From hurricanes and pirates to the vanishing of an entire English colony in the late-1500s, the rich history of the Outer Banks dates back many centuries and the thin strip of barrier islands are undoubtedly a hotspot for paranormal activity.
Apart from being known as one of the premier vacation destinations – especially for families – in the United States, the Outer Banks is also considered by many ghost hunters and paranormal experts to be one of the most haunted places in the country. You won’t have to look far to explore paranormal hotspots on the coast of NC!
So please, come see for yourself if these haunting tales are actually true, or are just folklore!
Haunted Roanoke Island Inn
Constructed in the 1860s by Asa Jones and his wife Martha, the Roanoke Island Inn is quaint little bed and breakfast overlooking the scenic Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and surrounding marsh. Now owned by John Wilson – great grandson of Asa Jones – the Roanoke Island Inn has more than doubled in size from its original structure.
So what could be scary about a well-maintained inn with a great location? Well legend has it that the ghost of Roscoe Jones – former owner of the inn and member of the Wilson family – haunts the Roanoke Island Inn. Roscoe was a postmaster in the town of Manteo for many years up until he received notice that he had been let go by the U.S. Postal Service.
Feeling extremely humiliated, Roscoe shut off from the outside world and wouldn’t leave his room unless no one else was in the building at the time. Shortly after losing his job and isolating himself, Roscoe passed away.
Not long his death, the ghost of a man in a postal uniform was spotted leaving and entering the front door of the building on a fairly regular basis. In addition to the ghost of Roscoe haunting the building, guests have reported hearing mysterious footsteps walking back in forth upstairs, vases mysteriously smashing on the floor, blinds moving up and down, and radios turning on and off on their own.
(Photo by The Black Pelican Restaurant)
Black Pelican Restaurant in Kitty Hawk, NC
Lifesaving station keeper Captain James Hobbs was in charge of a crew of surfmen who were responsible for saving the lives of mariners that were in serious danger of falling victim to the mighty Atlantic Ocean in an area that is commonly referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
One young surfmen by the name of T.L. Daniels was a particular thorn in Hobbs’ foot, and would repeatedly antagonize the captain day in and day out. When the captain had finally had enough of Daniels, Captain Hobbs ended the conflict with his loaded revolver in July of 1884.
Daniels’ body was buried at sea and without any witnesses or local law enforcement nearby, Captain Hobbs was cleared of any wrong doing and was never tried for the murder of Daniels.
One of the five oldest restaurants on the Outer Banks, The Black Pelican is located in that same lifesaving station that T.L. Daniels was murdered in and it is said that the spirt of the young surfmen still haunts the building.
The Ghost Cat of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Lighthouses have been a part of the North Carolina coast for well over a hundred years, and are unavoidable while driving down NC 12 from Corolla to Hatteras Island. The most famous of the bunch has to be Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America and a structure that has appeared in countless family vacation photos over the years.
Many people know that this structure was once moved inland to avoid being washed away by the Atlantic Ocean, and many people can tell you that black and white swirls cover the sides of this lighthouse that’s centered in the heart of Buxton, NC. Only a few individuals however, know the story of the ghost cat of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
The ghost cat is a large, black and white cat that weighs anywhere from 20 to 25 pounds. Some say it’s a male cat – others believe it’s a female. This same cat has been seen in and around the lighthouse for about 150 years and when the lighthouse was moved from its previous location, the ghost cat came along.
People claim that the ghost cat will rub up against your legs and let you touch it, however if you try to pick the feline up, the cat will vanish.
(Photo by Jim Dollar on Flickr)
Teach’s Hole on Ocracoke Island
Edward Teach who is better known as Blackbeard, is undoubtedly one of the most notoriously ruthless pirates of all time. And it just so happens that Blackbeard was particularly fond of a cove on Ocracoke Island, which is an isolated isle south of Hatteras that’s to this day only accessible by ferry. This cove is known as Teach’s Hole and is the alleged site of Blackbeard’s execution at sea.
Once the pirate’s reign of terror had finally ended, Blackbeard was brought to justice the same way most pirates around that time were – with a beheading. The merciless pirate’s head was hung from a ship’s bowsprit, and his body was tossed overboard. Witnesses of the execution state that his head continued to scream after the beheading and claim that his headless body swam around the boar before finally dying.
Since the execution in 1718, there have many tourists and locals that have reported seeing the headless body swimming around Teach’s Hole and there have also been reports of a headless Blackbeard wandering the beaches of Ocracoke Island, searching for his lost head while holding a lantern.
