A unique ice sculpture, recently photographed by a surprised hotel manager in Lake Lure, North Carolina, appears to have had another observer standing nearby while the photo was taken. The individual in question, however, wasn’t really the kind you’d have noticed while taking such a picture: after all, some say it was actually a ghost that only the camera’s lens had managed to see.
The manager, Patrick Bryant, claimed an ice sculpture had been his interest in taking the photograph, and he had turned off the camera’s flash to allow him to “see the light shining through the ice sculpture.” Posting the image online afterward, many contacted him wanting to know about the apparition in the background, which appeared to resemble a young boy. Bryant was perplexed by this, of course, since he couldn’t recall anyone standing there when the photo had been taken… so who was it?
Bryant agreed that the unusual figure “appears to be a ghost,” and says that laughter and voices are sometimes heard throughout the hotel at night. Truth be known, legends around the Lake Lure area are rife with ghost stories, ranging from spirits said to have drowned in the area’s so-called “Bottomless Pools,” to fables involving the Cherokee “Little People”, a variety of spirit folk said to inhabit the nearby hills. All things considered, it comes as no surprise that the Lake Lure Inn and Spa itself has a unique history, too.
Originally owned by a doctor named Lucius Morse, the hotel’s construction came nearly three decades after Morse’s purchase of the nearby Chimney Rock park, which surrounded a huge stone outcropping once used by area natives in their rituals. Morse, a wealthy man from Missouri, grew to love the area, and like many investors of the period bought the property with interest in developing a hotel in the center of the region’s natural beauty. The Lake Lure Inn was opened in 1927, though Morse apparently passed away prior to the grand opening of his beautiful hotel.
Some might argue that Morse’s own spirit could be one of the number of ghosts said to linger on the property. One story related by a supervisor at the hotel might have indicated this. The woman often suffered from nausea, due to a variety of medications she was required to take for health problems she had acquired. On one occasion while she had been feeling sick, she entered the bathroom, and though she was alone, she claimed to hear a voice from somewhere nearby ask, “Are you okay?” Startled, she glanced around to make certain she was indeed alone, and could find no evidence of another nearby. Could the spirit of Dr. Morse have been keeping an eye on the woman?
Though this would do little to explain the presence of the boy in the photograph, it is known that the US Army commissioned the Lake Lure Inn during World War II (much like the nearby Grove Park Inn about an hour’s drive north in Asheville). Servicemen and their families would sometimes stay at the inn, and a number of pictures depicting soldiers and their families are still said to exist. Could the young-looking interloper in Bryant’s photo have belonged to one of these families, perhaps? Who knows… but as is the case with such historic locations, in this day and age it seems there is little that reports of ghosts could do to deter anyone from visiting for a weekend getaway in the lush mountains of Western North Carolina. If anything, curiosity seekers and history buffs alike will only be further compelled to visit, hoping to catch a glimpse of the young boy, or perhaps another of the hotel’s many supposed ghostly residents.