Ghosts of the Triad the perfect read for the season

by Keith Barber

Authors Michael Renegar and Amy Spease make no bones about it — they are ghost hunters. In their book, Ghosts of the Triad: Tales from the Haunted Heart of the Piedmont, Renegar and Spease traverse the Piedmont to chronicle some of the best ghost stories our state has to offer.

Renegar and Spease begin their tour of Triad ghost stories with a visit to one of the oldest settlements in North Carolina — Old Salem. The tale of the Little Red Man, otherwise known as the ghost of Andreas Kresmer, is one of the more fascinating tales in the Old Salem chapter of the book.

While working in the basement of the Single Brothers’ House in 1786, Kresmer, a shoemaker, reportedly suffered a fatal injury and shortly thereafter passed away. But well into the 20th century, visitors to Old Salem could hear strange noises at all hours of the day like the sound of a cobbler’s hammer. They would often glimpse flashes of red. Kresmer, known for his trademark red coat, would often appear as a specter in plain sight of visitors and play with children. However, in the early 1900s, an exorcism was performed at Single Brothers’ House and the Little Red Man’s ghost has not been heard from since.

Renegar and Spease do a fantastic job of storytelling to the point that it literally sends shivers down the reader’s spine. One of the most riveting stories is that of Samuel McClary, who arrived at the Salem Tavern late one night in 1831 and immediately collapsed to the floor. Doctors soon arrived and determined McClary to be deathly ill. McClary died the following morning and was buried in Strangers’ Cemetery, according to local legend. Soon after, slaves and employees of the tavern begin to see apparitions and hear disembodied footsteps. Then one night, the ghost of Samuel McClary appeared before the tavernkeeper, crying out for help. The faceless specter, arms extended, pleaded with the tavernkeeper to write to his brother in Texas to tell him of his fate. The ghost gave the tavern keeper an address and suddenly, vanished. The tavernkeeper mailed a letter the following day. McClary’s family arrived weeks later to collect his belongings, and the ghost of Samuel McClary never haunted the Salem Tavern again.

Reneger and Spease chronicle an especially chilling story of a haunted house in the Waughtown section of Winston-Salem. Renegar’s sister, Amy, moved into a house on Pleasant Street and shortly thereafter began seeing mysterious shadows moving throughout the house. After months of frightening incidents, Amy suffered a terrifying dream in which a loud voice told her, “It is time to leave this house!” Amy and her family heeded the voice, which she believes came from a guardian angel, and found a new home that is free of darkness and restless spirits.

Renegar and Spease tell the tale of 10-year-old Angie and how she went exploring the woods in a rural section of Kernersville known as Horneytown. Many in the region call the area “Arrowhead Country” due to all the Native American artifacts that have been discovered. While searching for arrowheads, little Angie noticed three Native American children dressed in traditional garb playing nearby. Her older brother, Clint, reported seeing shadow figures in the woods while walking along Highway 311 and there have been multiple reports of people being shoved, pushed and scratched by ghostly apparitions in this part of Kernersville.

Renegar and Spease document ghost hunting efforts to capture paranormal activity at Korner’s Folly in Kernersville, the Legend of Aycock Auditorium, the ghosts of Greensboro College and investigate the possibility of real ghosts at Spookywoods in High Point in their entertaining and informative book.

wanna go?

Ghosts of the Triad is available at Barnes & Noble, Narnhills Bookstore and, and fine bookstores everywhere.