Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ghost of Chicken Alley

Asheville, North Carolina’s early history like many towns was bawdy and violent.

In the early days a narrow alley located in downtown Asheville was named after the many chickens that would congregate in this area--it is still called Chicken Alley * today.

Recent residents of this alley claim to see a ghost that has made appearance in this area for over 100 years.

A violent bar fight in Broadway’s Tavern in 1902 resulted in the death of one of Asheville’s prominent citizens-- Dr. Jamie Smith. It is said his spirit is the one that haunts this alley.

Dr. Smith wore a distinctive wide-brimmed black fedora hat along with a long duster style coat. He was always seen carrying his black medical bag and a stylish cane topped with silver.

Sightings of him always are similar and these descriptions always include the specific clothing and accessories mentioned above.

A Rowdy Town

Asheville at the end of the 19th century was filled with loggers who came in from the surrounding camps. The town provided flowing whiskey and brothels to keep these men happy on the weekends.

It is said Dr. Smith also enjoyed the delights Asheville provided. He spent most of his time treating aliments caused by the sins of the day--sexually tranmitted diseases and injuries from drunken bar brawls.

Bad timing and bad luck led Dr. Smith to Broadway’s Tavern located in Chicken Alley. He stumbled upon a rowdy fight and when he tried to break it up he was stabbed through the heart--he died instantly.

His assailant was never caught and this tavern burnt down a year after the good doctor’s death.

A Shadowy Ghost

Since Dr. Jamie Smith’s death in 1902 reports of seeing an odd dark figure walking along Chicken Alley has become common. This ghost is seen most often late at night.

People report hearing his cane tapping along the pavement as he makes his way through the alley.

The locals speculate why his ghost still lingers in this area. The obvious and most common reason stated is because he died in this area.

Some state the doctor is still trying to stop the fight, others state he just wants another drink.

The only chicken left in the alley today is on a brightly colored mural in the entrance to the alley. It is here the doctor’s ghost is seen between Carolina Lane and Woodfin Street in this short alley.

* The Alley hosts many alternative artists today, which is reflected in the alley’s interesting graffiti.

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