The 7 Most Haunted Places In North Carolina
North Carolina’s state motto is “First in Flight”. If spirits exist and fly among us, it might be “First in Fright”! Nestled on the warmer climes of America’s Eastern Seaboard, this is the home of the Wright Brothers. They invented the airplane here. North Carolina boasts ghosts from many time periods: its colonial history. Its pirate history. Its Civil War history. Even the more modern era. Ghostly locations abound. There are the dense and haunting forests of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountain ranges in its Western corner. Then you have the beachheads and rock faces of its diverse Eastern coastline. There’s no shortage of incredible locations in North Carolina for those who like to commune with the other side. Read on for the 7 most haunted places in North Carolina!
Valle Crucis – The Demon Dog
In the forested, mountainous areas of Northwestern North Carolina lies an unassuming little town called Valle Crucis. The town’s name is Latin for “vale of the Cross”. (There is a valley here where three streams meet in the rough shape of a Christian cross.) You’d think you might have additional protection from demonic forces.
According to the locals here, you’d be wrong. Reports abound of a huge, hellish dog with amazing speed and power. The legend goes that drivers on Highway 194 to the edge of town past the old stone cemetery here risk a chase. The “Demon Dog”, as they have dubbed him, lurks behind the gravestones of Saint John’s Cemetery. (One theory goes that the dog actually lurks beneath the gravestones.) He will give chase to any car that dares to enter his territory.
The Demon Dog is described as having yellow teeth and glowing red eyes. The truly determined cryptid seeker might find more than they bargained for here in the vale of the cross.
Address: 194 S at Skiles Way, Valle Crucis, NC
Hot Springs – Paint Rock
The legend of a siren-like creature haunts this stunning locale on the Appalachian Trail. In the early history of the state, the story goes that hikers camping here awoke to a preternatural voice. It sang a tune none of them had heard. So beautiful was the song, the men followed it to its source, even in the deadly woods late at night.
Eventually, they reached a lake. The song seemed to be coming from inside it. As the men peered into the lake, they saw the reflection of a beautiful Cherokee maiden, singing the haunting song. They reached toward the water, unable to resist the song’s pull. That’s when they were dragged by a water monster into the depths, and to their deaths.
Aside from this relatively recent ghost, Paint Rock gets its name from the boulders here, which have been painted as an ancient signpost to the hot springs nearby. Indigenous inhabitants of this area from thousands of years ago first made these markings — ghosts of a more distant past.
Address: Paint Rock, North Carolina 28743
Web: Paint Rock, Hot Springs, North Carolina
Teach’s Hole, Ocracoke
If you thought this one sounded like a school assignment, allay your fears! Edmund Teach was better known as the dread pirate Blackbeard, perhaps the most famous one who ever lived. Blackbeard’s reign of terror began in England and spanned to the West Indies. But he finally met his end at the hands of the British Royal Navy here in 1718. Here on the gorgeous Ocracoke Island, Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard apprehended Teach. He didn’t stop there: he beheaded him and dumped his body into the ocean. Maynard then had Teach’s severed head displayed on the ship’s mast. Only then did he bring it to the Governor of Virginia (still a British colony at this time), collecting a £100 bounty.
Ocracoke Island is a beautiful natural location famed for its wild horses. Yet those who believe that damned spirits continue to walk among us are certain an even rarer specimen of wildlife stalks these shores. Some say that Edmund Teach’s corpse still meanders Ocracoke, trying to find his detached head. (That’s a pretty tough break when your nickname has to do with your facial hair!)
Others have reported glowing orbs, or seeing Blackbeard (head and all) in a ghostly form.
Address: Ocracoke Campground, 4352 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960
Web: Ocracoke Campground
One of the most famous horror tales out of pre-US history is certainly that of the Lost Colony. Hundreds of years before Plymouth Plantation, the Crown had attempted to colonize the Americas — with tragic consequences.
A colony of 100 British souls, mostly from the rural Devon region, landed on these shores in 1587. Yet by the next winter, they had antagonized the indigenous people they found here into ongoing skirmishes, and were starving to death. In a last-ditch effort to save the colony, the governor, John White, returned to England to replenish the colony’s supplies. Yet the breakout of war between Spain and England delayed him for three whole years. He did ultimately manage to return. But in the interim, the entire colony, every man, woman and child, had seemingly vanished from the face of the earth. Tragically, this included his granddaughter, Virginia Dare, famously the first English child born in the New World.
