Ghost stories from our area still get attention

Published 4:44pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

While my wife and I were watching television Friday   night I was scanning channels, as I sometimes do, when my wife said “STOP, look at that big house. It looks just like the house where I attended a wedding reception last week,” she said. No sooner had she told me this than low and behold a photograph of Gene Garrett flashed on the screen. Now, this really grabbed our attention as we focused in on the program more intensely wondering what in the world this story is about.

Well, first of all, it was, indeed, the same house Ouida went to. And, the suspenseful story, which was on The Travel Channel, depicted a lady now living with her husband  in that huge three story Uriah house claiming a series of ghostly encounters. We tuned in about five minutes into the show but we got the gist of it as we watched the entire program.

I will not attempt to write a review of the show but it basically implied this old restored mansion had ghosts in it. The lady of the house said she had sensed weird sensations and the cry of what seemed like a little girl. She related to the host of the show having difficulty breathing and panic attacks during these intriguing encounters. She said on one occasion she fell from an upper floor to the ground floor causing injuries. She and another person interviewed in the show said they believed she was pushed by something unknown.

A female expert on strange occurrences like these events was featured throughout the story leading her, in one occurrence, to sketch a silhouette image standing by a bed. In her horror filled  strolls through the house in the dark of night she said she also experienced encounters similar to those of the lady of the house.

The show’s host researched the origin of the old structure and learned of tragedy in the family who lived in the house back in the 1800s.
Again, I am not attempting to review the show because more information is available on the Internet. My remarks  are simply a reflection the show’s theme.

That Travel Channel show was called  “The Dead Files.”

Actually I had some prior information about this house because Gene told several of our coffee-drinking pals about it. Gene, who lived in Uriah, practiced law in Atmore for several years. Several in our group were invited to go with him to see the old run down structure in Clark County before it was taken down. Johnny Woods, Eddie Staff, Ben Haley, C Williams, Floyd Holk and Buster Joyner were sitting at our table that day. I believe a couple of these men went to see it but I don’t remember which ones made the trip.

Gene, who was a regular at our coffee sessions, frequently spoke about the old house explaining  he bought the old run down mansion in Clark County, took it apart board by board, moved it to its present location and restored it exactly as it was originally constructed in late plantation days.  Gene captured all the plantation features after restoration was completed.

He was always interested in “old things.” In addition to the big mansion he bought dozens of old cars and pickups and parked them in the yard next to the house. He told us a buyer came in one day and offered him thousands of dollars for the whole lot but he refused to sell.

He never mentioned to us the ghost’s legends when he talked about the house. He reflected a great deal of anticipation during the period the house was being torn down, moved and reconstructed. Gene died a few years ago. He enjoyed our company and we enjoyed him. By the way, all my friends mentioned here have passed away.

It is sad to think so many of my friends are no longer here. We began our gatherings back in the fifties at Bristow Drug Store then to Reid Drugs where Tony Albert combined his Rex Sporting Goods and then on to Busters where the tradition continues with a new set of friends. And, there are other groups who enjoy friendly gatherings at  Ken Barnett’s Escambia Drugs.

Well, as of Monday when I wrote the column, there were no other news stories on our county commission and it’s Montgomery attorney.

One pal at our coffee session told us jokingly “all the county commissioners need to do now is bring in John Tyson Jr. Tyson.” If you remember, he was the official from Mobile, who, on Governor Riley’s orders, led the closure of  private casinos in certain areas in the state last year. But seriously it is not a joking matter. Let’s hope the commission and their legal minds can solve this problem with the Creeks. So many jobs are riding on a favorable solution. I hope  the commission and their attorneys can find a favorable solution in a congenial manner.

We will have more news from Atmore’s yesteryears in our column next week.

“…yes,.. it always whispers to me…those days of long ago….”

Lowell McGill can be reached at

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