Area's history yields persistent ghost stories

Because Halloween is a day for the unusual, the spooky and the weird, it seems like an appropriate time to share some ghost stories from eastern Cabarrus County.

I heard these from Vickey Cline, president of the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society. She's the person to call when you want to hear a good historical yarn.

'Where's my coffin?'

If you've ever seen or heard strange sights around the cemetery in Mount Pleasant, you've probably met the ghost of a "very demanding older lady" who haunted a local carpenter named Petrea.

Before she died, this woman had visited Mr. Petrea, explaining the elegant and elaborate coffin she wanted. Her family, however, said they could not afford such luxury and instead ordered the simplest of coffins, in which the old woman was buried in a plot right next to Mr. Petrea's workshop.

Soon after that, he began to see her spirit peeking in his windows, and neighbors reported seeing her wandering, looking for the carpenter and the coffin she ordered.

Hoofbeats through town

If you've ever heard the sound of hoofbeats along Main Street in Mount Pleasant, it's probably just the ghost of Dr. Paul Barrier and his horse, Alex.

The physician's wife, Mary, resented her husband's profession and the demands it made on his time. So when Dr. Barrier died in 1887, she wanted to wipe away all traces of his medical practice.

She had his faithful horse put down and buried, along with all the doctor's medical books. But residents claimed they could still hear the sound of Dr. Barrier and Alex making their rounds through the town.

Hide the body!

There are also stories of murder and restless spirits.

When Matthias Barrier went off to fight in the Civil War, he left behind his wife, their invalid daughter and their small son.

One day, a Yankee soldier appeared at the Barrier home demanding food, gold and jewelry.

Mrs. Barrier knew the family would not survive if she complied with the enemy soldier's demands. There was a gunshot, and the Yankee fell down dead.

The little family hid the body between the rafters in a wall of the house until they could safely remove it a few days later and bury it.

No one knows who fired the gun that killed the Yankee, or where he was buried. But still today, a spirit seems to inhabit the house where this infamous deed took place. Objects move on their own, pictures mysteriously fall from the wall, and curtains are pushed aside as if someone is looking out the window.

Benefit for ECHS

Stories like those three are available to us because of people who, like Vickey Cline, are determined to preserve our local history.

If you appreciate the dedication and work of the people who comprise the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society, you can show your support by attending a benefit dinner next Sunday at Buddy's Place in Mount Pleasant.

Tickets are $15; call the museum to reserve tickets. Along with your meal, there will be musical entertainment and a silent auction.

And I'm pretty sure some good stories will be told as well.