Hurricanes and the Gray Man of South Carolina

The “Gray Man” (or, as many locals spell it, the “Grey Man”) has made another appearance. He’s a gray, ghostly figure that appears before each devastating hurricane in the Carolinas (USA).

According to most stories, he’s a young man who died in a devastating storm that – on September 27, 1822  – made landfall around Charleston, South Carolina.

The man been abroad for two years and was rushing home to his fiancée. Her family’s home was near Charleston.

But, seeing an approaching storm, the young man made a fatal decision. He took a shortcut to his fiancée’s home, and that shortcut included a piece of land with quicksand as deadly as landmines.

In his hurry, the young man drove his horse and carriage into quicksand, and – trying to save his horse as well as himself – both were lost. (In another version, his horse threw him, and the young man landed in quicksand. He died grasping at sand and grass, unable to save himself.)

Ever since then, his shadowy figure has appeared – usually around Pawleys Island, just south of Myrtle Beach – before every devastating hurricane. 

Credible stories date back to 1989 and 1954. Other stories – passed down from one generation to the next – describe the Grey Man’s appearance before every major storm that sweeps across the area.

Multiple Gray Man reports have surfaced in the past few days, as Hurricane Florence approaches. I hope it’s just an odd cast of the light, mixed with anxieties over the frightening hurricane approaching the Carolinas.

Who’s the Ghost?

Percival Pawley - Island gray man?Some people insist he’s Percival Pawley, the first settler. In 1711, he received land grants to develop Waccamaw Neck, including all the land from the river to the sea. Part of that land included Pawleys Island, named after Percival’s son.

Obviously, that Percival can’t be the young man who lost his life in 1822.  From my research, the original Percival (also spelled “Percivell”) Pawley died in South Carolina on 14 Nov 1721 (or 1723, in some records).

I also searched South Carolina death records, and the only Pawley who died in 1822 was Martha “Patsy” Pawley, a descendant of Percival Pawley.

Interesting note: The name “Percival Pawley” also appears in many records from Salem, Massachusetts, aka “Witch City.”

I think we can rule out Percival as the victim who died in quicksand.

Other speculate that the Grey Man is Edward Teach. Again, that’s a great story…  but impossible. Edward Teach – aka “Blackbeard” – died in North Carolina, and in 1718.

So, for now, the identity of Grey Man is a mystery. (And yes, I like the Grey spelling better.)

More Ghosts on Pawleys Island

One of the more famous ghosts of Pawleys Island makes a regular appearance at his former home, Litchfield Plantation. The ghost is Dr. Henry Norris, who renovated the house in the 1920.

Several ghosts – including two Boston Terrier dogs, a gray figure, and a woman dressed in gingham – have been reported at the Pelican Inn. (Some want to believe the gray figure is the Grey Man, but I think that’s unlikely. Spirits that appear at very specific times and places don’t usually show up in other locations, in the interim.)

A third ghost is Alice Flagg, whose spirit looks for the engagement ring her brother tore from her lifeless body, and discarded. She’s buried in All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery on Pawleys Island, but she’s been seen in several nearby locations.

Here’s a YouTube video about Pawley’s Island ghosts.

That video about Pawley's Island ghosts is at https://youtu.be/1sTGspTsmTs

Other Spirits that Warn of Danger

The Grey Man isn’t the only spirit who warns of danger.

Of course, there are banshees, but they’re usually heard, not seen. Also, each of them “haunts” (I prefer to say protect) their descendants and relatives. In most cases, they don’t warn strangers of imminent disaster.

Green ladies” also predict danger and possible destruction, but they usually protect their former homes and castles.

Some ghosts not only warn of danger, but lend a hand when the location (or people) they protect is in danger. One example is the ghost of Ocean-Born Mary, who – according to reports – joined a bucket brigade to save her New Hampshire home during a late-night fire.

Other Grey Men

South Carolina’s Grey Man isn’t the only “Grey Man,” either.

