Episode 33: "Up Front' Gets Ghost Host to Tell Some Scary NC Ghost Stories
Oct 25, 2019 02:20PM
● By Jason Huddle
Episode 33: A Special Halloween Radio (Half) Hour
Harken back to the days of yesteryear when television was called radio, and on Halloween, scary stories echoed in the living rooms of families gathered together for comfort. With the lights low, they could swear they heard a scream in the distance. Welcome to a very special Halloween radio hour, or half hour as the case may be, of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie's Salon and Your CBD store of Concord. I'm your ghost host. Listen if you dare, but I beg you. Don't listen alone!
Welcome. Once again, my friends today I'll be reading you two scary stories from North Carolina lore of ghosts trying to find rest in the afterlife. I'm looking forward to telling you these scary stories and I encourage you to turn down the lights and listen. Use the theater of your mind, but always remember these are just stories, or are they? Before we get to our stories, however, we cannot escape shameless plug time.
Don't forget to vote for your Cabarrus Magazine Reader Awards winners. The preliminary voting round is now open at cabarrusmagazine.com. Vote for your favorites in four different categories. This round of voting continues through November 2nd, so make sure you don't delay so that your favorites will be announced as the winner at the Celebrate Cabarrus event on December 12th. And that's this week's shameless plug time.
our first scary story is coming up after these messages from our sponsors. Stay tuned, if you dare.
Welcome back, my friends. Our first story is from right here in Cabarrus County. It is the ghost of Skinflint's mine. Many of you know that North Carolina was the home to America's first gold rush. When John Reed discovered gold on his property in 1799, he didn't first realize what he had. Reed's son, Conrad, discovered a large yellow rock in the Creek that ran through the Reed farm. The family used the unusual stone as a doorstop until 1802 when a jeweler from Fayetteville, who was passing through recognized, the rock as gold and paid Reed $3.50 for it. Word of the discovery soon spread and what he had until then had been a quiet corner of Cabarrus County, but it was soon covered with prospectors from across the world. North Carolina will remain America's leading producer of gold until the discovery of the precious metal in California in 1848 reads from became the center of this gold fever with a mind expanding from surface panning to shafts deep beneath the earth. And search of loads of all, but where there's gold, there's greed. Remembered in legend as Skinflint McKintosh, he sought the services of an expert miner, named Joe McGee. McGee asked McKintosh, if he took the job and died in the mine, would McKintosh pay his widow $1000 dollars? McKintosh responded that he would pay $2,000 dollars, and so he went to work for Skinflint. One night, Joe McGee failed to return home. His wife Jenny rounded up his friends and formed a search party. Joe's friends, all experienced miners, searched all of the Skinflint's mine, but found nothing. When several weeks passed, and her husband still missing, Jenny McGee approached McKintosh, demanding the promised payment of $2,000. Skinlint told the woman that her husband had run off on her and slammed the door in her face. Soon after, McGee's friend, Sean, heard a knocking on his cabin door late one night. When he opened the door, he was startled to see a ghastly operation. A specter that spoke to him in the voice of Joe McGee. The ghost told him that McKintosh had cut costs in building the mine and had used unsafe green timbers to secure the shaft. McGee's specter told Sean exactly where to look in the mine, where the timbers had given way and that he had died in the cave in. Then the ghost asked if McKintosh had paid Jenny the money. When Sean said no, the ghost wailed said, "I'll haunt this mine forever!" and disappeared into the night. The next day, Sean, led a party back into the mine and uncovered Joe's body just where the ghost andhad told him it would be. Sean and his friends formed a well-armed delegation and confronted McKintosh, who confessed he had known of Joe's death and concealed it from the miner's widow. McKintosh paid Jenny the promised $2,000. After this, McKintosh could not find anyone willing to work for them. Some say it was because of his disregard for worker's safety. Others say it was because of the terrifying white figure that would appear wailing deep in the mind. Skinflint McKintosh died a pooor man and some say that the ghost of Skinflnt's mine can still be seen to this day. And so ends our first story. When we return, we'll tell you the chilling tale of the Maco railroad lights. Stay tuned, if you're brave enough.
Welcome back. It seems you are brave enough to stick around. Our next story is called the Maco lights. It takes place just outside of Wilmington, North Carolina. In the years, immediately following the Civil war, the railroad was King. And if the railroad was King, it's Prince was the conductor. The engineer might have gotten to sit up front and blow the whistle and drive the train, but he couldn't move that train one inch until the conductor told him to. Joe Baldwin had always wanted to be a conductor. One day, he finally realized his lifelong dream when he was hired to be a conductor on the Wilmington and Manchester line. The W&M stretched from the coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina, westward to Columbia, South Carolina, then down to Charleston, a town that Joe never tired of visiting. The beautiful homes, the water, the huge helpings of fried chicken and sweet potato pie that his friends cooked for him, it made his mouth water just thinking about it. Joe would appear at work every morning, smartly turned out in his clean dressed black pants, starched white shirt, black leather vest and expertly tied bow tie. On top of his head was a conductor's hat with a medallion on the front that glistened like gold in the sunlight and read, "conductor". He always carried his lantern with him, along with a ticket punch and of course, his railroad watch. For it was with that watch, that Joe made his train run on time. Joe took very good care of his trains several times during the run, Joe would walk from one end of the train to the other, checking everything he could think of. He would check the wheels and see a foreign objects from the tracks were stuck up in them. He would check the box cars to make sure they were properly locked. He would make sure the passengers had everything they needed and that there was always enough oil for the lamps so they wouldn't burn out in the night. One stormy night as they were traveling through the swampy woods, near Maco, North Carolina, just a few miles west of Wilmington, Joe was back in the caboose, resting. He had just completed his rounds and wants to take a short break before they reached South Carolina. Dreams of Charleston danced in his head as the clickety-clack of the train wheels lulled him to sleep. Suddenly the train started slowing down and Jo instinctively woke up in a flash. Joe immediately got worried, for he knew it wasn't time for a stop, yet. He jumped up, ran to the front of the caboose, opened up the door and stepped out for the next coach, but there was no next coach! Joe was horrified to see the caboose he was riding in had somehow become uncoupled from the rest of the train. Somewhere in the distant darkness. The rest of his beloved train had left him behind. Joe knew he was in trouble because right behind his train, he knew that a fast freight would soon be approaching. Joe ran out into the rear landing and peered through the rain and fog trying desperately to spot the train. Before long, way off in the distance, he saw a pinpoint of light and he knew it had to be the freight train behind him. As the light got bigger, he could almost hear the wheels from the freight chugging toward him louder and louder. Joe grabbed his lantern and started waving it frantically from side to side, hollering, "Hey, stop! Hey!" He knew the freight engineer couldn't hear him, but he screamed anyway, waving his lantern wilder and wilder. The freight line grew bigger and bigger. And Joe heard the whooshing sound of the air brakes and then the sound of the freight locomotive going into reverse. It's wheel spinning on the track. He saw the sparks flying off to the side of the track, like some surreal fireworks display. That was the last thing Joe Baldwin ever saw. For the freight smashed into his caboose with a deafening crash, splintering it into a million pieces. There was silence on the tracks. Save for the steam hissing from the freight train. The only light was from Joe Baldwin lantern, which had been thrown deep into the dark swamp and continued to burn through the night. The next morning the people came to search the wreckage and finally found Joe's mangled body, near the caboose. To their horror, they found he had been decapitated in the crash. They searched throughout the woods but could never find his head, only is lantern, still warm to the touch. They carried Joe home and buried him without his head. A few weeks later, the station master at Maco stepped out onto the platform on another dark and foggy night. As he looked down the tracks, he thought he saw a little pinpoint of light coming toward him. He checked his watch. There wasn't supposed to be any train arriving. Then the light kept moving down the tracks as if it were someone carrying a lantern. Then it started to