This was originally written on December 23, 2011…
Every small town has their “Urban Legends” and Laurinburg, NC, the town where I reside and have laid my head since 1981, is no exception. We have such notable sites and personas as Gravity Hill, where you can park your car in neutral and unknown forces will move your car back up a hill. We have Stewartsville Cemetery, which has graves dating back to the early 1700’s and is said to be full of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. We have the cemetery up behind what used to be Smyrna Church where it’s said that if you listen closely, you can hear the cries of a baby. And of course, we have the legends of Roy Gee’s house in Hasty where, for a period of years, was the place on weekends to party, get drunk, get laid and get confused about your sexuality. Who needed Vegas when Roy threw a party?
But first and foremost among all of the stories and legends of Scotland County is the story of “Spaghetti”. And no, I’m not speaking of the thin Italian noodles covered with a delicious meat sauce that young dogs in love enjoy eating in Disney cartoons. I’m speaking of a man named Cancetto Farmica. Here’s the story.
Way back in 1911, twenty-three year old Carnival worker Canceto Farmica was involved in a fight in nearby McColl, SC and ended up being killed when his head was smashed in by a wooden stake the size of a baseball bat. The carnival people brought Farmica’s body to McDougald Funeral Home here in Laurinburg, NC and made a ten dollar deposit for the body to be held until Farmica’s family could come and claim the body. Farmica’s father soon showed up in Laurinburg and made arrangements for the funeral home to hold the body until arrangements could be made with the rest of the family.
So McDougald’s embalmed the body and waited. Finally, a letter came asking that the body be shipped to Italy and Farmica’s home. McDougald calculated the expense of doing so and sent a reply to Farmica’s family. And waited for a reply that never came. So McDougald placed the body of the deceased Carny on the third floor of the family home / funeral home for storage. And the body turning brown as it dried out. The locals took interest in this oddity and started coming by to see the corpse, affectionally referred to as “Spaghetti”. In 1938, the McDougald Family moved their business (and home) to their current location on Biggs St. and they took the mummified body with them, moving him from his third floor home to a glass display case that was featured and hung out in the garage.
And the people just kept coming in droves to see and gawk at the dried out and preserved corpse, clad only in a loin cloth, with a large tent stake next to him.
Finally, in 1972, word of “Spaghetti” reached the desk of New York Congressman Mario Biaggi, who got the permission of a judge to petition McDougald’s to finally put Farmica to rest and give him a proper burial. And with money donated by local businesses and citizens, on September 30, 1972, the body of Cancetto Farmica, aka “Spaghetti”, was finally laid to rest at Hillside Cementary. Concrete was poured over the grave to prevent any grave robbers and a memorial was put in place.
And one of Laurinburg’s greatest attractions and best urban legends was laid to rest.
I’m not sure where I first heard about “Spaghetti”, but it was sometime after I moved to Laurinburg in 1981. I was fifteen years old and had a strong fascination with anything weird or odd. Actually, that explains quite a bit about my high school dating. Anyhow, I remember going down to McDougald’s Funeral Home with a friend of mine. I can’t remember for sure who, but this was probably a year or so after I moved here. We wanted to see “Spaghetti”. The person we spoke to was really cool and told us where the grave was so we could go visit it (and of course, we did almost immediately). And that was pretty much the last time I thought about the man.
Until I had a dream last night. And there he was. And I knew that I was supposed to do something. And so, here I am, sharing his story. It’s kind of creepy. I just hope that now, finally after all those years of being on display and being an attraction, he’s finally resting in peace.
Died: April 28, 1911
Buried: September 30, 1972
Rest In Peace