The North Carolina coast is one of the most dangerous of the Atlantic for ships. The unpredictable and treacherous currents and ever-shifting sandbars have run more ships aground here than anywhere else along the Eastern Seaboard, giving the North Carolina coast the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic. This is why so many lighthouses were built in the state, as a warning to sailors as they approached the coastline.
Built in 1875, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse is located to the north of Bodie Island and was the last major lighthouse erected on the Outer Banks. Its most distinguishing feature may be that it remains in its original brick form, rather than being painted in a bold black-and-white pattern like most other North Carolina lighthouses.
The Story of the First Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, Sadie
Each lighthouse hired what was called a “keeper,” a man who would care for the lighthouse and ensure that the light was in good working order at all times. A small cottage was built next to each lighthouse in order to house the keeper and his family. Once construction was complete on the lighthouse and cottage, the first lighthouse keeper for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse settled into the cottage with his wife and their daughter, Sadie. Sadie slept in what is referred to as the north bedroom of the cottage.
One day Sadie was playing on the beach and went missing. Her body was found washed up on shore the next day. Shortly after her demise, people reporting seeing the ghost of a little girl appearing around the lighthouse and the cottage. Rumors began to spread that the keeper’s cottage was cursed and that illness, misery, and death fell to anyone who slept in the north bedroom. Over the years, lighthouse keepers and their guests who slept in the north bedroom reported seeing and feeling a ghost in the room, and several became ill while sleeping in the room.
Ghostly Apparitions and Other Restless Spirits Frequently Seen Around the Lighthouse
Until recently, it was unclear why so many spirits appeared in this area. In 2009, after a ferocious winter storm along the Outer Banks, waves from the Atlantic Ocean dredged up a shipwreck, placing it at the edge of the shore. The ship appears to be from the early 1600s and may be the oldest shipwreck ever found along the coast of North Carolina. East Carolina University (ECU) students, underwater archaeologists, maritime history experts, and members of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission worked around the clock in a race against the tide to pull the shipwreck farther up the beach to safety. The ECU team continues to work on identifying the ship; most recently, coins were found with fleur-de-lis symbols on one side and the image of King Louis XIII on the other. While the name of the ship, along with her crew and passengers, has not yet been identified, such a large ship most likely was carrying a full load of goods and passengers.
The ship sank more than 200 years before the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built near its underwater grave. It’s very likely that the ghostly passengers wandered the coast of Currituck Beach for hundreds of years and now make the Currituck Lighthouse and keeper’s cottage their home. Many also suspect that young Sadie may have been lured into the ocean after seeing one of the ghosts in the water, which led to her drowning.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse (outside) by Warfieldian (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Stairs inside Currituck Beach Lighthouse by By rpertiet (The Stairs) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Since my childhood, I have seen and felt ghosts and restless spirits. Through my many experiences with the supernatural and paranormal realms, I have interacted with powerful beings of light, faced encounters with beings from the dark side, and seen ghosts from every walk of life. I run into ghosts in many places, and they all have a story to tell.
I share my experiences in my books, and I also teach through my school, The Academy of Mystical Arts and Spiritual Sciences, where I show people how to become more intuitive, how to connect with the other side, how to sense negative energy in a home or building, and, more importantly, how to discern whether the energy can be removed and cleansed or whether it is best left alone.
Over the past decade, I’ve seen a rise in paranormal activity, which is connected to the veil between the earth plane and the spiritual realms lifting at this time. I believe that a conscious evolution is occurring on the mind, body, and spirit level; as this evolution continues, and with this energetic shift, I believe that many people will connect with their intuitive abilities and be able to communicate with the spirit world, including with ghosts, which have remained on the earth plane.
