Mike and Rose Gray, who own Gray’s Furniture on Broadway Street in downtown Mt. Pleasant, are haunted by ghosts who make their presence known to some shoppers and to Mike and Rose, and their employees and family, who include their daughter, Amy Gray Fox and son-in-law, Paul Fox.
I have never encountered these ghosts, in the many times I have been there, but others have. Another friend of mine told me that she was on the third floor one day, browsing by herself, when she went into a series of three small rooms, where the middle one had the lights turned off that day. As she entered the middle room, she felt hands push against her, just below her shoulders, which stopped her from continuing. She said she kept her head bowed, didn’t look up, and turned to walk back the way she had come, ran down the stairs, and out of the building.
The store has four floors, counting the basement, and has an old and interesting history. It was built in 1903, and the floors were used for various purposes. The front of the third floor, which faces Broadway, was once a movie theater in the silent movie era. Up on this floor is where many of the ghost sightings and emanations have happened. Amy Gray Fox told me that a small room up there that has a bay window, now used as closet space, has a lace curtain, where ghostly figures have been seen.
Rose told me that there’s an interior door up on the third floor that has a hook and eye closure that she hooks, and when she goes back minutes later, the door is unlocked. Some people have seen a ghostly woman, all dressed in white, descending the stairs. Maybe she was married there – or had her funeral there — part of the second floor was once used as a mortuary.
Other parts of the second floor were used at various times for boxing matches, as well as for a dance hall. One might conjecture that some people who frequent Gray’s furniture in death do so for the same reasons they do now in life. They are attached to the place, an elegant building with immense windows and incredibly high ceilings, some with the original metal tile. Mike and Rose are calm, loving, and personable people; all visitors, past and present, must feel at home with them. The furniture they sell is so lovely and extraordinarily well made that any visitor feels comforted and indulged.
The first floor was once divided into two parts, the east side was for furniture sales from the time it opened, and next to it was a light and gas company office. In part of the basement was once a barbershop, where present day employees sense the presence of something not seen. Parts of the basement now are now used by Mike where he lovingly restores antique furniture in the mornings.
Dozens of people have had ghostly encounters there, but none of the ghosts seem to want anything other than to enjoy the comfort of an elegant place they once loved. I have yet to see or experience a ghost there, but if I do, I will know they are there for the same reasons I am: lovely people, beautiful furniture, warm memories, and grand architecture from the past. I might sit and chat with them, as I do when I go visit the Grays and Foxes when they are working. Then I will have another story to tell.