(Photo from The White Doe Video on YouTube)
Legend of the White Doe
What could be more puzzling and mysterious than the disappearance of an entire colony? In 1587, over 100 men, women and children journeyed from England to Roanoke Island and established the first English settlement in the New World.
That same year, Virginia Dare was born and she was the first English-born child in the Americas. Virginia was the daughter of Ananias Dare and Eleanor Dare, and the granddaughter of Governor John White. Nine days after her birth, White set sail for England in an attempt to obtain assistance for the colonists. He returned three years later on August 18, 1590, Virginia’s third birthday, and found the colony abandoned.
What happened to this English settlement that mysteriously vanished? Still no one knows for sure to this day!
It is believed that Virginia Dare left the colony to live amongst the area natives, and was put under a spell by a Native American witch doctor with whom she had a quarrel with. The spell made Virginia Dare transform into a white doe when she passed away, and it is said that her ghost still roams Roanoke Island, with many locals and area visitors stating that they’ve see the white doe wandering the island from time to time.
The North Room of Currituck Beach Lighthouse
A number of unfortunate events related to the North Room of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse keeper’s quarters have lead to much speculation that the landmark structure and surrounding area is haunted.
The chain of events began when young Sadie Johnson’s family – who was the first family to live in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters – was struck by an awful tragedy. Sadie would wander down to the ocean almost every day and play in the sand for hours before later returning to the house. This routine came to a halt when Sadie didn’t come home one day, and her lifeless body was found washed up onshore the following day. Sadie’s death was considered to be an unfortunate and tragic accident that had nothing to do with the keeper’s quarter being haunted up until the next heartbreaking occurrence.
During a short trip, a friend of the keeper’s wife came to stay with the couple in the North Room, the same room Sadie Johnson used to sleep in every night. Mysteriously the house guest became infected with an unknown illness, and passed away soon after.
The final family that inhibited the keeper’s quarter was also brought to their knees by tragedy. The lighthouse keeper’s wife was infected with tuberculosis and was quarantined to you guessed it, the North Room. Soon after being isolated from family and friends, the woman lost the battle to tuberculosis.
Are these incidents coincidence…. or is something supernatural to blame? No one knows. What is known is that since the last tenants moved out, not one person has spent an entire night in the North Room at the keeper’s house.
Draw your own conclusions and join us on our haunted Segway tours that take place in the eerie historic district of Corolla’s Whalehead and Currituck Beach Lighthouse at night.
The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks
There are no shortage of maritime legends that relate to Cape Hatteras, and perhaps the most peculiar story relates to the mysterious past of the massive Carroll A. Deering schooner. Lost in 1921 and later discovered completely abandoned by the Coast Guard, this enigmatic event has all of the makings of a Hollywood ghost story.
Want to learn more about this puzzling mystery? The National Park Service has a terrific write-up of the story that you can read on their website.
(Photo by Lisa Morrow on Flickr)
Flaming Ship of Ocracoke
Legend has it that each September, on the first night of the new moon, a flaming ship sails past the coast of Ocracoke Island. The ship looks similar to the vessel that was used to bring refugees from Rhine Valley in Germany to America in the early 1700s.
This was a fairly safe, and trusted route for those looking to start a new life in America up until one day, while the ship was anchored off the coast of NC, the crew of the ship attacked and robbed all of the immigrates of their precious valuables.
After severely injuring and robbing the refugees, the crew proceeded to set the ship afire and send the vessel adrift into the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean while the refugees were still aboard.
Legend says that each year during the first new moon of September, the flaming ship of Ocracoke Island can be spotted sailing swiftly toward the northeast, always accompanied by an eerie wailing sound from the refugees who perished during the crew’s horrific act of violence and greed.
Want to learn more about the Flaming Ship of Ocracoke? Check out this write up on HauntedStores.net.
Pioneer Movie Theatre in Manteo, NC
Built in 1918, there’s no question that Pioneer Theatre is a landmark structure on Roanoke Island. Owned and operated by the same family after all of these years, the theatre broadcasts the same movie once a night each week, 12 months out of the year.
Some Roanoke Island locals believe the old movie theatre is haunted by former family members who owned the business and continue to watch over the place, demanding people be respectful of one another. Cell phone use is strictly prohibited inside the theatre, and it’s said that a ghost will knock your phone out of your hand if you try to use your mobile device during a screening.
Regardless of weather or not you believe that the movie theatre is haunted, you’d be hard pressed to find a movie theatre with more character and charm in eastern North Carolina. Plus tickets are at least a few dollars cheaper than what you’d pay at most every other movie theatre in the area.