Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Slemp Ghost Story

     May I give you a ghost story or perhaps you will call it a Mortal Phenomena of the sick room. This story was told to me by C. Bascom Slemp in his home in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, on the day of the funeral of his sister, Janie Slemp Newman. While final arrangements were being made in the downstairs drawing room for the last rite, Cousin Bascom called me aside and said, "Come, I have a story to tell you." Whereupon, we went up to his room and, tired and grieved as he was, he painstakingly reviewed the long siege of illness, the various travels and efforts to combat the long and fatal illness of Mrs. Newman, who had been constantly attended by a faithful nurse. This nurse had known that both Janie's father and brother, in fact, the entire family were ardent Republicans. Therefore, she was astonished by seeing, standing at the foot of Janie's bed, a man in full Confederate uniform. The nurse, knowing Janie was asleep, hesitated to move and admitted that she was stunned and speechless. Janie, arousing from the stupor or sleep, asked, "Did you see my father? He came for me."
     On the brother's early visit the following morning the nurse asked, "Mr. Slemp, who in your family ever wore a Confederate uniform?" To which he answered, "My father."

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