swish back and forth, but as it got closer to the station and started to swing wilder and wilder! And then, it suddenly turned and went back down the tracks until it disappeared into the darkness. The station master didn't know what to make of it at first and eventually dismissed it from his min., But then, the light started coming back more and more, mainly on nights when there was stormy weather again. It would start as a tiny point growing larger as it approached swinging back and forth like a lantern, wilder and wilder. Then as it neared the station, it would turn around and go back into the woods. The station master wasn't the only one who saw the light. Engineers approaching Maco would see it along the tracks and would stop their trains, thinking it was a signal. They finally had to make a special rule at Maco where any signals to any train had to be done with two lights instead of one, and any single light signals were to be ignored. Folks began coming into Maco, from all over, to see what became known as the Maco light. Scientists even tried studying it to come up with a plausible theory, but could never figure it out. Some folks said it was a ball of lightning or swamp gas. In later years, some believed it was automobile headlights reflecting off the tracks. But all the locals knew what it was. They knew it was Joe Baldwin coming back to look for his head! In 1977, the railroad shut down the line and tore up the tracks. When the tracks left, so did the light and it hasn't reappeared since. Whether Joe Baldwin found his head, or found some other measure of peace, that was the last anyone ever saw of the Maco light. Thank you for joining me for these scary stories. When we return, we'll talk about some ways you can celebrate Halloween right after this word from our sponsors. stay tuned.
Hey, I want to thank our ghost host for filling in this week and telling us some scary stories. I hope you enjoyed those. I just want to tell you about a few things happening here in the area that you might want to uh, enjoy between now and Halloween. First of all, Night the Living Dead Live is at Old Courthouse Theater. It actually opens up tonight, October 24th, and runs through November 2nd. Night of the Living Dead Live is George A. Romero's classic movie, set to the stage in the first act. And the second act consists of, let's just say some interesting alternate endings that you won't want to miss. You can get tickets by visiting OCTConcord.com. Also on October 25th, and additional night of Movies on Means has been scheduled. There'll be showing Hocus Pocus under the stars right there on Means Avenue in downtown Concord. And I'd be remissed if I didn't mention it was partially sponsored by Cabarrus Magazine. At Great Wolf Lodge, you don't have to be a guest to enjoy Howl-O-Ween! Now, through October 31st, there's lots of things that you can do with the family, including the tick-or-treat trail, a monster bash, dance party, and more. You want to check out greatwolf.com for more details on that. There's a pumpkin patch at Riverbend Farm. Now through Halloween, you can visit Riverbend Farm, in Midland. The kids can go play on giant slides and take a wagon ride to the pumpkin field where they can pick their own pumpkin. Harrisburg, on October 25th, is doing trick or treat in town center. There'll be hundreds of costumed trick or treaters gathered for costume contest games and of course trick or treating with local merchants and more. Participants can trick or treat from booth to booth and get candies and goodies and there'll be food trucks as well. Cost is only $3 per child and it's all you can play. If you want more details, check out Harrisburgnc.org. Also, on October 25th, there's a Whiskey Prison after dark tour at Southern Grace Distilleries. You want to make sure you check that out. Bass Pro Shops, at Concord Mills, is having a Halloween event now through October 31st. You can enjoy all kinds of festive activities like a photo with the Peanuts gang, Halloween ring toss and Halloween themed crafts and more. You can see their website for details as well. Don't forget the Carolina Renaissance Festival is hosting Halloween days and spooky nights this weekend. October 26th and 27, you can enjoy free child admission with no coupon required for all children, 12 and under, and it's been dubbed Carolina's largest costume party. Make sure you come and dress as your favorite Halloween character and children can enjoy safe and fun trick or treating with free treats to be found all over 100 locations throughout the festival village. There'll also be costume contest, Halloween treasure hunt, and a treasure chest filled with prizes. You can also stop by the 107.9 The Link display, outside the front gate, to pick up a trick or treat bag and treasure maps, provided for free to the children each day, while supplies last. Several of our area brewery and wineries have some events going on as well. Cabarrus Brewing Company is hosting its 4th annual Halloween Boo Bash where they turn the tap room into the spookiest place in town. They want patrons to come dressed in costume and there will be a costume contest. 