Days Gone By - stories from the past

A Ghost story from the past about a church near Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The horrible thing also leaped and seated itself behind him

During the 1930s, Great Depression era, many writers were employed to interview people and write stories about life in the United States. The program was named the U.S. Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project and it gave employment to historians, teachers, writers, librarians, and other white-collar workers. This is a transcribed, unedited story from a WPA writer Mabel Farrior on December 17, 1936.


Many times the question has been asked as to why such a names as “Shakerrag” should have been given to a place of worship, – such a place is an abandoned century-old Methodist Church six miles from Tuscaloosa. The place has about it an air of spookiness created by legend and folklore tales.

A tale was told of a man named Phi Cribbs, a most emphatic unbeliever in ghosts, who in his tall silk hat and knee breeches entered the place of worship one-night seeking protection from a heavy thunder and rainstorm. The night was dark but he fastened his horse to a hitching post in the cemetery, adjoining the church.

Lightning flash guided him

Guided by lightning flashes, he opened a front door and to prove his fearlessness walked to the pulpit and stood facing the empty pews.

Suddenly the darkness was relieved by a brilliant flash during which he saw an apparition in white. A door blew open and the next flash showed what seemed to be white wings flashing before him and coming in his direction. The third flash proved to Mr. Cribbs beyond all question of doubt that this was the ghost about which the country folk had spoken.

Ran at full speed

It was reaching long arms toward him. Mr. Cribbs moved. Down the aisle he ran at full speed with the thing close behind: down the steps and losing no time broke the trace holding his horse and leaped to the saddle feeling momentarily safe until the horrible thing, also leaped and seated itself behind him clinging to his velvet waistcoat.

The faithful horse needed no urging and in as much terror as his master, broke into a wild run leaping over stumps and fallen trees in mad haste to reach safety. In the haste the “ghost” was swept away, and Phil Cribbs went home convinced that the stories told by the folks there were true.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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5 comments

  1. Jerry Dixon

    Wasn’t that the WPA Projects?

  2. Joann Fleenorsims

    Ewwww scary ! Lived in Tuscaloosa all my life , but never heard about this ghost tale !

  3. Wayne Weems

    My 5th Great Grandfather,Rev. William S. Spencer, is burried in the cemetery. The church is no longer there but I have pictures. The cemetery is in need of restoration.

  4. Lsa Arch

    Here’s a story about INVISIBILITY in alabama – #freebabyholm !!!!!!!!!!

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