Starting in 1712, the Province of North Carolina, which was a British colony, saw the creation of many small-scale plantations, some of which are still standing today.
Primarily operated by slaves, these modest plantations were built to produce cash crops, like rice, and cotton. These goods, along with North Carolina’s primary staple of tobacco, helped shape the culture, and history of the state.
Today, most of these surviving plantations are registered landmarks and are registered historic places. Many of them also happen to be notoriously haunted.
1. Mordecai House, Raleigh
This Mordecai House was built in 1785, in what is now Raleigh. It is known for being the oldest residency of the city on its original foundation. A gentleman by the name of Joel Lane acquired a lot of land, with the intention to build a plantation. The property and the house were a gift to Mr. Lane’s son, Henry, and his family.
The Lane family did not retain the property for very long, however. During the early 1800s, the State of North Carolina made a deal with Joel Lane. He sold a thousand acres of the land to the state, and that property was used to establish a new town. Thus, Joel Lane is often credited for being one of the men responsible for the foundation of Raleigh.
In 1817, the Lane family sold the plantation house to a man named Moses Mordecai. Mr. Mordecai had several children, and two marriages in the house, and his descendants remained on the property for many years to come.
It is one of these descendants that is believed to haunt the beautiful plantation. A woman named Mary Willis Mordecai Turk still lingers in the house and is not afraid to make herself known to visitors.
While she was alive, Mary spent much of her time learning to play the piano, and her passion for the instrument carried on in death.
Mary has appeared in many forms to tourists. Some have seen her as an orb, hovering silently above the piano. Others have claimed they have seen a full-bodied apparition of Mary, seated at the piano bench, in a periodic fashion.
Often times if Mary can be seen, she can also be heard. The disembodied sounds of piano keys are usually heard when Mary’s spirit can be seen.
What is most chilling is that a few people who have seen this spirit have been able to describe her facial features in surprising detail. These descriptions have been compared to the notes of local historians, and match the physical appearance of Mary Willis Mordecai Turk.
2. Somerset Place, Creswell
Built in 1785, Somerset Place included 2,000 acres of farmland and over 125,000 acres of natural forest. During its eighty years of operation, it became one of the largest plantations throughout the entire south.
Like many plantations, the successful operation of Somerset Place was wholly dependent on the slaves who worked the land. At any given point there were 800 slaves living, and working on the property.
Somerset ceased operation as a plantation when the Union won the Civil War. Today, the plantation operates as an official State Historic Site, where visitors can learn about what life was like prior to the Civil War in American history, both the good and the bad.
Most people assume the paranormal activity at Somerset is due to the spirits of restless slaves, however, this is not the case. According to the locals, tragic stories about Somerset have passed down from generation to generation.
Somerset Place is surrounded by a lot of swampland, and the construction of several elaborate irrigation canals was required to make the land viable for cash crops. At one point, the owners of the plantation had a little boy who drowned in one of the canals.
To this day, his mother can be heard mourning the loss of her son. Dozens of locals have reported hearing the sounds of disembodied screams and wailing coming from the site.
Visitors who have toured the house, and grounds have reported seeing several orbs in their photographs after their visits. However, those who do intend to visit Somerset Place should do so with extreme caution, especially during evening hours.
Recently, some tourists have reported being followed by a spirit while there. Several old brick pathways criss-cross around the property, and it is said that a ghost will follow along behind you as you walk, with the sound of their footsteps lingering in the night air.
3. Foscue Plantation, Pollocksville
The modest, yet charming Foscue Plantation house was built in 1824, by Simon Foscue Jr. Located just outside of Pollocksville, North Carolina, the property has remained in the Foscue family for nine generations.
The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and remains open for guided tours throughout the year.
Locals swear the house, and property is haunted by slaves who lived and worked on the property. At night, it is said that the slaves would be chained up to prevent any attempts at escape. Now, the sound of rattling chains can be heard echoing on the property, both day, and night.
Legend has it that at some point an altercation broke out between a couple of slaves, and the Foscue family sometime prior to the Civil War. One or more slaves involved in the fight were killed on the staircase in the house itself.
Today, blood can still be seen on the stairs, as well as on the third floor. It is said that no matter how many times the family paints over it, telltale signs of old blood still seep through the paint, and can be seen with the naked eye.
Tourists flock to tour the Foscue Plantation, especially around Christmas time, as the family claims there is an increase in supernatural activity during the holiday season. Many locals, however, are too afraid of the place to ever visit it.
4. The Rosedale Plantation, Charlotte
Built in 1815 by Archibald Frew, the historic Rosedale Plantation home is one of the finest examples of federal-style architecture in North Carolina, and it’s regarded by many as one of the most haunted locations in Charlotte.
Paranormal experiences are regularly reported by members of staff and visitors alike. Common occurrences people have are hearing disembodied voices and laughter, and batteries of electronic devices draining suddenly.
There has been a few noted incidents where visitors have witnessed full-body apparitions peering out of windows as well as standing on the porch. It’s believed that one of the apparitions is one of the former caretakers, who took care of the plantation in the early 1900s.