By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
When you read a ghost story that was reported over a hundred years ago, people think it’s just an urban myth that’s been retold when times were simpler, and people were superstitious. Many suspect that it’s either exaggerated or not even true, but that’s not always the case. Such is the story of the Crawford Ghost, which was reported in the newspapers of that time.
In 1850, the town of Crawford, Alabama was on the stagecoach route running from Clayton in Barbour County, to Salem, which was then in Russell County. It then served as the seat of government for the county until 1868.
That October the town experienced a terrible storm that raged ferociously in the middle of the night. The inhabitants described that amongst the keening of the winds they started to hear what sounded like a human being moaning as if “in the last agonies of helplessness and despair”. Hunters who lived in the town said that this was not the sound any animal would make.
That was the beginning of this haunting that started to be heard every night, but they could never trace the exact origin of where the sounds were coming from.
They started to suspect that it was the ghost of a man named Grimes who had been hung during a violent storm a few years before. During the time he had been imprisoned and sentenced to death, Grimes had threatened that he would return to seek vengeance against his enemies.
When he was alive, it was remembered that when infuriated he would just start to scream, resembling what the inhabitants of Crawford were hearing.
Grimes was indeed a real person, and this is how he came to his end. It was 1841, and Grimes had just finished a stretch in the Penitentiary at Georgia for assault with intent to kill. During the time of his incarceration, another man named Crowder was publicly talking about Grimes’ imprisonment. There is no doubt that Grimes was a violent felon with a mean streak. It reached Grimes’ ears what this man was doing, and he swore revenge.
He caught up with him in Girard, Alabama. Grimes then took a bowie knife and killed Crowder by plunging it into his heart. He was arrested and subsequently hung at Golgotha Hill located half mile north of Crawford and east of the cemetery.
Nine years later, he was thought to be the screaming ghost heard every night after that terrible storm.
The town of Crawford disappeared, as after the 1880 Census it was never listed again. In 1832, it was named Crocketsville in honor of David "Davy" Crockett who scouted for Andrew Jakcson's Tennessee Militia at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
One has to wonder if anyone in that area has ever heard Grimes still howling in the night, still impotent behind bars awaiting his execution.
Below are newspaper clippings detailing the Grimes' Murder (1841) & the Haunting at Crawford, Alabama (1850).
The building is a Masonic Lodge in Crawford, c.1935. It was renovated within the last few years.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer