Haunted Cotton Exchange tm

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Scary, creepy and mostly ghostly tales!

Chills and Thrills await you at the one of the most historic & haunted locations in Wilmington.

Tours 7 days a week

Under 12 Free with family
All Others $12 each


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Group, Private and Bus Tours available, call for rates

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Haunted Cotton Exchange
Haunted Cotton Exchange

Haunted Cotton Exchange
Haunted Cotton Exchange


Paddies Hollow Ghost

Paddies Hollow Ghost
Taken by Lori Erwin 2004

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These pictures were taken by one of our customers on a tour of the Cotton Exchange a few weeks ago. 

 






Could this be the spirt of the girl ghost at the Scoop?  Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours.  Call for tour times! 910-409-4300

Review and Recent Ghost Sighting At the Cotton Exchange

Hi, Lori!  My name is Becky, and my two children and I did a tour with you on Thursday, Aug 2 at the Cotton Exchange.  First of all, I wanted to say we enjoyed ourselves immensely!  Your stories were quite fascinating.  I just thought I'd share a picture that I took with you to get your opinion.  Its from the window of the doggy store.  My son said he felt an odd feeling there, so I snapped a pic, and I think I see something.  If you look in the bottom of the frame, you can see my son's whole face being reflected from the glass.  Just slightly above that, to the left of the white dog display, I see what looks like a child's face.  Maybe its just our imagination, so we thought we'd see what you thought about it.  Thanks again for an enjoyable evening!  We had a blast!

Sincerely,
Becky C

Reported Haunting at the Cotton Exchange


Hey,
I hate to bother you with this, but I have a question that is driving me crazy.  May I share a story with you?
I remember about 30 years ago going to Wilmington for the first time with my parents.  We came with a lady who grew up at the beach and was familiar with the area.  She was taking us to places she thought we would enjoy.  She chose the Cotton Exchange for one of the stops.  As we drove into downtown Wilmington, my mom started having a feeling of Déjà vu.  The feeling became stronger as we approached the Cotton Exchange.  Please keep in mind she had NEVER been there before.  We are not the type of people who have a strong believe in hauntings and ghosts.  Being Christians we do believe in “Spirits” (good and evil), but not necessarily ghosts.  As we started walking through the Exchange the ‘bad’ feelings started getting stronger for my mother.  She started to panic a bit and wanted to leave.  She did not have an explanation, but just a terrible fear that quickly started to increase.  As we entered the Bear Building the feeling increased dramatically.  We walked up a small set of steps to the third floor and she began having chest pains, loss of breath, and a true panic attack.  We had to actually help her out of the building.  We walked into the clock store and she repeated the previous reaction to such a severe state that we had to take her to the car and leave immediately.  Once we were gone, she was fine.

Last week we were back in Wilmington and my mother was with us.  She had not been back to the Exchange since the last time 30 years ago.  We talked her into going again to see if she had the same reaction.  She did!!  It was strange to see my normally level headed mother in such a strange state.  I had to email and ask if you had any information or ideas of what could cause this feeling.
We are from a small town in the NW corner of North Carolina—Ashe County.  No connections that we know of to the Exchange.  Could it be one of our ancestors worked there?  She could not tell us what it was that bothered her.  She just said she had a ‘vision’ of a very small door on the top floor and something very bad happened there.  She felt like she had been there to witness it, but had no idea what it was.  We tried to get her to calm down and stand there for a while and try to visualize what may have happened, but she flat refused.  She ran down the steps and cried for us to come on, insisting on the pending danger.
Strange, I know.  But, we were just curious. 
Thanks for your time,
Laneice

Hi Laneice!  Yes, we have had several experiences like you described.  I have had a few myself.  I'll call you soon to discuss this further.  Thanks for sharing!  If anyone else has had odd experiences we would love to hear about them. Thank you  Lori

Getting away with murder during the Civil War! Part Two





Getting away with murder during the Civil War! Part Two
The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends

 
George W. Baylor

George Wythe Baylor was not a man to trifle with. A strapping 6-foot-2-inch Texas frontiersman, he had killed more than his share of men. Baylor harbored a psychopathic hatred of Indians, once boasting that he had "killed and scalped six Indians one morning before breakfast." He listed his occupation as "Indian killer" in the 1860 census and chronicled his deeds of mayhem in a local newspaper.

