of New Bern that aren’t connected directly to a house. Places like The Athens Theatre and Christ Church have resident ghosts as well. The Athens Theatre is home to a mischievous ghost named Dorothy.
The story: Dorothy was once an actress at the theatre. She is often spotted in the balcony, upset about the lack of the career she hoped for. She likes to shut the lights off on other actresses. Cheeky ghost.
The Cemeteries of New Bern are notoriously haunted. During the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1799, the number of deaths was so high that the victims were buried in trench style ditches in the only public cemetery at the time, Christ Church. Believed to have thousands of graves in its small cemetery, Christ Church has seen many ghosts. They take the form of things like flashes of light and floating orbs. The cemetery is something straight out of a horror film.
The Foscue Plantation House: The Scariest of Them All
Just outside of New Bern is Foscue Plantation House. Technically, located in Pollocksville, the plantation’s story is included when discussing the ghosts of New Bern. This Foscue Plantation has stories that can incite nightmares.
The story: As one of the largest slave owners in Craven county, Foscue would keep his slaves chained up in the attic. Rumors say up to 90 slaves over a 30 year period were kept in his attic. Visitors reportedly hear cries and moaning every evening and the servant staircase is constantly stained in bright red blood. The blood has been painted over numerous times and it continues to come right through the paint.
If you are feeling brave and don’t mind a few spooks, New Bern, North Carolina could be a ghastly adventure for you. From walking ghost tours, actors appearing in colonial costume and having to tell Miss Fannie “Good Night”, the ghosts of New Bern are sure to be something you’ll talk about for years to come.
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