North Carolina Ghosts
Bath Ghost Stories
Bath has more stories than it has people, and here's the story behind that. In the early 18th century it was the occasional home of Edward Teach, otherwise known as the pirate Blackbeard, and it was here on the banks of the Pamlico River that he struck up a friendship with North Carolina's governor. With a government official condoning—nay, participating in—the pirate's lifestyle, the town's standard daily practices were boozing, whoring and lighting one's own beard on fire.
Traveling evangelist George Whitefield came to town, quite accustomed to mesmerizing his audiences with his hellfire and brimstone. Right away he noticed something was wrong here, and that his usual theatrics were not eliciting the usual reaction. He placed a curse on Bath, swearing it would never prosper and eventually would dwindle away to nothing.
Visit Bath today, population roughly 270, if you don't believe in the power of prayer.
Another tale from early Bath is the sad saga of Jesse Elliot, the owner of a fine stallion, a man who loved to race and was pretty much guaranteed to win. One day a stranger came to town all dressed in black, fire in his eyes, riding one mean-looking black stallion. Unnerved, Elliot said, "Make me a winner or take me to hell," and the race began. In mid-course Elliot's horse dug in its heels and sent him sailing into a tree, killing him instantly. It is said the dark stranger carried him off to hell and, to this day, the hoofprints where the horse stopped cannot be erased by any means whatsoever.
Blackbeard was a marrying man; he'd tied that kind of knot more than a dozen times. Sometime circa 1716 he was in Bath when his lustful eye fell upon a young lady by the name of Mary Ormond. He declared his intention to make her his umpteenth bride and she politely declined, saying she was betrothed to a man she loved. Blackbeard took it in stride. The next day he sent her an engraved gold-and-wood box containing the finger of her fiance, along with a note informing her she'd never see him again.
The shocking part of this story is that eventually his campaign to win her over succeeded, and she did ultimately marry him based on his promise to swear off piracy. Mary was the last of a long string of brides, and she is still seen lingering at the docks, still waiting for his return from the sea.
Anne Gray and Samuel
Blackbeard's house in Beaufort was called the Hammock House, where he kept an eye on the harbor for bounty hunters, and where he'd brought Anne Gray and lavished jewelry and finery upon her along with a promise of marriage. She was considering that proposal when a young fisherman named Samuel visited her and begged her to break it off with the pirate. Samuel had once given her a small ring, all that he could afford, and when Blackbeard saw it he'd laughed and tossed it into the water.
While they discussed the matter Blackbeard returned to the house and flew into a rage. With one sweep of his cutlass he slashed Samuel's throat where they stood on the stairs. To this day that blood stain remains, stubbornly resistant to every effort to remove it.
National Cemetery in New Bern
You'll hear the usual run of cemetery stories about the National Cemetery in New Bern, one of the oldest graveyards in the region, because everybody in town has tales of voices, visions, footsteps, bone-chilling arctic blasts and things that go bump in the night. New Bern was established in 1710 and Tryon Palace, home of colonial governor William Tryon, was completed in 1770.
One hotly debated story concerns the natural stone archway that stands at the cemetery's entrance. Allegedly William Tryon participated in a duel at this site and fared none too well in the contest. His pistol shot widely missed its mark and struck the archway, while his adversary was a better marksman and mortally wounded him. Reputable historians take issue with this account of events, pointing out that it is a matter of record that Tryon died of natural causes at his home in England in 1787.
Strange thing is, there really is a pistol ball mark in the stone archway of unknown origins. Even stranger, that archway leaks and drips all the time, not letting up during long, hot summer droughts, its water source unknown—unless of course those droplets are tears. Some say the so-called Weeping Arch is lamenting the yellow fever epidemic of 1798.
Terms: North Carolina Ghosts Page 2
North Carolina Ghosts Page 2