I’ve done way too many “trespassing ghost hunters” stories over the years, and even one last week regarding the Pope Lick Monster, or Goatman. At this point, it is just sad, either because someone dies, or because property gets destroyed. And in either case, something irreplaceable is lost. I was hesitant to report on this story, because at this point, what else can be said? But this place was historic and needs donations, and needs publicity to help rebuild. Because these morons have nothing better to do than destroy property and then claim they are ghost hunters.
The four young suspects, whose names have not yet been released, broke into the Snow Hill Institute in east Wilcox County on Sunday, splintering doors, smashing windows and overturning furniture. The African American school was founded in 1893 and initially opened as the Colored Literary and Industrial School.
“To see such devastation really hurts,” said Clara Gulley, who graduated from there in 1966, seven years before it permanently closed its school doors.
The break-in happened Sunday afternoon at the school, which is located off of Highway 21. A man who lives nearby heard a commotion at the school, and went to see what was going on, Gulley said. “He went up to the building and saw the truck parked there,” she said. “He got the tag number and went to another neighbor’s house to call police.”
Gulley said that’s when she was notified. She is a member of a civic group – the Snow Hill Community Organization – which has worked to preserve buildings and grounds. She said the former school is used for reunions, alumni functions and, at one point, a place for tutoring. The school is on the National Register of Historic Places.
She said she and others couldn’t believe what they saw. “It was heartbreaking to see something so sentimental to us destroyed,” she said. “We value it so much. It’s where we got our education.”
Gulley said they haven’t yet gotten repair estimates, but said they are likely to be high. “Those windows were 100 years old,” she said. “Can you imagine what replacing them will cost?”
The suspects, she said, told police they were inside the building looking for ghosts. Gulley doesn’t buy that explanation. “I’ve never known it to be haunted,” she said, “And if they wanted to go inside and look for ghosts, they could have just asked us to unlock the door for them. I think they were just pranksters.”
The group is accepting donations to help with repairs. Donations can be sent to Clara Gulley, Snow Hill Community Organization P.O. Box 10, Furman, AL 36741.
I really hope they can repair and rebuild. Please help them out if you can.