The mystery of what happened to the Lost Colony has never found a solution, hence the name.Theories abound: the colony left the coast to attempt to survive. They were wiped out by the Indians they had harassed. Or, something more supernatural happened to them. The “white doe” theory sees Virginia Dare survive to adulthood and become admired for her beauty by both Natives and white settlers. She marries an indigenous nobleman named Okisko, but another jealous native uses magic to transform Virginia into a white doe. Not only is Okisko heartbroken, but, not recognizing his love, he kills her when out on a hunt.
The myth seems mostly based on a fanciful poem from the 1900’s. Yet there are those who confess to trespassing in the nearby Elizabethan Garden late at night — only to find a ghostly white deer…
Address: 1 Festival Park, Manteo, NC 27954
Web: Outer Banks History Center
Grandfather Mountain State Park
In the middle of the state, one of North Carolina’s most popular state parks encompasses the imposing Grandfather Mountain. This may not be the park to visit with small kids: these 12 miles of trails are for seasoned scramblers who know how to handle sudden and severe weather. Ghosts seem to love taking up residence in densely forested areas, particularly if that’s where their physical forms perished, and Grandfather Mountain State Park would appear to be no exception. And it seems even more fitting that Grandfather Mountain’s most-witnessed resident haunter is known as the Ghost Hiker.
Taking the spectral form of an old, long-bearded man with a walking stick, witnesses report that the Ghost Hiker is as benign as he is clearly visible. Though hikers have nearly leapt out of their skin as the ghostly old man overtook them on the path, all recovered their wits long enough to report that he meant no harm. Intrepid hikers have tried to converse with him; the truly daring (or stupid) have even attempted to goad him into an interaction, but to no avail. The old man hikes on, unaware or unwilling to acknowledge any who have spied his form.
Address: 9872 Highway 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604
Web: Grandfather Mountain State Park
The Biltmore Estate, Asheville
In the charming bohemian town of Asheville stands America’s largest residence, the Biltmore Estate. It was built in the 1890’s by George Vanderbilt, grandson of the famed shipping tycoon “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. America’s most eligible bachelor at the time, George had built the house in part to attract a wife — a task at which he succeeded.
Yet this elite family’s legacy veered towards the tragic when George died at the age of just 51, due to complications from, of all things, an appendix surgery. Edith Vanderbilt became a young and heartbroken widow. Even knowing he was gone, Edith would carry on lengthy, one-sided imagined conversations with her husband.
Those who visit the mansion which still stands today report that they can clearly hear her voice in the library, chattering away to her departed husband — a ghost’s ghost.
These are not the only ghosts people have reported encountering here at the Biltmore Estate. Yet we would be remiss not to mention specifically that too many witnesses to ignore have noted a headless orange tabby cat roaming the grounds at night.
Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
Lydia’s Bridge, Greensboro, North Carolina
Now, this one, you’ve heard before. Maybe you even heard that it happened in your state, but we believe North Carolina is the original. The story goes that in Greensboro late one night in the 1950’s, a young woman named Lydia was driving home with her date after a dance, when their vehicle lost control on a slick bridge and plunged into the water below.
The young man was killed instantly, while Lydia was badly injured. She desperately struggled to save his life, to no avail. Sapped of what little strength she had remaining, she attempted to flag down a passing car for rescue. No rescue came, and the poor girl slowly gave over to death.
Though perhaps not entirely… Greensboro locals report that, driving over this bridge at night, they have seen the ghost of a terribly wounded teenager dressed in 50’s garb, flagging them down for help. Yet as the drivers approached closer, the figure would vanish.
Now for one of the best-known ghost stories of all time: some late-night drivers have reported a somewhat different experience. They claim they saw a lovely young woman in need of a ride on the bridge. Those who obliged took her home — but as they approached her address, she would vanish. A few brave souls even knocked on the door of the house Lydia’s ghost had brought them to. Within, they found her mother, who would explain that Lydia had died long ago.
Be advised that Lydia’s Bridge is no longer in use. While you won’t be able to cross it, many ghost hunters still pay pilgrimage to this famous ghost’s place of death.
Address: Lydia’s Haunted Bridge, Jamestown, NC 27282
Web: Lydia’s Haunted Bridge