Unlucky fishermen turn to writing

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mike Baugham never struck me as a writer.

Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Mike and I lived with our respective wives in Tarboro. We spent many lazy afternoons after work “wetting a line” in either Fishing Creek or Swift Creek, both in Edgecombe County.

Come to think of it, Mike wasn’t much of a fisherman (neither was I). Perhaps that’s the real reason both he and I chose writing as our profession…he in the book publishing business while yours truly chose newspaper journalism.

Mike, a native of Ahoskie, now goes by Michael Rivers. He has authored two books. His first was “Voyage of the Black Witch” which earned Mike…err Michael…an Editor’s Choice Award for that novel. Now comes his latest work, “Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores.” That book was released April 30.

Mike (I can’t bring myself to call him Michael) will be in Ahoskie on May 15 to promote his new book. He has scheduled a book signing at Catherine’s Restaurant beginning at 6 p.m. From Ahoskie he is scheduled to spend the next week along North Carolina’s coast to promote his latest work.

Mike, ever the good friend, sent me a copy of his new book. I’ve always been intrigued by a good old ghost story and Mike’s work didn’t leave me disappointed. I’m aware of some of the ghostly tales he mentioned, but there were many that I’ve never heard of before.

There were numerous entries of spooky stories centered here in the Roanoke-Chowan area. He related the tale of the Confederate sentry whose ghost is still rumored to be around a large oak tree, where he was shot and killed by a Yankee sniper, in the Hertford County community of St. John.

Near Rich Square in Northampton County comes a tale of a Confederate soldier who walks along a path leading up to a house and suddenly vanishes into thin air.

A tale from the Lewiston area in Bertie County weaved the story of a young couple who had moved into an old house, once the home of a man who sat in a rocking chair on his front porch all day and waved to passers-by. You need to read the book to learn the rest of this spine-tingling tale.

There are many other ghostly tales from the local area, as well as those from Dare, Currituck, Edgecombe, Hyde, Brunswick, Craven, Gates, Johnston, Halifax, Chowan and Wilson counties.

Apparently, Mike has found his true calling as a writer. He has turned over 30 years of investigating and collecting stories of the paranormal into a passion for leading a reader by the hand and becoming engrossed in these intriguing tales.

Be sure to visit with Mike at Catherine’s on May 15; the event is open to the public. Maybe I can sweet talk Deborah into letting me follow him to the beach. Perhaps we can “wet a line” again….nah, on second thought, we both need to stick to our writing.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.