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Fun on Friday: The Haunted Gold Mine

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Halloween tomorrow. Seems like a good time for a spooky gold story.

In 1799, Conrad Reed discovered a 17 pound, yellow rock in a creek on his father’s farm in North Carolina. Not realizing that they had 17 pounds of gold, the Reed family used the rock as a doorstop for about three years until a Fayetteville jeweler offered them $3.50 for it. They accepted, not realizing the market value for the gold was $3,500.

But all was not lost. Reed’s rock was the first documented gold find in the US. And as it turns out, there was plenty more gold where that came from.

Conrad’s father, John, developed a partnership with three other men to mine on the property. The two partners supplied labor and equipment to dig for gold in the creek bed. Reed provided the land.  During the first year of operation, a slave named Peter unearthed a 28-pound nugget. Using only pans and rockers to wash the creek gravel, the part-time miners recovered mined about $100,000 of gold by 1824.

In 1831, Reed and his partners began underground mining on the property.

The discovery on Reed’s land led to the country’s first gold rush. A lot of people don’t know that North Carolina was the leading gold producer in the US for some four decades. The state produced over $1 million worth of gold before the California gold rush took the spotlight.

So, here’s where the story gets hinky.

Eugene and Eleanor Mills lived on a farm neighboring Reed’s property. One day, as the story is told, Eugene and Eleanor got into an argument and Eleanor fell down the stairs. It’s not quite clear whether it was an accident or if Eugene pushed her. At any rate, Eugene left the house, not realizing the fall had killed his wife. When he returned several hours later, he was horrified to discover his wife’s corpse – still screaming!

In a panic, Eugene drug his dead screaming wife’s body out of the house and dumped her down a mine shaft near Reed’s property. It is said the Eleanor never stopped screaming.

Many people claim they can still hear the woman faintly screaming in the mine. And in 2011, a woman captured an image on video she claimed was a ghost.

I don’t know if I believe the haunted mine story. I’m pretty skeptical But I do know that selling a 17-pound gold nugget is enough of a horror story for this Halloween!

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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