Haunted Outer Banks: Spooky OBX Ghost Stories

Outer Banks’ history is rich with folklore and ghost stories that date back centuries. Countless hauntings are connected to the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” shipwrecks. The treacherous waters just off the Outer Banks are known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to the abundance of shipwrecks. The world’s most famous pirate, Edward Teach, otherwise known as Blackbeard, lost his life in Ocracoke, where his ship was anchored in a small channel of water. The channel, now known as Teach’s Hole, is reportedly still haunted by Blackbeard’s ghost to this day. The first English settlement in the New World mysteriously disappeared leaving many unanswered questions about what happened to the Lost Colony, and an intriguing tale about the first English child born in the New World, Virginia Dare, being transformed into a white doe.

There are endless tales of hauntings along the Outer Banks coast, including several ghosts that reportedly make an eerie appearance every so often. 

 

The Witch of Nags Head Woods

In the early 20th century, Outer Banks locals spoke of a real, flesh-and-blood witch that lived in Nags Head Woods. After all, witchcraft was not any more remarkable than what the Wright brothers had done not too long before! Miss Mabe, as this woman was called, lived in a creaky cabin on the sound’s shoreline with her family of black cats. Her cackle was spine-chilling, but her goodness always shone in her kindness towards children. Young girls and boys would excitedly ask Miss Mabe for their fortune. She would only tell of good happenings, like candy or fun adventures to come — all of which came true.

But children were not the only ones who knew of Miss Mabe’s abilities. It was customary for fishermen in the area to slow their boat as they passed her pier to donate a fish or two from their day’s haul. Miss Mabe, who was unable to catch her own, was always appreciative of the gesture and would call out a special blessing on the men and their boats. However, on days when the fishermen were too preoccupied to share, Miss Mabe could be seen walking circles around her old cabin, holding a torch and mumbling incantations. Inevitably, the wind would begin to blow from the northeast, making it impossible for a successful next day of fishing. Realizing their blunder, fishermen would do all they could to remedy their relationship with Miss Mabe, promising to never forget the poor widow in the woods. Miss Mabe would not let on that she could give anything in return but expressed gratitude for their thoughtfulness. But without fail, the wind would always shift, giving way to flourishing days of fishing. So, if you are ever out fishing in the sound and pass by an old cabin surrounded by black cats, leave a fish. You never know who might be counting on that day’s catch!

 

The Lady In Distress

“Nag’s Head portrait”, Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, Connecticut.

Lovers of early American History and the Broadway musical Hamilton are captivated by the story of Theodosia Burr, the daughter of politician Aaron Burr, who infamously killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. Just as her father’s, Theodosia’s tale is one of tragedy. After marrying Joseph Alston, governor of South Carolina, the couple lost their child to malaria. Grieving her son and missing her beloved father, Theodosia sailed to New York to be with family, carrying with her a gift for her father — a portrait of herself. While the void of certainty has given way to many theories, the December voyage undoubtedly turned disastrous. Speculators suggest that the unfortunate crew encountered a violent storm or vicious pirates, and in either end, became lost off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Only a portrait had washed ashore, and Theodosia was never seen again. 

Or was she? Many people will assure you that if you walk Cape Hatteras during the dreary winter season when the sky is overcast and the wind blows up from the wildness of the North Atlantic, you may see Theodosia walking the same beach upon which Alexander Hamilton himself commissioned a lighthouse to be built before his own death. But do not fear, she will not harm you. Theodosia is searching — always searching — for the portrait meant for her father in New York. Little does she know, the portrait has since completed its journey, hanging for a short period in a Manhattan gallery and now residing at Yale University.

 

 

Haunted Whalehead

Whalehead: Mysterious Happenings

Many that have explored Historic Corolla Village are familiar with Whalehead, the large yellow home that sits right on the Currituck Sound. Whalehead was originally built by wealthy industrialist Edward Knight and his wife in 1925 as a hunting lodge. The Knights would arrive at the majestic hunting lodge in the fall and stay and hunt waterfowl until spring, hosting many guests each season. The Knights spent every fall and winter at Whalehead, until October of 1933, when they left after just under 3 weeks, without explanation, and never returned. 

Whalehead GhostThere are several different tales of haunted happenings in Whalehead. The most famous story involves a painting of Edward Knight holding a cigar that hangs in the dining room. Starting in the 1960s, folks staying at Whalehead reported smelling smoke. Upon investigation, the smoke smell and accompanying haze were coming from the painting in the dining room. More recently, guests attending tours of Whalehead have smelled and seen the smoke coming from the portrait. 

Other recent stories speculate that there has been paranormal activity in the basement of Whalehead. From hearing footsteps on the basement steps to a frightened child on a tour seeing a little girl in the basement asking him for help to others hearing a little girl singing. There are also reports that people have seen the elevator go to the basement without being prompted. 

Is Whalehead really haunted? Tours of Whalehead are available if you’d like to take a look around and decide for yourself. 

 

avalon pier ghost

ghost pierHurricane in the Forecast? Watch for the “Gray Man”

Carolina Beaches reportedly have a visitor that sometimes appears before hurricanes: the “Gray Man.” Allegedly, a shadowy figure has been spotted on the beaches of North Carolina and South Carolina, just as a hurricane is starting to bear its force on the area. Some believe that the “Gray Man” appears to warn about the danger to come. Others believe that the “Gray Man” is sending a message that the area will be spared the worst of the storm. 

Most recently, the “Gray Man” was spotted on Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills during Hurricane Florence in September of 2018. Even more amazingly, his appearance was caught on the pier’s webcam. Weather predictions for Hurricane Florence predicted that the Outer Banks would receive the brunt of the storm, however, the OBX received minimal impacts. 

 

wild horse

Wash Woods GhostWash Woods: The Story of the Ghost

Wash Woods Station has been a landmark on the 4×4 beaches for over 100 years. The former U.S. Coast Guard Station was given new life when the Twiddy family purchased and restored Wash Woods in 1989. In the years following, the Twiddys reconstructed Wash Woods’ various outbuildings to their original likeness, including The Boat House and the lookout tower. After Wash Woods served as a U.S. Coast Guard Station, it was used as a private residence and now serves as Twiddy & Company’s 4×4 Real Estate Sales office. 

Wash Woods reportedly has a resident ghost by the name of “Mose.” No one is exactly sure where Mose the ghost originated. Enough visitors to Wash Woods have reported unusual activity to affirm the ghost’s presence. A Coast Guardsman by the name of Raymond “Mose” Williams, who was the son of the station’s first commanding officer, served for just under 20 years at Wash Woods. Mose had a large black gelding horse, and, when he moved to a Knotts Island farm, he left the black horse behind. It has been reported that a black gelding horse ghost visits from time to time looking for Mose. Guests have also asked the Twiddys about unexplained wheezing and random knocks and murmurs that have been heard inside and outside of the property. 

 

Want to Vacation at Wash Woods? 

The Boat House is currently available for several weeks in 2021. This rustic, oceanfront OBX vacation rental is the perfect setting for a memorable Outer Banks vacation for a couple or small family.

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