In the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, people report a “Big Grey Man” (Fearlas Mor, aka Am Fear Liath Mòr) near the top of Ben MacDhui. With few exceptions, he’s usually sensed, not seen.

The first written report was by Professor Norman Collie, who encountered the “Big Grey Man” in 1890. Much later, a similar story was confirmed by Dr. A. M. Kellas, though he and his brother, Henry, thought they saw a giant figure in the distance.

To me, that’s interesting. Most ghosts with a lengthy history have a name and a consistent description.

In the case of Scotland’s “Big Grey Man,” he’s most often heard and sensed as a presence. (Only a few, rumored sightings have ever been reported, and – to me – they sound like Bigfoot: tall and covered in short hair. Could there be two – or more – creatures identified as the “Big Grey Man”?)

One video described – and attempted to debunk – Scotland’s “Big Grey Man.” I wasn’t terribly impressed.

That YouTube video - now removed - was about 3 1/2 minutes long: The URL was https://youtu.be/p_D9dSvC9fA

Here are some related videos:

A well-told story:

A Nephilim connection?

That apparition reminds me of a North Carolina creature dubbed the “Unseen Tracker.” Like at least one “Big Grey Man,” this entity is heard and sensed, but not seen. According to the book, Monsters Among Us, North Carolina’s “Unseen Tracker” sounds as if he walks on two feet and is heavy. He’s heard/sensed around Charlotte, NC, in broad daylight, on land formerly held by the Catawba tribe.

What connects those stories? A consistent unexplained, emotional reaction. First, the person is uneasy, then feels a murky sense of depression, and then… panic. 

Many of the witnesses try to explain the depression in a variety of ways. To me, it sounds like they’re desperately grasping for a logical answer.

Note: In reports of “shadow people,” I don’t usually hear anything about depression. So, I don’t think the Grey Man is a typical shadow person.

But, that feeling of panic – a very deep “uh-oh,” beyond being startled by an unexpected figure – is consistent with 2018 reports of the Grey Man of Pawleys Island.

Let’s hope that – this once – the recent Pawleys Island sightings don’t predict devastation and destruction.  As I’m writing this, Hurricane Florence looks like a very dangerous storm, and it’s moving towards the Carolinas.

References

Resources for More Research

Are Ghosts More Active During Stormy Weather?

Can stormy weather attract ghosts, or improve ghost hunting results?

Maybe.

Let’s take a look at it.

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

That’s a famous line used seriously – and sometimes comically – in different contexts.

But, for ghost enthusiasts, it can trigger a few deliciously eerie images of haunted places and the spirits they harbor.

Of course, few of us are foolish enough to investigate outdoors during thunderstorms. Between the soaking rain and risks of lightning strikes, it’s better to ghost hunt indoors.

However, a recent article raised a few questions worth considering.

Is there a connection between ghostly phenomena and weather? It may not be “just in your mind.”

Here’s part of the article,   A Dark and Stormy Night: Does Weather Affect the Paranormal?

The idea is not entirely far-fetched. After all, if ghosts, spirits, and other such entities do exist, then they must use some form of energy…

For example, it is thought that ghosts sometimes utilize the ambient heat in a room for energy to manifest, leading to cold spots as this energy is abruptly absorbed.

…There are various types of atmospheric activity that could possibly affect the paranormal activity of a location, with the most common image of this being thunderstorms, so how would these storms be able to exert an influence on supernatural entities?

…Perhaps the biggest factor is simply the sheer amount of electrical and electro-magnetic energy charging the air during storms.

That’s an interesting theory. I’m eager to hear if anyone has first-person experience with stormy weather increasing ghostly activity.

That same article raises other questions about other atmospheric conditions, too:

…A good example would be solar activity from our sun, which sometimes releases solar flares that set loose X-Rays, intense doses of UV radiation, and create what is called “solar wind.” This solar wind is composed of highly charged plasma particles that can lash out to reach all the way to Earth, where it’s electromagnetic energy is powerful enough to cause disruptions in the planet’s magnetic field called geomagnetic storms.

