North Carolina's Authentic Haunts
From mountain hollows to graceful mansions, from abandoned gold mines to tragic train wrecks, North Carolina has more than its share of settings for ghost stories and strange phenomenon. Come along as we cross the state searching for haunted hangouts and spine-tingling legends. But be sure to keep the lights on.
The Haunted Battleship (Wilmington)
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA was commissioned in 1941 and served in every major battle of the Pacific during World War II. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark anchored in the Cape Fear River and is visited by thousands of people every year. However, ship caretakers, crewmembers, professional paranormal investigators and even tourists have sensed the presence of at least two spirits on the ship. One is a mischievous blonde sailor, who likes to turn lights and TV sets off and on, slam doors and peer out the ship’s portholes. The other is reported to be a frigid, horrifying shadow that fills witnesses with fright. You never know which one you’ll run into…or when!
Legend of the Pink Lady (Asheville)
If you walk the halls of the historic Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa at night, you just might run into the infamous apparition of the “Pink Lady.” Her story dates back to the 1920s, when a beautiful young woman dressed in pink fell to her death in the Palm Court at the Inn. Both employees and visitors alike have had numerous encounters with this restless spirit, often associated with a dense pink mist. Some trace the ghost to room 545, just two stories above the atrium where the tragedy occurred. Other unexplained phenomena include hotel lights on entire floors mysteriously turning on and off.
Specter at the Gold Mine (Cabarrus County)
During the Carolina gold rush of the 1830s and 1840s, there was said to be a miserly man named Skinflint McIntosh who owned a very rich vein of gold in southern Cabarrus County (near the present-day Reed Gold Mine). Legend has it that McIntosh was so greedy that he refused to pay his miners adequate wages or provide sufficient safety measures for his crew. He eventually hired Joe McGee, one of the best workers around, by promising to pay his wife $2,000 if he was killed in the mine. One day, Joe never came home, but his body couldn’t be found and McIntosh refused to pay Joe’s wife. Finally, a ghostly white specter came to Joe’s friend Shaun and told him just where to dig to find Joe’s body. When the specter learned that Skinflint hadn’t paid Joe’s wife, it declared, “I’ll haunt that mine of his forever!” McGee’s body was found and McIntosh paid up, but no one would ever work that mine again. The gold and the specter are said to be down there to this day.
The Fayetteville Women’s Club (Fayetteville)
During the Civil War, a young couple inhabited the building that now houses the Fayetteville Women’s Club. With the Union Army fast approaching, the two tried to escape through a tunnel that led to the Cape Fear River. However, the tunnel was blown up, and the couple perished. Legend says the couple now haunts the old house, and witnesses claim that “The Lady in Black” appears on the staircase on many occasions. Her lover, meanwhile, apparently goes into nearby apartments and watches television with the tenants. Some residents have reported the imprint of a body in couches or chairs that are near the TV. Others say if the spirit does not like what show they’re watching, he will change the channel.
Phantom Rider of the Confederacy (near Fletcher)
The tragedy of the Civil War also gave rise to this legend, said to be the ghost of a woman who died shortly after her husband was killed in the war. In fact, the ghost is said to be responsible for the deaths of 23 Union soldiers who followed a woman riding a Palomino horse into a Confederate ambush. The Federal Army tried to locate her afterwards, and while she was sighted several times, bullets seemed to pass right through her. Since then, she has been seen several times by reliable witnesses, always on or near the grounds of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher.
Lydia’s Bridge (Jamestown)
On a lonely stretch of US Highway 70 between Greensboro and High Point, there’s an overgrown underpass that used to be part of the main road. There have been several stories about a female hitchhiker named Lydia who flags down cars near here on rainy nights and gently asks for a ride to an address in High Point. Just as the driver approaches the girl’s destination, the hitchhiker vanishes, and those that inquire at the house are told that Lydia died in a car wreck near the underpass…on a rainy night in 1923.
Korner’s Folly (Kernersville)
The bizarre-looking house just outside of Winston-Salem already bills itself as “The Strangest House in the World”, due to its odd layout and ceiling heights that range from six to 25 feet. But in 2009, a local paranormal group added “haunted” to the Folly’s list of adjectives. Members of the group spent a night there, and collected voice and video evidence they say shows EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) present in the outhouse, the children’s room, the reception room, the sewing room and Cupid's Park theater. They recorded voices saying "Peek-a-Boo" and the name "Annie", as well as video showing convincing evidence that something was present. But no one seems to know exactly what - or who it is.
The Maco Light (Maco)
Joe Baldwin was a signalman for the Atlantic Coast Railroad. One night in 1867 near the Maco station just west of Wilmington, the caboose Baldwin was riding on became detached from the train that was pulling it. Joe knew that another train was scheduled to come down the tracks soon, so when he heard the sound of an oncoming locomotive he grabbed his lantern and began frantically waving it around. However, by the time the engineer of the oncoming train saw the light, it was too late. The train crushed the abandoned caboose, and Joe Baldwin was decapitated. For more than 100 years after that tragedy, strange lights were seen moving up and down the track near Maco, and legend has it that it was Joe’s ghost, looking for his head. However, the tracks were pulled up in 1977, and the lights have not been seen since.
Brown Mountain Lights (near Morganton)
Another set of strange lights are located in the Pisgah National Forest near the Burke/Caldwell County line. Brown Mountain is a long, low-lying mountain ridge, and for more than 800 years, there have been eyewitness reports of eerie, ghostly lights flaring and creeping along the mountain’s upper ridge. From Cherokee and Catawba Indians to Civil War soldiers to thrill seekers that crowd the overlook on Highway 181, many have seen the bizarre lights, but no one has come up with a logical explanation for them.
Devil’s Tramping Ground (near Siler City)
Have you ever been to a place where no living thing exists? Have you ever seen a location where anything left there at night will disappear before morning? If this seems terrifying to you, stay away from the circle at the Devil’s Tramping Ground in Chatham County, just off County Road 1100. Legend has it that the circle is the spot where Satan himself appears on Earth and paces in a circle, plotting his evildoing against humanity. Whatever the reason for the phenomenon, all greenery in this wooded area stops at the circle’s edge, and animals are reluctant to step inside the area.
added: October 23, 2009
updated: September 12, 2012
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