In my books, I share what I see and sense when entering a haunted building. My journey in North Carolina begins in the coastal wetlands of East Carolina where I explore haunted lighthouses, battleships, forts, and the shipwrecked beaches where Blackbeard and his pirates still roam. Next, I tour the Piedmont area of the state to visit the most actively haunted capitol in the U.S. and interact with the ghost of a former North Carolina governor. Wrapping up this journey
I head out west into the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the ghost known as the Pink Lady and her friends await your presence at the historic Grove Park Inn, where many presidents, celebrities, and ghosts have stayed over the decades. Don’t even get me started with everything I experienced in New Orleans—that’s why it took me an entire book to share some of the most captivating and haunting stories in the city!
I’ve learned a lot over the years of interacting with the spirit world, and not every encounter has been smooth. I once lived in a haunted house where the ghosts weren’t friendly or ready to move on into the light. I learned about what the spirit world can do first-hand, and it was a very powerful lesson.
Here’s what happened…
In my early 20s, I was looking to rent a house and came across a listing that sounded perfect. I met the owner, who led me to the back of the property where the house was located. It was a charming little cottage with a spiral staircase leading to the bedrooms on the second floor, exposed brick walls, and hardwood floors. I fell in love—quickly–and like other times when I’ve fallen in love, I stopped thinking and became blind to everything else around me.
For a brief moment, I thought I felt something supernatural inside the house. But in my excitement, I quickly dismissed it. The owner said he had other people who were scheduled to look at the house later that day. Worried that someone else would grab this gem of a house, I signed a contract and the deal was done.
As I unpacked, I chatted on the phone, inviting friends to come over to see my new place. The days passed by peacefully, until I woke up one night with the feeling that someone was inside. Terrified, I walked from room to room with a baseball bat in hand, ready to club anyone I saw. I found nothing undisturbed and chalked it up to being in a new house, which always has strange sounds until you get used to it.
On Friday evening, my friends arrived to celebrate my new home. We were downstairs enjoying a glass of wine when the noise began. We heard music from what sounded like an old scratchy record begin to play and the sound of heavy boots and someone in high heels clicking as they danced on the hardwood floor in my upstairs bedroom. My friends and I looked at each other in shock as we listened to the unmistakable sounds coming from upstairs. Gathering our courage, we crept up the stairs to see who was up in my room, but when we entered the bedroom and turned on the light, no one was there.
We searched several times, thinking someone was playing a joke on us. Once we would calm down and go back downstairs, the music would start again. This became a regular occurrence every Friday night and was apparent that this was a ghost haunting the home. At first, it was almost endearing—two sweethearts, locked in an embrace from the past, dancing together. I thought the ghosts were a time loop, like a tape that played over and over. Soon after, my theory was proven wrong, as the energy in the house began to change.
I discovered that while I was welcome here, men were not, and there was a definite “other-worldly presence” in the house that was growing more and more active. My boyfriend and I began to quarrel. I got blamed for things I hadn’t done. He’d accuse me of moving his things or hiding them. One day, he yelled and said that I had pushed him while he was in the shower washing his hair. I was downstairs at the time in the kitchen cooking, and when he realized there was no way I could have pushed him, he couldn’t live with the rationalization that something else might be in the house that he had no control over, so we broke up. I also began to notice that even when male friends came over to visit, they quickly grew agitated and angry after only being in the house for a short visit.
Chatting with the neighbors, I learned that no one had lived in the house for years before me. It had been empty for so long that the spirit who was living here had grown weak and dormant. Once I moved in and had people over, it began to pull energy from everyone who entered it; while it was fine with me living there, it would not tolerate another man in the home.
Having seen what the spirit world can do, I knew not to stay and hope that things would change. I could now clearly feel the energy of this spirit, and it was not interested in crossing over to the other side or finding peace. I called the owner and said, “I want to break my lease and move.” When he asked why, I told him about the angry spirit. I didn’t expect him to believe me, but to my surprise, he let me out of the lease.
He explained that shortly after moving into the home, he and his wife began to fight. Before six months had passed, they were engaged in a bitter divorce. They had learned that a main house had stood in the front of the property and had mysteriously burned down. The cottage where I was now living was the original servant’s quarters located in the back section of the property.
