• 70°
franklin county times

Spooky spots …
and their stories

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
October 31, 2004
It was a night like any other. Becky Babb sat in a chair at the library's front desk leaning forward with her elbows propped on the counter. The time was nearing 11 p.m., when Babb would normally lock up the library and head home.
Babb thought she was the only person left in the Julia Tutwiler Learning Resource Center on the campus of the University of West Alabama.
Babb was used to strange things happening at the library, where she has worked part-time for 15 years, but this was her first "up close and personal" experience with a ghost.
Babb's experiences, and many other ghost stories, are the subject of a new book by UWA English professor Dr. Alan Brown.
Brown has stories from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Babb says the eerie things are still happening. Strange noises, books falling from shelves, computers turning on by themselves and the sound of heavy footsteps on the second floor are common in the library.
In 2003, Babb experienced another incident that made her uncomfortable. It was near 10 p.m. on a chilly dark night in February. Babb was once again sitting in her chair at the front desk when she heard the cabinet doors in the back office slam shut loudly three times.
Merrehope
Brown also writes about Meridian's historic home, Merrehope. Built in 1858, the home is a tourist attraction for visitors to the East Mississippi area.
Fonda Rush, Meridian's former historical preservationist, has been volunteering at the home for more than 30 years.
In 1973, Rush had just begun working as a hostess at Merrehope and she wanted her boyfriend to see the home. Rush walked up the side of the porch while her boyfriend ran up the front steps. As she turned the corner, her boyfriend said, "Fonda you scared me. I just saw your shadow in the window."
Rush said, "You couldn't have."
Both turned, looked through the window and saw a female figure standing in the center of the room looking at them. They ran back down the stairs to the car and drove off.
A few days later, Rush saw portraits of Eugenia and Pristina Gary, the daughters of John Gary, who once owned the home. Both young women died of consumption at the end of the Civil War and were buried in Alabama. Rush said an uneasy feeling came over her as she recognized Eugenia as the
young woman she had seen standing in the front room.
Eugenia seems to enjoy haunting the home. She turns on the lights, plays the piano and sets off the motion detectors. She even frightened off a couple of would-be burglars who broke a window and entered an apartment in the basement.
Peavey Melody Music
Merrehope is not the only Meridian landmark to house spirits. The owner of Peavey Melody Music on 22nd Avenue in downtown Meridian has experienced a uneasy feeling in the store.
Berry Gray bought the business in 1987 from Joseph B. "Mutt" Peavey, who founded it in 1938. Peavey's son, Hartley, is the founder of Peavey Electronics.
But the history of the building dates back even further. Built in 1906, the building has housed an Arthur Murray Dance Studio and many piano and guitar teachers have taught lessons in the rooms on the third floor.
Gray said he first noticed haunting activity in the early 1970s when he was alone in the store one late weekend night in September.
A large open freight elevator shaft ran from the ground floor to the third floor and was only blocked by a small wooden gate.
A few minutes later Gray said he heard the noises again.
Gray said he then walked up the creaky wooden stairs and heard the children running from room to room. He looked around but couldn't find them. He then heard them at the end of the long hallway that extended toward the front of the building and 22nd Avenue. He reached over to flip on the light switch.
Gray said he turned around to head back down the hallway and heard the children again.
That was Gray's only experience with the spirits on the third floor. Other employees of the music shop have heard heavy footsteps and noises coming from the above floors.
But as Gray says: "This building has seen so many historical moments and so many souls have passed through here. But, if you make friends with the Lord, you don't have anything to worry about."

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

Franklin County

NWSCC receives $18,000 in grants from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

News

Russellville equine therapy visits library program

News

Steam locomotive delivery to Red Bay delayed, arrives July 1

News

Local author holds book signing at RPL

Franklin County

Former Russellville resident performs ‘Miracle Worker’

News

Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

All American Tang Soo Do students recognized

News

Russellville High School students sign to pursue fine arts careers

Franklin County

Football Funday, special needs probowl take place June 15

Galleries

PHOTOS: RMS students take the stage for spring sing

News

Russellville member named among finalists for GFWC Jennie Award

East Franklin

East Franklin Junior High celebrates May 21 graduation

Belgreen

Belgreen Class of 2024 celebrates graduation

Franklin County

Local churches plan Vacation Bible School programs

x