The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

Town Talk

A Nightmare on Franklin Street: Haunted Places in Chapel Hill

In honor of Halloween, staff writer Wei Zhou investigated claims of hauntings around Chapel Hill. Significant evidence of hauntings were found at two locales — The Carolina Inn and Gimghoul Castle.

The Carolina Inn

Ever since Dr. William Jacocks, a former resident at the Carolina Inn, died, his room has been said to be haunted.

Jacocks lived in room 256 for 17 years before his death in 1965.

Traces of the ghost's existence include the room door's self-locking, the radio starting to play for no reason, the scent of flowers flowing through the room and the bathroom mat getting wet even when no one uses it.

The door self-locked so frequently that the hotel staff had to put a ladder in the outside bushes to get in the room in the 1990s.

Dan Bonne, concierge at the Carolina Inn, said although the room has been split into two rooms since the hotel’s renovation, both rooms are still haunted.

Bonne said customers also claim they see an well-dressed elderly man wandering the hallways late at night.

But Bonne said the ghost might just be the security guard who work the night shifts.

“You want to know what I think?” he said. “We have an older security guard who has been there for like 20 years, and he is in his late 70s. I think sometimes people see him and they think that is the ghost.”

He added since the hotel changes its lock system about six months ago, there have been no complaints about the door becoming locked.

Gimghoul Castle

Gimghoul Castle, located at the end of Gimghoul Road, has long stimulated curiosity.

The castle was built in the early 1920s at a cost of $50,000.

A secret society, known as the Order of the Gimghoul, is said to be associated with the castle since the society was founded in 1889. 

There are rumors that the secret society might still exist today.

Chapel Hill resident Laura Doherty , who runs frequently around the area, said she saw people having a party one evening at the castle. She said the people looked student-age and she thinks they might be UNC students.

The dusted grills outside the castle indicate some people might have lived there before. There is a black car covered with dust and leaves parked outside the castle.

As autumn has come, leaves have covered the front veranda. On the other side of the castle, there is a nice view of Chapel Hill.

The castle appears like it has been vacant for a long time. Although the inside light is sometimes on, no one answers when the door is knocked. Through the first floor windows, spiderwebs and a few coke bottles can be seen inside the rooms. 

When the reporter returned to the location the following day, the black car had mysteriously disappeared, and a white car was inexplicably sitting in its place.

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