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Monday March 27th

Wilson Library shares ghost stories with new collection

The Wilson Library displayed spooky stories for Halloween.
Buy Photos The Wilson Library displayed spooky stories for Halloween.

Wilson Library is showcasing an exhibit on ghost stories and folklore in North Carolina. 

The exhibit, located on the second floor of the library, is titled “Haunted North Carolina.” The exhibit displays newspaper articles or books related to the legends and a sign describing each story.

Alison Barnett, business services coordinator for the North Carolina Collection and curator of the exhibit, said she wanted to represent multiple areas of the state. 

“You’ve got coastal North Carolina. You’ve got piedmont North Carolina, and of course we had to do a Chapel Hill one,” she said.

Barnett said popularity was a factor in the selection as well. 

“These are the more popular (stories) that came up time and time again in multiple books and places,” she said.

Senior Sophie Shaw assisted Barnett with the curating of the exhibit.

Barnett and Shaw have been working on the exhibit since Halloween last year. The idea for the exhibit came from a blog post that showcased the postcard collection from the North Carolina Collection. 

"We started coming across some neat stuff and decided it would be kind of cool if maybe we could turn this into a bigger thing," Barnett said.

The stories displayed in the exhibit are “Teach’s Light and the Ghost of Blackbeard,” “The Ghost Train at Bostian Bridge,” “The Legend of Peter Dromgoole” and “The Mysterious Maco Light.” 

The documents come from the larger collection of ghost stories and books related to North Carolina folklore in the North Carolina Collection housed in Wilson Library.

Barnett said it was especially important to include the legend of Peter Dromgoole because it is specific to Chapel Hill and to UNC. 

“It’s been carried down from student to student since the 1900s,” she said.

The ghost of Blackbeard is another popular legend in the collection. 

“You can’t really talk about North Carolina ghosts without going into Blackbeard and pirate lore, so that one was kind of a given,” she said.

Barnett said there are about 200 books and pamphlets in the collection related to ghost stories in North Carolina. Barnett said the point of any exhibit is to showcase the breadth of the collection. 

In her research, Barnett found newspaper articles that covered people coming to the locations of the hauntings in current time. 

“The lore may have started 100 years ago, but even today, people are still coming out and trying to see these things,” she said.

Shaw said when going through the different stories in the collection, they looked for ones that had the most evidence supporting them, such as newspaper articles and photographs as well as what would be most interesting. 

“It was kind of a matter of which stories had the most materials that we could present them in a visually interesting way,” Shaw said.

The exhibit opened up on Oct. 1 and will close down on Nov. 1.

“Halloween is my favorite holiday," Barnett said. "I’ve always been a big fan, and it seems like the right time if you’re going to talk about ghost stories."


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