Friday, 25 October 2019 18:55

Downtown Rockingham ghost tour highlights history, hauntings

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 Andrew McInville of Pee Dee Region Paranormal talks about haunted happenings at Remax during the Uptown Ghouls tour Oct. 18. Andrew McInville of Pee Dee Region Paranormal talks about haunted happenings at Remax during the Uptown Ghouls tour Oct. 18. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — With Halloween around the corner, a local paranormal investigation team is giving residents a glimpse of ghostly happenings mixed with history.

Members of Pee Dee Region Paranormal are offering a pair of walking tours around Rockingham: the Uptown Ghouls tour and the Haunted Homes tour.

Last Friday, Andrew McInville and Brian Horton led the uptown tour while Scott Tomestic took guests by several homes along East Washington Street and Fayetteville Road — including the Leak-Wall House —  said to host paranormal activity.

While McInville gave participants the history of each site, Horton explained what the team had found at those places they had investigated.

The first stop on the former was the Remax office, where some of the reported activity was said to be related to a mirror.

Next was the Manufacturer’s Building, outside of which was the site of the 1925 murder of William Ormond by textile tycoon W.B. Cole.

Up at the corner, McInville told of apparitions of an old woman at the Bank of the Pee Dee and a child and ghost cat at Arts Richmond, as well as how the W.H. Parker Insurance building had once been used to store the bodies of residents killed in a deadly tornado.

Over in Harrington Square, McInville and Horton talked about the reported hauntings at the Richmond Community Theatre from “a negative male presence” known to shove women and the “theater monkey.”

“There never was a monkey here,” Horton said.

People have reported hearing voices and shuffling and the team has captured electronic voice phenomena during an investigation.

In the square, where the courthouse used to sit and the site of public executions until the early 1900s. McInville recounted the story of Robert Hildreth, who had to hang himself in 1849 after complaining the rope was too loose.

He also told of another nearby murder, at the T.F. Webb store, where the defendant was tried, acquitted and soon after married the fiance of the victim.

Across the street, Horton recounted an investigation of the Watson Building where two women were heard bickering, as well as the sound of pots and pans clanging.

He said they could also hear the ghost of the little girl said to haunt Hudson Brothers Deli, the former site of Watson-King Funeral Home.

New on this year’s tour was an unlikely spot — the Rockingham Fire Department.

The station was built on an old cemetery. However, officials didn’t know all the graves hadn’t been relocated until the truck bay was extended years later.

The ghost of former Assistant Chief Forrest McBride, affectionately referred to as “Mac,” supposedly walks the halls of the station and his apparition has reportedly been seen at Station 2, as well.

Three young firefighters — Dalton Millen, Keith McPhaul and Heather Bellamy — told the group of their experiences.

They said “Mac” has caused toilets to flush, doors to lock and airpacks to go off.

McPhaul said he has seen the ghost walking back and forth between offices.

Bellamy practically grew up at the station, with her father being a fireman. Her first experience with “Mac” was at the age of 8.

She said she and “Mac” have fought over control of the television: while she’s trying to watch Food Network, he reportedly switches to the Disney Channel.

Pee Dee Region Paranormal still has tour slots open for Nov. 2.

For more information, email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or message Scott Tomestic on Facebook.