Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Haunted Travels: Crystal Coast, North Carolina

Ahhh, summer vacation! It’s so nice to get away from the day to day routine and take a trip some where new and exciting. Like many, I enjoy going to be beach; I love the sand between my toes and the hearing the ocean waves crashing to shore, the beautiful sunsets, the cool breezes and…the ghosts. I prefer to spend my vacation time in quiet, history rich areas where I can take beautiful photos and learn a few more bits and pieces of America’s past. Usually areas with a rich history tend to harbor some ghostly legends, as was the case with my trip to the Crystal Coast in North Carolina. I had my sights set on a small coastal town called Beaufort; the allure of ghosts and pirates was overwhelming, so we made the 9 hour drive to spend a week just a few miles from there.

 
While my family and I didn’t take any of the tours (ghost and pirate tours), we did spend a good bit of time walking in downtown Beaufort exploring. While we were walking though the neighborhood checking out all of amazing historic homes, we discovered the Old Burying Grounds. I love, love, love old cemeteries so naturally we walked though it. There were some beautiful old grave stones, intricately designed wrought iron fencing and graves just everywhere. We came to one unique headstone which was covered in seashells, and other small trinkets and personal items. I took some photos and I assumed there was some sort of story about leaving a small token for the child buried there to prevent her ghost from following you home (just assuming here, remember). I looked up her actual story and she died on a ship traveling to England with her father. Her father promised her mother to bring her home safely, but she died on the journey. He purchased a Rum barrel from the ship and put her body in it, brought her back home to Beaufort and buried her there, still in the barrel.

Beaufort was also home to Blackbeard, the Pirate. His “home away from home” still stands today in the town and his ship is wrecked offshore a few miles away, with artifacts contained in the local museum today. Although we didn’t directly visit all of the sites of Blackbeard, local legend suggests that Blackbeard still haunts his old home which is the oldest house in the town.

Our next stop was at Ft. Macon State Park. Fort Macon was built 1826 as many attacks had prompted the coastal region to build a number of forts for protection. During the Civil War the fort was taken by Union forces, and later after the war was used as a civil and military prison. It was used on and off up through World War II. The fort is said to be haunted by soldiers from the Civil War era. We toured and photographed the fort extensively, it was quite an amazing place and there are many original artifacts encased in the forts museum.

Our next little adventure was to hop a ferry boat to one of the barrier islands, which is in the southern most portions of the Outer Banks of N.C. The reason we went to the island was not for ghosts really, but to search for seashells and most importantly take my horse crazy daughter to see the wild horses of the island. The island today looks pretty unspoiled and natural except for all the island visitors. However, many years ago the island had a little community with homes and businesses, but eventually the citizens of the island moved away after one too many storms destroyed homes and took a number of lives. The only thing that still remains today is a cemetery which is said to be located on the opposite end of 9 mile long island from where we were and the horses. It is believed that the horses have managed to survive on the island for 400 years. They say the horses are descendants of Spanish Mustangs that swam to shore from shipwrecks. But the locals say that the islands inhabitants may have also brought the horses to the islands to use, and perhaps were just left there when they moved to the mainland. But no matter the story, the horses are lasting piece of what is now an uninhabited island that has managed to endure for hundreds of years. There is also a light house (Cape Lookout) out on another nearby island that can be seen from the island we visited, and it is said to be haunted, but we didn’t take the ferry boat out to visit the lighthouse.
 We had a nice relaxing vacation and we enjoyed as much of the area we had time to see while we were there. I would totally recommend anyone visiting the area to check out all of the history and of course all of the hauntings of the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Melissa
HPIR Founder

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