One Last Ride Before I Go

Near Chapel Hill, I use to take riding lessons with a guy I use to date. The gentleman and his wife that use to teach us how to ride told me once about a stable they had on their property. When they bought the property, it only had one stable. They use it now for storage because none of their horses would stay in the stable. Every evening they would put the horses in their stalls, making sure the doors were closed and latched tightly. A few hours later, they would look out the window to their horses walking around their property. All the stall doors would be wide open. They tried changing out the latches but the doors would still open by themselves. They ended up having to build a second stable for their horses.

They said that after they moved their horses over to the newer stable that they realized that something wasn’t right the original stable. The gentleman said that he tried to use it an office while they remodel their home but whenever he was in the stable, he would be distracted by what sounded like a horse in the stable. He knew that there weren’t any horses in there with him but he could hear one snorting, kicking the walls, and occasionally neighing. He assumes it a horse from one of the previous owners that just didn’t want to leave his home.

That story made me wonder if there other ghosts of horses that haunt places. I surprised to find out that there was such a place only a few hours from me. In Chicago, near the edge of the Cook County Forest Preserve, there are many trails and horse stables. Unfortunately, that area has seen a lot of accidents when a car driving down 95th street doesn’t see a horse and its rider until its too late to stop. Many people have heard horse walking along the road but no horse is around. Others have witnessed a transparent horse and rider walking across the road or alongside the road. I haven’t had the chance to go up to Chicago to do much ghost hunting but this place is certainly on my list of place to check out.

A while back I had mention James Harden, the author of Tar Heel Ghosts, and how his book inspired me to learn more about the paranormal and urban legends. James Harden wrote a second book called The Devil’s Tramping Ground and Other North Carolina Mysteries. One of the stories I found fascinating in that book was about The Bath Hoofprints. I’ve been down to Bath a few times but I’ve never been able to go see the hoofprints.

For those of y’all that don’t know the story, allow me a brief moment to tell you about it. Back in 1802, in a tiny coastal town named Bath, lived a gentleman by the name of Jesse Elliot. Elliot loved to gamble and race his large, black stallion. Many people would challenge him to a race but Elliot would always win. One Sunday morning, Elliot and some others decided to race down the main street of Bath. Elliot’s wife, who was a devout Christian, was understandably upset when she found out that her husband planned to be racing on a Sunday. Angrily she shouted at him “I hope you’re taken to Hell this very day!”. Elliot ignored his wife and went to meet up with the fellows he was supposed to race. When he arrived at the starting point, Elliot was surprised to see a tall stranger dressed all in black riding a black horse larger than his own black stallion. Elliot decided to still go forth with the race as planned. When the race started, Elliot easily pulled in front of the stranger. However, as they rode closer to the finish line, Elliot was startled to see the stranger catching up with him. Elliot urged his own horse to go faster while shouting “Take me a winner or take me to Hell!” Elliot’s horse immediately dug his feet into the ground causing Elliot to fly off his horse and strike a tree. Elliot was instantly killed. The stranger rode on to the finish line and disappeared in the chaos of Elliot’s death. The hoofprints from Elliot’s stallion are still there today. As with Devil’s Tramping Ground, anything placed in the hoofprints doesn’t remain there nor will anything grow there.

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