Watch for the Gray Man …

Screen grab from video showing a shadowy figure on Avalon Pier during Hurricane Florence.

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.

Billy and Jim McClency of the YouTube channel “Ghost Guys Go” definitely aren’t real-life paranormal investigators, but rather spoofers of such shows. But last September, a friend was watching the livestream from Avalon Pier and saw something unusual: At the very end of the 700-foot pier, wind howling, a figure can be seen walking from one side to the other.

“As far as we know it’s real, and the guy we spoke with at the pier said the same,” Jim McClency said at the time.

Employees at Avalon Pier confirmed the video did come from their webcam. But as for paranormal activity, they couldn’t say.

Did the Gray Man appear again before Hurricane Dorian? If you saw him, let us know.

About Kari Pugh 458 Articles
Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach her at [email protected]


  1. Anyone taking note of the shadow appearing to walk the waters edge on the left before the camera zooms in???

  2. I used to read ghost stories of the NC/ OBX beaches as a child. I was fascinated with this one. As said, always appears before a storm.

  3. we stayed on hatteras island for years during vacation , two years ago fight before a hurricane came in , we saw a figure coming up the beach whole sitting out that night , it walked diagonally out to the water and then gone .. this was in hatteras village on beach between the now gone durant life saving station and the shipwreck thats buried right up the beach .. a few days later storm came in . we still talk about it years later .

  4. If you look down on the beach at the water line before it goes to the pier, you see a shadow walking there as well.

  5. The gray man was riding along with his man servant very fast to arrive at his fiance’s home somewhere around pawleys island; but he fell from his galloping horse and was killed. The servant couldn’t do anything but to ride on and break the bad news to the fiance. A hurricane was brewing, stinging rain falling, dark storm clouds coming ashore, remember, no storm alerts back the story goes, if you see gray man before a hurricane, you will be fine.

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