North Carolina brings mental pictures of mountains, NASCAR and lovely vacation spots. If you want to shake things up, though, there's always something strange and creepy to venture into in The Tar Heel State.
The Outer Banks is a great place to go for sun and sand, but did you know it's one of the most haunted places in the entire state? No? Well, dive into this treasure trove of haunted plantations, lighthouses and inns.
On your scary way to these places, you can foolhardily investigate the unexplained spots that vex even the locals. Perhaps some of the former gentry will point you in the "fright" direction...
Photo Credit: Biltmore
The Biltmore House was imagined by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1880's when he visited
Asheville, NC, for the first time. It took six years to build the 250-room mansion that grew out of a
collaboration between Vanderbilt, his architect friend Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted,
"the father of landscape architecture in America" (Romantic Asheville, 2018). The reason it's called
"Biltmore" and not "Vanderbilt" is because Vanderbilt's ancestors originated in Bildt (located in The
Netherlands). Vanderbilt initially made the Biltmore Estate open to his friends and family when it was
finally completed. In 1930, George's descendants opened it up to the public in order to generate more
tourism in the area during the Great Depression.
Since it has been opened to the public, paranormal activity has been reported more often. Over the
years, the Biltmore has had additions made to its acreage and weddings are regularly planned on its
fairytale-esque landscapes. It's entirely possible the spirits still want to partake in the ongoing festivities.
George W. Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith, would regularly host parties at their home, and sometimes
visitors can hear the tinkling of glasses, laughter and a voice whispering, "George." There have even
been splashes heard coming from the swimming pool, though it is no longer in use. If you're visiting
while there's an oncoming storm, you may see George in his library, as this is when he's most often seen.
Omni Grove Park Inn
Photo Credit: Romantic Asheville
Edwin Grove, creator of Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic, moved to Asheville, NC, at the end of the 19th century, after he was recommended to relocate for the mountain air by his doctor.
The Tasteless Chill Tonic was created as a preventative elixir for Malaria, which had plagued the South in the late 19th century, and it definitely improved his station in life.
It had been his life's goal to move beyond his humble beginnings in Tennessee, so when he saw the publicity that followed The Biltmore Mansion, he decided to follow suit by buying 408 acres on Sunset Mountain. Less than a year after ground broke, The Grove Park Inn opened.
In the entire resort property, there is but one ghost who has made an impression big enough to fill the entire mystique of the Inn. This would be The Pink Lady. It's unknown what her actual name was, but legend says and research confirms she fell off the fifth floor balcony onto the Palm Court atrium sometime in the 1920's.
It's believed she once resided in Room 545 because it's basically one unexplained ice box. Staff who have approached this room develop an unsettling fear that won't go away and has stopped them from ever going near the room again. Guests get a much different feeling from her, some even asking about, "that nice lady," who
may have just vanished into a pastel pink mist. She has also been seen comforting children while they're sick in bed, though she won't stop herself from tickling others in bed while they attempt to sleep. In another case, The Pink Lady was given a positive review by a family who appreciated "the lady in the pink ball gown" (North Carolina Ghosts, 2018) playing with the children during their stay.
