Located in the peaceful landscape of the Piedmont area of North Carolina lies the town of Kernersville in the area known as the Triad. The Triad area consists of three major cities, which include Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point. Kernersville is a beautiful small town that is actively restoring and renovating its historic downtown area. It is also the location of one of the strangest homes in the world, built in 1880. It’s called Korner’s Folly and if I had to compare it to other strange homes, I would say that it is a miniature version of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. It also shares another similarity with the Winchester House, as they’re both reported to be haunted.
The original owner of Korner’s Folly was Jule Gilmer Korner. He named the home “Korner’s Folly” after a cousin, or possibly a neighbor, declared the home to be Korner’s folly. Korner was so amused by the comment that he made it the official name of the home, even going so far as to hang a plaque with that name outside the house. Korner was a painter and interior designer and is best known for painting signs for the Bull Durham Bulls across the South. A talented artist, Korner wanted the house to be a showplace for his work, both artistically in size and scale in order to give prospective clients an idea of the various types of interior design that he could create in their homes and buildings. The house has twenty-two rooms and there’s no easy way to describe them. Each room is unique; some fit for royalty, palatial in scale. There are trap doors, over fifteen different styles of fireplaces, cubbyholes to tuck away in, murals, and a library.
I love Korner’s Folly. It reminds me of playing dress up when I was young, how one day I wanted to be a princess, another day the queen, and I’d rotate from the Victorian age, the Roaring Twenties, to holding court in the Middle Ages. Living in Korner’s Folly would have been like a living in a dollhouse to play every dress- up game I could imagine. How much fun the children must have had growing up here! While I was immediately entranced with the whimsical parts of the home, I must also say that it has elegant touches; murals, a striking reception room, and a wonderful little theatre named Cupid’s Park. Korner’s Folly grabbed me at the front door; it’s simply enchanting.
None of the twenty-two rooms look the same in any way. There are three floors and seven levels to the home, some with ceilings as low as six feet while other ceilings reach heights of over twenty-five feet. Hallways have different sizes; some are quite narrow and the effect can be striking as you follow a passageway into a new room, some with doorways over ten feet tall. Extensively detailed woodwork is displayed in every room. A winding staircase takes you from floor to floor and on the fourth floor is the first private children’s little theater in the United States. The effect of it all is stunning. Jule Korner was definitely talented and had a wonderful artistic eye. The architecture and antique furniture that he designed is visible throughout the home. Korner’s paintings are on display in the home.
The home has been wonderfully preserved. Several locals in the area told me that the house once served as an antique store and also a funeral home in the past. The spirits are very active at the house and paranormal investigators continue to find evidence of ghostly activity. While I visited Korner’s Folly, it was decorated for the Christmas holidays. I felt ghostly activity and energy around the Christmas decorations and detected them moving slightly back and forth on several occasions. Perhaps the ghost children were at play, looking to see if Christmas presents would soon be on display for them. During your visit to Korner’s Folly, expect to be charmed and enchanted by the beauty, the whimsy and the playful spirits. For more about my visit to Korner’s Folly, check out my new book, Ghosthunting North Carolina.