Legend of Payne Road (Edwards Rd) – Rural Hall, NC

There are many different versions of this story with some differences in the names and so on. However these are some of the more popular versions of the tale.

The first tale relates to the Payne Plantation, one of the largest home sites in the area. The plantation owner, Mr. Payne built the place on a valley with steep hills on all sides, and the mansion was situated on the north hill so that he could overlook the entire plantation. Slave shacks scattered the hillsides, and a creek ran through the center of the valley supplying water to the entire plantation.

A small chapel was located 250 yds and 45 degrees to the right of the mansion, and the main field was located 900 ft directly in front of the mansion. The slave shacks were located about 100 degrees to the right of the mansion, and then 200 yds in front of the house lay a small bridge, just large enough for one carriage.

This first story goes that Payne, the father of four girls, was an extremely racist man. The girls grew up isolated from the outside world due to Payne’s over-protectiveness. They grew to despise their father as well as to despise his cruelty to his slaves. Payne eventually learned that his oldest daughter was pregnant by one of his own slaves, and Payne quite literally lost his mind. He cursed the Lord and turned to devil-worship, brutally sacrificing the slave to the evil now within him. Then just a few months later, he learned that his youngest daughter was also pregnant by one of his slaves, and he then cracked once and for all. Payne brutally sacrificed that slave and began to storm through the shacks with anything he could lay his hands on, everything from sticks to muskets to farm tools. Then, in his maddening rage, he murdered his own family. Soon afterwards he burned just about his entire plantation, killing almost all of the remaining slaves. This is supposedly why the trees on Payne Road are so young and the grave stones are charred.

The second story is that of a 1933 or 1936 Ford, 3-window hot rod. The driver wrecked on Payne Road on the second to last curve, the sharpest, at almost 180 degrees. The curve is also located 45 degrees to the right of the old mansion site, in the same spot of the chapel (where Payne once worshipped Satan) stood. The driver is said to have died a slow death as bystanders stood by helplessly, watching the flames consume his car.

Many people today claim to see the rounded lights of the Ford following their car on Payne road all the way to the old chapel site, only to disappear as they cross over the bridge.

Another story simply tells of a man who lived in an old farm house on the site with his wife and four children back in the early 1800s. Yes, yes, obviously this story conflicts somewhat with the aforementioned Payne plantation.

One night, after once again arguing bitterly with his wife, the husband decided that the root of all his marital problems stemmed from his children. So he bound his wife to a chair in front of the fireplace and gagged her. He selected his biggest carving knife, then brought the oldest girl downstairs. “Kiss your mother goodnight” he told her, and as she did he went behind the girl with the knife. He then dispensed with his children one by one in this manner, finally going upstairs to get his last child, his infant daughter. But as he looked down at the little girl, he realized he couldn’t bring himself to slit her throat like he had done the others. So he decided instead to throw her down the well in back of the house. As he walked out the back door, the mother finally worked her way free of her restraints. She jumped up and ran out the front door, down the road, and grabbed her baby daughter from her husband’s grasp. Unfortunately, however, her husband managed to catch up to her at the bridge and neatly lopped her head off with his knife. Then did away with his daughter as he’d planned and finally grotesquely, he hung himself at the bridge.

Supposedly, if you go to the bridge, stop your car and whistle “Dixie” (you’ve got to love these North Carolina ghost stories), you will soon make out the shape of the murdered woman’s ghost approaching your car, holding her head in her hands. And your car will not start when you try to restart it. Plus, if you walk up to the back of the house, you can hear the cries of a baby coming from the old well.

The last story involving an old barn where kids used to go to “watch the sailboat races” (I mean this figuratively!! and if you still don’t get it, come back when you’re older, dang it!). One prom night two kids didn’t come home after the party, and friends told their folks that they’d gone out to the old Payne Road barn. The parents drove down and saw the boy’s car parked outside. When they went in, they found the teenagers hanging from the rafters, still in their formal attire.

Directions:

You’ll need to get to Rural Hall, a small town just north of Winston-Salem. In the middle of Rural Hall, Route 66 intersects with Route 65. From that intersection, begin traveling North on Route 66. You won’t go 2/10ths of a mile before you cross the railroad tracks, and immediately after the tracks you’ll see Edwards Road on the right (a little further up 66 you’ll see the new section of Payne Road on the right as well, but, like I said, don’t bother with it). Once you’re on Edwards Road, just follow along with the story above, but drive carefully! The roads are steep and with plenty of curves.

Additional Links: http://ncghosts.batcave.net/payne.htm

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