Costume designer, prop builder, actor, and author Cheralyn Lambeth spends her days bringing the fantastical to life whether working on Homeland or The Hunger Games, or by retelling ghost stories in her books including Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas. When she’s not writing about the supernatural, she’s searching for it as a paranormal investigator with Carolina Ghostbusters. (Yes, they wear suits just like Egon and the gang and drive a replica of the Ecto-1 car from the film.) We caught up with Lambeth to talk about hauntings around town.
What was your first experience with a haunting? I spent one summer working at the Lost Colony outdoor drama in Fort Raleigh where all the colonists vanished in the late 1500s. There was one night after a show I was in one of the hallways working and I heard footsteps behind me. I pulled my stuff to the side. The footsteps passed me and went down the hall and the door opened and closed by itself at the end of the hallway.
What are some local haunted places? Independence Park is one. Imaginon is hauntedThe story there is the day of the  groundbreaking a young girl was killed in the parking garage next door. People say they’ve heard a female voice calling out to people and I’ve seen objects move on my own.
What are some other hot, or cold, locations? Latta Plantation, The Manor Theater, Theater Charlotte, Fox & Hound uptown, Ri Ra Irish Pub,The Cajun Queen, Kennedy’s on 7th Street—in fact, 7th Street itself has a lot of hauntings. Many researchers believe geography plays a part.
Is there a recent favorite ghost story you’ve heard locally? At Fox & Hound on 7th and Tryon, the story they told us was the building in the `30s used to be a pharmacy and the owner and his wife lived in the second floor apartment. He came home one day and found she’d hanged herselfhe went downstairs, I think, and shot himself. They think that it’s the man that haunts the restaurant. The waitress told us she’d seen the seen blinds open and close, things move. I’m doing more research on that.
How do you investigate something like that? I go to the location and talk to people. Sometimes people don’t want to talk about it. Ri Ra, the Irish Pub on Tryon—we went there once and our waitress started to tell us and then she didn’t want to talk about what was going on. There’s supposed to be a woman in a white dress and a white dog.
Are you working on anything new? I can’t tell you what will actually come of this, but Monsters and Mysteries in America on the Destination America (network) is looking to do an episode in North Carolina. The Lake Norman Monster is one of our local stories.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve witnessed? I went as a guest with one team out of Virginia to Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville, Kentucky, which is a famous haunted location. It was built as a tuberculosis hospital and there was a lot of death there. It’s not a happy place. It was featured on one episode of GhostHunters. The hotel we were staying at was also hosting a Toddlers and Tiaras convention and I can safely say that’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.