ABBY TRUE (SHE/HER) ‘25
What if ghosts roamed the halls of Chambers, brushing shoulders with students on their way to class?
Andrew Knorpp is a local high schooler whose interest in the history of Davidson led him to an unusual part-time job: leading ghost tours around the town. Knorpp, who I met for a quick chat at the Soda Shop, is the face of the Ghosts of Davidson tours. He started conducting them in the fall of 2020, looking for something he could do outside during the high point of the pandemic.
“The town’s got a really nice community feeling,” said Knorpp. “I thought Davidson deserves a ghost tour—it’s historic. It’s got cool stuff going on. So I came down here, I researched, and I found stories. There are a lot of really good resources […] And so I started the tour, and it’s been really fun!”
When I met Knorpp, he offered to give me a glimpse of what his tours have to offer by telling me about some of the town’s haunted past and present. Davidson, according to Knorpp, has a significant history of body snatchings.
“Especially around the college,” he told me, “the main source of hauntings is this body snatching that happened a lot in the 1870s to early 1900s. You see, at the time, the medical community was [just becoming] a scientific thing. And so they needed cadavers to dissect to learn more about medical stuff. But there was no legal avenue to get them.”
At this time, Davidson was home to The North Carolina Medical College, a small medical school that later moved to Charlotte. When the students needed bodies on which to operate, Knorpp said that somtimes “they would do the same thing as all the other students [across the country]: go steal fresh bodies from graves.” This practice resulted in several apparent hauntings, which Knorpp elaborates on during his tours.
Other spooky aspects of Davidson’s history that Knorpp explores are the historic Copeland house that has been around Davidson for more 150 years—which can be found next to the Carolina Inn—and the railroad tracks next to Depot where Knorpp says a man was shot in the 1960s. He also imagines the many stories the Davidson College graveyard may have to tell with its 162 years of existence.
To learn more about the tours and Davidson’s haunted history, follow @ghostsofdavidson on Instagram. Spring tours will be running all through the month of April, and tickets can be purchased using the link on the Instagram page. For any easily frightened readers, Knorpp is considering expanding into history tours in the fall, but he also promises that the tours are appropriate for anyone over the age of ten.
In closing, Knorpp had this to say: “The town’s really cool, and I’d want to share that with college students who would love to hear about the history of Davidson and the haunted locations they might be walking around every day.”