Elli Chew, CFNN Reporter
Located in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, Payne Road is supposedly the most haunted road in the state. After painstaking research CFNN found three local legends circulating about the road and its haunting.
The first legend concerns Edward Payne, owner of a very large plantation. Payne is said to have found out that his daughter became pregnant by one of the plantation workers and flew into a rage, killing the worker. Payne then allegedly took up the practice of devil worship, practicing strange, arcane rituals. Unfortunately, he did not stop there. Payne eventually set the entire plantation to flames, killing everyone on the property. Legend has it that ghosts of the former inhabitants roam the boundaries of the old plantation on moonless nights.
The second legend tied to the road concerns a young man who drove down Payne Road late one night and never made it out.
The young man was apparently unable to make out one of the sharp curves of the road. He crashed his car next to the ruins of a chapel where Edward Payne supposedly practiced his devil worship.
The young man’s car caught fire, and he was forced to die a slow and painful death as bystanders refused to do anything to help him. One ghost story says that if you were to drive down the road late at night and pass that curve, you can see the headlights of an old Ford following you then disappearing without a trace.
The third and final legend of Payne Road is another very commonly heard, but no one can tell when it occurred. According to local legend, some time in the late 19th Century, a man lived in a farmhouse with his family. The man and his wife often engaged in serious arguments and fights. One night, the man decided that their children were the root of all their problems.
After one particularly violent altercation, the man tied his wife to a chair in the living room, then went upstairs to massacre their children. As the story continues, the wife was able to free herself from her restraints and stop her husband, saving her infant child. She took the child and attempted to escape, but was eventually caught by her husband at the bridge. Supposedly he decapitated her on the spot. No one knows what happened to the baby.
The legend ends with the man committing suicide by hanging himself from a tree. It is said that if you go to the road and whisper “Dixie,” a woman’s ghost will appear and approach your car while holding her head.
The mystery surrounding Payne Road and its three local legends, all fairly gruesome, make this a must visit for amateur ghost hunters. Apparently, it is considered the most haunted road in the state. What do you think?
I grew up in Winston-salem and everyone knew the legends of Payne Rd in Rural Hall. I now live in Burlington, near Saxapahaw, and none of the locals know the legends. The stories you reported are identical to the ones that circulate about Edward’s Rd and Payne Rd in Rural Hall. There’s several catche though, the stories aren’t backed by recorded history. There was a man who killed himself with a stick of dynamite, but that’s about it. Now, the story of the man who killed his whole family is based on facts, just the wrong family and location. That story is referencing the Lawson family murders on Christmas day, which happened not far from the Rural Hall location. A friend of mine actually made a pretty successful documentary about the Lawson family tragedy.