When the war broke out, Baylor was reputedly the first man in Austin to raise the Confederate flag. He served briefly as General Albert Sidney Johnston's senior aide-de-camp. After Johnston's death at Shiloh, Baylor returned to Texas as lieutenant colonel and commander in Henry H. Sibley's Second Battalion. He commanded a cavalry regiment in the Red River Campaign of 1864, twice receiving commendations for gallantry.

In 1864 Baylor found himself under the command of Maj. Gen. John Austin Wharton. A Texan since infancy and an educated and cultured man, Wharton had distinguished himself as a lawyer and plantation owner, and had married the daughter of the governor of South Carolina. Baylor's biographer describes Wharton as a "wealthy and arrogant orator and jurist," but he also was a brave soldier. When the war began, he enlisted as a captain in Company B, 8th Texas Cavalry—the famed Terry's Texas Rangers—and was soon commissioned a colonel. Wharton fought courageously at Shiloh and Murfreesboro, sustaining wounds in both actions. After distinguishing himself at Chickamauga, he was promoted to major general and given command of the Rebel cavalry in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Louisiana.

John Wharton almost made it through the war alive, but shortly before Lee's surrender at Appomattox, fate brought him together with George Wythe Baylor. The trouble began when Wharton dressed Baylor down for failing to attack a Union line—an allegation the prickly Baylor vigorously denied. Next day, a number of the brigade's colonels—including Baylor—were treated to another of Wharton's tongue-lashings. Around this time, Baylor discovered his wife was deathly ill, and he requested leave. Generals Edmund Kirby Smith, John G. Walker, Walter P. Lane and John Bankhead Magruder gave their approval, but Wharton wrote on the request, "I know nothing of Mrs. Baylor's health. Colonel Baylor is needed with his regiment." Baylor interpreted this as a challenge to his veracity. "Here was a pretty broad hint," he later wrote, "that I had lied to get an extension of my furlough!"

Then came the final affront. Baylor saw no reason why he should remain a colonel when he had commanded a brigade throughout the campaign. He put his case to Wharton, who—according to Baylor—promised him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general. Wharton then proceeded to "dismount" Baylor's regiment—reduce them to the status of infantry, a serious insult to the Texas horsemen—and placed Baylor under the command of David S. Terry, a junior colonel to whom Wharton had also promised a generalship. Terry, a known scoundrel, was Wharton's close friend and a particular personal enemy of Baylor.

Baylor's ego could take no more. He sent word to Wharton that he would see him in hell before he served under Terry. He then set out for Houston to put his case before General Magruder. Unfortunately, Baylor ran into Wharton, who was passing by in General J.E. Harrison's carriage, and a battle of words commenced. Baylor accused Wharton of doing him an injustice and called him a demagogue; Wharton responded by calling Baylor a "damned liar." Baylor lunged at Wharton, and after a brief exchange of blows, Baylor stepped back and half-drew his Navy Colt. Harrison attempted to drive away, but Wharton restrained him. After a few more harsh words, the combatants agreed to direct their hostility at the enemy and settle their differences after the war.


John A Wharton

Baylor, enraged and frustrated, sought out Magruder in his private quarters at the Fannin Hotel. Magruder attempted to calm his furious subordinate, then left for a few moments, whereupon an angry but unsuspecting Wharton—also seeking Magruder—entered the room in the company of General Harrison. The war of words began anew and quickly escalated. As Baylor later recalled, Wharton "struck me a glancing blow on my cheek, throwing me on my back on the bed," from which position Baylor raised both feet and kicked the general in the stomach. Harrison jumped between them, whereupon Baylor drew his revolver and shot Wharton in the side; he died almost at once. Harrison braced Baylor and said, "Colonel, he was totally unarmed!" Baylor, writing later, claims to have fired on the assumption that Wharton was armed, or "I should never have used my pistol." More likely Baylor simply drew and fired in the heat of anger, with no thought as to whether his adversary had a weapon.

Baylor was arrested on the spot. Wharton's friends were rumored to have formed a lynch mob, but nothing came of it. The war ended before a court-martial could be convened, and Baylor's case was transferred to the civil courts. John Wharton had been an only child, and his wealthy and embittered mother did everything in her power to see Baylor convicted. The case dragged on for three years, ending in a hung jury, and six months later, in an acquittal.


