Thursday, January 23, 2014

Appalachian Haunting Sends Family South

Standing behind the bar at Grayton Beach, Florida's 'The Red Bar', Big Dave Carney is an imposing figure. Broad shouldered and standing 6 foot 5 inches tall, he wears his hair in the queue style, a mostly shorn head except for a small braid of hair in the back.

Despite his size, Carney met his match on a farm his family owns in Virginia and North Carolina: A farm that he swears is haunted.

Carney quickly warms up to most everyone who takes the time to order a drink at The Red Bar. He jumps at the opportunity to wax on about life’s little slip-ups and misadventures. A conversational journeyman, his stories are not only interesting but, allowed to wend naturally, have a happy talent of growing exponentially in entertainment value.

Carney is 38-years-old and was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. He has both Cherokee and English heritage on both sides of his family. Carney moved to Walton County in 2005, and besides pouring drinks at The Red Bar, he practices kickboxing and jujitsu at the Destin Academy for Martial Arts.

He came to the area to work construction during a very active hurricane season which included Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina. “When the work dried up I started bartending,” said Carney.

It was not only employment that prompted the relocation.

According to Carney, when he and his wife, Kelly, were living on the farm, she saw the ghosts of eight people dressed in early American clothing. He believes these ghosts to be members of Daniel Boone’s family who may have been slaughtered by a Blackfoot Indian named Red Feather.

When Carney remodeled the house it led to the discovery of a compartment hidden behind a wall plastered with newspapers from the 1930s and ‘40s. In the ceiling of this compartment, he discovered three antique clocks all manufactured 24 years apart and set to the same time. He also found a box containing about 60 lengths of multicolored, braided human hair.

By asking around in town, Carney learned that the previous owner of the house, Cleave Farmer, went missing without a trace. After Cleave’s disappearance, the house sat on the market for more than 20 years and went up for auction at least three times, but never drew a bid.

Carney’s time at the farm was full of peculiar incidents and eerie discoveries. With Carney’s gift of gab, he captivates with the tales he weaves about strange lights in the woods, stone walls and alters, a chest hidden in a stream, an Indian burial ground and his own firsthand contact with whatever is haunting the farm.

“It was midnightish, I was taking some refuse from remodeling out of the house. I heard something rumbling and thought it was a bear,” said Carney, “so I made some noise to try and shoo it away.”

“Then I heard something come out of the brush and before I could turn around it grabbed me from behind. I could feel it breathing on my head. But when I went to defend myself there was nothing there. Just footprints leading up to me in the snow.”

Not long after that he traded the Appalachian Mountains for the white-sand beaches of South Walton.

Although he is quite comfortable here in Florida and has no immediate intentions of moving back, Carney is interested in writing a book about whatever is haunting his property.

NOTE: I'm not sure what is referred to as 'Daniel Boone's family' but his immediate family were not killed by Indians (though a son, Israel, was killed battling Shawnees). There are a lot of stories about Daniel Boone that simply aren't fact, though it is true that his exploits were the basis for the character Hawkeye in James Fennimore Cooper's 'The Last of the Mohicans'...Lon

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