Hey, everyone. This month’s Legends and Lore post takes place in the state of Alabama.
Huntsville is a city in Alabama, located in the hills north of the Tennessee River. Its population is around 215,000, making it the most populous city in the state. Founded in 1805 as Twickenham, it was renamed Huntsville in 1811.
Today Huntsville is a thriving city with its main economic influence from aerospace and military technology. The Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center are located there.
Historic rockets in Huntsville (Public Domain)
But the modern city also has its share of legends and folklore, one of them involving the ghost of Sally Carter and Cedarhurst Mansion.
Stephen Ewing built Cedarhurst as part of a larger estate in 1823. It didn’t take long before tragedy struck the home when Mary Ewing’s sister, Sally Carter, came to visit.
Sally, just three weeks shy of her sixteenth birthday, took ill and died on November 28, 1837. She was buried in the family cemetery on the estate grounds. The epitaph on her tombstone read:
My flesh shall slumber in the ground
Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound
Then burst the chains with sweet surprise
And in my savior’s image rise.
Stories say Sally loved the estate and that’s the reason some say her presence is still there today. The legend began in 1919 when a seventeen-year-old boy visiting from nearby Dothan slept outside Sally’s bedroom. There was a storm during the night (yes, a dark and stormy night). The teenager claimed to have dreamed Sally visited him and asked him to prop up her headstone.
When he awoke the next morning, he told his family about the dream and said he was going to visit Sally’s grave. Strangely enough, Sally’s tombstone had toppled over during the storm.
Other stories claim Sally still walks the halls and grounds of Cedarhurst Mansion. A guard claims to have heard Sally walking upstairs one night. After her shift ended, the guard realized she had lost some money while doing rounds. After searching the grounds in vain, the guard gave up on finding the money. It was then she heard footsteps following her and her flashlight began flickering. When she returned to the guardhouse, the flashlight flickered brightly and shone directly on the cash she had given up for gone.
Another person who knew both families who lived in the mansion had a friend who slept in Sally’s room. The friend said doors opened and closed by themselves, covers were snatched off the bed, and lights turned on and off.
Other women claimed they had jewelry broken in the area of Sally’s room, with beads scattered everywhere.
Mapel Hill Cemetery, Huntsville. Creative Commons photo by Lonely Pilgrim via Wikimedia
The stories drew much attention and many visitors to the area, especially to see Sally’s grave. In 1982, the family had her body exhumed and relocated to an undisclosed location in Maple Hill Cemetery.
Today, Cedarhurst Mansion is now a part of a gated community with the home serving as a clubhouse. Sources say Sally’s bedroom has been preserved, but visitors aren’t allowed. Those wishing to catch a glimpse of Sally can always purchase one of the many condominiums.
A rather expensive price just to see a ghost, don’t you think?