The history of the Outer Banks dates back to the very first settlers and the Lost Colony of 1587. Of course, the Native Americans favored the area long before these settlers arrived. This long history is bound to set the stage for drama and trapped spirits. Some paranormal experts believe the Outer Banks is one of the most haunted places in the US. With pirates, ship wrecks and such a long history there is a lot to haunt in OBX. Here are our favorite Outer Banks ghost stories from north end of the island to south.
The North Room of Currituck Lighthouse
Sadie Johnson was the young daughter of the light keeper and her family was the first to live in the light keeper’s quarters at the Currituck Lighthouse. Sadie’s bedroom was in the north room of the house.
Each day, Sadie would play in the sand by the water edge and build sandcastles. One day she did not return home and her body washed up the next day. Tragic, but looked to be an apparent drowning. Until the subsequent deaths occurred.
A friend of the keeper’s wife stayed for a brief visit and slept in the north bedroom. She caught a mysterious illness and died.
The last family to inhabit the house also suffered a tragedy. The light keeper’s wife was being quarantined due to tuberculosis in the North bedroom. She lost the will to live after being separated from family and friends and died in the room.
No one has spent an entire night in the north bedroom of the keepers house ever since.
Haunted Portrait of Whalehead
If you smell smoke while touring the restored Whalehead Club, head to the Dining room. Here you will find a portrait of Mr. Knight, holding a cigar. Many tour goers believe they smell the cigar while taking the tour, but of course smoking is not allowed in the museum.
The cigar smoke has lingered for decades and was first noticed when researchers from Atlantic Research Corp were staying in the facility. There has even been a haze visible around the portrait and the portrait has been sent out to be restored due to the apparent smoke damage.
The Black Pelican Restaurant
This restaurant is in the building that served as Lifesaving Station #6. These stations, 7 total along the coast, were responsible for rescuing mariners who were caught in storms or ran into the shoals.
The Station Keeper of #6, Captain James Hobbs, had a surfman named T.L. Daniels on his crew that took pleasure in antagonizing the Captain. The Captain, could no longer tolerate the man when he insulted Hobbs’ wife and shot him in July of 1884 in front of the Lifesaving station crew. T. L. was buried at sea with no witnesses and the Captain was never tried for the murder.
Restaurant patrons report seeing T.L. Daniels roaming the restaurant where he was murdered by the Captain.
The Seven Sisters is an area in Nags Head near MP 14. It got its name from 7 sisters who were slaves owned by a kind man who set them free near the end of the civil war.
The sisters wanted to return to their homeland and disappeared one night. The next day a large storm hit the area and left in its wake 7 large sand dunes. These sand dunes are named after the slaves who disappeared.
Lost Colony & the Legend of the White Doe
In 1587, over 100 men, women and children traveled from England to Roanoke Island to establish the first English settlement in the new world. Virginia Dare was the first English born child in the new colony. Nine days after she was born, Governor John White, Grandfather to Virginia, sailed back to England.
When he returned 3 years later on Aug 18, 1590, the settlement was gone.
To this day it is still a mystery what happened to these early settlers. Some believe Virginia Dare and others went to live amongst the natives.
Legend has it that Virginia argued with a witch doctor, whom perhaps wished to marry her, and when she refused he put her under a spell to turn her into a white doe after her passing.
The ghost, in the form of a white doe, is still seen on the island to this day.
Roanoke Island Inn
This Inn with a view to the lighthouse in Manteo dates back to 1860 and today is owned by decedents of the original family. It is said the ghost of Roscoe Jones, former owner and Postmaster in Manteo, haunts the Inn to this day.
Roscoe was extremely distressed when he was let go from his position as Postmaster. He isolated himself in the Inn and passed away a short time later.
It is said, a man in a postal uniform can be seen leaving the Inn on a regular basis. Guest also report hearing footsteps when no one is there, or seeing vases smash to the floor, window blinds moving up and down and radios turning off and on.
Pioneer Theatre, Manteo
The original Pioneer Theatre in Manteo on Roanoke Island dates back to 1918 and was moved to its current location in 1937. George W Creef Jr opened the original movie house and it remains in operation with the original family today.
This single screen family friendly theater is a small town gem; where no R rated movies are shown, admission is only $5 and the most expensive concession item is $1.
Some locals believe it to be haunted by the former owner who demanded people to be respectful of one another. One rule is cell phone use is prohibited inside the theater to ensure the uninterrupted enjoyment of all patrons.
