Huntsville, Alabama has many distinctions. It is the home of impressive companies such as Boeing, NASA, and Raytheon; has more Ph D’s per square mile than any other city in the south; and also happens to be the most haunted city in Alabama.
One of the more famous hauntings is of the Cedarhurst Mansion located at what is now the clubhouse of a town home community. The mansion was established by Stephen Ewing in 1823.
Sally Carter, visiting her sister Mary Ewing at the mansion, was struck by a quick and fatal illness and died on November 28, 1837, just three weeks short of her 16th birthday. Young Sally had loved the estate, and that is why, some say, you can still feel her presence there today.
Sightings of Sally go back to 1919, when a 17-year-old boy from Dothan, Alabama slept outside Sally’s bedroom. That stormy night, he had a dream that Sally visited him, asking him to prop up her tombstone.
When he awoke the next morning, he explained the strange dream and told his family that he was going to Sally’s grave.
They laughed at him, but when he arrived, her stone had, indeed, fallen over in the storm. This popular local legend ends with the boy going back to his home town of Dothan, never to return to Huntsville again.
Previous to 1982, Sally’s grave was in the family plot on the estate. She had so many visitors, there was a well-worn path from the road. She did, unfortunately, also have many teenagers vandalize her grave.
That is why, in December of 1982, Sally, her sister, and her sister’s three children were relocated to an undisclosed location in the Maple Hill Cemetery. That is… Her casket was relocated. Some claim that when her grave was excavated, the casket Sally was supposed to spend eternity in was empty.
Besides tombstones falling over and caskets being empty of mortal remains, Sally has also stirred up local folks, being sighted walking the grounds of the estate she loved so much.
A past guard at Cedarhurst heard Sally walking upstairs while working one night. After the woman’s shift ended, she realized she had lost some money while doing rounds.
After searching the grounds, hearing footsteps following her and the unnerving flickering of her flashlight as if its batteries were ready to die, the guard gave up the money for lost.
But once she returned to the guard shack, her flashlight flickered brightly, shining directly on the cash she had given up for gone. It was then she chose to thank Sally, and claims to have heard a young woman’s laugh in return.
Someone who knew both the Thorton and the Grace families who lived in the house, had a friend who slept in Sally’s room. When asked what it was like, the friend told him about doors opening and closing by themselves, covers getting snatched off the bed and light switches being tripped. The girl thought it was all rather annoying, but after awhile got used to it and ignored the strange goings-on.
Many woman claim that their jewelry has been broken in the area, beads on beaded necklaces scattering everywhere.
Because Cedarhurst is now a gated community, visiting the clubhouse is not all that likely. Some locals have been able to see the place where Sally died, but visitors are strongly discouraged.
Even so, Sally’s bedroom in the mansion has been preserved. If you really want to experience the ghostly Sally, there are always a few condominiums in the local gated community up for sale.