During the Carolina gold rush of the 1830s and 1840s, a miserly old codger called Skinflint McIntosh owned a rich vein in southern Cabarrus County. So tightfisted was he that he wouldn’t pay adequate wages to the miners to dig for the gold, nor would he provide sufficient safety measures to prevent accidents in his mine. The vein of gold was 450 feet down a narrow shaft.
One of the best workers in the district was Joe McGee, whom Skinflint kept trying to hire. “If I got killed down there,” said Joe, “would you pay my wife Jennie $1,000?” “Joe,” Skinflint shouted, “I’d pay her $2,000.” And so it was that Joe gave up his other job and went to work for Skinflint.
One cold, drizzly night, when Joe didn’t come home at the usual hour, Jennie became worried. Finally she persuaded Joe’s friend Shaun to gather up a few men and look for Joe in the mine. They search the deep hole but found nothing. After several weeks Jennie asked Skinflint for her money. “Oh, no,” said Skinflint, “Joe’s just gone off somewhere.” And he didn’t pay her.
Soon after, on another bitter night, a loud knock came on Shaun’s door. Opening it, he was startled by a ghostly white specter who spoke with the voice of his friend Joe and told Shaun to go to the mine that very night; it told him to dig a a certain spot where the green timbers had given away and caused a cave-in. It asked if Skinflint had paid Jennie, and when Shaun said no, the specter wailed, “I’ll haunt that mine of his forever.”
McGee’s body was found exactly where the specter said. Skinflint paid up, but only when threatened by Joe’s old friends. Word spread about the haunted mine, and no one would work for McIntosh. All of this happened 150 years ago but the gold is still in the mine–as is the specter of Joe McGee.