Some of the North Carolina Coast's larger historical cities are rich with ghost stories, and Wilmington is a fine example of a beautiful coastal city with a past. Rumors and tall tales flourish around every corner of Wilmington, and the endings to these spooky tales aren't necessarily happy ones.
In 1760, a new Wilmington resident by the name of Llewellyn Markwick moved to the town from England. A little boastful, Llewellyn quickly told his friends and neighbors that he was from a rich, titled family, and showed people his ring as proof: a very strange and unique ring shaped like a snake with a diamond in its fangs.
Shortly after moving to town, Llewellyn went riding one day and his horse returned to Wilmington hours later, but Llewellyn never did. There was no motive or reason for his disappearance, and the mystery went unsolved for 8 years. Then, a sudden storm brought torrential rains, flooding the Wilmington streets. Once the storm had cleared, one of Llewellyn's old friends noticed a shiny small object on the side of the road. He tried to pick it up, but it was stuck. He tried further, and discovered in horror that it was attached to the bony hand of a skeleton buried underneath the street. The shiny object he had noticed was, in fact, the strange ring that belonged to Llewellyn.
Locals still attest that for centuries, until a paved road was finally installed, a small bump in the street marked the spot where Llewellyn Markwick was buried.
Along the outskirts of Wilmington, just 13 miles west, visitors will find the small railroad station of Maco. This location also has its own dark history. In 1867, on a particularly dreary and rainy night, a conductor named Joe Baldwin was checking in on the train cars as the train made a steady approach to Wilmington. He was alone in the rear car, preparing to head back to the front of the train, when he realized that the last car was the only one on the track. Apparently it had become unhitched from the rest of the train, and was stranded on the tracks.
Looking behind him, he realized that another train was quickly approaching, so Joe took out his lantern and started waving it back and forth from the back of the car, trying to signal the quickly approaching train. He tried his best, but it was too foggy and rainy and the oncoming train didn't see him until it was too late. Joe did not survive the collision. Legend has it that on dreary nights like that Spring 1867 evening, the faint light of a lantern can still be spotted waving back and forth at Maco Station.