Prerogative Fall 2020 - Page 10

with her daughter and happened to look up,” Stoker says. “She saw a man standing in one of the windows. He was wearing a hat and suit. It looked just like Mr. Collins.” Hearing her mother’s exclamation, the daughter looked up, too. She also saw the ghostly figure. Stoker recently talked with the woman, who confirmed her story. “Oh, yes, I saw him myself,” the witness asserted. The story gets stranger. A lady recently bought the Collins House. She heard the rumors but didn’t mind too much. Old homes make noises, anyway. Besides, she’s not easily rattled— a good thing, because Stoker had an interesting conversation with her in late September. “She sometimes hears heavy breathing,” the mayor relates. “A man’s.” The new homeowner also had a close encounter last month. She told Stoker that, while sitting on the side of her bed, she felt a sudden weight beside her— followed by heavy breathing. “It didn’t bother her,” laughs Stoker. “She just said, ‘Jairus, stop it!’” Bluefield With its atmospheric blend of Edwardian architecture and modern rail yards, “Nature’s Air- Conditioned City” straddles past and present. But unless you’re really sensitive, other places might escape your notice— places where the past is always present. The Ramsay School The 33,000-square foot brick building dates back to 1926. It’s more imposing than attractive, but the old school does have one claim to fame: Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” More doors exist on 7 levels than anywhere else. The Ramsay School is just old enough to warrant a few ghosts. But do spirits roam the halls? Doors sometimes slam at night, when no one should be inside. A few locals have even heard voices emanating from within. What do you think? Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, drive by the Ramsay School for a look. It’s an eccentric building by anyone’s standards. And who knows— you might see something. The Ramsay is now home to Gary Bowling’s House of Art and The One Thin Dime Museum. Beaver High School It’s been closed for years. But at this Bluefield school, class is still in session. At least, that’s what many locals believe. Beaver High School certainly tickles the imagination. It resembles a brick castle, complete with crenellated towers and soaring walls. Inside, there’s an Art Deco-style auditorium with a recessed ceiling. The school also has an emergency evacuation slide. Hidden high on the fourth floor, it twists you to safety— if you’re up for a pitch-black ride. But is it haunted? Some construction workers have heard odd sounds— sounds that can’t be explained. Crewmen have even unplugged equipment, just to check. The noises continue, often echoing from the gym and circling the upper railing. What do you think is going on at the school? It’s definitely a mystery. Some places seem made for ghosts, like dilapidated shacks or Victorian mansions. Others are less obvious. In Princeton and Athens, some buildings are especially haunted— but you wouldn’t know just by looking at them. The haunted restaurant— Princeton A historian to the bone, Pat Smith collects stories by the hundreds. She’s also led a varied life. A lady of many talents, Smith has done everything from owning a restaurant to building restoration. She currently directs the Princeton Railroad Museum. 8 Prerogative Magazine