Reverend Thrasher’s Ghost

Reverend George Thrasher lived less than 100 miles from the Moon household, in Botetourt County. His story is occasionally set in Buchanan County, but fewer sources substantiate it. His house became the target of seemingly supernatural events in 1870. No explanation was ever given, nor theories suggested, for why the activity targeted his house.

Thrasher was a Baptist minister, known as a respectable and intelligent individual with no propensity towards theatrics. Nevertheless, Thrasher found his own house a target of the bizarre. Despite the often violent events, the family always said they were never afraid, just annoyed by the spirit’s antics.

The activity began in late 1870. Mrs. Thrasher and the children heard voices talking by the family’s corn crib around 5:00 that afternoon. The voices were loud enough to be heard, but not understood. The family investigated and saw two men near the structure. The men noticed them and ran off. Two sacks of corn had been emptied on the ground by the crib, and the family believed the two men were responsible. They then encountered a problem. The locks on the crib remained securely closed. The structure had no other access point.

Unlike the Moon Ghost, where subtle disturbances peaked in full activity, the Thrashers didn’t have any time to prepare. The very next evening, at the same time, Mrs. Thrasher discovered the kitchen window had been neatly removed and leaned against the cabinet below. Cooking utensils were scattered around the room, but nothing was missing.

George’s patience had reached its limit. He waited in the corn crib the next evening. He only saw a servant woman pass by. He eventually gave up and returned to the house. He then noticed a bag was removed from the lock room. A lock room connected the kitchen with the rest of the house. Because house fires were so  common in the kitchen, they were often separated from the home. It was securely bolted from the inside, but now the window was wide open.

Small things around the house disappeared and reappeared in strange places some time later. Objects in rooms were cast around in minutes. Two local ladies visited to help the family get to the bottom of the mystery. They, like many, suspected Thrasher’s servant named Anna Pring. They asked Pring to take the Thrasher’s youngest son into the kitchen and wait. They cleaned and cleared several rooms. They made sure the windows were tightly shut and bolted. They then locked all doors behind them. One of the ladies carried the keys in her hand as they went up to Mrs. Thrasher’s room and talked with her a while.

They returned minutes later. The doors remained locked. They entered the parlor door first. Books were scattered. Table lamps had been placed on the floor. Everything was moved or simply tossed. The windows remained secured. They found a strange key on the other side of the parlor door that wouldn’t open any lock in the house.

Mr. Thrasher performed a second experiment, himself. He found the activity infuriating. He never had any reason to suspect Pring’s character, but he had to verify it wasn’t her. He chose the dining room for his observation. He bolted the windows and made sure everything was as it should be. He then locked all the doors leading to the room. He went to talk to his wife and timed three minutes. He returned and found the dishes from the dining room table were everywhere. The room was turned upside down.

Pring remained the object of suspicion for some time, and those who suspected her believed she had help from a mysterious third party. The logic behind this has been lost to time. Who that might’ve been or why she would’ve made so much extra work for herself remains unknown. The fickle suspicions eventually moved from the maid to Thrasher’s youngest daughter.

One evening Thrasher took his wife to speak to the neighbors about the manifestations. Around ten minutes later, their children arrived and said the kitchen was targeted again. The furniture was moved, the utensils and dishes scattered. The youngest child said she saw two men run off before they left.

The kitchen was vandalized the same way for the next two evenings. Thrasher brought a group to explore the area, but no trace of the intruders was found. The little girl again saw two men in the distance and a group of those gathered gave chase. They found one of the men sitting in a nearby vacant lot. Several in the group fired at him, but he disappeared.

Thrasher moved everything from the kitchen into the lock room to see what would happen. Whatever targeted the kitchen stopped, and so long as nothing was in the kitchen, nothing was moved. Before the family could breathe a sigh of relief, the phantom knocking began. Loud rapping began on the front door everyday between 3:00 and 8:00 pm. The knocking grew particularly violent around Christmas.

By this point, the force loudly whistled, slammed doors, rattled the windows, and made crashing sounds throughout the home. It was particularly offended when the family tried to engage in prayer. The Thrashers positioned several people on either side of the home to watch when the knocks began, but no one saw anyone within the vicinity of the door.

One evening, Thrasher was away on church business. The knocking grew so loud that Mrs. Thrasher feared for her family. She summoned a neighbor, Dr. Wood, to check the house. At times, the activity ceased for a day or two, but it always resumed. People strolled by the house a number of times when the loud knocking was ongoing, but even when looking directly at the door, passers-by never witnessed anyone there. The Thrasher household sat atop a treeless knoll, and was visible even in town. Many townspeople watched the Thrasher house from below, but to no avail.

The haunting grew even more aggressive by February of 1871. Small objects, such as pieces of wood, stones, and chips of brick, commonly flew around the household. Entire rooms continued to be ransacked. Thrasher saw a thin shadow in human form around the house several times. The spirit often pulled clothes from the line and piled them on the ground.

Thrasher and his wife visited Dr. Wood for a few minutes one evening around Valentine’s Day. While there, they heard Wood’s children playing, but then it changed. Bells rang and someone knocked violently on the door of Wood’s home. Wood’s young son demanded to know what the spirit wanted. The adults heard a strange, rumbling voice that seemed to come from the ground. It spoke a language no one was familiar with. The men examined Wood’s house and surrounding yard, but found nothing.

Snows came, but it didn’t stop the activity. A window was broken in the Thrasher kitchen and whoever did it left no tracks in the snow. The ghost grew even noisier, huge thumping noises emanated through the house that sounded like a large man in heavy boots jumping in the hallway. Beds were turned over in their rooms.

The spirit talked to children, but would not communicate with adults. Eventually, it began to speak English. The youngest girl in the house was angriest with the spirit. Most of those who were skeptical of the events now believed she was at fault. She told the spirit what was going on, but it didn’t care. The ghost claimed it was not through.

On another occasion, the girl hit a window of the home with a rock. The spirit became irate. It told her not to hit it, as if whatever affected the house also affected it. It had no fear of guns and didn’t care how many people tried to shoot it.

Two men visited to witness the activity for themselves. They tried to sleep that night, but the spirit wouldn’t let them. A strange figure walked in the room and then walked backwards down the steps. It stomped every step. It repeated the pattern of walking up and down through the house. Thrasher’s bedroom door was opened five or six times just that night. Several other occupants had their covers torn from their beds.

The Thrasher family couldn’t take anymore as spring came. In March, they moved to Jonesborough, Tennessee. The mystery was never solved and, as far as is known, the haunting did not plague the next family that occupied the house.








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