The less you know, the better the ghost story: the real Corbin Cabin of Nicholson Hollow

Posted on October 24, 2013 by


Since it’s October, I figured I’d bring up a ghost story… not that I care much for it.

To be honest, I see it amounting to something along the lines of the tall tales told by George Freeman Pollock.

Anyway, there’s this “ghost story” about Corbin Cabin, in Shenandoah National Park, that came out and got attention a few years ago (2010). You can read about it on the Web, at several sites. Just Google “Corbin Cabin” and “haunted”… if you really want. Incidentally, there’s also this video about the “haunted” cabin (a trailer for a 45 minute show)…

Like I said… I don’t much care for the hype.

On top of that, there seem to be a few sites out there that seem to sensationalize things by leaving out readily available information (whether accidental or intentional).

But, let’s get to George Thurman Corbin, the man who built Corbin Cabin in ca. 1909.

George was a son of James Madison Corbin and Mary “Mollie” Nicholson… therefore George was a grandson of Aaron Nicholson, brother of my third great grandfather, Garnett Nicholson. George was married three times… first to Mildred Corbin (ca. 1903), next to Bertie T. Nicholson (1911), and last to Beulah Nicholson (1929). The hype around Corbin Cabin is that George’s second wife died there, while in child birth (1924)… and that’s actually true. So… does Beulah haunt Corbin Cabin? I really don’t know, and the “ghost” aspect doesn’t intrigue me at all. If I stay there, will I hear bumps in the night? Probably… there are lots of other things out in the backcountry of the Shenandoah National Park that make that possible. And… as for that cemetery… yes, Bertie’s probably buried there… along with a lot of my kin, including, quite possibly, my third great grandfather and/or his parents, grandparents, etc.

Here’s something that impresses me even more… and it’s not a ghost story. It’s George T. Corbin as interviewed on a walk back into Nicholson Hollow in 1969. I’ve got to say, it drives me crazy to hear his voice because the man… I have little doubt… knew my immediate Nicholson kin. In that my third great grandfather died in 1904… in Nicholson Hollow… I’m sure of it. He even names his grandfather and a distant uncle of mine… “Coover”… who was actually Vancouver Nicholson (1844-1901).

If you have some time (the audio is over an hour long)… sit a spell and listen as George talks about the Nicholson Hollow that he remembered, as walking through it. Many thanks to the folks at James Madison University for posting this to the Web!

Click here to access the site (and… I recommend reading the transcript while listening as some portions of the audio are difficult to understand without it).

I’m looking forward to taking a little walk back that way sometime this fall or winter to see what I can find of what’s left… and maybe even stay overnight in cousin George’s cabin.

Oh, and by the way, make sure you pay attention to Mr. Corbin’s references to George F. Pollock’s exaggerated tales of the Nicholson and Corbin Hollow folk. There’s also brief mention of George’s uncles who served in the Civil War.

Incidentally, George is buried, along with his third wife, in Evergreen Cemetery, in Luray, Virginia.