Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Campfire Stories---Slave Protecting Buried Treasure

The earliest published account linking the BMLs to ghosts/spirits is C.H. Hites’ 1917 article in the Charlotte Observer (reprinted in The News-Herald of Morganton).   Even though the mysterious BMLs had been known for many years already and they had created great excitement due to numerous newspaper stories in 1913 and 1915, they were not attributed to ghosts or spirits until Hites’ story of Negro slave superstitions.

Hites reports being told stories by Negro slaves who saw a light on BM, presumably in the years following the Civil War, that they thought was the ghost of Bird Carroll.  Apparently Bird, a Negro slave himself, buried his life savings under a large pine tree on BM, but died in 1865 serving in the Civil War at Wilmington, NC before he could return and retrieve it. 

While Bird Carroll’s story itself was seldom if ever retold, the connection between the BMLs and ghosts/spirits was destined to become a common theme in later published reports.  S.M. Dugger's story of the ghost of a murdered wife and Ashton Chapman's story of Native American ghosts would not be published until 1936 and 1942, respectively.  Afterwards, nearly every published author included his/her own version of a ghost legend.

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