HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A couple is sharing their experience of living in a Hillsborough house they say is haunted.
By day, the historic colonial home awes the many people who drive through Hillsborough.
“It’s this beautiful like Greek revival looking thing and we’re like, ‘Wow, how dreamy,’ and it’s right by the river. It just seemed really ideal,” said Brooke Maxwell.
Brooke and Tom Maxwell were searching for a new home in 2014 when the property caught their eye.
The walkthrough was anything but ordinary.
“They had like grandparents in the dining room as a makeshift bedroom and so many children and they were moving, kids following us up the stairs, very very high energy, ‘that’s my room.'”
Captivated by the low rent and quizzical vibe – they signed a lease.
The Maxwells moved into the historic home known as “Poplar Hill,” which was once owned by Julian Carr.
“Julian Carr was a nasty piece of work,” said Tom Maxwell.
Carr was a tobacco and textile manufacturer and a white supremacist. He purchased the home with his wife, Nannie, in 1891.
“I don’t think there was ever any stopping what was going to happen from happening,” said Tom Maxwell.
It would take hours to share all of the experiences the Maxwells had there.
Here’s just a handful.
“I heard a car pull up,” said Tom Maxwell. “I heard wheels on the gravel driveway and I heard the door open, the squeaky mudroom door, so I knew (Brooke) was home. So I went downstairs to greet her and no one was there. The car wasn’t there and the door was closed and locked.”
Brooke Maxwell said figures would come from the chimney.
“I would see this figure come out of the chimney, the firebox, and crawl across the floor and appear next to me in bed,” she said.
“I’m facing the house, behind me is the circular driveway that goes around the house and I look over to my right, and moving like a spinning top is a cylindrical shadow tapered at both ends,” said Tom Maxwell.
“This bottle went flying off of the shelf and it broke all over the floor. We both saw it happen. It wasn’t like it fell down. It shot across the room,” said Brooke Maxwell.
The Maxwells aren’t alone. They say relatives who visited also felt or saw something.
“That’s why it was validating because shared experience, obviously you can corroborate what just happened, and it makes you feel less crazy,” said Brooke.
The Maxwells say they didn’t really talk about what they were seeing or feeling during their time at the home.
“With the frequency in which it happened, it would just be annoying at some point to keep saying did you see that? Did you see that?” said Brooke Maxwell.
They say whatever was on the property was becoming more brazen and the landlord let them out of the lease a little early.
“When we left the house, it was shut the door and literally never go back,” said Tom Maxell.
“We didn’t know any of the history of this house when we lived there, so now that we know about it, it’s easy to go back and try to make narrative sense,” said Brooke Maxwell.
CBS 17’s Bridget Chapman went to the library in Hillsborough to see what she could learn about Poplar Hill.
A man named James Hogg built the house in 1794. The Hogg family name later changed to Alves.
Records show during the time the property was in that family, 12-year-old Mary Alves was shot and killed at the home by a family friend. It was deemed a tragic accident.
Julian Carr bought the property in 1891 and named it “Poplar Hill.”
Records show it was moved to its current location in 1980 by a man named James Freeland.
Years later, researchers found and excavated graves on the property.
The property was once farming and hunting grounds for the Occoneechee Indians.
Neighbors told CBS 17 only one other family has lived in the house since the Maxwells moved out.
They were only there for half a year or less. The house is now empty.
“I think I’d make it into a museum,” said Brooke. “I think if you can turn it into some sort of beneficial, some sort of generator for a town like Hillsborough.”
She said perhaps the acknowledgment of the history and its energetic signature would make the madness stop.
“There’s a whole hidden history here that’s not being told,” said Tom.
The Maxwells say they’ll never go back.
“People get upset like when you share stories like this and I’ve had people contact me and be like, ‘That didn’t happen, have you ever considered this? Have you ever considered the possibility of this,’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve considered everything,'” said Brooke Maxwell.
They said they’re not here to try to convince anyone but simply share their story.
“The experiences that Brooke had or I had, I don’t expect anyone to believe it,” said Tom Maxwell. “And it doesn’t matter. I know what happened to me.”
We did reach out to the current owners of the house. They didn’t get back to CBS 17.
The house is part of a haunted ghost tour within Hillsborough. We went along on one of the tours.