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The Phantom Firebuilder


Growing up, I was raised by my Paternal Grandmother, my Great Aunt (her sister) and my Great Aunt's daughter (my adult cousin.) We all lived in a cotton mill house in a town in North Carolina. I experienced many unusual and often frightening events in that house, especially in my early childhood years. One of the things that I remember is the sound of the phantom fire builder.

I had no room of my own and would take turns sleeping with all of the three adult relatives. It was in my grandmother's room that I would hear this particular phenomenon. Granny's room was located directly behind the kitchen and there was a fireplace in her room and one in the kitchen that shared the same chimney. We heated exclusively with those fireplaces in the old days, which meant in the wintertime somebody, either my Great Aunt or my Grandmother, would have to get up before dawn and get the fires going so the house would be warm for the rest of us.

Several times I woke up in the early morning hours, and lying there in the darkness with Granny snoring beside me I would hear the sounds of a fire being built in the kitchen fireplace. I could plainly hear paper being crumpled and placed, kindling and coal being stacked and the sound of the fire being stoked with a poker... Only nobody would be up, yet. The sounds would just fade away and sometime later one of the old folks would get up and really start the fire.

I suppose this probably would fall into the category of a residual haunting, where a past event plays over again and again like a movie, but nobody ever seemed to hear it but me. I never saw anything, but I was too terrified to get up and take a peek into the kitchen. It sure was scary to a little kid lying there in the darkness listening to the phantom fire builder at work.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Spockie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-24)
Hi and thank you for sharring this story with us. I realy enjoyed reading it. I to believe that you might have been more sencitive to the sounds then your other family members. Very interesting story. Thanks again. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
Spockie (8 stories) (202 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-22)
Ghostseer, since the family had lived in the house for at least 30 years before I was even born, I do believe the firebuilder could have been residual. There were some things in that house that were definitely not residual, such as the Granny Grunt experience (which was actually a good experience) and the truly frightening events that also happened to me there. I think Granny Grunt might possibly have been the spirit of my great grandmother, but I'm convinced most of the things that happened there were of non-human origin. I don't believe people who love you would ever do anything to scare you. There was just something about that house that lent itself to paranormal activity. Possibly there was a gateway there.
ghostseer (41 stories) (408 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-21)
The good thing about this? It wasn't meant to be a scary sound, but possibly a soothing, loving gesture. If no one had lived in the house prior to your family being there, it couldn't be residual. A house needs a history in order to be residual. It appears to be a spiritual visitor. One that meant you no harm. Would love to read some of your other experiences. You can read my stories at
Spockie (8 stories) (202 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-21)
Well, I believe ours was the first family to live in the house. It was built in the early 1900's by Fieldcrest Mills, as were most of the houses in that little town, and Fieldcrest's employees were offered a plan to buy these new houses. However, as I mentioned before, my great grandmother died in this house in December of 1952, and one of her sons had died of cancer before that. I'm not sure if he died in that house or somewhere else. I wish I had asked somebody and I might try to do a little research to find out. The area in which these houses were built was rumored to have been an Indian graveyard, but I don't remember ever finding arrowheads or other artifacts there. The whole street had a strange, otherworldly feel to it at times, although I might have been the only one who sensed this. As you pointed out, I have always been very sensitive to spiritual things.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-21)
Helo Spockie and thanks for another great story!

Since you were the fire builder's only witness, it would be safe to assume you were and probably still are more sensitive than the rest of the family.

Have you ever asked someone who lived in the cotton mill before you? Do you know the history of the place?

You must have had an exceptionally interesting childhood judging from your experiences!

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