The present owner had never understood why he was so angry when he and his wife lived there and why they had fought so much in the home. He later rented the house out to his niece; six months later, she and her husband also divorced. The house had stood empty until I moved in; within six months, the relationship I had been in had dissolved too.
My ability to explain the presence in the house allowed him to finally understand what was going on. We parted ways with him wondering if he would ever rent the place out again. I don’t know if he did rent the cottage out again, but I heard through the grapevine that the house caught fire several years later and that the damage was so severe that the house was torn down.
For my part, I learned a valuable lesson: Always check the energy in a house before you live in it, no matter how much you love the décor and style. That’s probably good advice for most things in life.
About the author: Kala Ambrose is “Your Travel Guide to the Other Side.” An award-winning author, spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, host of the “Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show” and practical intuitive coach and guide, Kala’s teachings are described as empowering and inspiring. Author of five books, including The Awakened Psychic, she has taught thousands how to connect with their soul paths and create lives and careers that are balanced and in tune with their life purposes and goals. Study online with Kala through her school, The Academy of Mystical Arts & Spiritual Sciences and visit her website. Explore Your Spirit with Kala http://www.ExploreYourSpirit.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/KalaAmbrose Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kala.ambrose
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are incredibly haunted. With so many shipwrecks and people lost at sea, ghostly images are often seen walking along the shore. While the shifting sandbars and unpredictable currents caused the majority of shipwrecks along the coast, many others were caused by pirate attacks at sea. The legend of Nags Head reveals an entirely new threat to sailors, what some might describe as the darker side of the mother of invention.
According to local legend, wannabe sea pirates (landlubbers by day) wickedly designed their own special style of pirating. They would gather their horses, hang lanterns around the horses’ necks, and walk the horses up and down the dunes at night, attempting to lure ships into the area. The lights hanging from the horses’ necks led the merchant ships off course, as it appeared that the lights were coming from ships close to the shore. As the ships changed course and headed toward the lights, they ran aground on sandbars. The “land pirates” would then storm the ships and steal the cargo. The legends state that the coastal area where this occurred was named “Nags Head,” due to the reputation gained by the land pirates’ fast footwork with the horses and the lanterns. Others claim that the town was named by English settlers from a similar area in the Isles of Scilly off the English coast.
Nags Head was a popular vacation destination for local plantation owners who lived farther inland in North Carolina and sought to escape the oppressive heat, humidity, and threat of malaria from mosquitoes in the summer months. A resort called the Nags Head Hotel was built in the 1850s; 20 years later, the hotel, located near Jockey’s Ridge, literally sank beneath the shifting sands. Local legends state that the hotel remains intact 100 feet below the sand. The area cottages of that period still stand and are referred to as the “Unpainted Aristocracy.”
Ghosts often appear all along the shore of Nags Head. Some say they are the crews of the ships plundered by the land pirates, and others say that they are former guests of the hotel, looking for it below the sand.
A third theory for the ghostly appearances states that many of the historic cottages in the area had porches built onto their homes using lumber salvaged from shipwrecks that washed in from the coast. The ghosts connected to the lumber from these ships now remain near the homes. They are attached to the timbers from their ships and are still looking for the rest of their ships to wash up on the shores, along with their lost treasures and belongings.
Regardless of which ghosts are roaming the area, a visit to the Outer Banks and Nags Head provides many haunting opportunities.
Enjoy Ghosthunting North Carolina, by Kala Ambrose, from the safety of your armchair, or hit the road using the maps, ghosthunting travel guide, and other resources. Buckle up and get ready for the spookiest ride of your life.
George Vanderbilt was 25 years old when he purchased the property in the late 1880s. In 1895, he officially opened the estate with an elaborate housewarming party for family and friends on Christmas Eve. The house was his dream for a country retreat where he could pursue his “passion for art, literature, and horticulture.” In 1898, he married Edith Dresser; after their honeymoon, they moved to the estate. Even after they moved in, work continued on the home.
Edith and George were very much in love, and it was said that they complemented each other very well. They had one daughter, Cornelia, who was born in the home, and it appears that they had an idyllic life, enjoying the best the world had to offer.