Roanoke Island Inn
Photo Credit: Roanoke Island Inn
The Roanoke Island Inn was originally built as a private residence for Asa and Martha Jones during the 1860's. The house has stayed in the family for generations and expanded with the years. The charming exterior of The Roanoke Island Inn
does an effective job of masking the paranormal activity within. The spirit of Roscoe Jones, ancestor and former owner of the Inn, has decided to stay among the living even after he isolated himself from his own family. He had been a
postman for years and felt completely lost when he was laid off by the U.S. Postal Service. He thought he had nothing else to look forward to, so he closed himself up in his room and eventually died, alone. Today, John Wilson, great-grandson of Asa Jones,
and guests, alike, have seen a man in a postal uniform. It appears death has literally freed poor Roscoe since he has been seen walking throughout and outside of the Inn. Guests have also heard unexplained footsteps, vases unexpectedly smashing and
blinds moving up and down on their own.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Photo Credit: WCTI
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse you see today is technically the second lighthouse on Hatteras Island; the first 90 feet was constructed in 1803. After years of petitioning due to how unsafe the waters were in that area, another 60 feet was added to the lighthouse in 1853 and the bottom half was painted red so
it would stand out even more during the day. Hatteras Island is regularly pummeled by storms; therefore, by 1868, the lighthouse needed so many repairs that it was easier to rebuild it entirely, which is the lighthouse thousands visit yearly. It wasn't until the 1990's that Cape Hatteras Lighthouse needed
help again to remain on land. Decades of erosion and storms had put the lighthouse in danger of falling into the Atlantic Ocean, so it was moved nearly 3,000 feet inland.
Victims of shipwrecks the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse couldn't save still haunt the shores surrounding it, but there's a longtime resident that can't be explained. Sometimes visitors will feel a black and white cat rub against their legs, but when they go to reach for it, the cat will vanish. The cat has
allegedly haunted the lighthouse for 150 years and even relocated when the lighthouse was moved in the 90's. The ghost of Theodos Burr also haunts the lighthouse after he was shipwrecked in 1812; it's possible he is the spirit known as the Grey Man of Hatteras. No one knows for certain who he is, but
he's seen roaming the beach when a hurricane is closing in on the island. He doesn't appear to speak or even interact with anyone whom encounters him. Indeed, if you approach him, he will simply vanish into the mists, which makes some people believe he wasn't a man at all, but a representation of nature itself.
If that wasn't enough, many visitors have reported seeing ghost ships off the island and lighthouse, but one of the more unsettling stories belongs to the Carroll A. Deering. In January, 1921, its course was set for Hampton Roads and was noticed by the lightkeeper of the Point Lookout Lighthouse,
who reported the crew was simply walking around, unproductive, and another crewman informed him from the deck that the ship had lost its anchors. The ship was found a couple of days later in the shoals, but the crew, personal effects, papers, even the anchors, were nowhere to be found. However, there was food laid out as if they were preparing to have a meal...
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Photo Credit: The Coastland Times
It was a known fact there needed to be another lighthouse along the Atlantic coast to aid ships sailing between Bodie Island and Cape Henry, Virginia; however, funds that may have gone to the construction of this lighthouse instead went to the war effort. It wasn't until 1873 that Congress finally
approved the funding for Currituck Lighthouse that had previously been available in 1854. Currituck Beach Lighthouse is a first order lighthouse, which indicates it has one of the largest Fresnel lens sizes, and can apparently be seen for up to 18 nautical miles. Most lighthouses, especially in
the Outer Banks area, have horizontal or diagonal stripes, but this lighthouse was intentionally given a red brick exterior to set it apart from the rest. It was also the last brick lighthouse to be contructed in the Outer Banks. This lighthouse also has connections to the Wright Brothers, who were helped by one of the last
light keepers, William Tate. Wilbur and Orville were welcomed into the keeper's house, where they eventually began building their glider in the front yard and sewing the wings with Mrs. Addie Tate's sewing machine.
The North Room of the light keeper's house is allegedly one of the most haunted and possibly cursed sites at Currituck Beach Lighthouse; even those who worked during the renovations of the lighthouse during the 1980's were reluctant to enter the room without even knowing about it's history.
It is here that a former keeper's daughter resided and who would habitually play along the beach, except one day her body was found washed upon the shore. Later, a friend of another keeper's family stayed in the North Room, fell ill and died quite suddenly. The wife of the last keeper contracted tuberculosis and was quarantined in the North Room where she eventually died.
