Asheville Daily Planet
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Monday, 06 March 2017 11:39
Special to the Daily Planet

In my last column, I wrote about the first person I ever crossed over. She was a beautiful little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, about three or four years old and her name was Emily. I first came to know of her when she began picking pieces of trash out of my garbage can in the bathroom of the haunted tuberculosis sanitorium where I lived for years, and tossing them onto the floor for me to find later.

Even though Emily had been gone for years, she still haunted me. While I knew she was with her parents, I still thought of her all the time. I needed to know who she was and where she came from and how she came to be there and I needed it as if she were my own child. I had to know. And I despaired of ever finding out.

But that’s the thing about the dead. They won’t stay buried.

That’s where my friend, Vance Pollack, chief historian of Haunted Asheville and new host of the long-running “Speaking of Strange” radio show, comes in. The dead speak to him in the strangest of ways and leave him clues everywhere. His whole life is filled with these snaps and pops of synchronicities.

With only a ghost’s name that telepathically popped into my head and an address to go on, it took Vance only a couple of days to find mention of Emily’s grandparents in the 1917 Asheville Directory. 

They were living at my exact address! He goes on to say, “She (Emily) was named for her grandmother, who along with her husband, built Stonehedge about 1914 as a summer home after coming home from Memphis.”

Vance later adds, “Her grandfather Frank Streater died in 1920, so her earliest and possibly fondest memories may have been visiting with her grandparents at their summer home here...and about the age of the child ghost you encountered.”

 As it turns out, this is one of those weird, yet not uncommon, occurrences where the ghost you see has apparently taken on the appearance of another time in her life and gone back to that place, because “my” Emily lived a full, happy life and died in Florida, an old woman. Her death date coincides with my living at Stonehedge. Also, as it turns out, he couldn’t find any mention of the property having been converted into a hospital during that time.

This is probably a good time to bring up that not only can spirits change their appearance, they can go to whatever location they wish.

It also lends credence to the theory that child ghosts may not actually be “stuck” in a place or have died there at all. Everyone is concerned about child spirits. Some say they’re stuck, others that they’re really demons in disguise, because why would God leave a child behind? They say this especially about places like old hospitals or sanitoriums because why would anyone choose to go back to a place with so much death and despair? 

Some of these children grew up in those places, with parents who were either patients or were the ones who took care of the patients. Children make the most of any situation. They’re going to be happy and play anywhere. I’m sure they made friends. These awful places may have been the happiest they had ever been. And keep in mind, they’re probably not seeing things the way we see them now. They’ve traveled back in time to the place that once was.

Validation is an awesome thing. So is closure. I’m so relieved that she didn’t die tragically. She lived a nice long life and she was happy. You can see it her face, in the only picture Vance could find of her. And when she died, she came back to the place where she was happiest. I can see why she came back there. It was magical. Lousy with ghosts but magical nonetheless.

Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She owns and runs Nevermore Mystical Arts shop and works at Wright’s Coin Shop, both in Asheville. Wright also is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).



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