With Halloween just around the corner, it’s natural to get into the spooky spirit. From ghostly specters roaming graveyards to mysterious figures wandering the mountainside, the Carolinas have their fill of places with a reputation for the paranormal.
1. Brown Mountain Lights
It’s not often that you come across a phenomenon that manages to puzzle both scientists and locals alike. Yet that’s exactly the case when it comes to the Brown Mountain Lights. These mysterious orbs are frequently spotted on autumn nights in Pisgah National Forest, and no one seems to be able to explain their origin. Photographs of the apparitions are numerous, and there has been no consensus as to their official cause. Try your luck at spotting them from one of the Brown Mountain Overlooks along Highway 181.
Location: 8176 NC-181, Newland, NC 28657
2. The Carolina Inn
If you’re looking to explore one of the most haunted places in North Carolina, you’ll need to schedule a night at the Carolina Inn. Quickly approaching its hundred-year anniversary, the Carolina Inn is supposedly home to several ghosts. One of them is thought to be the ghost of a doctor who called the inn home for many years. His ghost isn’t the typical scary one, however. Instead, it’s said the doctor prefers to tease people by locking them out of rooms!
Location: 211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516
3. Grandfather Mountain
The next time you spend a peaceful afternoon hiking in Western North Carolina, you may find yourself with an unexpected hiking partner. A supernatural wanderer of Grandfather Mountain has been sighted several times throughout the years along the mountain’s trails. Witnesses state the ghost appears as an older man with a full beard, old-fashioned clothing, and a hiking pack. Some sources state he also carries a walking stick with him. If you encounter this unearthly hiker, you can say hi, but don’t expect a reply. Reports say he’ll simply hike past you and continue on his journey.
Location: 2050 Blowing Rock Hwy., Linville, NC 28646
4. Unitarian Church Graveyard
There are a surprising number of creepy churches in the southeastern U.S., and Unitarian Church and its graveyard often top that list. One of the most popular haunted places in South Carolina, this church is the oldest in Charleston. Several spirits are said to linger on the premises, the most famous of which is Annabel Lee. This young woman is said to have been isolated from her lover by her brutal father. Some people claim that her lover was in fact Edgar Allan Poe, and they believe the ghost of Annabel Lee wanders the graveyard today, searching for him.
Location: 4 Archdale St., Charleston, SC 29401
5. Pawleys Island
You’ve likely heard of poltergeists and ghouls, but have you ever heard of weather-predicting ghosts? It sounds like the basis for an unlikely folktale, but the Gray Man on Pawleys Island is said to do just that. A phantom man dressed in a gray cloak is known to make appearances on the island before hurricanes reach the area. Island residents say he was sighted before each of the five hurricanes that have hit the area over the past few centuries, and legend has it that his purpose is to help protect the locals from these storms.
Location: Approximately 37 miles south of Myrtle Beach
6. Crybaby Creek Bridge
Don’t think hauntings are limited to buildings and cemeteries. Crybaby Creek Bridge is famous among South Carolinians for being the site of several chilling occurrences. One version of the bridge’s story is that a woman conceived a child out of wedlock and out of desperation, she jumped to her death from the bridge. Years later, locals still say they hear the cries of her baby and sometimes even encounter the ghostly mother, asking for her child.
Location: 2806 High Shoals Rd., Anderson, SC 29621
Know Before You Go
Some of the locations listed above are private property, so be clear about which areas you’ll need special permission to access. Additionally, if you visit any of these haunted places at night, bring a friend and flashlights. Part of the fun of exploring sites associated with the paranormal is learning about their rich history and how they’ve added to local folklore. So don’t be shy to ask residents about their own experiences at these locations. You’re likely to hear a few personal stories of encounters with the paranormal!