The following is the conclusion of the SouthernSpooks investigation of The Chapel of Rest.
After doing a little research on the Lenoir area we came across the story of the Chapel of Rest, located in Happy Valley, NC. The story that has been circulating throughout websites featuring haunted places in North Carolina, is what made us interested in this church. Story has it that in the early 20’s the preacher of the church caught his wife cheating on him. He was so distraught about the affair that he hung himself from the rafter above the front pew that Saturday night. The congregation found him hanging there when they opened the church the next morning. The story continues on to say that his blood stain is still on the floor below where he hung himself and the bible on the pulpit his supposed to tell you the exact date and how you will die. This story was just too good for us to pass up!
The Chapel of Rest has its own unique story without a paranormal twist as well. In 1887, Samuel Legerwood Patterson deeded the plot of land that surrounds his own family graveyard to the Episcopal Dieses of Western North Carolina so that the graves would be preserved. He also gave land adjacent to the graveyard to the Dieses so that a school could be built. The Chapel of rest was built that same year.
One of the most impressive graves in the cemetery is that of Confederate General Collett Leventhorpe. He was a British officer who had come to America for extended holiday. He found his way to Asheville, NC where he met his wife, Lousina Bryan. She was the daughter of General Edmund Bryan of Rutherfordton, NC. In 1849, Leventhorpe was granted U.S. citizenship. When the south seceded, he offered his military experience to North Carolina. He was the only N.C. Confederacy’s English born solider to hold the rank of Brigadier General.
The original chapel burned to the ground in 1916. It was reconstructed under the direction of the Patterson School’s headmaster, Reverend Hugh A. Dobbin. In 2002 the Chapel was fully restored to its original state before fire.
The Chapel is opened every day during daylight hours. Anyone can walk right in and look around. The building is monitored by motion sensor cameras. Right away we started to place pieces of the paranormal story to things in the church. There was a large reddish brown stain beside the front pew. It was right overhead of a rafter as well. There were no marks on the rafters that looked like a rope or anything else was hung there. They were very freshly painted and kept up. The stain on the floor was indented. You could see where someone has tried to clean it up unsuccessfully. We can’t say for sure if the stain is from blood or just a burn mark though. We searched the building over and couldn’t find a bible anywhere! The bible story is obviously an embellishment to make the location seem scarier.
We did use our EMF detector and digital voice recorders while here. We were lucky to have caught what sounds like someone gasping for air as we leave the building. The recorder was left at the front of the church on the pulpit while we investigated the graveyard.
The cemetery is directly behind the chapel and is surrounded by a rock fence. The whole presence is like stepping back into a simpler time. The graves are from as early as mid 1800s to mid 1900s.
After doing the investigation we believe that the Chapel of Rest deserves another look. We can’t say that it is absolutely haunted, but believe that something unexplainable is there. If you chose to visit this site, please do so with respect. Even though the church is not regularly used, the preservation society has worked very hard to keep the grounds up so that everyone can enjoy it.