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Black Folklore In Video Episode 7: The Ghost Of Willie Earle



In this episode of Black Folklore, host Grant Yanney tells the story of the Ghost of Willie Earle.

To read the entire story about the Ghost of Willie Earle, click here.

About 20 miles west of Greenville, South Carolina is the home of the Pickens County Museum. What was once the county’s only prison, is now an art and history museum dedicated to, “preserving the rich artistic and historical heritage of Pickens County so that it may be enjoyed by future generations.”

But what if I told you that for 75 years a ghost has been wandering the halls of the prison, calling out from the cells, pleading his innocence? There have even been accounts of horrible manly moans coming from the walls that can be heard saying, “I didn’t do it!”

The ghost of Willie Earle has been a popular topic among paranormal investigators. For decades, ghost hunters have flocked to Pickens County trying to find evidence of Willie’s haunting. Some have said they can hear Willie pleading for his innocence through the walls. Others have said they’ve seen shadowy figures at night peering through the windows. Ghost hunters from all over the country have attempted to make contact with the ghost of Willie.

Raven Investigations of the Paranormal recently headed to the old brick museum to live stream their attempt at finding and making contact with the ghost of Willie. But how did this 24-year-old black man end up beaten to a bloody pulp with a bullet hole in his head?

On Feb. 15, 1947, a Black man hailed a cab in Greenville headed to Pickens County, South Carolina.

The Black man was eventually picked up by a white cabbie named Thomas Watson Brown and the two made their way towards Pickens.

As they drove towards their destination, Brown began to berate his passenger trying to get a rise out of him, using racial slurs and profanity, but the man stayed calm. When they arrived in Pickens, the passenger calmly exited the cab and began to walk away from the cabbie. Brown was infuriated that the man didn’t pay. Brown jumped from the cab yelling at the Black man that he didn’t pay, the two began to scuffle and Thomas Watson Brown was beaten and stabbed to death.

In the 1940s, if a Black man killed a white man and got away with it, another innocent Black person was doomed to pay the price.

Willie Earle would end up being that Black person.

No one knows if Willie Earle was the Black man who killed the cabbie, but the white men in Pickens and Greenville really didn’t care.

If you want to read more original Black Folklore stories CLICK HERE.


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