Baylor's Grave

After the war, George Baylor worked at a number of professions before finally re-joining the Rangers and resuming his chosen calling—Indian fighting. Baylor was permanently scarred by the murder of John Austin Wharton and spent the rest of his life either justifying the deed or expressing his sadness over it. In 1898 he wrote that Wharton "struck me in the face and called me a liar. He ought to have known I would resent it at once, for he had seen me in battle." Yet friends and relatives noted he could not mention the incident without tears. "I trust everyone who knows me personally," he wrote, "will believe me when I say the whole thing was a matter of sorrow and regret to me."

picture source: Ron Moody, Google Images


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Ghost at Paddy's Hollow?

Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours!  

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12 and under FREE with paying adult. 
Fred the ghost at the Cotton Exchange. Can you see him? 

Come spend some creepy time with us! 
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Getting away with murder during the Civil War


Getting away with murder!  Part One
The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends

The death toll among general officers during the Civil War was staggering. Because military necessity often placed a general officer at the head of the army, generals were killed leading hopeless charges (Lewis A. Armistead), engaging in skirmishes (J.E.B. Stuart), reconnoitering occupied territory ("Stonewall" Jackson) and mounting impossible frontal attacks (Patrick R. Cleburne). The cost was incalculable. Here, after all, were officers who—political favoritism aside—presumably rose to their rank because of their experience, judgment and valor, the men who were best qualified to achieve their respective armies' objectives. And yet they fell in alarming numbers. At Franklin alone, the number of Confederate generals killed or wounded ran in the double digits.

Such a death was almost expected. However tragic a general's demise might be, however demoralizing to his troops, it was a risk every soldier anticipated his leaders taking, sharing with the lowliest private the ultimate possibility of a noble, if gory, demise.

And then there were the generals whose violent departures had little if anything to do with the field of battle.



 Jefferson Columbus Davis
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129704

The killer was a Union general who bore the unenviable name of Jefferson C. Davis—a fact that doubtless caused him no end of embarrassment. Davis was born in 1828 near the town of Charleston, Ind., and had been soldiering since his teens, when he volunteered for service as a private in the Mexican War. As a lieutenant five years later, he fought in the last Seminole campaign. And when Fort Sumter was fired on in 1861, Davis was inside the walls, commanding a four-gun battery. Throughout the war, he demonstrated unusual bravery and tenacity in battle, and distinguished himself in the Blackwater Expedition and at Pea Ridge. He was made brigadier general of volunteers in May 1862.

After a brief leave due to illness and exhaustion, Davis reported in early September 1862 to General Horatio G. Wright, commanding the Army of the Ohio. Wright in turn directed Davis to report to his second in command, Maj. Gen. William Nelson, in Louisville, Ky. A worse pairing could not have been conceived.

At 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 125 pounds, Davis looked a bit hangdog and considerably older than his 34 years. Although generally quiet in his demeanor, he was often intractable and given to displays of temper. One biographer described Davis as "aggressive, feisty, and confrontational" with a "fiery and combative spirit." The bombastic Nelson stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed some 300 pounds—a veritable bearded, curly haired giant. Nelson was four years Davis' senior and had joined the Navy as a midshipman in 1840. He, too, had seen his share of action and in 1847 had commanded a battery at the Battle of Vera Cruz. A lieutenant when the Civil War began, he swiftly rose to the rank of major general in Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. Apparently Nelson was something of a bully and in his Navy days had been given the nickname "Bull."

Further exacerbating the situation was the sectional enmity that existed between Indiana and Kentucky. Never one to mince words, Kentuckian Nelson was known to refer to Hoosiers as "poor trash"—an attitude unlikely to endear him to Jeff C. Davis, one of Indiana's favorite sons. Davis, an Army veteran of countless engagements, might also have resented having to report to a man who had spent his entire career in the Navy and had only recently been given command of troops. And when Davis reported to Nelson, he was ordered to organize and train the "home guard"—an assignment Davis almost certainly would have considered beneath him.

Some, or perhaps all, of these factors were at play when, two days after receiving his assignment, Davis reported to Nelson at the Galt House, a luxurious hotel that also served as Army offices and Nelson's quarters. Nelson asked Davis for the number of troops mustered and the number of weapons required. When Davis replied, "I don't know," Nelson became indignant. He then asked for details relating to recently formed regiments and companies, and again Davis answered that he didn't know. Davis later averred that after only two days on the job and still lacking some crucial reports, he couldn't possibly have answered otherwise.

Nelson exploded. Rising to his full height, he dressed Davis down: "But you should know. I am disappointed in you, General Davis. I selected you for this duty because you are an officer in the regular Army, but I find I made a mistake."

According to Maj. Gen. James B. Fry, Buell's chief of staff, an old friend of Davis and a witness to the encounter:
"Davis arose and remarked in a cool, deliberate manner:

"'General Nelson, I am a regular soldier, and I demand the treatment due to me as a general officer….I demand from you the courtesy due to my rank.'

"Nelson replied: 'I will treat you as you deserve. You have disappointed me; you have been unfaithful to the trust I have reposed in you, and I shall relieve you at once….You will proceed to Cincinnati and report to General Wright.'

"Davis said: 'You have no authority to order me.'
"Nelson turned toward the Adjutant General and said: 'Captain, if General Davis does not leave the city by nine o'clock tonight, give instructions to the Provost-Marshal to see that he shall be put across the Ohio!'"

Furious, Davis reported to Wright, who defused the situation by temporarily reassigning him. On September 25, Buell took over from Nelson, and Wright felt it safe to send Davis back to Louisville. Davis was elated with the assignment; he relished a chance to serve under Buell as he planned a major campaign against the Rebels in Kentucky. On September 29, Davis entered the Galt House to report and immediately found himself among several friends, including Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton. Shortly thereafter, Nelson entered the hotel. Davis, still smarting from the insult, approached Nelson and demanded an apology. Morton stood near enough to hear the exchange, as did the ubiquitous Fry. According to Fry, Nelson answered, "No!" and "said in a loud voice for all to hear, 'Go away, you damned puppy, I don't want anything to do with you!'"

Davis was holding a piece of paper, which—as the shocked assemblage watched—he wadded up and flicked into Nelson's face; a startled Nelson responded by slapping Davis with the back of his hand. He made an indignant comment to Morton, and stalked away toward the staircase leading to his room. Infuriated, Davis borrowed a pistol from a friend, and walking to within three feet of Nelson, shot the unarmed general in the chest. Nelson, mortally wounded, managed to climb the stairs before he collapsed. "Send for a clergyman," he gasped, "I wish to be baptized. I have been basely murdered."

Fry immediately arrested Davis, who pleaded that, while he had sought an apology, it was never his intention to shoot Nelson. The shooting created a furor among the officers at the hotel, some of whom called for Davis' immediate hanging. Buell, who had doted on Nelson, was outraged and considered the act "a high crime and gross violation of military discipline." He wanted to take swift action, but timing worked in Davis' favor.

With his huge offensive in the works, Buell simply could not spare the officers or the time needed to convene a court-martial, and requested that Davis be tried in Washington. Morton lobbied on Davis' behalf, however, and nothing further was made of the affair. After a week of incarceration, Davis was released, and within two weeks of murdering "Bull" Nelson, he was given division command in General William S. Rosecrans' Army of the Cumberland. He fought gallantly throughout the remaining years of the war, but he would always be remembered as the only Union general to have murdered a brother officer.

picture source: http://germansons.com/Metzner_Collection/Davis_J.html#


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Face in the window?




We were out in Oakdale Cemetery doing some history research when we discovered the Murchaison family plot.  As soon as we stepped into the plot, we both got chills and felt like some one was watching us. We took this picture thru the window of the crept.  Can you see the face?

The Ship of Fire


On a certain evening every year, at the mouth of the wide Neuse River, a large bright object speeds into view.  It looks like a sailing ship being destroyed by fire, its deck and masts in blazing outline.

The apparition disappears, then reappears, then again disappearsfor another year.  It burns furiously but is not consumed.

It is the ship of the Palatines.  The Palatines were a group of German Protestants who left England in 1710 to settle New Bern.  As the vessel crossed the Atlantic, the prosperous Palatines, pretending to be poor, hid their gold coins and silver dishes from the eyes of the ship's sinister captain and crew.  When the Palatines caught sight of the shore which they believed to be their future home, so excited were they that up from the hold and out from hiding places came all their belongings in preparation for landing.  Unwisely displayed on the deck was their precious wealth, all of it in full view of the corrupt captain and his first mate.