26 Acres is hosting the Bones, Beats and Beer event on October 26th as well. They'll have live music from Unknown Artist. Yes, that's the name of the group, and a costume contest as well. Of course, they're always fresh and local beer. Cougar Run Winery is hosting a Halloween murder mystery dinner theater on October 26th. You can enjoy dinner and become an investigator to help the detective figure out who done it through careful questioning and expert sleuthing, so make sure you check that out. You can go to their website for more information on that. And, of course, Southern Strain Brewing Company will be hosting Halloween Fire Fest. Along with locally made beer, you can enjoy live music, a costume contest, fire spinning and black light puddle painting at Southern Strain. So make sure you check those out. Finally, on Halloween, there are a couple of events at Concord Mills. Beginning at one o'clock. At the Speed Park at Concord Mills, they're having a boo bash event. There'll be a DJ, Halloween crafts , wicked fun activities, haunted mini golf and special guest appearances, and of course games and attractions including a 25 foot coconut tree climbing wall to the pirate revenge swing. Concord Mills is also in partnership with Dole packaged foods and they'll be participating in a reverse trick or treating event. They are asking shoppers to bring something good to eat in the form of non-perishable food, that will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. If you don't make the Boo bash event, you can still find donation bins located at the guest services desk. Then, at six o'clock at Concord Mills, children 12 and under can trick or treat at participating retailers and restaurants throughout the mall. And finally on Halloween from 3 to 5:00 PM the annual Candy Crawl will be taking place in historic downtown Concord. Local merchants provide trick or treating and family friendly entertainment right there on Union Street. For more information on that, you can go to Concorddowntown.com. On a completely separate note, I'd like to talk about the new name of the Kannapolis Intimidators. Just last night, the 23rd of October, they announced their new name would be the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers and it has sparked various reactions within the community. So we posted about the new name and posted a picture on our Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine podcast page, just to see what the reactions were and it has been mixed to say the least. Jeff said he's not a fan of the Evil Knievel helmet, but he likes the name. Angela doesn't like the name or the mascot and Tammy said that she has called Kannapolis home for 11 years and it will take time to move past the name, but with time, she'll accept it. Bernadette said, if the name had to change, she likes it and she likes they can just call themselves "ballers", as it says on one of their jerseys. Daniel just said, I don't like it. I understand wanting to pay tribute to our history, but I feel like we could've come up with a better name than that. I think the mascot is kind of goofy. Meri Anne agrees. By the way, the team will be asking the public to help name the mascot, although Bernadette wants to call him Ernie. Sharon said the mascot is okay, but we could do away with the mustache and she'll miss Tim E. Gator. It'll take a season to get used to all this. And finally, Kristen says she loves it. It was a great experience last night at the big reveal and it was well done. For the full story on the name change, make sure you go to Cabarrusmagazine.com and we want to know what you think. You can comment on our magazine page or join the Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine podcast page. Don't forget, any interaction with our group page enters you into a contest to win tickets to the Carolina Renaissance festival. Hey, I hope you've enjoyed this special Halloween edition of up front with Cabarrus magazine. I know it's a little corny, but we wanted to have some fun with it, and I hope you did too. Since next week is the fifth week of the month, we take those fifth weeks off, and so make sure you join us in two weeks for another edition of up front with Cabarrus magazine. Of course, I want to thank our sponsors, Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie's Salon and Your CBD store of Concord. I've been your host, Jason Huddle. Everyone have a safe.
And scary Halloween!