Top 10 Posts of 2018

Here are your 10 favorite posts from 2018! 10. GRAVITY HILL Did you know there is a hill in Richfield where you can stop your car and pu...

Here are your 10 favorite posts from 2018!

Did you know there is a hill in Richfield where you can stop your car and put it in neutral, and instead of moving backward down the hill, you actually move forward up the hill? Is it an optical illusion? Are tiny ghosts pushing your car up the hill? Are you just high from all the fumes from the graffiti on the road?

In Lenoir, they don't rid their town of witches by burning them at the stake. They just let them show themselves out. Through a keyhole.

There was a dark road in Burlington that had tiny, rundown houses lining its sides. Munckinland, they called it. If you dared come to a stop on that road and honk your horn, angry little people would come running out of the houses, throwing rocks and bottles at your car. If you didn't drive away soon enough, they would start rocking your car. While this wasn't an overly terrifying urban legend, it was bothersome enough to keep me from driving my less-than-reliable car down that road late at night. But here's the rub: the urban legend had a small bit of truth to it.

Have you seen The Fugitive, which stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones? Did you know parts of it were filmed in North Carolina, including the scene where the train crashed into the prison bus? And did you know that after filming was completed, the folks behind the movie realized it was just easier (and cheaper!) to leave the wreckage there than to have it removed? We were given special access to get up close and personal with the wreckage.

Many years ago, Vollis Simpson's daughter and her boyfriend decided to drop acid on the way home from the prom. The boyfriend lost control of the car around a curve and they crashed into a tree, killing the girl instantly. Bloodied and seriously injured, the young man pulled himself from the wreckage and walked to Simpson's Lucama, North Carolina home. He died on Simpson's front porch, but not before telling Vollis what happened to his daughter and the colorful, moving objects they saw on the ride home while on LSD. Until his dying day, Vollis Simpson created huge, reflective whirligigs as a way to memorialize his daughter's death, warn others of the dangerous curve, and to depict what his daughter and her boyfriend saw on their deadly last ride on LSD.

Acid Park is an urban legend and mostly untrue. The only truth to the legend is that Vollis Simpson was an artist who created whirligigs. There was a time when you could drive down to Acid Park and see tons of whirligigs, but after his death, they started moving them to downtown Wilson and now most can be found at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park.

The Good Vibes mural is an Asheville landmark.

According to Joshua P. Warren's Haunted Asheville, the Buncombe County School Board decided to build a new Erwin High School in 1973. One problem: the site they picked was Potter's Field, a paupers' cemetery of unmarked graves, final home to criminals, orphans, tuberculosis patients, homeless people, and others that had slipped through society's cracks. A Southern Pines contractor was hired to unearth the graves and move them. The school board had estimated as many as 200 people had been buried there, but by the time the process was completed, over a thousand bodies were found.

It gets worse. According to Warren, "The grounds were a confusing mass of jumbled and nameless remains. Many anonymous observers claimed there was very little care taken in the excavation, and bodies were laid in rows in the open, despite potential health hazards to the teachers and students who were occasionally allowed to visit the site. Some bones were so carelessly strewn around that there were several incidents where students played practical jokes with the human remains. One morning, residents of the area awoke to find skulls mounted on various fence posts around the community."

The Mountain Xpress reports that this carelessness led to the school being haunted. Custodians and teachers have reported elevators changing floors by themselves late at night, items being moved, the sound of boots plodding through the hall, pictures falling off the wall, VCRs ejecting tapes, and more. True, this isn't the stuff horror movies are made of, but it does demonstrate one thing: The dead do not like to have their final resting places disturbed. Don't move them, don't build over them, and don't spit on their graves.

This tribute to Mac Miller was created by Greensboro artist JEKS. In the short time we were there, three groups of people came up to the mural to check it out and pay their respects. Also, someone has made a makeshift shrine at the foot of the mural.

The mansion is no more, but that doesn't stop folks from wanting to learn about it.

On Christmas Day 1929 in Germantown, Charlie Lawson killed his wife and six of his seven children before killing himself. The event was national news and 5,000 people attended the funeral. Lawson's brother Marion opened the house as a tourist attraction and charged visitors twenty-five cents. Over the years, songs were performed, books were written, and documentaries were filmed about the Lawson murders. So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that there is a small museum/shrine devoted to the murders in Madison, North Carolina.


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Strange Carolinas is the Travelogue Of The Offbeat, a wry look at the interesting, unique, and offbeat roadside attractions, people, music, art, food, and festivals in North and South Carolina.


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