October 10, 2023
The Outer Banks is not only a beautiful area, it’s rich with history and lore. These famous legends have captivated curious minds around the world. Let’s sit by the fire with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy these tall tales passed down from the generations.
The famous Blackbeard pirate liked Ocracoke Island as a good hideout. It’s also where he met his gruesome end. The British Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard launched a surprise attack in Ocracoke. Many legends embellish this historical account. But, what we do know is the ferocious pirate engaged with the Lieutenant in a Hollywood-worthy fight before he finally lost and was beheaded.
Nags Head is a very unique town name. How did the Outer Banks’ Nags Head get its name? A popular legend claims pirates would tie a lantern around the neck of an old nag and march it along the coast to trick poor mariners into running aground to loot them. The name has stuck ever since.
Legends say once a year on the night of the new moon in September you might spot a spooky ship engulfed in flames off the coast of Ocracoke Island. This eerie ship appears to be a ghost ship, as it eventually disappears and is not seen again until next year.
The legends that surround the namesake of Kill Devil Hills are quite colorful. One popular yarn claims that potent rum washed ashore from shipwrecks that people said was strong enough to “kill the devil.” Some locals say sick pirates would sit on the dunes and drink the rum to “kill the devil inside.” Outer Banks Distilling Company makes Kill Devil Rum today. But there’s an even more enthralling tale about a banker attempting to do business with the devil. The deal went foul and he escaped by trapping him in one of the area’s tall sand dunes.
Hatteras locals say they have seen the “Grey Man” since the 1900s. This mysterious apparition appears on Cape Hatteras beaches just before a dangerous storm. Locals say that if you see the Grey Man, you will be spared. Some think the Grey Man was a sailor lost to the sea who doesn’t want others to share the same fate.
The sinking of Carrol A. Deering in 1921 is another famous story. After the Cape Hatteras Coast Guard discovered the ship in distress, bad weather delayed their rescue by several days. When they boarded the ship, there wasn’t a soul in sight. All 11 crew members and their belongings had vanished. The only thing left was food on the stove. In spite of several searches conducted by the Coast Guard and FBI, no one knows what has happened to the crew since.
Everyone remembers the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. But did you know that you might spot a black and white kitty, too? People have reported sightings of this sociable feline and even try to pick it up before it vanishes. This “ghost cat” is thought to belong to a lightkeeper from a long time ago.
Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes winning content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina. She might not be building sandcastles or swashbuckling with pirates these days, but the Outer Banks beaches continue to keep her young at heart.
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