In 1914, George had an appendectomy and died from complications resulting from the surgery. Shortly after his death, servants in the home noticed that Edith began spending a lot of time in the library and that, while she was in the library, she was speaking out loud to George’s spirit. At first, they dismissed this act as a woman in grief over the death of her beloved husband. They assumed that after a period of time she would move on from her grief, after finishing her discussions of things that she had wished to say to George before his untimely death.
Instead, the opposite happened. Edith continued her daily conversations with George, and during this time servants in the home began to notice the presence of his spirit, mostly in the library and in his favorite sitting room on the second floor. According to the legends, many of the servants heard footsteps and then saw an apparition of George around the home.
The ghosts of Edith and George Vanderbilt continue to converse in the library of Biltmore Estate.
After Edith died, the legends continued, as the servants reported hearing the voices of both Edith and George now conversing in the library. Perhaps now that they were joined again in the afterlife, they were able to pick up where they left off and enjoy their time together in their treasured home. Reports continue today from staff and visitors who hear voices in the library and a few other rooms.
There are quite a few ghost stories about Biltmore, which some locals shared with me during my visit to Asheville. Several employees answered my questions, as well, as long as I agreed to keep their identities off the record. Officially, Biltmore does not discuss haunted or paranormal activity in the home or on the property. Also, photography is not allowed inside the home. The only spirits that they will officially discuss are the spirits of the wine made at the Biltmore winery.
For more haunted tales from the Tar Heel State, join Kala Ambrose, author of Ghosthunting North Carolina, as she explores each site, snooping around eerie rooms and dark corners.
The distinguished Carolina Inn was built in 1924 to attend to visitors and alumni of the University of North Carolina. The architecture of the building was patterned after that of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon.
The ballroom of the Carolina Inn is considered to be one of the most haunted areas of the inn. Perhaps it’s second only to Suite 252, where Dr. William Jacocks lived for almost 20 years. He’s been reported to be a friendly ghost and very welcoming. Guests report that even in the absence of fresh flowers in the room they will be welcomed with an overwhelming floral scent. Others will be greeted with a strong cologne smell.
Dr. Jacocks is known to be a fun-loving prankster. He reportedly enjoys playing tricks at the inn, including locking guests out of Room 252. The local lore states that at one time, the door had to be taken off its hinges because it was so stuck it wouldn’t open under any circumstances. Electronic locks were installed in the hotel in 1990, but there continue to be repeated complaints of the door refusing to unlock.
Other guests have reported all sorts of paranormal activity in the room, including curtains being pulled open in a wild manner and icy spots in the room, even when the air-conditioning is not running. Staff at the inn report seeing a man appear in a black suit with a blue overcoat and knit hat walking around the inn. He reportedly goes from door to door touching and jiggling the knobs. Some guests have reported hearing the sound and opening the door to see what the man wants, only to watch him disappear before their eyes.
Some reports claim that there are up to 20 ghosts at the inn. Witnesses have heard the sound of a piano playing in areas where there is no music or musical instruments. Others have heard footsteps in empty rooms. Voices have been heard, orbs recorded, and sightings of ghosts are reported around the inn on a frequent basis.
The inn’s owners are comfortable with the reports and host a yearly Halloween event that includes a ghost tour and an overnight stay and dinner to discuss the activity in the hotel. The ghosts have all been reported to be friendly and enjoy the inn so much that they refuse to leave.
The Carolina Inn is owned by the University of North Carolina and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so once again, you know it’s going onto my National Register of Haunted Places list. The inn is full of yummy Southern hospitality, and the staff is warm and welcoming; it’s no surprise to me that guests would want to stay for a lifetime and beyond. With 184 cheery and beautifully decorated rooms and a wonderful location by the university, it’s often referred to as the University’s Living Room.
During my visit to the inn, I enjoyed walking around the property. The most widely reported incidents of ghostly activities are inside the building, but to my surprise, where I felt the most activity was around one of the doors.
He is felt in the suite as well as around the inn and enjoys playing a few pranks. While touring the inn, I felt a ghostly presence playing with the door here.
