Grandfather’s ghost seen in the moonlight

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of the ghost stories told often over the years in Dark Corner was an incident that happened in the Blue Ridge, Georgia area.
It was a true tale of something that happened in Scout Executive Lawrence L. Stanley’s life as a young man.
He told ghost stories to thousands of Boy Scouts from all over the Greater Greenville and Laurens areas around Wednesday night campfires at Camp Old Indian.
The night he saw his grandfather’s ghost in the moonlight was a favorite story.
Stanley’s grandfather, Aaron Stanley, died in 1919. Shortly thereafter, his grandmother moved from their old home to the home of one of her sons. She left rose bushes and other flowering plants to run wild in the old garden that she had planted for many years.
A path that was a short cut across Fox Mountain led through this flower garden. It made a two-mile difference in the distance between Big Creek Baptist Church in Fannin County and Big Creek School in Gilmer County.
During the following summer, the path through the flower garden became overgrown with weeds, grass and briars, which could hide copperhead snakes that would feed on rats and mice in it.
Mr. Stanley, who was a teenager when his favorite grandfather died, had been away in Knoxville, Tenn., when he decided, on the spur of the moment, to come home. It was too late for a letter to reach his parents, and there were no telephones in those days.
He got off the train at Blue Ridge about sundown and started walking towards his parents’ home. A full moon arose about 8 o’clock. He decided the moon gave enough light for him to take the shortcut path.
As he was walking toward his grandfather’s old home he was thinking of all the good times he had spent with his grandparents there as a boy.
He stopped at the entrance to the garden path and took a good look at all the thick weeds and briars. He decided it would be better to follow the lane that led to the old barn.
He would climb over the crooked rail fence, reach the path on the other side of the fence and then follow the path across the mountain.
He stuck his toes between the rails and climbed to the top of the six-foot-high fence. He half turned around to climb down when he discovered that he could now see an angle of the fence not visible in the moonlight from the side next to the lane.
About 10 feet away, leaning against the fence, was a sheeted figure of a man about the same height as his grandfather. The figure had a cap, like his grandfather wore, pulled down to shadow the face.
As he perched on top of the fence and stared at the figure, it seemed for a moment that the head nodded, and that the figure was about to speak to him.
His first thought was to jump down and run. Somehow his feet stuck between the rails as if they were glued in that position. He doesn’t remember if he screamed at the sight of this sheeted figure before he fell down the side of the fence.
As he hung there, he began to think more clearly.
He took another look and came to the conclusion that the figure was a wide board about the height of a man that someone had stood up against the fence in the area where the moonlight was the brightest.
The cap was a wadded-up burlap bag that had been thrown across the top of the board. The board had probably been bleached out to a light color by the sun and rain of the summer.
The bright moonlight and a vivid remembrance of his grandfather who had gone away had created the ghostly figure of a man out of a simple piece of board set against a crooked rail fence.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox