E. L. Cravin’s Haunted Parlor: A History/A Speculation
Local historians tell us that Dr. E.L. Cravin gave up private practice in 1909 and moved to Blackshear, Georgia. However, no records exist concerning his previous residence. Shortly after arriving in this quiet, southeast Georgia town, he founded E.L. Cravin's Funeral Parlor in a prominent location on Main Street. From all accounts, he was a respected member of the community and did very well in his new profession until the summer of 1914 when tragedy struck.
According to the Blackshear Gazette, Cravin lost his wife, Eleanor age 40, and son, Eddie age 18, in a fire that burned the funeral parlor to the ground. The historic weekly newspaper makes no mention of a funeral or memorial service for either member of the Cravin family, and burial records are nonexistent. By late October that same year, he had the parlor rebuilt and moved back in. No one was quite sure why he went to the trouble to reconstruct the building because he never reopened the funeral parlor to the public and went as far as bricking in or boarding up most of the doors and windows. Some speculate he did it to preserve the remaining memory of his family, and some say he rebuilt it to keep their ghosts alive.
Over the years, complaints of loud screams and noises in the middle of the night were documented, but a thorough investigation was never conducted. This man who was once a family-oriented, pillar of the community was now acting very peculiar and withdrawn. Throughout the next couple of years, most sightings of him occurred at night where he could be spotted at the back of the parlor meeting a delivery truck or in the local cemeteries just wandering around. As the years passed, he seemed to become more and more bitter and distant until he seemed to have simply vanished.
This is where the tale of Mr. Cravin grows cold and even more bizarre. Decades later, around the summer of 2008, strange activities started re-occurring at the mysterious parlor. Citizens and local business owners report seeing unmarked vans and delivery trucks arriving at odd times. Passersby tell of screams heard in the middle of the night. Perhaps, the most puzzling of all is that a full staff of workers appear to be involved in some sort of ongoing enterprise.
But where did they come from?
What are they doing?
And where do they go at night?
Experts search for some logical explanation; however, Blackshear’s oldest residents tend to shy away from the topic of the parlor and hold on to the tales they heard as children concerning a mortician who went mad and searched for a way to keep himself alive and bring back his wife and son who were tragically taken from him.
Surely these old-timers and their cemetery ramblings are products of over-productive imaginations and a story which has gotten exaggerated over the years. This is the stuff of which legends are made. There must be a simple, reasonable explanation since relatively recent medical discoveries show that living humans must be used for harvesting organs.
Then again, that may have something to do with why the new sign reads, “Visitors Welcome - E.L. Cravin Corp.- Where People are DYING to get in”