Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Hanging Ghost

Welcome again my darklings! I apologies for being a little late in getting this weeks tale up for you but we’ve been in a bit of a rush in the crypt preparing to haunt another state for a few days, but I suppose when your dead time is a relative thing. This week’s spine tingling tale is from one of our local haunts and has more than it’s share of hauntings to scream about. So turn down those lights and get comfy in those coffins for, “The Hanging Ghost”.

The German farmer’s daughter carefully planned her wedding. Hannah kept her plans a secret, though, while her beloved built a home for them to share. When the house was complete, he would ask her father for permission to marry.
The farmer, land-hungry and greedy, had other ideas. Since settling in the backwoods of Rowan County, he’d purchased as much land as he possibly could. He coveted the farm next to his. Acquiring this property would add many acers to his holdings.
The neighboring farm was owned by an old widower who needed a strong young woman to help him with the work. The two farmers worked out a deal – a marriage between the widower and the daughter. The wedding would take place after the banns had been posted at the church for three weeks.
“No! I won’t do it!” Hannah shouted. “I won’t marry a man I don’t love, just so you can have more land.”
“You’ll marry who I say,” her father commanded.
“I won’t,” Hannah said. “I’ll run away first.”
Her father sneered, “We’ll see about that.” He locked Hannah in her room. Until she agreed to the marriage, she would be a prisoner. Meals would be delivered to her, but she could not leave her bedroom.
Hannah cried for days, and kept refusing to marry the old widower. Her father did not relent, and Hannah, unable to send word to her true love, finally realized the she would have to agree to the marriage.
The day before the wedding, Hannah told her father of her decision. “But,” she said, “you will regret this for as long as you live.”
That night, feeling victorious and dreaming of a lucrative future, the farmer did not lock Hannah’s bedroom door.
During the night, the farmer was awakened by the sound of barn doors opening and slamming shut. “The wind must be fierce,” he thought, “to force open those doors.” He grabbed a lantern and ran outside, expecting to be met by a major storm.
There was no storm, no wind. There was not even a breeze. He rushed to the barn, where the doors were madly flapping back and forth for no apparent reason. Then he saw a light, a strange, wavering light, reaching from deep inside the barn. The farmer raised his lantern and slowly entered. There, swinging in the slow circles, surrounded by an eerie glow, was the body of his daughter, hanging from the rafters. Hannah preferred death to a loveless marriage.
The next day, instead of a wedding, there was a funeral at the church.
It was a terrible loss, and the farmer regretted his greed. Neighbors refused to speak to him, and his crops failed. The well went dry. After nearly a year, things got better for the farmer. His crops grew and a new well brought fresh water. Even the neighbors seemed to forgive, or forget.
Except Hannah would not be forgotten. On the anniversary of her death, the farmer was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of barn doors slamming. The strange light again appeared. In the barn, the farmer could hear the creaking of the rafters, just as he’d heard on that fateful night.
These events continued year after year, always on the anniversary of Hannah’s death. Finally, the farmer tore down the barn. He burned all of the wood to ashes. He buried the nails throughout the forest. He pried the foundation stones from the ground and placed them so that none of the stones touched another.
Even that didn’t quiet Hannah. To this day, she makes her story known, announcing her father’s greed and guilt to anyone who will listen.
An elderly woman’s desire for privacy keeps me from disclosing the exact location, but if you’re in eastern Rowan County in late October, you might hear the sound of barn doors slamming. If you investigate closely, you may see an eerie light. If you move close enough to the light, you could feel a slight breeze stirring, as if a young girl’s body were swaying back and forth, back and forth, on the end of a rope.

We hope you enjoyed this little telling of poor Miss Hannah’s plight and hope you’ll swing by for the next installment! Until next time…

Xane and Dane Dravor

Stories taken from: Ghost Tales From The North Carolina Piedmont. Collected and retold by Linda Duck Tanenbaum & Barry McGee.

ISBN 1-878177-13-3