North Carolina’s Executive Mansion, also known as the Governor’s Mansion, is located in Downtown Raleigh. The stunning city-block sized building on Blount Street began it’s construction in 1883, and was built mainly using Prison Labor. The mansion is built from natural materials found in North Carolina, meaning a lot of red brick. One fascinating piece of history regarding this building is that many of the bricks were actually inscribed on by the Prisoners forced to create them. These signatures are still visible today.
The first Governor to inhabit the Executive Mansion was NC Governor Daniel G Fowle. Sadly, Fowle died in office in 1891, soon after the construction had completed and he had moved into his new home. He was buried in the famous Oakwood Cemetery, though many believe his spirit never left the Mansion.
The Daniel G Fowle bedroom is on the second floor of the building and was Fowle’s personal bedroom. As a widower with four children, one of whom was quite young, he found that he often had his children climbing in his bed at night to sleep. As a large man, he found the bed that was in the room to be not quite adequate in size, so he had a new, oversized bed constructed to accommodate him and his child. Sadly, shortly after the new bed was installed, Fowle passed away.
However, the bed remained in the home for future Governors to use. Almost a century later in 1969, Governor Bob Scott moved into the mansion. He chose to use the Daniel G Fowle room as his bedroom when he moved in. However, Fowle’s bed remained in that room. Scott was a far taller man than Fowle and found the bed too short and uncomfortable, so he had it replaced. Within a short time of moving the bed from the room, Scott and his wife were in bed one night around 10 pm when they began hearing a knocking from the wall behind the headboard of their new bed. They didn’t think much of it, assuming it was simply the old building. This changed when they began to hear the knocking, always starting at the same time, always behind the headboard. The Governor asked maintenance to check on the pipes behind the wall and was shocked to find there were none that ran through that area. They still were not overly concerned, though it was definitely becoming an annoyance.
Their attitude towards this changed with one visit. Former Governor Fowle’s daughter, now an elderly woman, paid the new governor a visit, as was her tradition. During the call, she insisted he answer one question; was her father’s bed still in his room?
After that encounter, the Scott’s believed that this was the spirit of Governor Fowle communicating his displeasure of moving his bed, each night around 10 pm. Despite this, Fowle refused to replace the original bed, so the knocking continued every single evening until he left office. Upon his departure, Fowle’s bed was replaced to the Executive Bedroom, and the knocking immediately ceased. That is, until 1993 when Governor Jim Hunt claimed the knocking had returned, despite never changing anything in the room at all. He was quoted in the News and Observer in 1993 saying “I’ve heard him. I’m trying to establish contact with this ghost. I haven’t done that yet”. Two decades later Governor McCrory is also on record saying he believes the ghost of Fowle is still here. He told Walter Magazine that “he’s a good ghost, I talk to him every night… I know he hears me, I don’t get spooked. Other people do”.
We’d love to ask Governor Cooper if he has heard the ghost of Daniel Fowle since assuming office.