Voices, Unexplained Movements, Apparitions
The ghosts of Campbell House
By Ray Owen
At 2:36 am on the morning of June 11 2019, the security camera at Campbell House filmed an “orb of light” that moved from a glass-enclosed terrace at the back of the building toward the main entry hall, setting off the camera. A strange thing, unexplained — through the years, there have been many such accounts.
Known by many names, Woman in the Hall, Ghost on the Stairs, it manifests as voices in empty corridors, twilight apparitions and poltergeist activity. There are those who don’t believe and others who would like to believe. Eyewitnesses of the phenomena include workers in the building, small children and unsuspecting guests.
Since ancient times, ghosts have figured prominently in folklore. They have even been the subject of scientific investigation, the most notable being the research of Dr. J.B. Rhine at Duke University. Whether or not one accepts any of this, the telling and re-telling of ghost stories gives them a degree of life and meaning.
Campbell House is one of Southern Pines’ most significant landmarks, owing its existence to the Boyd family. The core of the house came from their original mansion that stood 100 feet in front of present-day Weymouth. After a fire in the early 1920s, a section was pulled across the street by teams of mules to become the home of Jackson Boyd, later purchased by Major W.D. Campbell.
In 1966, the Campbells gave their property to the town and it now houses the Arts Council of Moore County on the first floor, and the Boy Scouts and Southern Pines Recreation & Parks Department on the second floor. It is a busy municipal building, a gathering place hosting public receptions.
Quiet times are when the haunting occurs, as told by a town staff member:
“I’ve worked at the house for about six years. I experienced voices and sounds and things moving pretty much right away, within the first year when I started staying later.”
“It started with voices, hearing a woman talking down the hall. When I went to see who it was, no one was there and all the doors were locked. That’s when I understood it wasn’t a person. Around that time, I noticed things moving — drawers opening, doors closing, loud rattling sounds.”
“The activity seems to escalate when ignored. I’ve never been sure if it wanted my attention or wanted me to go away because when I hear the voices, I don’t feel any interaction. It’s like a woman talking with someone in a conversation that doesn’t involve me.”
“Almost five years ago, I went down the hallway, flipped on the light and the ghost was right beside me. She was looking directly at me, so close I could have touched her. It was the figure of a woman, about five foot tall with her hair up and a pale blue skirt gathered at the waist. I had the impression of a light upper area but couldn’t really make out facial features.”
“I was kind of in shock. Then, she started to disappear in an even fashion, becoming more and more invisible. It was pretty quick. I scurried around the corner, politely said ‘good night’ and left the building.”
“I’ve never felt like the voices and the apparition were the same thing. The most active place seems to be in the hallway, down toward the former maids quarters. That area, right in front of her door is where something is seen. The voices come from either the stairs or the upper and lower landing.”
“At least half the time I’m here past eight o’clock, I experience something — a door opens or I hear someone talking. That’s when I feel the need to leave — immediately. It’s not really scary but I respect whatever it is. It’s such a noisy building, I’m not sure if it happens during the day.”
“One time when I was getting ready to leave, I was walking down the hallway towards the stairwell and right below me the patio double doors started shaking so hard I thought the alarm would go off. I just flipped off the downstairs light. I didn’t look — I just left it alone.”
“The only time it’s disturbed me, I went downstairs late one night and when I reached to pull the front door closed, the conference doors upstairs slammed so hard they bounced open and slammed again. The whole way up to the parking lot it felt like I was being watched. That’s the only time I’ve thought something was unhappy with me.”
“I believe the essence of people can remain, either as a memory or their reality somehow intersecting with ours. Again, I don’t know if it’s telling me to leave or wanting my attention. In any case, it’s absolutely reinforced by others who have reported seeing the ghosts.”
“For me, this is their house and it’s a place they have a ‘right’ to be. We are just in their space — for good or for ill.”