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

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.)

Investigating the Haunted ‘Queen Mary’ Ship? Tips and Resources

A haunted ship. A world once restricted to the ultra-wealthy. And a chance to experience all of it, yourself. Here’s what to know before you go.

For many people visiting California, the haunted ship – the Queen Mary – is a must-see. And a must-investigate. Some ghost hunters claim the ship is home to over 100 ghosts.

Whether or not such high numbers are accurate, the Queen Mary “ghost ship” is still an iconic haunted site, and worth visiting if you’ll be in the Los Angeles area.

Note: If you’ve always wanted to spend the night on the Queen Mary, I recommend doing so, soon. As an April 2018 article in the L.A. Times explained, “An engineering report has warned that the ship urgently needs $5.7 million in fixes and requires a total of $289 million in repairs over the next five years.”

If the money isn’t raised in the next five years… well, I’m not sure what the alternative is. That’s why I recommend spending the night in the near future, if it’s on your bucket list.

You’ll probably want to start with the history of the ship. The Queen Mary ship site features a summary: The Queen Mary – A Trip Across Time.

Of course, one suite on the ship – Stateroom B340 – is legendary. It’s also open to overnight guests. Here’s a Forbes article: The Queen Mary Opens Up Its Haunted Hotel Suite For An Overnight Ghostly Experience.

Note: If you’re uneasy with the Ouija board in the room, bring it to the front desk and ask them to store it until after you check out.

If you’ll be investigating the ship’s ghosts and haunted rooms, listen to the following podcast. It’s nearly an hour long. It’s well narrated in a “ghost story” style, and – even better – it includes a superb interview with Commodore Everette Hoard (ship’s historian) of the Queen Mary.

He provides some intriguing insights. They could be especially useful if you’re looking for triggers to prompt ghostly activity or EVP responses.

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/r__5_AnpUsA

And finally, this article could save you money, time, and perhaps some irritation. It’s by someone who spent the night at the Queen Mary. (To read the entire article, visit What’s It Like to Spend the Night Aboard the Haunted Queen Mary?)

Here are some of the many tips from that article:

humorous ghost divider

If you’re arriving from LAX, which we were, they don’t have a hotel shuttle between the Queen Mary and the airport. We Uber’ed it for $80. A taxi will cost you about the same…

I was sort of surprised about the security out front. Not that there were guards with machine guns or anything. Just staff to direct you to the appropriate place depending on whether you were checking in or coming just to have dinner or do a night activity.

Our luggage gave us away. It was pretty obvious we were there to check-in so up the elevator to Level 3 or “A” Deck we went to.

Check-In at the Haunted ‘Queen Mary’

There’s really nothing special about check-in. It’s the same as anywhere else basically.

Except if you’ve always wanted to stay aboard the ship. Then you might be giddy and bursting with excitement like I was!

Also, I was enamored with the decor. It wasn’t as grand as I’d expected. Dated really. Yet, I was okay with that. It retained its authentic charm.

The check-in lobby’s centerpiece
The Stairs across from the lobby. But gives you a good sense of the decor/atmosphere.
Time zone clocks above the check-in. Not sure they’re still functioning though.

Tips

  1. If you drive yourself, be prepared to pay for parking. ($22 for overnight.)
  2. If you’re not driving there yourself, and you want a cheaper option than Uber, Lyft or taxis, SuperShuttle and Prime Shuttles go to and from the Queen Mary also. It would’ve cost us about $35 total for the both of us to get there. We did book a shuttle back to the airport through the hotel. (We went with SuperShuttle for $30 for the both of us. That’s a $50 savings over Ubering it!)
  3. You can also use public transit to get there. That will also save you a bit of money on transportation cost, but you’ll have to trade time for money. (Meaning it will take you a little longer to get there.) Also, you wouldn’t want to do this if you had a lot of luggage to schlep around. There will be walking involved.
  4. Maybe ask if there non-adjoining rooms carry sound from neighbors a little less. (We’re thinking the door in our room that adjoined to our neighbor’s maybe contributed to being able to hear them so well?)

Read more at Haunt Jaunts’  What it’s like to spend a night aboard the haunted Queen Mary

humorous ghost divider

RESOURCES

If you’re going to spend much time or money (or both), learn as much as you can, before your visit.

Best Campgrounds for Ghost Hunters – US and UK

Ghost hunting? Tired of haunted houses, haunted jails, and so on? Ready for a breath of fresh air?

As an outdoor enthusiast, I love haunted places in the wild.

That’s one reason I especially enjoyed the book, Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire. It’s a chance to get off-the-beaten-path and discover some of the eeriest haunted sites in New England. (And, in that part of the U.S., that’s saying a lot.)

Of course, other parts of the US have haunted hiking trails and campgrounds. In the warmer weather, you may want to explore them.

The following video starts with an annoying ad. It’s worth sitting through it to get to their top 10 list of haunted campgrounds and parks in the US.

Top 10 Haunted Campgrounds and Parks in the US

Want more incredible content from Getty Images? Be sure to check out their page here: https://www.gettyimages.com/ Top 10 Haunted Campgrounds and Parks in the US Subscribe: http://goo.gl/Q2kKrD and also Ring the Bell to get notified // Have a Top 10 idea? Submit it to us here!

Here’s another video about America’s most haunted campgrounds.

