It’s probably no surprise that the Outer Banks, famed for the Lost Colony and known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, has its fair share of ghost stories. Here we take a look at few of them. Happy Halloween!
Haunted hunting retreat in Corolla
Whalehead in Historic Corolla, a hunting retreat built in 1925, has been known to house a haunt or two over the years. It was once the home of an all-boys’ school, a base for the Coast Guard during World War II and a rocket fuel testing site.
There are stories of smoke coming from the dining room portrait of original owner Edward Collings Knight Wright Jr., who is holding a cigar in the painting; as well as sightings of a little girl in the basement pleading for help, footsteps on the basement stairs and the sound of a little girl singing.
Ghost tours are available at the Whalehead June through the end of August each season.
The Gray Man
There’s a long-held North Carolina legend of a shadowy figure who appears on the beach before a major hurricane –and those who see him seem to be spared the worst.
He’s called the Gray Man and, if you believe the lore, he seems to favor Hatteras Island and Pawleys Island, S.C.
The Gray Man doesn’t speak as he walks the shore, eventually fading into the wind and sea spray.
The legend of the Gray Man has been around since the early 1900s. According to the website NC Ghosts, Hatteras locals have said he may have been a sailor returning home who died at sea, or the ghost of George Pawley, Pawley Island’s original owner, or even perhaps Blackbeard the pirate.
And there’s some speculation he appeared on Avalon Pier in Kill Devils Hill during Hurricane Florence last year. Read the story here.
The Goat Man
The Goat Man of Nags Head woods was said to live in a yellow shack and scare anyone who dared approach.
One legend suggests the man’s home was vandalized by teenagers and his goats killed, leading to his reign of terror, but tales of a goat-human hybrid aren’t restricted to the Outer Banks.
Maryland boasts a half-human, half-goat maniac wielding an ax, while Kentucky’s got the Pope Lick Monster, a human/goat/sheep creature who lives beneath a bridge in Louisville. Texas also has its down Lake Worth Monster, another goat-human hybrid. There’s a common theme in all of the urban legends: a mistreated monster now out for blood.
To this day, the ghost of the pirate Blackbeard is said to haunt Teach’s Hole, the spot on Ocracoke Island where he lost his head in a battle with the British Navy on Nov. 22, 1718.
After being shot and killed, the British Navy chopped off Blackbeard’s head and hung it from the bowsprit of their ship.
“Ever since then, it’s been said that Blackbeard’s ghost haunts the spot known as Teach’s Hole,” North Carolina Ghosts writes. “Many people have reported seeing a strange light moving beneath the water in the cove. This ghostly light is thought by some to be Blackbeard’s spirit, swimming through the waters, searching for his missing head.”
The ghost cat of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Have you seen a black and white cat roaming the grounds of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse? Legend has it, the cat was the pet of a lighthouse keeper and to this day has been known to greet visitors. But if you try to pick him up, he vanished.
The ghost ship of the Outer Banks
In January 1921, a massive schooner called the Carroll A. Deering was found completely abandoned aground off the shoals at Cape Hatteras. The ship, traveling from the Barbados to Hampton Roads, first passed the Cape Lookout Lightship, then the southeast of the Diamond Shoals Lightship, apparently with crew members on board, milling about the deck.
Due to heavy seas, surf boats couldn’t reach the ship as it floundered on the shoals, but a rescue ship reached the vessel on Feb. 4, 1921 and found an eerie scene.
“Upon investigating the ship, it was discovered that all personal belongings, key navigational equipment, certain papers, and the ship’s anchors were missing. Furthermore, food was laid out as if in preparation for a meal. But there was no sign of the crew,” Cape Hatteras National Seashore writes on its website. No sign of them was ever found.