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Ghouls, spirits and ghostly stories of past diseases

Rebekah the Ghost Guide gives history lessons on the most deadly diseases of the past.
Rebekah the Ghost Guide gives history lessons on the most deadly diseases of the past.(wect)
Updated: Oct. 31, 2020 at 8:31 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington is known for it’s rich history and it’s historic feel but looking back, some of the stories can get a little spooky.

“This was the center of commerce for hundreds of years,” said Rebekah Carmichael, ghost tour guide.

Rebekah the Ghost guide, as many know her by, does ghost tours throughout the city of Wilmington.

She tells stories that will haunt you on any day of the year but she likes to tie history into everything. This year, she’s created a disease route, and relates past sicknesses to the coronavirus pandemic.

“For most of our history here in Wilmington while Wilmington was a city, it was trades of goods and service and a lot of people close together also traded disease over time," said Carmichael.

And just down the road is the Bullock Hospital, a spot that gets passed by often in downtown Wilmington, but has plenty of stories to tell.

The tales say patients there suffered from extreme nightmares and sleep paralysis. Ghosts no longer haunt the hospital, but Rebekah says the diseases that put them there we now have cures for. A good sign for the future.

“A lot of the spirits that are still haunting this place, their lives were taken from sicknesses we have vaccines for," said Carmichael. It’s another kind of touch with history to be able to look at the spirits here and say they may have died from Scarlett fever or typhoid or what have you, but to also learn and recognize that a lot of these sicknesses we’re no longer having to deal with as a society because science is coming along.”

And of course, what’s a ghost tour without a graveyard?

The St. James graveyard is the oldest recognized graveyard in Wilmington. Many people who had yellow fever were buried in that area, some of them without headstones.

There’s a lot to take in but if there’s one thing Rebekah wants those bold enough to take her tour to know.

“I always tell people; things may be bad right now however they have been worse," said Carmichael. History reminds us where we used to be. It also reminds us where we ought to be and it reminds us where we could be.”

Rebekah the Ghost Guide says do some research, learn about what makes Wilmington great, but also one of the scariest cities you’ll find. Or, you can just take the tour and find out the easy way.

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