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Monologue by James Harrison

Harrison, James
Harrison, Heather
Date of Interview: 
Stories and storytellers
James Harrison tells a story about ghostly noises at the Screaming Creek Bridge.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Heather Harrison interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JH (James Harrison): Well, when I was growing up, grew up in the eastern part of the state, a lot of it was swampland in there, a lot a little back creeks that was like you go fishing on. And there was one area in Martin County that was called Screaming Bridge. Well, it was down a old dirt road and kind a winding back and forth through a bunch of woods and stuff. That long time ago back during the Civil War it was reputed to happen that, uh, a fiancé had went off to war and got killed. And the lady he had left behind was so distraught over his passing that she went down to the creek and threw herself in and committed suicide. Now, that might have happened, that might not have happened, but that's one of the old tales that was told around there and well, we always kind of took it as one of the old tales as they say that they like to talk about. We'd go down there and more or less have a lot of fun and scared people and you know, take a couple of different cars and one car go down there and kind a set up some lights and stuff like that and bring another car with some girls in it an always kind a spook them and make noises and stuff like that and have a good time. And once in a while we really even thought we might have heard something down there. It, uh, wasn't overly scary as far as the place goes. As far as the swamp is you know, at night a lot of stuff is scary. Well, we like to do a lot of fishing and stuff and I talked my father into going fishing and we went fishing down to the creek down there and put in right there at Screaming Bridge. Well, Screaming Bridge, uh, I believe went into Sweet Water Creek which went into Roanoke River, and we'd put in there and we had just started fishing back and forth a little bit. Were still kind of up towards the bridge when we started and this was a, this was, oh, this was 11, 12 o'clock in, in midday. This was not real early but it was not late afternoon or anything but this was right dead in the middle of the day, and we were in a boat and uh we'd been down there probably 15 or 20 minutes and gone maybe a hundred yards from the bridge and we heard this, I mean this wailing and moaning. It started off real low and real, I mean just like, "Woooooo," and it was coming from in the middle of the creek. And, uh, I mean, it was like it made the hair on the back of your neck stand up and it was me and my father, my brother Rick, my cousin Greg, and Ricky Funten, a good friend of ours who is no longer with us, he died in a tractor accident about 10, 12 years ago. But, we were all in the boat [laugh] in the middle of the day and here we were fishing trying to catch fish and, huh, all of a sudden we were hearing something that was trying to spook us. And of course, being the sophisticated boys like we were, we were just wanting to know just who the heck was down there trying to, to spook us, 'cause of course there was no way this was any supernatural thing or anything like that. This was just somebody else trying to goose us and we were just saying, during the middle of the day no less and we also thought it was pretty good, you know, how they were getting it done because we really couldn't figure it out. Well you know it, I mean the long low moan went on for probably about a minute and a half, two minutes continuously without any breath draw or anything. So we just really were wondering what it was and when, when it quit we were still wondering. But we were catching fish and there is one thing about catching fish that when you go fishing and you catch fish you can put up with a lot of stuff. But, we eased on down the creek and, well I reckon maybe we had gone another 20 yards or so when the noise started again. And it was behind us. We had already basically passed its source, uh, from the previous time we heard it and, um, we bet we kind a when we heard it the second time, we basically had just quit fishing and were starting kind of working our way back up to it while it was still moaning because it was not quitting. It was "Uhhhhhhhhhhh." I mean, you know, [cough] continuously, it won't like nothing taking a breath. Whatever was making this noise did not have to breathe. It was as best we could tell, centered someplace. There was a little bit of a stump, a cypress knee stump, sticking out, uh, oh, a good 15 foot away from any part of the bank and it was quite frankly, when we got around that stump it seemed that the moaning was even with us and then when we went past that stump, it was behind us. Uh, we were pretty well satisfied that the moaning was coming from directly in the middle of the creek from approximately where that little old stump was. Now, quite frankly we would, I believe we would have, but I don't know, I think me and my brother might would had gone up to that stump just to see if indeed, uh, any kind of device or back then we did not have these recording devices that are hand-held or anything they did, they had a great big box, you know, as far as tape recording. This was back during the late 60s this, uh, maybe 1970. At, at the best it was '69 or '70. So they just had these tremendously large tape recordings, and uh, there was just no way a tape recorder could have been out there. But it was still interesting for us trying to delineate where the noise was coming from when we figured out that it was and had to been coming from the inside either that little stump or the creek itself. Uh, my father flat refused to stay down there any longer, and, um, well needless to say we didn't really take a vote up because all of us decided it was time to quit fishing and just leave, and we left. And, uh, quite frankly the noise was still going on when we left. I mean it was one continuous, low moan and this was going on during the middle of the day. It was not like [laugh] it-. And we had been down there many times, I reckon, playing around and spooking people and, and never really been scared but let me tell you, we never went back down there after that. And, uh, have never been back down there since. Never carried anybody else down there and, uh, very rarely spoke of this occurrence except to a very few people who I reckon wanted to know why we wouldn't go back down there. But, uh, that was just a one where my father said that that was enough. I mean and, uh, we left.