There are ghosts in Lincoln County and through his grandparents and parents, Beau Gregory King has been told their stories. He decided to write them down and publish them in several volumes. It’s been quite a few years since King published volume one of “Eternal Tales.” He’s now working on additional volumes. One of the things that King’s family would do when he was growing up would be to have a Halloween party.
“I’d spend the evening with my grandparents, and they’d tell me ghost stories,” he said. “When my dad died, it occurred me that after me and my brothers, no one’s going to know these stories. I’m not trying to make a big profit or anything like that, I just wanted them out there forever, even after I’m gone.”
Ghost stories can be thought of as folklore and are often passed down orally from generation to generation. Whenever King had free time, he’d type up his stories, but still considered publishing a book as a pipedream until he stumbled upon a local publisher.
“In about a month’s time, I had the first copies printed,” he said. “It’s sad when you think about it because there’s probably tons of good stories that never get shared. I wanted my family’s to be heard. I was going to write a huge book, but I decided to split them into four volumes.”
Life got in the way and King’s future volumes have been stalled.
“I’ve got the next ones proof read and ready to go,” he said. “I’m going to get the first book reprinted as well. I’m going to change the name of the next one to ‘Haunted Lincoln County.’”
The Thing Running Beside the Car by Beau Gregory King
Pete and my dad were more than cousins, they were best friends. In their childhood through their early teens, the two of them were nearly inseparable. They were around the same age, and both got their license around the same time, and were both just as eager to use them. Their uncle Jack had a 1963 Chevy Corvette and the two after much pleading were allowed to take it for a spin, of course this spin was miles and miles away as far as eastern Lincoln County. The car was a mechanical masterpiece, she was a convertible and red with a loud roar to her engine, she would most certainly turn heads. Well, the two set out with Pete driving first, cruising downtown Mooresville and even downtown Davidson. The two boys grew up with nothing, but they sparkled like gems on a silver necklace in their uncle's red-hot sports coupe. Girls on every street took notice of them and every guy envied at the two seemingly well to do youths, this was a teenager's dream. My Dad turned and looked at Pete and said, “It's a Saturday night and the best cruising is in Lincolnton, let's head over that way and I'm driving.” Pete nodded his head and with a rush of laughter said, “Hell yeah!” Soon the two boys were zooming down old Highway 73. Back then, 73 was and long and extremely curvy. Only a few farm houses on each side of the road, and the rest was just woods. Somehow, on that thirty plus mile to Lincolnton, the two boys got lost and ended up on a long, dark, and narrow road that was thick in the back woods of eastern Lincoln County. The car did not sound so mean on the rock road. It sounded more like a metal shovel scraping snow and ice off a sidewalk. “Where are we?” Pete asked wide eyed looking at the woods around him. “I don't know, but surely we'll be back on a main road soon.” my dad replied. “Well Darrell, you the one who's been nagging Uncle Jack about borrowing this car for the past month. Nagging him like an old woman!” Dad replied angrily. It was that moment when the two boys heard a loud whistle followed by a low moan. “What the hell was that?” Dad asked shockingly with a shaky voice. Pete just sat there wide eyed and dumbfounded. Then they heard it again. The whistle followed by a low moan except this time, it was closer and louder. They both knew they were in a small convertible and did not want to stop to put the top up. They then realized this was no rag top, and that the car's top was their uncle's house. Pete began breathing heavily, and dad began driving a little faster. Tiny rocks were bouncing off the side of the car. They were up the road about two miles when again; they heard the whistle and loud moan. Only this time, it was in the woods right beside them on the driver's side of the car. Dad pushed the acceleration peddle down a little more and the car began to speed up. Then out of the woods, to the horror of both boys, was the menacing thing that had made the noise. It was tall, around nine feet, with great red bulging eyes, greyish skin, and long lanky arms and legs. Its mouth was grinning with bright yellow sharp teeth and a yellowish, drool dripping from its dried up purple lips. It had long hair with elf like ears protruding on each side of its head. Ghastly markings that resembled several X's were burnt into its forehead. It reached with its claw like hands for the two boys. My Dad and Pete both screamed to high heaven (as old folks would say it) and my Dad, to say the least, floored it. It began running beside the car, grinning at the two youths. The faster they drove, the faster the thing ran. Smiling and grinning, it never took its eyes off of Pete and my dad. The car was reaching speeds over ninety miles per hour and yet, the thing still stayed with the two boys and of course, the Corvette. Finally, after several terrifying miles, they saw the paved Highway 150, and pushed the car as hard as they could even then the thing kept still right beside them. As they approached the stop sign of the old dirt road, Pete began screaming, “SLOW DOWN DARRELL...SLOW DOWN!!” My Dad looked over at their tormentor. Waiting and wanting with anxiety for the thing to do something. Part of this evil's horror was its sinister grin, and wild eyes staring at the two boys. Not doing anything but watching them. My Dad did manage to slow down enough to safely make it onto Highway 150 East without harm, and as he pulled off the dirt road and onto the highway, the thing leaped back into the woods with a horrifying screech that chilled both my dad and Pete. Pete later described the creature's yell as a sinister laugh. My Dad on the other hand described it as the sound of a hawk when catching its prey. They drove as fast as they could back to Mooresville and never again borrowed Uncle Jack's Corvette, or even asked to borrow it. It took several years for either of the two boys to talk about the events of that night. I myself have wondered the few remaining dirt roads in eastern Lincoln County hunting for such a beast. But that is a tale yet to be told.
The Sliding Horse by Beau Gregory King
When my great grandfather, Forney Long, was just a teenager, his family, the Longs, were brought up in Southern superstitions, perhaps brought over by Scotch Irish settlers in the foothills of the Carolinas. As a world still nearly void of science in early twentieth century Lincoln and Gaston counties, many relied on these folklores as foretellers of harsh winters, droughts, floods and more eerily, deaths. Death tokens evolved in these communities, as spirits or demons plaguing one's loved ones before an immediate death. One such story that my mother and grandfather used to tell us (my brothers and friends) was that of the sliding horse. It happened early in “Papa” Forney's life when he was around fourteen years old. His three youngest, infant siblings had been sick for some time. Extra care and remedies now lost to time were taken for the three sick children. Late one afternoon, Forney, his brother William and father Jonathan were sitting on the front porch of their home, perhaps reading, or chatting of current events, when they heard a rustling noise coming from the weeds twenty yards in front of the house. Picking up the end of an old broom, Forney stood up and began slowly walking down the steps towards the noise, thinking it to be some kind of small animal. Suddenly the three of them gasped and Forney quickly backed up the steps. Out of the weeds and underbrush came a beautiful, black mare. The only thing wrong was the fact that the creature slid on its stomach, for it had no legs. The horse slid, snake-like towards the porch, scaring every ounce of life out of the three poor witnesses. When the horse reached the porch, it neighed three times, each neigh sounding like thunder. Then as quickly as it sprang from the weeds, the horse turned and slid around the house towards the fields behind the house. After a few seconds Forney and William picked up some old sticks by the porch and ran around the house with their father close behind. When they reached the rear of the house, the horse was nowhere to be seen. The three of them turned white as ghosts, expecting the horrific creature to jump out at them at any moment. Their stillness was only broken by the screams of Forney's mother from inside the house. Terrified the three ran as quickly as they could inside the house to fight off any demon or spook, which was now harming their mother and Jonathan’s wife. When they reached the upstairs bedroom of the two-story home, Forney's mother sat in the hallway crying. She told them how just moments earlier the three infant children's eyes opened wide and then drew in their last breaths, before entering eternity.
Follow Me by Beau Gregory King
A young boy named Travis was friends with my dad growing up. He lost his older sister to the flu in the winter of 1954. She was the oldest of three siblings and was older than Travis by two years and the youngest sibling by nearly four years. Her name was Susie or Sue for short. She came in one day with the sniffles and a slight head fever, but within a week she was burning up and convulsing in her bed. Many doctors tried vigorously to save her, but her young, frail body was not powerful enough to withstand the might of her flu. Within two weeks the ten-year-old Sue was dead. Travis mourned his older sister for the months to follow. His eight-year-old mind could not comprehend the loss of his big sister. He used to write her letters and leave them at her grave. Weather would eventually take away the letters or sometimes the cemetery caretaker. A few years passed by, and Travis grew into a strapping, twelve year old. He visited his sister's grave but not nearly as much, nor did he write his letters to Sue anymore. It was Fall of 1958 that Travis found out his father planned to move the family to the other side of town. Their house was an old mill shack, and they were moving to a fine brick house near the Mooresville High School. About a week before the move Travis claimed to hear footsteps in the attic and a young girl crying. He told his folks, but they just scoffed at him and told him it was just bad dreams. Two nights before they moved, Travis heard a faint voice from the kitchen call out to him, “Traaavisss.” He instinctively knew the voice was Sue, so Travis got out of bed and walked into the kitchen. As he walked through the door, there at the other end of the kitchen table was the teary-eyed apparition of his sister, Sue. She looked exactly as he remembered. Her hair was still long, blonde and curled; she even had on the blue dress she was buried in. She looked up at her little brother with sad, blue eyes and cried, “Travis, why did you forget about me? I no longer see your letters and you don't come to visit me anymore. Y'all are leaving and I going to be here alone. Alone forever.” She then cradled her face and began to cry. Travis bravely and sorrowfully looked at his sibling and said, “Sue, you're dead. I could not hurt like I was hurting before. I missed you so much. We all have. It hurts to live here without you.” She looked up at her brother and said, “Follow me, Travis. Follow me; I want to show you something.” Sue then sat up and floated to the attic ladder. Travis was scared but he did follow his sister because he knew she would nor could ever harm him. He climbed the ladder behind her and when he reached the top Sue was standing there, pointing at a small box. Travis walked over and picked the box up. He opened it and inside contained old pictures of Sue, him and his family also there were a few lockets and small toys and a coffee can with coins in it. Sue looked at her brother and said, “Take it, take it all Travis. Keep it for all times.” “I will,” Travis replied. “I want you to keep it and never forget me.” “I will never forget you; Sue and I miss you and I love you,” Travis cried out. Sue smiled, and then vanished. Travis wept softly in the attic until morning. Years have gone by, even decades and Travis still holds the box dear to him. He visits Sue's grave as much as possible. He still cherishes those happy memories from his early childhood. He never again saw Sue's spirit but says at times he can hear her laughter and feel her presence. Sometimes you can see by the gravestone of Sue's grave a letter marked, Sue.
King admits that he’s not so sure that he believes in ghosts, until he sees something unexplained. He loves ghost stories though. Watch for his future volumes.