Wednesday, 17 October 2018 05:05

Pee Dee Region Paranormal Group Leads Evening Downtown Rockingham Tours October 12-13

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Scott Tomestic of Pee Dee Paranormal Group Scott Tomestic of Pee Dee Paranormal Group Submitted by Pam Simmons

ROCKINGHAM - “A skilled team of paranormal investigators with knowledge and expertise who help those in the Pee Dee Region and beyond who experience paranormal activity and other unexplained phenomena” took on the task of setting up a historical, informative, and at times spooky tour for the citizens of Richmond and surrounding counties of downtown Rockingham.

All of the tours that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights were sold out.

Robert Humphries and Brian Reaper are the co-founders of the organization which has been in existence for 22 years. Other members include Rick Horton, Stephanie Barnes, Scott Tomestic, Andrew McInville, TJ McInville, Jeff Collins, Cleve Baxley, Clint Haywood, and Hank the Guard Dog. Humphries stated, “The purpose of our group is to help people not be scared in their own home. We are not Ghost Busters! We want to prove or disprove the belief of life after death.” 

While doing their investigations, the members use a variety of equipment including an EMF detector, a K-II meter, a digital thermometer, an EM pump, a SLS camera, and a spirit box. 

After reviewing safety rules with our group of twenty eager “tourists,” guide Scott Tomestic shared that he was a descendant of the official minister of the Salem Witch Trials, Nicholas Noyes. Tomestic wore a long black cape, brown vest, a top hat, and spectacles as he led us and shared stories of apparitions, murder, and tragedy that is part of Rockingham’s history. 

The tour began outside of what is now known as Hudson Brothers Deli. It was originally the site of Watson-King Funeral Home. There have been reports of shadowy figures and sounds of running and laughter on the third floor, believed to be emanating from the spirit of a little girl.

The vacant building on the corner of Harrington Square has also had reports of shadowy figures and voices of women talking. 

The Richmond Community Theatre was next, and Tomestic shared the colorful history of the theatre itself. There have been reports of a “theatre monkey” that causes mischief and moves objects. Women have reported being touched by unseen forces, and sounds of chairs moving and banging on doors when no one was visible also are part of the theatre’s history. EVPs captured during an investigation included voices talking about a fire and a carriage house. 

Harrington Square was once known as Courthouse Square, where public hangings were held until the early 1900’s. Robert Hildreth was one of those who died there in 1849, unfortunately having to tighten his own noose because it was too loose. 

Tomestic shared an interesting story at the Everett McNair Building, now serving as the Arts Building on East Washington Street. There were sightings of what was believed to be a “ghost cat,” and also sounds of a crying child. At one point, the ceiling collapsed and in the rubble the body of a mummified cat was found.

Across the street,  the W.H. Parker Building was the site of a barber shop in the 1880’s. A devastating tornado occurred in 1884 and the barber shop had to be used as a makeshift mortuary for the numerous bodies that were victims of the tornado. The presence of an old woman has been reported there. 

Moving up East Washington Street, the tour stopped at the old Bank of Pee Dee Building and the Manufacturers Building. Tomestic went into detail about the 1925 murder of William Ormond and the story of his relationship with Elizabeth Cole, the daughter of W. B. Cole. Mr. Cole did not approve of the relationship and shot Ormond in front of Cole’s office, then pleading self-defense against the ensuing murder charges. Eventually W.B. Cole was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. 

Next stop on the tour was the Leak-Wall House, which has a huge Cedar of Lebanon tree in the yard. The home was built in 1853 by John Leak. It has been noted that the ghosts there do not like Northerners, possibly due to the "plunder and pilfering" by Sherman's Union troops as they marched through town in March of 1865.

Walking up to the Bennett Dean Insurance Company on Fayetteville Road, the group was introduced to two homes across the street that have had reports of paranormal activity. One of them had skeleton keys disappear only to be found later in the butler’s pantry. There were also reports of crashing sounds and reflections of people when no one else was in the home. 

Across from City Hall on Rockingham Road is the large yellow house that once served as a funeral home in the 1800’s. Numerous complaints including mishandling of remains resulted in that funeral home closing and relocating to the building next door. Later, the Legacy Funeral Home also had issues that resulted in that business closing after a container of human remains was found behind the building. 

The Water Tower beside the Rockingham Police Department was the last stop on the tour. In the shadow of the water tower, Tomestic told the tale of Henry Harvey and his murderous behavior in the summer of 1908. Harvey was employed as a worker on the municipal water and sewer system. Known as a heavy drinker, he flew into a rage at breakfast one morning, shot up the building, and ended up killing his roommate. When arrested, Harvey stated, “I want to kill some more.” He hired a young lawyer, Settle Dockery, and plead temporary insanity. However, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. Before his hanging, Harvey shared, “I want to go to Hell for a special purpose.” Within a few years of Harvey’s death, his attorney died of typhoid fever, soon followed in unexpected death by Rockingham Post Editor H.C. Dockery (who covered the story of the crime, trial, and execution) and arresting officer Sheriff M.L. Hinson.  Curse? 

Tomestic shared that the city of Rockingham was on a projected growth track at that time of 20,000 by the year 1920. Perhaps Henry Harvey’s “special purpose” of which he spoke was a curse of some sort on the town in which he died. It should also be noted that this was the last hanging to occur in the city of Rockingham. 

For more information about the Pee Dee Region Paranormal group of talented investigators, check out their website--

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:16