Monday, November 4, 2013

The Grey Man of Cape Hatteras

Hurricane Floyd
North Carolina is fourth on the list of states in the U.S. that are hit by category 4 hurricanes. 

Located in the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras is an area that still has natural, unspoiled beauty--it has a pristine beach that is 70 miles long. But it is also a point where two major Atlantic currents collide. 

So when hurricanes hit Cape Hatteras, it is always the most vulnerable spot in the Carolinas. This island has experienced many bad storms. 

Hurricane Hazel in 1954, and Hurricane Floyd in 1999, both category 4 hurricanes, took over one thousand lives and their floods caused billions of dollars in property damage in the Cape Hatteras area.

Other victims of the violent storms that hit the Carolinas are ships. One such vessel, the Sea Venture was traveling to Jamestown when a violent storm hit off the Carolina coastline. 

This ship was tossed around for days by this storm’s violent wind. Waves almost tipped the vessel completely over. When the crew finally reached port, their ship was so damaged it took many months to repair. 

Once the Sea Venture returned home to England the story of this violent storm inspired William Shakespeare to write his play, The Tempest.

After this, the Spanish and the locals in the Caribbean called the storm that hit the Sea Venture a hurican--their word for their god. This word then was used to describe these violent storms--hurricanes. 

Hurricanes have caused many a ship to sink off the Outer Banks. * One such shipwreck that occurred off Cape Hatteras is believed to be the cause for the following ghost sighting.

Despite the tragedies that resulted from Hazel and Floyd, many locals on the island believe that even more residents would have died if they didn’t have one fascinating phenomenon. ** 

The Grey Man of Cape Hatteras, as he is known, is a ghost that appears just as the first winds of a strong storm touch the island. His spirit has appeared just before every bad hurricane that has hit the island for over a century. So this ghost is a harbinger.

Unlike many local legends when the Grey Man appears, tourists and residents of Hatteras take note--for when he is seen people do not take his warnings lightly. 

His appearances have always been accurate, so people heed them and immediately leave the island. In fact, his appearances are so appreciated that many islanders consider him more as a beloved resident than a ghost.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Built-in 1870
Tallest in North America
The Grey Man ghost is always seen walking along the beach near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. His appearances began in the early 1900s, and he has been seen ever since just before violent storms. 

He is described as appearing out of nowhere, and then he just fades away amidst the rain and wind. 

Witnesses who have tried to approach this figure state that by the time they reached where he stood, he is no longer there. Because of this, no one has ever been able to speak to him.

Most who have seen this ghost state afterward, that they were not afraid. In fact, several knowing his story felt appreciation for his “mission to save lives,” and then have packed up and left the island quickly. 

It is believed that the Grey Man was once a sailor, by the name of Grey, who lived at Cape Point. The ship that he sailed upon was lost in a violent hurricane off Hatteras. 

It is said that he drowned in this storm. This is why it is believed he warns people of impending storms--he does not want others to suffer his fate.

* So many ships have sunk in this area that one tourist attraction off Cape Hatteras is to go on “Shipwreck Scuba Explorations.”

** Of course, today there are modern warnings that alert people to the fact a hurricane is coming--but it is stated the Grey Man still appears, and warns people of impending danger.


Unknown said...

I had my own encounter with a similar ghost that attached itself first to my car while I was driving around Masonboro Inlet in New Hanover County, and then to my guest bedroom. His appearance preceded The Perfect Storm. During this hurricane, my neighbor on my right had his mobile home cut in half by a fallen pine, and my neighbor on the left sustained a bit of damage when another pine fell on his home. There was a big pine behind me, but it fell the opposite way landing on my back neighbor's place. I really think the ghost that visited me and stayed for quite a while was there to protect me from what could have been my demise.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Wow, interesting.

Leona Joan said...

This is such an interesting article, Virginia. I bet the Grey Man showed up recently, before Dorian hit Cape Hatteras. He must be a harbinger and an Angel. God bless the good Grey Man. 😎