Feature Sketoe's tombstone

Published on October 18th, 2018 | by Ashley Danielle Rubin

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Lores and Legends of the Wiregrass: Ashley’s roundup of the haunted spots

It is the time of year to be getting your spook on, and The Wiregrass Local staff has been checking out some Dothan-area spots to put on your radar. On a side note, we suggest you make sure you are not trespassing and that you are respecting the sites we reference. Not everyone believes in the paranormal or left behind spirits, but some of the sightings and activity at these places will have you questioning these incomprehensible notions. Here are some nearby haunts that we have pinpointed:

Sketoe’s Hole

Sketoe's tombstoneA slew of locals have most likely heard of Bill Sketoe, a Methodist minister who resided in the town of Newton, Alabama. Sketoe’s life ended abruptly when he was lynched for unconfirmed reasons. Sketoe was too tall for where he was hanged and a hole was dug under his feet to ensure his death. It was believed that for decades after his death, this hole could be filled with dirt or trash and in the morning the said hole would once again be empty.

Now the hole is located under a bridge and large boulder rocks have been placed under the bridge, covering Sketoe’s Hole. Although the hole has been permanently filled for years, there is still an oddly eerie feeling that lingers in the area. The site of his death may be covered, you are still able to visit his gravesite at Mt. Caramel Church.

The Rawls Hotel

The former hotel located in Enterprise now serves as a bed and breakfast and also a popular restaurant open for lunch and dinner. The hotel, built in 1903, has several who have claimed to hear laughter of children, unexplained broken glasses, and ghost sightings. With 115 years of history, there is plenty of stories that can not be explained.

The original builder, Captain Japheth Rawls, is said to still be lingering around the basement. Footsteps with no owner are often heard all hours by guests. There is also a tale of the “Lady in Red”. It is believed she appears near the place of her death, a second story balcony.

The Holman House

This charming mansion located in Ozark, now an event venue, has been reported having odd occurrences and the spirit of a young boy. The house was built in 1912 and the community has worked together to really preserve it’s history. But with the history, it also brings unexplained footsteps and phantom whispers.

The spirit of the young boy, wearing 20th century clothing, has appeared in photographs near the staircase. Even though not as many sightings have occurred over the years, it is still a beautiful venue to check out if you are ever in the area!

Columbia Manor

Columbia Manor exteriorIt is noted that this is now dressed as a haunted house during the holidays, but did you know that the grounds are said to actually be haunted? Located in Columbia, Alabama, the Manor was built in 1864 and has seen a fair share of history. Columbia Manor originally was built as a college, but eventually became a residence for those quarantined due to pellagra disease. I will spare you the gruesome details of this disease.

If you wish you to see a list of symptoms, Google will do. Fair warning, image search is not for the faint of heart. You can only begin to imagine the pain and agony that took place in these four walls.

It is believed that a doctor and a nurse met their final fate at Columbia Manor and their spirits along with several others haunt the grounds. The Manor fell victim to a fire, not once, but twice since the 1900’s and casualities were reported-mostly of whom were children. After exchanged through many hands over the years, Columbia Manor now serves as a fantastic haunted house that certainly deserves a Halloween visit!

The Old Coffee County Jail

The former jail, built almost a century ago, is located in Elba, Alabama. Due to a flood in the 90’s, the jail closed its doors for good. In 1979, Coffee County Sheriff Grantham met his final fate in the archway of the jail. Sheriff Grantham was top of a hit-list curated by Billy Joe Magwood of those he felt had wronged him. Sheriff Grantham’s spirit is said to still meander through jail from time to time. 

With permission, visitors are able to wander the hallways to see the mysterious writings on the walls. While the building served as a jail, many inmates took their lives and are believed to still roam the grounds. It has even been rumored that technology often fails when inside the buildings, more than just cellphones, but also recording systems and cameras malfunction. In the past, the town has opened up the jail as a haunted house during the month of October.

Once again, we cannot stress enough to please respect these sites. It is always best to seek permission before you go lurking! Happy ghost hunting!

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