Quickly the captain formed a plan.  He announced to the passengers than no landing could be made until the morrow.  The disappointed Palatines once more hid their valuables and lay down to a sound sleep in anticipation of soon landing at their destination.  When all was quiet, the captain gathered his crew together and revealed to them his plan.  They would murder every Palatine aboard--the young and the old, the women and children as well as the men--then gather together the gold and silver, set afire the ship filled with its dead, and escape in the lifeboats.

The strike was sudden.  Many Palatines were knifed before they awoke and in a very few moments every one of them was dead.  As planned, the ship was set afire, and the murderers pushed off in the small boats.  From a distance they looked back at the ship.  It burned brighter and brighter, the brilliant blaze of the fire shooting into the air, but the vessel did not sink into the water.  And then the thing began to move.

"It continued to burn all night," according to an old account, "--speeding on with the wind,--now passing out from sight, and anon, visible, flaming forever, back again, on the very spot where the crime had been committed.  With the dawn of day, it had ceased to burn,--but there it stood, erect as ever, with the spars, sails, masts, unconsumed,--everything in place, but everything blackened, charred."   At sundown the flames leaped up again--"a ship on fire that would not burn!"

The frightened murderers could bear no more.  They abandoned their boats on the bank of the river and fled into the forest.  There they and their descendants lived on their "ill-gotten spoils."  To this day the crime has not been avenged, and so every year on a certain evening the burning ship appears off New Bern, and so it will continue to appear till the blood of the Palatines has been paid for in kind.

Walking sounds at the Cotton Exchange

I work down at the Cotton Exchange in one of the upstairs offices.  We have between 10 to 16 people working there day and night.  I'm on the night shift.  We have something, ghost or something that walks back and forth my row of cubicals'.  The floors are wooden had make a very recognizable sound when walked on.


You can hear footsteps starting at one end of the passage way, about 15 feet, then the door at the end opens, very slowly, stays open for a second and then slams shut, very loud.  I would love to see if anyone else has see or heard anything

Maco Light

On a night in 1867, at the small Brunswick County station of Maco fifteen miles west of Wilmington, a slow freight train was puffing down the track.  In the caboose was Joe Baldwin, the flagman.  A jerking noise startled him, and he was aware that his caboose had become uncoupled from the rest of the train, which went heedlessly on its way.  As the caboose slackened speed, Joe looked up and saw the beaming light of a fast passenger train bearing down upon him.  Grabbing his lantern, he waved it frantically to warn the oncoming engineer of the imminent danger.  It was too late.   At a trestle over the swamp, the passenger train plowed into the caboose.  Joe was decapitated:  his head flew into the swamp on one side of the track, his lantern on the other.  It was days before the destruction caused by the wreck was cleared away.  And when Joe's head could not be found, his body was buried without it.
Thereafter on misty nights, Joe's headless ghost appeared at Maco, a lantern in its hand.  Anyone standing at the trestle first saw an indistinct flicker moving up and down, back and forth.  Then the beam swiftly moved forward, growing brighter and brighter as it neared the trestle.  About fifty feet away it burst into a brilliant, burning radiance.  After that, it dimmed, backed away down the track, and disappeared.

It was Joe with his lantern, of course.  But what was he doing?   Was he looking for his head?  Or was he trying to signal an approaching train?

In 1889 President Grover Cleveland, on a political campaign, saw the mysterious light, as have hundreds of people throughout the years.  But in 1977 when the railroad tracks were removed and the swamp reclaimed his haunting grounds, Joe seems to have lost interest in Maco.  At least, he has not been seen there lately.

Stories all come from North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser.  This book is available from the Historical Publications Section, Division of Archives and History, 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601-2816 or 919-733-7442.
We greatly appreciate their generosity in allowing us to reprint these stories.

Murchison Ghost Oakdale Cemetery Wilmington NC







We were out in Oakdale Cemetery doing some history research when we discovered the Murchaison family plot.  As soon as we stepped into the plot, we both got chills and felt like some one was watching us.
We took these pictures thru the window of the crept.  Can you see the faces?

Murchison Tomb At Oakdall

I came upon the Murchison grave.  I was taking pics in the crept and suddenly overcome with a feeling of dread.   My skin tingled and goosebumps everywhere.   See if you can spot the "face".  Very creepy!











 
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