Just a few years after construction finished on the lighthouse, the Metropolis ran aground of the shoals just yards from Currituck Beach and nearly 100 passengers and crew perished. Another shipwreck was found near the lighthouse before the lighthouse was even built and is still being studied by students and professionals in order to determine its origins, though
it has been determined it's from the 1600's. With all of the tragedy associated with the lighthouse and beach, it's widely believed there are hundreds of ghosts spanning centuries of history along Currituck Beach and its lighthouse.
Historic Latta Plantation
Photo Credit: Historic Latta Plantation
The Latta Plantation, also known as Latta Place, was built around 1800 for James Latta and his wife and four children after he emmigrated to the United States in the late 18th century. He was able to purchase the first 100 acres after years of leading a successful life as a merchant.
He essentially retired in 1820 and made Latta Place a cotton plantation with 34 slaves over 700 acres. James did not enjoy retirement for long because he died in 1837 and his wife sold the property a man by the name of David Harry; it was later bought by
William Sample, who renamed it Riverside, in 1853 and stayed in the Sample Family until the early 1900's. Today, it is owned by Mecklenburg County and run as a living history museum.
One of the more active groups at the Historic Latta Plantation are the non-living. The sounds of children are heard playing in the attic, which would not be possible as there is no longer any flooring up there. Staff and visitors have also heard doors slamming upstairs and glass shattering where
there was nothing broken. There is also a dark shadowy figure walking around the grounds who is believed to be behind a prevailing paranormal tale.
During a tour, a guide was handling a cane that once belonged to the Latta family until it jumped out of their hands and moved on its own, as if it was being used by an unseen, hobbling man, for a short time.
USS North Carolina
Photo Credit: Wilmington, NC
The USS North Carolina was built in the New York Navy Yard in 1937, making it the first battleship to be built in 16 years. It joined the Pacific fleet in 1942 after receiving so much press and fanfare it earned the nickname, "Showboat." At the time, it was the most modern battleship
with "nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts" (battleshipnc.com). The USS North Carolina received 15 battle stars during its service, which was the most out of any other battleship during World War II. It would be instrumental in
providing screening and support for carriers such as the USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga and USS Bunker Hill, while also shooting down Japanese fighters and providing ground cover for ground troops during island hopping in the Pacific. The USS North Carolina was decommissioned in 1947 and dedicated in 1962 as
a memorial to North Carolina servicepeople who died in action.
Despite it's crucial role in the battle for the Pacific, only 10 crewmen died and 68 wounded while serving on the USS North Carolina; however, those who did die on the battleship appear to not have disembarked. Staff and visitors have all seen apparitions walking through the battleship's hallways and portholes.
A spirit with blonde hair has been reported more than once and is believed to follow visitors around and may be the seaman who died in the washroom when a torpedo impacted the ship. Hatches have also been seen to open and close on their own, as well as objects moving on their own. Inexplicable footsteps and voices have been heard throughout the ship, as well as lights turning on and off. The USS North Carolina
has been investigated by many paranormal organizations, including Ghost Hunters, who have been able to record clear EVP's.
Queens University of Charlotte
Photo Credit: Goff Rugby Report
Queens University of Charlotte first started off as the Charlotte Female Institute in 1857, operating under an existing charter for Charlotte Female Academy and directorship of the Reverend Robert Burwell and his wife Margaret.
In 1912, the school received a new, and now its current, location at Myers Park, as well as a new name: Queens College. After World War II, the school transitioned into a co-ed college in order to include the soldiers coming back home.
It was not until 2002 that it became Queens University of Charlotte. There are opportunities galore at Queens University at Charlotte, and not just for academics.
There are several dormitories that have multiple ghost stories to keep students up at night. Hall Brown, also known as Overcash Hall, has a particularly paranormal encounter in which a student saw their roommate apparently
sleeping at her desk; however, when she tried to wake her, she noticed her roommate's normally red hair was actually black and stringy. The student screamed, the girl at the desk disappeared and the redheaded roommate woke up startled in
her own bed. In the Belk dormitory, another student was awakened by her desk shaking and when she got up to investigate, the desk stopped shaking. This happened an hour later, but this time the student ran out of her room; once she exited, the door allegedly locked
by itself and the student could see the face of another girl on the closet door. Students have reported seeing Confederate soldiers walking around campus and other spirits in period clothing, particularly in the Suzanne Little Rehearsal Hall underneath Dana Auditorium.