If you’d like to compare investigation results and solar activity and geomagnetic storms, NOAA offers Alerts, Watches, and Warnings. (I prefer the visual displays on the NOAA homepage.)

Then, the article continues with skeptical notes:

… it is also important to look at other natural explanations for why the weather might produce more reported paranormal activity. The most obvious one is that simply the spooky and rather ominous quality of storms… make for an atmosphere in which people more susceptible to perceiving perfectly mundane things for being supernatural.

I agree, especially if an investigator is new to paranormal research, or is feeling unusually stressed. “Dude, run!” moments can happen to anyone. It’s really embarrassing when the cause is debunked.

The following, one-minute video doesn’t claim to show a ghost, but the face-like image in the clouds is fun.

https://youtu.be/BwTOU8HAZX8

Finally, the storms article delves into the topic of infrasound, as well. It’s a topic worth considering, and something I check before any investigation.

Paranormal activity witnessed during storms may also be caused by phenomena other than the supernatural. The most obvious example would be ultra-low frequency sound waves, called infrasound.

But, ruling out the emotional impact of storms and infrasound, I’m very interested in any connections between thunderstorms, geomagnetic storms, solar flares, and surges in paranormal activity.

Also, has anyone noticed an increase in psychic activity (your own or others’) during extreme weather?

I’ll admit that – aside from dashing between the car and the investigation site, dodging rain, snow, or sleet – I’ve rarely paid much attention to the weather.

If you’ve experienced anything connecting paranormal activity and weather, I hope you’ll leave a comment to share your insights.

Source

Read the full article here – A Dark and Stormy Night: Does Weather Affect the Paranormal?

Can Ghosts Linger in Churches? In Lukova, Maybe

Are some churches haunted? When abandoned or used for other purposes…? Maybe.

While still in use, and sanctified…? Unlikely.

Here’s an exception to that rule.

In Lukova, in the Church of St. George, you can see a remarkably creepy, impressive art installation of 30 ghostly shapes.

Apparently, this 14th-century church was haunted (by at least nine ghosts) – and abandoned – before an artist created these figures.  It’s a quirky story. (See my Resources list, below. They share some interesting insights.)

Now, services are held in the church again… with the congregation sitting among the ghostly shapes.

I’m not sure I’ll be in the Czech Republic any time soon, but – if/when I am – I’ll definitely investigate this location. And, I’ll bring all the ghost hunting equipment I can carry… especially looking for EVP.

https://youtu.be/3QJ8YvjQnfY

(That’s just one of several videos filmed at the site.)

If you’ve been there, or know of a similar art installation, I hope you’ll let me know. Leave a comment at this website.

I’m very interested in creepy, evocative locations, to see if they attract ghosts… and not just the sculptured kind.

Resources

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a haunted, abandoned church closer to home, here’s a daytime video from St. Botolph’s church near Skidbrooke, Lincolnshire, England, about seven miles north of Louth.  According to some, it’s the most haunted church in the U.K. (The video is by urban explorers, not ghost hunters, and their language/humor is NSFW.)

Next, here’s another video from that same site, by investigators looking for ghosts. They found several oddities that usually indicate a haunted site, but mostly comment about unnaturally quiet the site was. (Like most ghost hunting videos, some NSFW language and themes, but far less than the previous video.)

Ghost Boxes – Where Do the Words Come From? And Can You Trust Them?

Those eerie, ghostly voices we’ve heard during ghost investigations, in real life or on TV… are those voices real? Who’s talking to us, and how…?

You’re probably familiar with the kinds of equipment we’re talking about. You’ve seen it on ghost hunting TV shows, and perhaps in real life.

