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Published October 1, 2013

Buried Treasure in Cary: The Ghostly Legend of High House

During my past decade of commutes through Cary, I had no idea I’d been driving past buried treasure each day. The “Buried Treasure and Ghost of High House” is a little-known gem I first discovered in the footnotes of an old history book.

Cary natives, I can hear you now: High House? As in High House Road? I drive down that road every day! I get my coffee from that McDonalds with the clock tower!

Yes. Whenever you use the drive-thru to get a latte, you may be driving along the road to the secret treasure of Fanning Jones. The road was originally named after Jones’ home, which was a looming two-story structure perched atop a hill. While entropy has long since taken the legendary home, the few reports I could find claimed a crumbling chimney marks the location, guarded by the spirits of the forgotten family cemetery plot.

However, the exact location is never mentioned.

Pictured is the Nancy Jones house in Cary. It is reportedly a close copy of High House. The houses were supposedly built by brothers, Nathaniel Jones building the Jones House and Tingnal Jones (Fanning’s father) building High House.

Buried Treasure in Cary -- The Ghostly Legend of High House - Historic Jones House
Pen & Ink original from artist Jerry Miller of Cary –

I pulled Google maps and began scouring for likely locations. Empty fields. Local graveyards. I marked a couple of suspicious-looking areas on the satellite image and went for a drive. However, much like the Raleigh legend of the Orphanage on Crybaby Lane, the precise whereabouts have been hidden beneath the creep of suburban sprawl. Road names changed. New houses built. Oral history faded.

RELATED: Emancipated Slave Cemetery Hidden in Cameron Village.

Where is this small family cemetery? Not mentioned anywhere on GoogleMaps. So I begin to drive, looking for anything that may jump out as a clue.

The story of the chimney itself is spectacularly creepy and supernatural.

Jones eventually fled North Carolina, leaving the High House to the Williams family. A voice came to Leander Williams in a dream, whispering of a secret treasure in the fireplace. A similar voice visited Williams’ mother.

Buried Treasure in Cary -- The Ghostly Legend of High House -- fireplaceIn a time when such dream-whispers were considered dark magic, the pair followed the voices anyways, rushing to the hearth as soon as they awoke. Eerily, the fireplace had already been dug up and destroyed in the night. That chimney—that mysterious, whispering, treasure-hoarding, dream-talking chimney—is the very one that exists today, right off High House Road!

Many other strange things happened in that area of modern day Cary.

Another woman who lived in the area reportedly wandered into the woods, where she prayed herself into insanity, and was found, seemingly possessed. She died shortly after. Many, many 1800’s Caryites complained of ghostly activity around the High House and its surrounding woods.

As for me, I’m still following those whispers from the past. I didn’t find the chimney. But that’s part of the fun when dealing with ghosts and buried treasure – the search.

Has anyone out there come across this chimney or graveyard in your drives around Cary? If any of you urban explorers or paranormal investigators find it, please send us your pictures and stories.

I’d love to solve the mystery of the Buried Treasure at High House.

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  • heather


  • I sincerely believe that through the power of storytelling, I can make social issues become more than a set of statistics. My expertise is in community leadership, non-profit work, event coordinating, networking, and storytelling. All my articles.

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