As I walked through this door, I was looking down at the ground. I had felt a strange energy in this area, and while focusing on this energy I nearly dropped my camera and reached out quickly to grab the strap. While doing so, it felt as if I bumped solidly into a person. Startled, I stepped back and looked up to apologize to the person whom I had run into, only to find myself completely alone. I looked all throughout the room, but there was no one to be found. The entity that I bumped into had felt as solid as a man. Unfortunately, whoever it was, it had no desire to communicate further with me and did not appear again. Perhaps I had startled it as much as it had startled me. One never knows quite what will happen next when ghosthunting, and the majority of the time, it seems to happen when you least expect it.
Blackbeard the Pirate may be the most famous pirate ever known, and his legend, his legacy, and his ghost remain with us to this day. His proper name was Edward Teach. He gained the nickname of Blackbeard from his long mass of tousled black hair that whipped around his head, as well as his scruffy black beard. They gave him a dark, forbidding look, and it was reported at times that he would place lit fuses under his hat that would shower his face in sparks, in order to further intimidate and scare people.
He was ruthless as a pirate, but reports also state that no captive of his was ever injured or killed. Before his death in 1718, Blackbeard lived in several areas of North Carolina, including the villages of Bath and Beaufort. Blackbeard’s final battle was with Lieutenant Maynard of the British Navy on Ocracoke Island. Blackbeard fought valiantly with his sword but at the end was overtaken by the sheer numbers of Maynard’s crew. By the time he was taken down, he had been shot five times and stabbed more than 20 times.
Once he was confirmed dead, Lieutenant Maynard ordered that Blackbeard’s head be cut off and hung from the bow of Maynard’s ship. Blackbeard’s headless body was then thrown into the water near Ocracoke Island.
Reports of Blackbeard’s ghost began in the 1800s. Locals reported seeing and hearing an epic battle with ghostly ships and men waging war against each other near Bath Creek and the inlet. Massive balls of fire were also seen moving back and forth across the water toward the ships. Legends state that Blackbeard’s ghost most often appears right before a storm rages along the coast of Ocracoke, Bath, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sound. He seems drawn to the sea when the waves pick up and are thrashing, and some say he is looking for his head. There is often a light seen accompanying his ghost, which is referred to as Teach’s Light.
Blackbeard continues to roam the coast of North Carolina and is said to frequently visit the coastal towns where he once lived. On a dark stormy night, don’t be surprised if you run into the pirate walking along the coast.
About the author of Ghosthunting North Carolina: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.
Who knew that there is such a thing as Haunting Theme Parks in North Carolina? Kala Ambrose, author of Ghosthunting North Carolina shares their story with us:
The Tweetsie Railroadis a theme park coated in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The park offers amusement rides, and a working steam locomotive that takes visitors on a three-mile ride around the area. Launched in 1957 as a Wild West theme park, it has continued to expand and grow over the decades. One of the most popular events at Tweetsie is the Ghost Train Halloween Festival held in October. Train engineer Casey Bones and his crew take you on a haunted train ride, and there’s a haunted house with 113 rooms in the park, as well as a bone yard and a “black hole.” The Freaky Forest was added in 2009, and dances with ghosts and ghouls are held on Tweetsie’s Main Street in the evening. There’s also a Creepy Carnival and Haunted Saloons.
The Carowinds Theme Park, located just outside of Charlotte, is best known for two major attractions — the park boasts 12 roller coasters, and in October the park turns into “Scarowinds,” releasing more than 300 monsters that wander the park scaring ghouls and guys. Haunting attractions include Corn Stalkers, Dead Inn, Slaughter House, the Asylum, the Feeding Frenzy, and the Cemetery.
In downtown Reidsville, the largest indoor haunted attraction is called Nightmare on Scales Street. The building was the former site of the Klenner Clinic, owned and operated by Fritz Klenner, who committed nine murders. Recent paranormal investigations have shown that the building is haunted beyond its spooky attractions.
About the author: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.
Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.