On a sultry summer night, Pepper led a group of eight in the dark, telling ghost stories drenched in historical fact. The tour winds past the Grove Arcade, S and B Cafeteria, and Battery Park Hotel. She has walked these streets since she first learned to walk, and her parents and grandparents before her. Pepper’s been listening to Asheville ghost stories since she was old enough to talk.
“When I was four years old, my father looked from his office window and saw apparitions on Haywood Street,” Pepper said. “He saw veterans from all branches of the service, smoking cigarettes. He told my mother that he witnessed them vanishing, one by one, in the early morning fog.”