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In Godwin, (near Erwin), North Carolina on a dirt road past the Chicora Civil War Cemetery, sits the antebellum mansion for Oak Grove Plantation. After many years of neglect, much work and money have gone into preserving and furnishing this landmark and museum.. The Lewis family has also worked to bring the building up to safety codes.
My first encounter with the strange “goings on” there occurred several years ago. I spoke with Ron Lewis, one of the owners, about strange events that have happened in this plantation home during renovation. They had several strange and eery stories.
Ron Lewis, along with historian Bryan Avery, were repairing the spindles on the front porch one day. Suddenly one of the spindles on the other end of the porch flew out into the yard as if someone had kicked it. They looked at each other and asked, “Did you see that?”
On another warm, windless day, an electrician was installing smoke alarms. Suddenly the front door flew open and a disembodied voice yelled, “Yoo-hoo!” — just as was once done in the South when a neighbor dropped by for a visit. There was no one there. The electrician left and would not come back. Another electrician was sent in his place.
Ron has tales of standing downstairs on a wintry day, working in front of the fireplace with an insulation professional, and hearing heavy, booted footsteps just over their heads on the floor above when no one else was in the house.
Another strange tale involves a teacup from a set of china that had been donated and displayed on the dining room table. It had been a bitter, blustery day, and a fire was crackling in the fireplace behind the table. When the historians came back the next day, one teacup was found in the ashes of the fireplace there in the dining room–still in one piece, but charred black. No one knows how the teacup ended up in the fire, or why household spirits would want the donation destroyed. (See picture of dining room below.)
According to history and lore, a female slave or servant once lived upstairs on the third floor with her child. During one of the tours one of the tour guides swore she saw a shadow of a woman walking back and forth.
The present owners of Oak Grove Plantation, Ron and Jennifer Lewis have heard many other tales of strange occurrences there. Orbs sometimes appear in photos after they are developed.
Having heard these haunted tales, I still found myself wanting to take some photos at this old Southern mansion for a Civil War re-enactment group.
The large acreage of the property, the long white painted veranda with the a long walkway to the front gate testified to the grandeur this plantation once exhibited.
On the far side of this structure there is a building that served as a community church and kitchen. It had a beautiful, but eerie energy.
The owner told me he would leave the house unlocked for me so I could come at my convenience to photograph the beauty of the fireplace and an upstairs view of a long pathway to the front gate.
I went there, not expecting anyone to be there but me. I was a little anxious to go in alone. Nevertheless, I am a photographer so in I went.
As I walked into the entrance, I saw on my left a large living room with a grand, but old, fireplace.
With so many soldiers coming daily with even more severe wounds, injured soldiers had to be treated as quickly as possible to save the lives of others with even more serious injuries. It is likely that many of the stains on the floors are from the blood that soaked into the wooden panels during these surgeries. To see these rooms now you would never believe such horrific events ever took place here. I took a few photos of these two rooms.
On the right was the dining area spoken of earlier, with the plates and cups on the table with the fireplace behind it.
Next I came back out into the empty hallway. My feet echoed loudly as I walked towards an old staircase I wanted to climb at the end the hallway.
Upstairs was a room with a great view of the long walkway up to the house from the road. Suddenly, a piece of wood about the size of a yardstick fell across my path some fifteen feet ahead of me. I had a very strange feeling I was being told not to go up those stairs.
I spoke out loud in the quiet house, “Okay. I understand. I am not going to go up those stairs. I am going to back out the front door and leave this place. You don’t have to worry about me. I mean no harm.” I hurried out the front door.
Since this building often harbors many visitors, tourists and guides sharing the plantation’s history, I have to believe that the piece of wood falling at just the moment was a message sent directly to me. I don’t plan on going back, just in case “they” were trying to tell me something else more sinister!”