The Shorter Mansion is a testament to the nostalgia for days gone by, but perhaps not the one you expect. While Shorter appears to the world to be a classic antebellum home, it was actually built after the war, in 1884 to be exact. Eli Sims Shorter II and his wife, Wileyna Lamar Shorter, constructed the house to be a modest townhome for their family. But renovations commenced in 1901—forty years after the Civil War began—to transform it into a magnificent Greek Revival mansion. So convincing was the effort that the mansion was even included in the film Sweet Home Alabama.
The family lived in the house until 1965, when the great-granddaughter decided to move to Atlanta. The people of Eufaula loved the house so much that they pooled their money and bought the house for the city heritage association. With it, they may have also purchased a ghost.
Those who claim to know say that the Shorter Mansion is haunted by the ghost of a man, although who he is no one knows. They call him the “man in the top hat,” and apparently he has a habit of appearing in wedding photos. A top hat is on display in the mansion, one that belonged to Governor Sparks of Alabama. Is he the spirit that haunts the home? It’s hard to say. In any event, the crew members at the Shorter Mansion make sure that they always show examples of these photos to anyone who decides to book the mansion for a wedding, just so they know they can expect an extra guest.
Then there is the lady in pink. While she is also in the habit of appearing in wedding pictures, she has surfaced in real life as well. While a tour was going on in the Shorter Mansion, one of the staff was talking with a woman in the parlour. At least, she was talking. The other woman never said a word, merely nodding her head at appropriate times. The staff member turned away for but a moment, and when she looked back, the woman had simply vanished. Shorter Mansion is definitely an ode to the past, both living and dead.
Haunted Alabama Black Belt written by David Higdon and Brett Talley – Copyright © 2013 by David Higdon and Brett Talley – All rights reserved