Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Charleston, TN - Phantom Monk - Railroad

Charleston, TN`s most famous resident may be the Phantom Monk. The building he haunted is now long gone, but the legend lives on.

In 1867 there was a terrible flood in Charleston, and a terrible tragedy. The flooded Hiwassee had washed away some of the railroad tracks. Unfortunately, the engineer of a passenger train was not aware of this, and the train fell into a ravine. Rescuers immediately went to work searching for the victims, but it was too late for many of them. Sadly, there was no hospital in the area, and the victims were taken to private homes. Many died. Eventually, all the bodies were found except for one: the body of a Catholic Monk from Baltimore.
It was very strange that the body of the young monk was not found. Too strange. People wondered if maybe he had never been on the train at all. The body had been found by the local doctor the night of the accident. When he noticed that this man was dead he hid his body until he could run home and got a wheel barrel and took him back to his house. The doctor had put his body in the guest bedroom of his house since he lived alone. Then the doctor passed out, so he was taken back to his house and cared for until he came to it. He finally woke up 3 days later with people standing over him. They said that he needed to rest and he was just exhausted, but knowing that the body was in the guest bedroom and no one seemed to mention it he had to get up and get back to work so they would leave his house. When they left he checked and found the monk still dead in his guest room. The doctor was finally able to work on the monk`s body where he stripped the bones and bleached them. He hung the skeleton in his office, because he had one that his father had given him that had been in the family for years and when he moved to this town it got lost in the move. Buying a new "real" skeleton would be too expensive and so when this opportunity had come up he took it.

Time went by and no one noticed or cared, but then the doctor began to have horrible nightmares of the monk stabbing him in his sleep. He began to stay at his office so he would not sleep. One day a boy had walked into the his office and seen a man standing there in a brown cape and when the doctor walked into the room the man disappeared. The boy asked him about the man and he said that it might be b/c the boy was not feeling well and that he should not mention it to anyone ever. Well being a young boy he told everyone! So people began to get suspicious. When an investigation was done the doctor finally confessed and explained what he had done and how he was being haunted.
Apparently, the monk`s spirit did not appreciate this (which is perfectly understandable). For years, the ghost haunted the old office. Dr. J. Lake McClary, the town doctor in later years, reported many encounters with the spirit.
In 1932, the old building was demolished. While tearing it down, workers discovered the monk`s cloak and a rosary hanging between the walls.

Today, the Coon Hunter`s Association Building stands near where the office once was. Sometimes, the locals claim, the ghost of the young monk returns, and walks the tracks late at night, or visits the new building. Some residents of Charleston claim to have encountered the unhappy spirit. They since his miserable condition, and hope he finds peace.

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