Local News

Demons Invade Downtown Fayetteville

Posted September 29, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Citizens in Fayetteville are not real happy about the demons invading downtown. A peculiar and mysterious mural appeared one day, and now the city cannot get rid of it.

As city leaders try and turn around the image of downtown, they say this is hardly the kind of thing that helps.

The mural sits right in the middle of downtown Fayetteville. Greeting all visitors who come in from Hay street, one of the city's major gateways. Part of the mural depicts screaming skulls, hellfire and people impaled on stakes.

"It's just kind of a black eye for us as people enter the downtown area," said Robin Kelly of the Fayetteville Partnership.

Those who try to recruit businesses and investors say the mural makes it tougher.

"I know it's just a short term thing, but it's unfortunate," City Inspector Frank Simpson said. "We had about 50,000 people downtown for the International Folk Festival on Sunday and I'm sure for the majority of them, this was the first thing they saw. As you get past [the mural] it's all positive, but it's a shame we have to deal with it."

The city is buying the building, and in December it will be torn down to make way for the Fort Bragg Airborne and Special Operations Museum. Until then, city leaders' hands are tied.

"The only thing we'd have that would regulate that is the advertising sign ordinance and it's not a sign," Simpson said. "It's not classified as a sign right now. It's just treated as a first amendment right."

One of the building owners' wives says they are not sure if they can legally paint over the mural because the building is being leased out until the city takes it over.