Pisgah Ghost Wife

October was an exciting month to be managing a Facebook Page. I made several haunted US Forest Service in North Carolina posts, touching on topics as bizarre as bigfoot and Gilford Pinchot’s ghost wife.

It was fun reading the stories and comments from people in the area describing their bigfoot and paranormal experiences. One less know story is about Gilford Pinchot and Laura Houghtaling, and it’s a bit like being ghosted, but in a whole new way.

You’ve probably heard of Gifford Pinchot- the father of forestry and the first Forest Service Chief. He managed the forest on the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and worked alongside Teddy Roosevelt to protect American wilderness. 

But who was the woman behind the man? Prepare for a surprise…

Laura Houghtaling had a deep and long lasting relationship with Gifford Pinchot, even beyond her death. They fell in love when Pinchot was just starting off his career in what is now Pisgah National Forest.

 Just before their wedding, Laura passed away from tuberculosis. But, that didn’t stop Gifford from continuing their relationship. He often wrote of her in his diary as if she were still alive, saying things like, “My lady has told me beautiful things” (April 16, 1894)”; and

“My lady is so clearly with me that I cannot say how deeply happy and grateful I am” (December 13, 1894). Gifford continued his relationship with Laura for 20 years, until he married at the age of 59, but never discarding her letters and diaries that he kept in a special box.

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