Ghost boxes (and related ghost hunting equipment) include real-time EVP devices, Shack Hacks, and Frank’s Boxes. I’d also include Digital Dowsing equipment like the Puck and Ovilus.

How Do Ghost Boxes Work?

Different ghost communication devices work in different ways.

Some – like the Puck and Ovilus – have a built-in vocabulary. In theory, those are the only words those devices can say.

Well, maybe.

I’ve heard an Ovilus – in dictionary mode – say my name (Fiona Broome) when “broom” was in the vocabulary list, but “Fiona” definitely wasn’t. So I haven’t a clue how that happened.

I’ve witnessed other investigations where the words weren’t in the vocabulary. So, it wasn’t just that one time. (That first odd experience was at the Salem Inn, in Salem, MA, in one of their most haunted rooms.)

We hear words – aloud – when EMF spikes/surges occur. In theory, the words come from the built-in vocabulary, at random.

So, when words (or phrases) are relevant – or repeated too often – maybe intelligent (like a ghost) energy is involved.

Some ghost boxes – like Shack Hacks and Frank’s Boxes – use radio stations’ broadcasts.

Those boxes cycle through lots of radio stations in succession – maybe half a second, each – and grab words or parts of words, at random.

I’ve heard those devices speak clearly, in full sentences, even though the clips were brief and strung together in real time.

When My Late Mother Talked to Me

Skeptical refusal to believe in ghosts - can lead to shockA Frank’s Box produced my late mother’s voice, complete with her regional accent, and “she” said something relevant to me.

There is no way anyone would have known exactly how she spoke, to fake the voice/message. It was her accent, he speech cadence, and the words she’d use.

That happened two days in a row in Ontario (Canada).

The first time was at a haunted site investigation. The second was the next day, at a not-haunted hotel site hosting a ghost hunters’ conference.

But, adding a little geek-skepticism here: Is it possible that people – consciously or inadvertently – can use some weird form of psychokinesis to control the words coming through those devices…?

(Psychokinesis is the supposed ability to move objects by mental effort alone. I’ve seen it happen in real life. So, I believe it’s real and may explain some poltergeist activity.)

It’s the only possibility I can think of.

I’m Still Skeptical… Are You?

I know, without a doubt, that I heard my mother’s voice.

I’m also certain that some people have an unexplained connection to ghost boxes.

Years ago, at the Edith Wharton mansion, at least 20 people gathered around a Shack Hack. They asked a few questions, but mostly waited patiently for a spirit to speak “through” the Shack Hack.

For a very long time, nothing happened.

Then, John Zaffis (of “The Haunted Collector”) entered the room, and the Shack Hack started talking like it was welcoming an old friend.

I’ve never seen anything like that, before or since.

It was enough to convince me that John has unusual connection with the spirit world, and the forces behind that Shack Hack recognized it.

But, are all messages through ghost boxes real, or could some be wishful thinking and audio pareidolia?

I’m not sure, yet.

After decades in this field, I still default to skeptic mode when I first witness phenomena. And, even with some compelling evidence – like my mother’s messages to me, via a Frank’s Box – I’m not ready to say that all ghost box messages are from ghosts.

You’ll need to decide for yourself.

Ghost Box Resources

Shack Hacks

Frank’s Box

Here’s a demonstration of a Frank’s Box. (Note: I can vouch for Chris being gifted in terms of his use of a Frank’s Box. Other than that, I’m uneasy recommending Chris, based on a few red flags that bothered me.)

More Resources

  • Digital Dowsing – Some of this equipment works very well. I’ve used a couple of models of the Ovilus EMF device. Another research I respect has said that the Puck is even better. You may have seen some Digital Dowsing tools in use on ghost hunting TV shows.
  • Ghost Box Hacks – Open Source Paranormal’s plans and tips. The site hasn’t been updated in some time, but the information is still useful.
  • Halloween Ghost Box Tips (2016) :

If you have questions or insights about these kinds of devices, I hope you’ll leave a comment at this site.