North Carolina is my home. Well, more specifically, the states capital, Raleigh, is where I live but North Carolina is my home state and I love it very dearly. This state isn’t one of the places tourists from all over the world flock to and I happen to think that makes what we have to offer here more special and certainly more accessible. You will not have to fight your way through throngs of visitors to get the incredible views or wait in long lines to grab a bite to eat. It’s a wonderful place to visit and explore at any time of the year but Fall happens to be my favorite time to visit. If you’re planning to visit in the Fall and want to do a little ghost hunting or exploring the supernatural then a road trip across North Carolina might be just think you need. There are plenty of spooky things to do in NC before Halloween and in this article we are going to walk through a number of haunts that’ll bring that creep factor you want during the holiday season in October.
Where is North Carolina?
Before we get into the spooktacular haunts North Carolina has to offer, let’s go over a little background information. In order to go on a North Carolina ghost hunting adventure, you need to get here. North Carolina is state located along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Our state is bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, South Carolina to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
We have a number of large cities including Raleigh (the state capital) and Charlotte (our largest city by population). If you’re flying into North Carolina then you likely will fly into one of these two cities, rent a car, and then make your way to your destinations. For destinations in the western part of the state, it’s best to fly into Charlotte. And for destinations in the eastern part of North Carolina, Raleigh will be the best city to fly into.
North Carolina Weather
The weather in North Carolina can be quite all over the place most the year yet fairly pleasant. I say it can be all over the place because during much of the year it may be cool in the mornings, humid hot during the day, then pleasant at night…or any combination of these conditions. During the summer temperatures can be scorching hot and extremely humid in most parts of the state except the mountains. We also tend to get a hurricane or remnants of a hurricane every year on top of intense thunderstorms accompanied by tornadoes.
However, during the Fall and Halloween season the weather in North Carolina turns out. The leaves begin to fall and change colors and temperatures become a lot cooler. While there are a few cloudy and rainy days, the weather is perfect for all the spooky things in NC to explore during the Halloween season.
North Carolina: A Brief History
The state of North Carolina was founded in 1653 as one of the original 13 British colonies. During that time we became famous for the Roanoke colony who mysteriously disappeared leaving the word Croatoan carved into a tree. Fast forward to 1775 and we became the first state to declare independence from the British. The Revolutionary War happened and we won becoming the 12th state in the Union. After the revolutionary war, North Carolina continued being one of the southern states to embrace slavery and the horrors that come with it. Pirates happened. The Civil War happened. Slavery ended. The Wright Brothers flew the first powered airplane in 1903. And here we are today.
Spooky Things to Do In NC at Halloween!
Throughout North Carolina’s more than 300 years of history a lot has happened. Our state has experienced good, great, monotonous, and bad moments. It’s been a wild ride through history and here we are just as North Carolinian as ever. In that time, we’ve built up our fair share of haunted places. If you’re hoping to visit some haunted sites then North Carolina is the state for you. Let’s dive right into it so you start planning your North Carolina ghost adventure.
Battleship North Carolina
Commissioned in 1941, Battleship North Carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater during World War II. It now sits moored across from downtown Wilmington welcoming visitors to walk her decks. After seeing so much action during times of war, it is no wonder this ship is known to have quite a few spectral residents. You can see the spirit of a young man who was killed in the battleship’s washroom at times. You can hear strange noises such as running footsteps, see shadowy figures peering through portholes, witness doors being opened and closed on their own accord, and even experience something being inexplicably thrown across the room. This is definitely one haunted ship!
While you’re in Wilmington, be sure and participate in this incredible ghost walk, Ghost Walk and Haunted Pub Crawl of Old Wilmington, to learn all about the city’s haunts!
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
One of the most iconic structures in North Carolina is also haunted. The tallest brick lighthouse in North America is home to a resident ghost cat. Yep! That’s right! When you visit this beautiful lighthouse you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of a large black and white cat that has haunted Cape Hatteras for over 100 years. The other ghost story associated with Cape Hatteras is the story of a ghost ship that washed ashore in 1921. The Carroll A. Deering ship showed up with all passengers and equipment on board having mysteriously vanished without a trace. The only thing found aboard was food laid out as though for a meal. It has never been explained.
You can take a self-guided tour of the lighthouse between April to October. If you plan to visit, be sure and check the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse page on the National Park Service website for important information.
