Big Laurel once had a famous haunted house, in Wise County, Virginia. No one lived stayed for any length of time, until a traveling preacher stayed one night and unraveled a mystery. His name is forgotten, but his experience became a legend.
The itinerant minister needed a place to spend the night, and had little money. He came upon an empty house, so he asked the neighbor if he could stay there. The owner conceded, but warned the house was empty for a reason. Restless spirits always chased tenants out.
The preacher feared another cold night in the woods much more than a ghost. It was already evening, so he made a fire in the fireplace and a lit candle to read his bible. He studied the text for around an hour when things began to happen.
Two black cats crept into the room. He paid little attention to them. The home was abandoned, so there was a good chance all kinds of animals made a home there. Soon, he noticed the two animals didn’t act naturally. They sat on either side of the fireplace and just stared at him.
He kept reading and watched the animals out of the corner of his eye. Suddenly, the cats turned on one another. They screamed and clawed until they suddenly disappeared. The minister hoped it was over, but two dogs came into the room and did the same thing. They also disappeared after they’d fought a few minutes. Two sheep entered the room and followed the same pattern, and they vanished.
The activity didn’t stop with animals. Suddenly, the headless bodies of two little girls in their Sunday dresses arose from the hearth. A headless man formed between them. The specters tested his resolve, but he kept his eyes on his book.
The figures faded, but then three coffins, two small and one large, floated into the room. The minister couldn’t ignore any longer. He stood and demanded answers in the name of the Holy Trinity.
His adjuration was successful. A voice arose from the hearth and said, “I would’ve killed you if you hadn’t talked.” The spectral voice continued and stated it was the home’s original owner. He said he lived with his two young daughters. Two trusted family friends turned out to be murderers, who broke in on them. The men decapitated them all and buried the bodies beneath the hearth. They escaped punishment.
The spirit instructed him to go to the log rolling festival the next day, and to have officers ready. The ghost said when everyone sat down for the feast, a drop of blood would run down the faces of the two guilty men. The spirit said if the case went to trial, and the wealthy men seemed to be evading justice, their ghosts would appear in the courtroom.
The preacher did as instructed, even though he harbored doubts. He also involved the authorities, as the spirit requested. Everyone sat down to eat after the early festivities. Suddenly, several gasps came through the crowd. Blood dripped down the faces of two men. The picnic was out in the open. No birds had flown overhead. There was no visible origin for the liquid.
Deputies arrested them on suspicion of murder, but the case didn’t look strong in court. Both men were wealthy and hired the finest attorneys. It seemed like they were going to get away with murder until the prosecution closed its case. Suddenly, three ghostly figures appeared in the courtroom, the headless forms of a man and two girls.
The two men were convicted and executed. The hearth in the haunted house was removed and three bodies were given a proper burial. The haunting ceased.