Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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October 28, 2006

Haunting Navarro County

Local storytellers, skeptics differ on ghostly legends

When it comes to sharing ghost stories about Navarro County, teenagers talk in whispers about various cemeteries and Crybaby Bridge, but tales also circulate about the courthouse, Napoli’s restaurant, the old Emhouse school, and a number of private homes.

Many of these tales have their detractors, and in some cases the facts are clearly in the camp of the disbelievers. However, the secret to a haunting’s success lies not in the details, but in how much fun it is to send shivers up the spines of the listeners, particularly around Halloween.

Amateur ghost-hunters interested in tracking these legends to their sources should beware, however, because trespassers may encounter very live sheriff’s and police officers.

Navarro County Courthouse, 300 W. 3rd Ave.

The 101-year-old Navarro County Courthouse is supposedly haunted by a justice of the peace, George Crumbly, who was shot in 1926 on the first floor of the courthouse by former Sheriff John W. Stewart.

Witnesses claim to have heard footsteps on the empty staircase, the elevator going up and down without passengers, and lights turning on and off without any hand on the switches.

The story began with a violent confrontation between the Crumbly and Stewart, when the judge accused the officer of not filing enough cases in his court. At the time, J.P.’s were paid according to the fines and fees ordered by the court.

“The judge hit the sheriff on the head with the notary seal, and the sheriff shot the judge,” explained current Navarro County Sheriff Les Cotten. “The sheriff was exonerated, but he never ran for office again.”

Cotten recalled one weekend while he was downstairs at the planning and zoning office and he heard footsteps descending the stairs.

“Nobody was there. Nobody was up those stairs,” Cotten said. “I’ve talked to several people about the footsteps, and they say it’s the ghost of the judge.”

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