FAYETTEVILLE, NC. 1892.
In Harnett county, twenty-five miles north of Fayetteville, N. C. stand the ruins of a once fine residence in the midst of a plantation, overgrown by briars and old Reid pines. The fences have all rotted away, and the old house has for years been the abode for bats and owls. It is known as the “haunted Morrison place,” and no one who could be induced to go near the old house after sun-down. A long, shaded lane divides the old plantation, passing near the house.
For a mile the lane runs in a straight line, with mulberry, mock oranges and magnolia trees growing thick on each side; then it reaches the forest. Every night the measured hoof-beats of horses are heard coming down the graveled driveway which leads up to the door of the old mansion from the lane. Coming from under the shadows of the cedar and magnolia trees in the lawn is a milk-white steed, bearing two ghostly riders, a man and a woman, turns to the loft into the long, dark lane.
For a little distance the hoof beats are heard slow and regular, then another ghostly steed—a black one—with a single rider comes down Thor same graveled walk and turns into the lane in the same direction. Then a faint weird scream of terror is heard, a shout from the rider of the black steed, and the phantom horses and riders begin a race to death. Faster and faster fall the hoof-beats down the long dark lane, the black steed with its single rider all the time gaining on the white one with its double burden.
Never was there steeple-chase over brook and hurdles as exciting as the road race of the phantom horses with ghostly riders down tho dark lane; through the “haunted Morrison place.” Where the lane narrows into the wagon road at the edge of the forest stands a giant oak tree. There the white steed falls to the ground. There is a moan of agony. The black steed and rider reach the same spot in a moment then they, too, disappear, and all is still. The race is ended. There is no applause for the winner, no shouts of victory—it was a race to death.
Ask a resident of that locality to tell you the story of the haunted Morrison place, and with a shudder he may answer: “It is too horrible.”
Years ago, Carroll Morrison. the richest man in all that section, lived in the mansion. Morrison was a cold, cruel man, hated by all who knew him. He tortured his servants for amusement when under the influence of liquor and many are the tales told of his fiendish cruelty.
When nearly 50 years old Morrison married Rebecca Thomas, the pretty daughter of a well-to-do planter. It was not a love match. True, Morrison was pleased by the girl’s beauty, but she hated him. Her parents forced her to marry him because of his groat wealth.
Their married life was torture to the beautiful young girl.Morrison soon became madly jealous of her. and his cruelty culminated in his chaining her in a vacant room in the house. Before her marriage Mrs. Morrison loved a young man in the neighborhood and had promised to marry him. One day, while in chains, she managed, at great risk to herself and the messenger, to send him a note, telling him her condition and begging him to rescue her. The note was delivered by a faithful servant, who brought back an answer from the faithful lover that he would attempt to rescue her that night.
He came, entered the house by stealth, broke the chains and carried his loved ono out of the house in his arms. His horse was concealed on the lawn, and. placing Mrs. Morrisoa in front of him, he mounted and redo toward the long lane as quietly as possible. The jealous husband, however, had been aroused. and their flight was discovered. Quickly mounting his favorite race horse, Morrison started in pursuit. Ho caught sight of the lovers as they turned into the long lane, and then began a mad race for life and liberty.
Where the road made a bend at the end of the lane stood a largo oak. As the horse the lovers rode attempted to make the turn there his foot gave way, and the two riders were thrown with terrible force against the oak and instantly killed. The horse fell, and before he could rise the horse ridden by Morrison was upon him. Horse and rider went down. Morrison was thrown twenty feet by the fall of his horse, and his neck was broken. Only the horses escaped instant death, and they were crippled.
Morrison had no near relatives, and his heirs were soon fighting in the courts for possession of the rich estate. No one lived in the old house, and, as the litigation continued from year to year, the place soon went to ruin. Many have seen the phantom race to death down the long, dark lane, and the place is shunned as though a curse were on it.
Newspaper Citation: “In The Haunted Lane. A Race By Phantom Horses And Ghostly Riders.” Heber Springs, AR: Jacksonian 19(3), June 23, 1892. This story is in the public domain and is part of the cited work.