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|Single Brothers House|
I don’t recall if she shared details of who he was, his accidental death or his hauntings. She probably did, I simply don’t remember. Fortunately, the Moravians are meticulous keepers of records and the details of the untimely death of Andeas Kremser on March 26, 1786 and his haunting of the Single Brothers House are available for consideration. I would learn later in life that The Little Red Man is one of the areas oldest and most enduring ghost stories.
The appearances began following the death of shoe maker Andreas while helping his Brethren excavate the foundation for the basement for a new addition to the “Brothers House”. The Single Brothers House was a communal home and trade school for unwed boys and men of the Salem area similar to the trade guilds of Europe. As Andreas was working late, around midnight, digging, working on his knees, he was crushed by falling red clay.
|Rear Basement Entrance to the Single Brothers House|
Over the years the large building eventually became a home for Widows. Betsy, deaf from an early childhood illness, knew nothing about the ghost or the accident. While visiting her grandmother Betsy ran excitedly in from the garden telling of a little man in a red cape beckoning her with his finger to come play. Once, two gentlemen were being shown around the house and as they were hearing the story of The Little Red Man they came face to face with the ghost. Agreeing to catch the red caped man they lunged for him only to catch nothing but air with the Little Red Man grinning at them from the door.
Sadly, the little red man hasn’t appeared in the building in recent times. Legend says that he made an ill-advised manifestation before a significant member of the community as he was showing an important visitor around the cellar. A minister visited the building and upon hearing the story claimed to be able to get rid of the ghost. After invoking the holy trinity he spoke the words "Little Red Man, go to rest!" The ghost has not been seen since.
The Little Red Man’s final vanishing act inspired archivist and author Richard Starbuck in his Ghosts of Salem and Other Tales to pose an “open question” to his readers in: “whether one should be grateful to the clergyman who exorcised him, or to the electric lights which have driven the shadows from the sub-cellars of the one time Brothers House.”
You will find this tale in North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser, in Burt Callaway and Jennifer Fitzsimmons Triad Hauntings and Richard Starbuck’s Ghosts of Salem and Other Tales.