Doors will often open and close on their own, sometimes locking without the aid of the living. There have also been reports of cold spots, banging and screaming, as well as possible apparitions of former students who have committed suicide.
Photo Credit: The Business Journals
The Carolina Theatre was designed by R.E. Hall and opened on March, 7, 1927, screening the silent film A Kiss in a Taxi and hosting a vaudeville act. Hall designed the Carolina Theatre to be a not only a place of entertainment, but also an atmospheric experience for the community. It was modeled after a Spanish patio with
a stylized roof and murals along the walls designed to look like a Mediterranean sky. It would host several notable actors, such as Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. It was a fairly successful theatre and even ran as a Cinerama theater with three projectors and a curved screen,
but was permanently closed in 1978 and was later the victim of arson in the 1980's. There is now an effort underway to continue restoring the Carolina Theatre and open it again after roughly 40 years.
There's no real explanation regarding how the theatre caught fire, except it was committed by vagrants; however, there is also a prevailing legend that a woman set fire to the theatre and her ghost is still haunting it. Although there are no recorded deaths in the Carolina Theatre, there is still at least one spirit named Fred who has his fun in the theatre. Sometimes he does appear as a full-bodied apparition, but he is most known for turning lights off and on and causing all sorts of mischief. People who currently work
in the theatre have gotten into the habit of wishing him a good night before leaving. When the theatre opens again, maybe you'll see Fred on his usual haunt on the balcony.
The Grand Old Lady Hotel
Photo Credit: The best hotels
Balsam Mountain Inn, now called the Grand Old Lady Hotel, is an example of what happens when highways are built and no one sees the charming hotel along the mountainside. Fortunately, this 100+ year old hotel has gotten a comeback as a popular period getaway
with some friendly longtime guests. The Balsam Mountain Inn was built by brothers-in-law Joseph Kenney and Walter Christy in 1908; they already had success in leading hunting and fishing trips and possibly saw the potential of having a picturesque hotel steps away from a busy train station.
The 100-room hotel had doorways wide enough to fit steamer trunks to accommodate the passengers coming off of the train and 100 porches to provide all guests with views of the mountain ranges in which they could also hike, if they so desired. Rail service ended in Balsam in 1949 and the hotel
slowly descended into obscurity, so much so that even some locals forgot about the "Grand Old Lady of Balsam" (Grand Old Lady Hotel, 2019). The hotel was bought and renovated by an experienced hotelier who officially opened it back up in 2018.
With the amount of rail traffic Balsam received, it may not be surprising at how many paranormal occurrences have been reported at the Grand Old Lady Hotel. It's even gotten to the point where the owner has a book for guests to write down their own interractions with the hotel's ghosts, which again
wouldn't be surprising when you factor in the numerous renovations. Rooms 205 and 207 have the most reports of paranormal activity with disembodied footsteps, rattling doorknobs and banging on the doors and walls, all of which cannot be attributed to central air as the hotel does not have air conditioning.
Shadow figures have been seen in the hotel and every once in a while a guest will have their sheets torn away from their bodies while they sleep or even have objects thrown about the room.
On the third floor, guests have heard unexplained children's voices and laughter and a woman in blue has also been seen on the second floor balcony.
Xoco Mexican Bar & Grill
Photo Credit: Hibernian Hospitality Group
Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at Xoco Mexican Bar & Grill.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.
The Dunhill Hotel
Photo Credit: The Dunhill Hotel
Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at The Dunhill Hotel.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.
Ri Ra Irish Pub
Photo Credit: Charlotte Observer
Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at Ri Ra Irish Pub.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.
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