You know the feeling…your heart pounding, your breath coming faster, your nerves standing on end, all culminating into racing adrenaline and the shock of simply being scared out of your wits! Many of us seem to thrive on it or, at the very least, enjoy the feeling enough to seek it out upon occasion. It may come from a racing roller coaster or a horror movie, yet the fact remains that there is something alluring about thrill seeking, even to the point of frightening ourselves silly. Even more intriguing is the notion of local urban legends, passed down from generation to generation! These are places we can easily search out and experience, enjoying the idea that even our own hometowns provide unexplained mysteries and enigmas. Here are a few examples of our own thrilling legends in Forsyth County.
If you grew up around here, you must have heard about Payne Road! As a teenager, it was a fantastical notion to travel down that dark and winding way (which has actually been renamed Edwards Road). I was one of those intrepid teens years ago who most likely annoyed the nearby neighbors by driving down “Payne” Road near midnight. I will say that it was one of the creepiest areas I’ve ever seen, with a twisting gravel road that was incredibly difficult to maneuver in the dark, especially while being scared and giggling with my friends. There was once a farmhouse around one of the sharpest curves. The house burned down in the 1990s, yet some outbuildings and the foundation remain. A few deaths occurred here, including a man who killed himself by placing a dynamite stick in his mouth in the 1950s. In 1992, a woman was murdered and tied to a tree near the house. These very real deaths, as well as wild tales of others, led to the road being considered haunted. There have been reports of strange lights glowing from the nearby cemetery and white figures hovering along the road. Legend states that if you stop on the bridge and turn off your car, it will not restart. The bridge, by the way, was probably the tiniest one I have ever seen! The bridge has been replaced by a culvert. People also claim that headlights will suddenly appear behind your car, coming closer and closer, until suddenly disappearing.
One of my personal favorites is Korner’s Folly, which has been dubbed “the strangest house in America.” It was built by Jule Korner in 1878, who refurbished the home consistently for most of his life. After his death in the home, it became a funeral parlor before becoming the historical attraction that it remains to this day. In 2009, a ghost hunting team declared that the property was haunted after their investigations. They claimed to find disembodied voices, ghostly footsteps, and many other eerie events. Whether or not it is actually haunted is up for debate, but nobody can deny that Korner’s creation is indeed an architectural masterpiece!
Another possibly spook-filled locale is Reynolda Estate! The lovely home and grounds were built in 1917 and became the home of R.J. Reynolds and his family. His wife, Katherine, took over the running of the estate after his death a year later. She managed the property until her own death seven years later. Reynolda is owned now by Wake Forest and is considered a historical attraction. The paranormal activity occurs on trails and gardens more than the actual house and includes a “lady in white” that many believe to be Katherine Reynolda, still looking after her home.
These places are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our local urban legends. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the unusual and bizarre. While it is entertaining to consider the possibilities, especially at this time of the year, we should also be respectful…unlike my teenage jaunt at midnight…when visiting these places!