There are reports of a ghost knocking cell phone out of patrons’ hands when using them inside the theatre.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is not as famous as its neighboring lighthouses. It was the second one built in 1859 when the previous one was abandoned due to a poor foundation. The second lighthouse did not fare well either as confederate soldiers blew it up to prevent Union soldiers from using it as an observation post.
The gate keeper’s cottage on the lighthouse grounds is where the haunting occurs. Every day at 4:00 pm there is a knock from behind the massive bricked over fire place.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
There are many ghost stories that take place near and around the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
It is said, the ghost of Theodosia Burr, lost in a shipwreck in 1812, walks the shores around the lighthouse at night. She was the daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr, who was plagued by scandals and treason. She was married to Joseph Alston, a wealthy planter and later Governor of SC. It was an arranged marriage and not a very happy one.
Years later, her portrait was found in a humble fisherman’s cottage near Nags Head. The fisherman, William Pool, had offered the portrait as payment to a Doctor and said he received it from a young woman in a row boat who had no memory of who she was or where she came from. The fisherman cared for the woman and nursed her back to health.
When the woman heard the doctor was to receive the painting, she yelled “It is mine! You shall not have it! I am on my way to visit my father in New York, and I am taking this picture of his darling Theodosia!” She grabbed the portrait and ran into the waves. She disappeared but the portrait floated back the next day.
The portrait is displayed in the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, CT.
There is also Gray ghost, who can only be seen in the same area when a severe storm or hurricane is approaching. Gray was killed sometime in the 1900’s when a sudden summer storm hit the beach. He appears as a misty apparition that disappears as one approaches and does not speak. Now his ghost is a warning to beach goers whenever a severe storm or hurricane is approaching.
The ghost cat of the lighthouse has haunted the area for over 150 years. All agree the cat is black and white and about 20 pounds. The gender of the cat sometimes varies. When the lighthouse was moved, the cat was seen in the new location. The cat is known to rub against people and even let you pet it but once you try to pick it up, it will disappear.
Flaming Ship of Ocracoke
Each September, on the first night of the new moon, a flaming ship can be seen sailing past the Coast of Ocracoke Island.
Many German immigrants from the Rhine Valley came to America in the early 1700’s. For most it was a safe and trusted voyage. One voyage, did not turn out that way. The crew attacked the immigrants stealing their valuables and setting the ship on fire and casting it adrift while the immigrants, whose throats were slit, were still on board.
The crew launched the long boats and gathered the plundered wealth and started to make their way to Bath, NC. As they were rowing away laughing and bragging to each other, the Captain looked back and the ship was plowing through the waters and quickly gaining on them as though at full sail and at the command of living humans.
The crew rowed faster and tried to outpace the flaming ship, but the shipped rammed the long boat, sinking it, the treasure and the crew. The burned husk of the ship washed up on Ocracoke the next day. On the first new moon in September the eerie wailing sound can be heard just like the sound made so long ago from the violent attack.
Edward Teach, otherwise known as Blackbeard the Pirate, was known to hide along the inlets of the Outer Banks. His final execution occurred in 1718 near Ocracoke, at Teach’s Hole. When he was caught he was beheaded and his head was hung from the bowsprit. Legend has it that his head continued to scream once removed from his body and his headless body swam around the boat and circled it 3 times once it was flung over board.
Even today, folks report seeing a headless body swimming in the cove and a headless body walking with a lantern on the beach looking for his head.
Graveyard of the Atlantic
The Outer Banks is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic for good reason. More than 1,000 ships have been lost on the shoals and many lives have been lost. It is said that “ghost ships” can be heard with drowning screams and eerie sounds.
One particular ship has remained a mystery. The Schooner Carroll A. Deering was spotted by lightships on Jan 29, 1921 with the crew visible but seeming to be sailing a peculiar course. On Jan 31st, 1921 at 6:30am the ship was found abandoned on the shoals. Her lifeboats were missing but rough seas prevented the Coast Guard from reaching the ship until Feb 4th. At this point, it was discovered all personal belongings, key navigation equipment, important papers and the ships anchors were missing.
Several investigations were made and some suspected pirates, rum running gangsters and mutiny but no trace of the crew, the log, or equipment has ever surfaced to this day and it remains a mystery.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina has been captivating visitors for centuries. From the first Native Americans, the first Colonist to the present day vacationer, there is something special about this island that is difficult to describe in few words. Once it is experienced it is hard to go back to life as it was before. The salt, sand and sea air get under your skin and won’t let go.
If you are ready to get your place in paradise, contact Eillu Real Estate for help in following your dreams. We can help you find and purchase the perfect permanent home, second home or vacation rental investment property.