Davidson’s haunted past

Downtown ghost walk captures spooky tales

by Lynn Roberson

Davidson’s history and mysteries keep listeners spellbound during Virginia (Ginny) Grzech’s Ghost Walk of Davidson tour, strolling nightly down Main Street and nearby secluded pathways.

A dozen people joined Grzech’s tour on a chilly evening last week, as night fell and shadows darkened. Children and adults, with arms linked, departed The Soda Shop, listening intently to Grzech’s tales.

“I think she’s a very good storyteller,” said Maureen Shubert, who came with her children, Erin, 7, and Ryan, 8, and their grandmother, Carolyn Casey. “She makes it very interesting.”

Grzech, who was born in Mooresville and lives in Cornelius, belongs to CAPS – Charlotte Area Paranormal Society – and describes herself as a true lover of a good mystery.

“I used to go on any ghost walk I could find,” she said. “I actually planned my vacations around them. I am fascinated with history, and ghost walks all involve history. I’ve been telling stories for 13 years, just from being a substitute teacher.”

Grzech plans to conduct the 1.5- to 2-hour walks each night until Nov. 14. After that, she will offer a few tours a week.

Because October is expected to be a busy month, especially on weekends, Grzech encourages reservations. For a more personalized experience, she limits the tours to about 20 people for the 7 p.m. tour. She can add a 5 p.m. tour with a minimum of four reservations.

The tour is less than a mile’s walk, mostly on Main Street and adjacent side streets, on brick sidewalks with pedestrian crossings and accessible curbs and walks.

One of the first stops on the tour is a Victorian Queen Anne cottage, known as the Sloan House, near Town Hall.

Grzech tells of an encounter with a woman at the local grocery store. “The woman behind me in line said, ‘Do you know the stories of the haunted Sloan house?’”

The woman said she bought jewelry from the estate. “The pieces of jewelry would mysteriously move from one part of her house to another,” Grzech said.

Grzech draws her stories from books about local history, old newspapers, historical collections, her family’s memories and folklore. Her tales come from across northern Mecklenburg County.

One such tale involves a woman whose teenage son drowned in the Catawba River. When Lake Norman was created and existing towns ended up underwater, she could not bear for her son’s grave to be under the water, according to the tale.

“She knew a little bit of magic she had learned from her mother, who had learned it from her mother, who had learned it from her mother,” Grzech said. “So with a bit of bone, a bit of blood, she whispered a few words, and she left a curse behind.” Since then, boats have been found on the lake with their occupants drowned nearby.

Want to go?
Tour prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 8 to 12 and free for children younger than 8 years old. Ghost Walks of Davidson accepts only cash at this time. To make reservations 704-928-5452 or e-mail ghost
walknc@gmail.com; the website is www.ghostwalknc.com.

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