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Return to Lake Lure Inn: Facing my fears
Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:24
Special to the Daily Planet


My friend, Joshua P. Warren of Haunted Asheville, teamed up with Christian MacLeod, president of the Asheville Cryptid Society, to put on the Creeps and Cryptids Mystery Van Tour that departed from Asheville on Sept. 16. 

As we wove our way through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, we were treated to accounts of “little people,” UFOs, ghosts and cryptids (creatures which may or may not exist) such as Bigfoot and dog men. 

Even as I was listening to fascinating stories, I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to one of our stops just a couple of hours away, The Lake Lure Inn.

It hasn’t even been a decade yet, but it feels like a lifetime ago. A lifetime since I stayed at the Lake Lure Inn and had one of the worst ghostly experiences of my life. By worst, I mean one of the most damaging and dangerous weekends of my life.

I recounted this experience in my very first column for the Asheville Daily Planet in December 2015. I don’t even need to re-read it. It’s burned in my memory forever: blood dripping down one of the outside columns and pooling thickly and darkly around the base, my face morphing into a cat and then back again, over and over in the jacuzzi inside my room that night; the woman who woke me up the next morning whispering in my ear, encouraging me to get up and walk into the bathroom and slit my wrists. “Come on, it’ll be so easy,” she coaxed soothingly. I wonder how many people she actually talked into doing it? And then the final horror, waiting for me when I got home. I found my cat laying on the dining room rug dead. 

All kinds of thoughts are swirling through my head as we drive to the Allison-Deaver House, the oldest home in Transylvania County, replete with its own ghosts of family members who died long ago. It’s not lost on me that these are the last days of summer. The leaves are starting to change, the nights have grown cool and even the bright, sunny days carry a tinge of chill now. 

We’re moving inexorably closer to the time of the year where the veil between the living and the dead grows thinner and I wonder how many of the dead will show up for us today. Will they remember me? 

At long last, we arrive in Chimney Rock. We crane our necks as we gaze up at the big rock and listen to more ghostly tales. Then we make a quick stop at the rock shop. I needed to stock up on some protection before facing that God-forbidden inn & found some quartz, shungite & selenite to add to what I’d already stuffed in my pockets that morning.

My fellow travelers had already heard about my misadventures at the Lake Lure Inn and were ready to lend their own protection and help me make sense of what happened. Some walked with me to make sure I was okay, some snapped pictures all around me to see if anything was following me around. 

In the end, all I felt was dizziness and a headache. I was clammy and it felt like a tremendous weight was pressing down on my chest. The second and third floors felt progressively more oppressive and I couldn’t figure our exactly which room I had stayed in. Nothing looked familiar and with a wedding party in full swing, it was hard to explore where we wanted.

As we made our way back to the van, I felt lighter and was glad I’d faced my fears. Nothing attacked me. Only one thing left to check on and that wouldn’t happen til I got home.

Our last stop was Helen’s Bridge. Everyone who grew up in Asheville knew the story. Helen had a beautiful daughter who went to a party and died tragically in a fire. Helen was so overcome by grief that she hanged herself from the bridge which was beside the house where her daughter died. On some nights if you chant, “Helen come out” three times, she’ll appear. Or you’ll have car  trouble or your keys will go missing from the ignition. Others say she appears from nowhere and walks up to strangers in their cars and asks if they’ve seen her daughter. 

We all exited the van and walked in the humid darkness a short distance to the bridge. We spoke in unison, “Helen come forth” three times. We stayed perfectly quiet save for the clicking of cameras as some of our group tried to capture photographic evidence. We uttered the chant three more times. And then three more. My whole left side was almost numb due to a freezing wind that was only present under the bridge. Others felt it too. And then the silence was broken with excited exclamations that they had captured a weird mist. And then we saw Melvin show Joshua what he captured. It was a mist alright. But there was a weird halo on one side and...what was that on the left? Holy crap! That was a lady in a white dress! We chanted in unison again, our group frantically taking more pictures in hopes of capturing the lady again. 

We were all in high spirits as we got out of the van to go home, everyone promising to go home and analyze their pictures for anything they might have missed and share the ones that looked promising. 

It was a really great day. We toured beautiful paranormal and cryptid hot spots all over the Blue Ridge Mountains, I faced down a horrible ghostly event that haunted me for years, we caught amazing evidence at Helen’s Bridge and best of all, I came home and found my cats safe and sound.

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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