Great Dismal Swamp
With a name like the Great Dismal Swamp, you know it’s hiding some spooky treasures. This 112,000 acre swamp area along the border of North Carolina and Virginia is beautiful to explore during the day and is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. However, at night many people have reported hearing strange noises, seeing inexplicable lights, and seeing a ghost or two. The swamp is known to have been the abode of many a runaway slave because it was nearly impossible to navigate during those times. You can imagine things did not always go well for these slaves and they now haunt the swamp. Not only that, but swamps are also home to mythical creatures that go bump in the night. So plan your visit and find out for yourself.
The Devil’s Tramping Ground
Drive 15 minutes south of Siler City and you’ll discover the Devil’s Tramping Ground. Within a pine forest in Chatham County is a 40 foot diameter circle that is completely barren. According to folk tales, this is a place on Earth where the devil paces in a circle to think about the havoc he will cause. The strangest thing about the circle is nothing will grow inside of it. It is completely barren and when plants have been planted inside the circle, they wither and dies. It’s also said that if you leave something inside the circle, it will disappear by the morning. Another story I head about the circle involved a man who spread corn all over the area including inside the circle. He let some chickens lose and the birds ate the corn all around the circle but would not touch the corn inside.
Whatever causes this circle, it is definitely strange and perhaps supernatural. Don’t expect a brouhaha when you visit. It’s very unassuming and other than the circle there isn’t much else in the area. However, if you’re the type who lives for the spooky and supernatural then you need to visit the Devil’s Tramping Ground.
Cry Baby Lane
This haunted place in North Carolina has a bit of a sad story involving a fire… and an orphanage. In short, an orphanage burned down just outside of Raleigh killing several children. Afterward, locals began to notice the smell of smoke in the area was so strong that it would make them cough uncontrollably. This started to happen weeks after the fire was extinguished. On top of this, they would hear the sound of cries in the air wafting across the field where the orphanage once stood. To this day, people say they can smell the smoke and hear the cries of the children who died in such a horrific way. It’s a true story so if you do visit the site please be respectful.
The Duke Mansion
Built in 1915, the Duke Mansion offers 20 beautifully decorated rooms where you can stay and enjoy cocktails in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the things the Duke Mansion is most famous for is the ghost of John Avery, who formally owned the home. John Avery had an affair with a woman while his wife was institutionalized. He would meet up with her in the mansion’s gardens and told her he would always come for her, dead or alive. However the young woman realized Avery would never leave his sick wife so she called off the courtship and decided to move on with her life. Avery asked her to meet him in the garden at midnight a year later and she agreed. A year passed and the woman was engaged but she decided to uphold her end of the deal and meet him in the garden one last time. She went to the garden at midnight and saw John Avery standing on the porch and slowly walk towards her. When she reached out her hand to greet him, he walked through her turning and said, “Dead or alive.” He died a week earlier.
So, go have a nice stay in a luxury at the Duke Mansion and experience the place where a ghost kept his promise to a woman he loved.
Brown Mountain Lights
The Brown Mountain Lights are an unexplained phenomenon that occurs every night in Western North Carolina. Different colored orbs of light of various sizes suddenly appear over Brown Mountain. They typically start at the tree line and then rise above the mountain bobbing through the mountain terrain. Many scientist have tried to explain the lights to no avail. There are many theories and legends regarding what may cause the lights. Some speculate the lights are the souls of Native American people searching for lost loved ones after a great battle that took place in the area. What makes this legend even stranger is many people report hearing the sounds of tribal drums when the lights appear. Others claim the lights are the spirits of runaway slaves who were killed as they attempted to isolate themselves in the Appalachian Mountains.
Whatever causes these lights, they are quite the sight to behold. One of the best places to view the Brown Mountains Lights is from Wiseman’s View located in Marion, NC in the Linville Gorge.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Omni Grove Park Inn is most famous for the Pink Lady who has roamed the hotel since the 1920s. The spirit met her end as the result of a fall from the fifth floor of the Palm Court Atrium at the Inn. It is not known whether her fall was an accident or caused by something more sinister. However, the Pink Lady is not malevolent. She is often seen by children as a pink mist or a young woman wearing a pink ballgown and she enjoys pranks. Often she will cut off lights and air conditioning units or rearrange things in guest rooms. If you’d like to up your chances of interacting with the Pink Lady then book a stay in room 545. This room is where she seems to be the most active.
Located along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke Island has a long and storied history. It is famous as being the island where notorious pirate, Edward Teach aka Blackbeard liked to hang out. It’s also the most isolated place in North Carolina which lends itself well to haunts. Many of the inns and hotels on the island seem to have ghost residents. If you visit Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, you may be chased by a large bearded figures. And there are 81 different cemeteries on the island. As you can imagine, there is ample opportunity for interactions with the spirit realm.
Do you want to experience any of these spooky things to do in North Carolina at Halloween?
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