Community to tour haunted Boone
Goosebumps won't be the only thing rising Saturday, as Boone's inaugural Ghost Tour treks its way down King Street.
Ghost tours will happen all summer, and, for one night only, it will be free to both the community and tourists.
To organizer and amateur historian Brad Harmon of Harmon's Dixie Pride downtown, it's all about getting the community involved in Boone's past through what he calls its haunted history.
An avid Civil War re-enactor and collector, Harmon plans to utilize his own sixth sense sensitivities to get people excited about downtown. "I've always felt things," he said.
Harmon first felt ghostly presences at a funeral home as a child. It's a sense that continues at his office location, still occupied, he said, by the ghosts of the famed Dr. Rankin, as well as Harmon's grandfather, both of whom held their practices in the location.
"I can be in this building at night and hear footsteps, even though I'm the only one here," he said.
And, according to Harmon, tenants, back when the building hosted apartments, also reported eerie happenings.
"The doors would open, especially in some of the areas where my granddad would do his practice," he said, motioning to the spot where his uniform and flag is on display.
The late Dr. Harmon isn't the only spirit who haunts Boone, Harmon said. One of his favorite stories, a highlight of the tour, surrounds the "Price Family Tragedy," where the home guard caught three young men making flour from the corn mill during the Civil War.
"They took them and brought them back to the jail," he said. "The next morning, a mob took them right outside the jail ... on top of a hill in a wooded area and threw a hangman's noose over their necks, tied their arms behind their back and hung them."
His calculations put the hanging location on the Jones House property.
That's just one of the haunted locations.
At the site of the Wilcox Drug and Emporium, two African American men worked at a blacksmith shop during the Civil War.
"They were free blacks, but they had married two white women," Harmon said. "They joined up with the 37th regiment company, and they were trained as wagoneers. One of the brothers got killed in a battle up in Maryland, and the other one survived the war and came back, but when he came back, both women had died, and the blacksmith's shop had been destroyed ... so he just picked up and moved to Avery County."
But the story doesn't end there.
"People have stated they have heard the clanging of some bells there, some anvils," he said, sounds reminiscent of the blacksmith shop from long ago.
It's not just ghosts of long ago. Harmon's senses light up when he visits the popular downtown night locale, the Boone Saloon. The building used to be the practice of Dr. Logan, a friend of Harmon's uncle.
"My uncle was in there in June of 1983, saying goodbye to Dr. Logan," he said.
Logan stayed late that night, waiting on a man with a prescription.
"About 15 minutes after my uncle left, a man came in, but he didn't have a prescription," he said. "He had a gun, and he shot and killed Dr. Logan behind the desk."
But, according to Harmon, his spirit didn't go very far.
"Dr. Logan's spirit walks there," he said, citing a fire he calls "mysterious," despite the official cause having been determined as electrical.
"I went in there a couple of times and I was like, 'OK, Dr. Logan. I still feel you here,'" he said.
"We've been in there 24 hours a day and not seen anything," owner Skip Sinanian told The Mountain Times. "We're not haunted."
He told Harmon the same thing, Harmon said, and his reply?
"Yeah it is, and I happen to know."
Harmon's Ghost Tour will typically start at Harmon's Dixie Pride, run down King Street to the old jailhouse on Water Street, then back toward the Appalachian State University campus. Expect to learn about Stoneman's Raid in 1865 and Boone's most famous figure, Daniel Boone.
The free June 26 show meets at the downtown post office at 6 p.m. Call the Downtown Boone Development Association at (8280 262-4532 to get your name on the list. Expect Harmon to be there and in costume. While the free show is one evening only, tours will happen (by reservation only) every night this summer at 8 and 10 p.m., $10 for adults, $5 for kids. For more information, call Harmon at (828) 264-6505 or stop by the store at 471 W. King St.