Catawba County News
Haunted Catawba: Southside Park
Published: October 14, 2022
Manuel Reep House, Southside Park 1775 Southwest Blvd, Newton, NC 28658
(Buried gold, ghostly activity, missing group of young people)
Built on the bank of Clark’s Creek two miles below the town of Newton, a plot of land owned by Mr. Clark was sold to Phillip Fry who then divided it into three plantations. Of the three, the middle house was never able to be occupied for long due to hauntings. Some rumors state that the evil spirits are due to gold and silver earned from illicit activities that the family buried around the property to hide from would-be thieves, while others claim it was the ghosts of people that were found dead of unknown causes on and around the property.
The sounds of heavy footsteps and chains being dragged up and down the stairs, doors opening and closing on their own, beds found with sheets and blankets tossed about after having just been made, hallucinations of crawling floors, the sounds of coins being dropped on the floor, fearful behavior in animals that enter the property, fires that refuse to stay lit, doors that open themselves and won’t stay locked, and the presence of two ghostly men are all said to have happened on this property. One of the ghostly men is described as tall, thin, and very pale. His hair is braided over his shoulder and he wears a white cloak, knee breeches, and shoes with large buckles. The man beckons to be followed but it seems that no one has been interested in following him. The second specter is a man with a horse and saddle bags that rattle as though they were full of silver. The otherworldly encounters were stated to be much more violent in nature during the Fall season by Manuel Reep and his family.
While the house was still standing there were several recorded trips made by groups of young people attempting to dispel the ideas of ghosts and hauntings in the Reep house. There is no evidence that any met with success but there is plenty to suggest the opposite.
A wedding party from Newton spent the night, or at least tried to, in the Reep house but found that they could not keep a fire lit. One of the women in the party began to panic and exclaimed that she wished she had stayed at home. The look of fear on the woman’s face caused the rest of the party to panic and flee the area.
In 1887 a group of young people set out to prove that the Reep house was not haunted but instead they disappeared with the newspaper speculating that they ran into the river and drowned.
A group of people attempted to stay in the Reep house around Christmastime and around midnight they began to see and hear the floor moving beneath their feet, the sounds of scraping above them, footsteps up and down the stairs, and money dropping. The members of the party immediately fled, leaving their possessions in their wake.
To learn more about this story, and who the ghosts might be, visit the local history room at the Main Library in Newton.