Camping in the UK

In the UK, my first choice for camping – and ghost hunting in the wild – might be Dartmoor. The Paranormal Database lists many ghostly hotspots around Dartmoor. And, if you’re not sure where to camp, this link takes you to camping information for Dartmoor. (Camping / Dartmoor)

(Of note, “As part of a Dartmoor walking expedition, it is acceptable to backpack camp for one or two nights in some areas of open moorland, well away from roads or settlements using a ‘no impact’ approach.” But be sure to read the rest of the related rules.)

If you know of other, genuinely haunted places to camp in the UK, let me know.

Camping in the US

In the US, summer is an ideal season for camping in cooler, northern states. In places like Florida, winter is a better choice.

Start with campgrounds that have verified ghost stories.

The following are a couple of them from an article, 4 Haunted Campgrounds with No Escape. (The full article is linked at the foot of this page.)

divider

If you knew there was a chance you may end up as a late night snack for long lost souls on a feeding frenzy, would you do it? Even knowing you couldn’t get away? All you need to do is pitch a tent. It’s that easy. But you have to know where…

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Site – Nevada County, Calif.

Nevada County is smothered with small ghost towns, but none as haunted as North Bloomfield which was preserved as part of this historic site.

Legend has it, a strict disciplinarian schoolteacher slaughtered a student and hung him from the schoolhouse rafters for answering too many questions incorrectly. It’s said to be the most haunted building in the deserted mining town.

Faces have been seen peering from windows inside of some of the preserved buildings… If you really want to, you can spend the night with them. Pick a spot. Sleep tight.

Big Moose Lake – Adirondacks, New York

The ghost of Grace Brown is said to haunt the area. Brown, unwed and pregnant in 1906, begged the father of the child, Chester Gillette, a well-known womanizer, to marry her. He initially refused and in one her love letters she wrote, “If I die I hope then you can be happy. I hope I can die. The doctor says I will, and then you can do just as you like.”

Gillette finally agreed to the marriage and the couple took a trip to Big Moose Lake to privately tie the knot. But Gillette had ulterior motives. He was accused of killing Brown with a tennis racket while they were in a rowboat in the middle of the lake…

Sometimes the ghost of Brown is seen in the lake drowning while at other times she is seen wandering the lake shore. It’s been reported she likes to turn off lights in cabins and some guests have suddenly found themselves sitting in a darkened room with no explanation.

There are plenty of campsites surrounding Big Moose Lake. Pick one right by the shoreline.

For more details, and additional stories like this, be sure to read 4 Haunted Campgrounds with Nowhere to Escape.

Pennsylvania’s Scariest, Must-See Haunted Places

Few states have as much ghostly history as Pennsylvania. But where should a visiting ghost hunter begin? Here are some tips.

Since I’m writing this on the fourth of July, I’ll start with Philadelphia (PA), where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Philadelphia’s Ghosts

(The original video with this article was made private by its owner. I’ve replaced it with a video that’s silly at time, but it does show several reliable haunts in Philadelphia. If you’re visiting Philadelphia, this ~2 minute video is worth watching.)

More Pennsylvania Ghosts

Next, here’s another video featuring some interesting Pennsylvania haunts. The state is large, so most of these sites aren’t actually in Philadelphia. Still, if you’re in Pennsylvania, some of these ghost stories are interesting and could be worth checking out.

Most Haunted Places In Pennsylvania

Join me as I show you the ten most haunted places in the 2nd state! SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY!

Haunted Centralia, PA

Centralia (PA) is over two hours from Philadelphia. Also, it’s not a place to visit (though it might be haunted). Anyone going there is risking his life; it’s not worth taking that chance.

(I want to make it very clear: I advise against going anywhere near Centralia, for any reason.)

Centralia’s story is both horrifying and compelling. I’m not sure any city or ghost town has a similar history. (I hope not, anyway.)


I don’t know if ghosts will linger there, long enough for investigators who’ll visit when Centralia is finally safe. It seems unlikely. (For example, I haven’t heard any trustworthy ghost stories about Pompeii.)

Still, if we’re talking about creepy places in Pennsylvania, Centralia has to be on the top 10 list.

Even More Ghosts in Pennsylvania

Pennyslvania Ghost StoriesDo you love true ghost stories?

If you’d like to discover more haunted places in Pennsylvania, here’s one book on the subject, and it has some favorable reviews.

It’s loaded with ghost stories about Gettysburg, but you’ll find other interesting locations in it, too.

The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories

More Videos?

If you post a YouTube video showing your paranormal Philadelphia investigations, let me know. When I looked for some  to share with readers, I was astonished at how few good, Philadelphia ghost videos are online.

In a historical city like Philadelphia, I’d expect far more haunted places… and videos of people exploring them.

(Note: If you’re investigating rural Pennsylvania, remember that the “Snallygaster” legend – probably more cryptozoology than ghost – is recorded there, as well as in Maryland.)

More resources

Eerie, Haunted Places in Texas Hill Country

If you like “wild west” ghosts, here are the places to investigate in Texas Hill Country. It’s the home of many people who love wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and the dry climate. It’s a gorgeous place to visit or to put down roots.

It’s also very haunted.

The following  three sites are from an article, 10 Most Haunted Places in the Texas Hill Country. (The full top-10 list is linked at the foot of this article.)

That article got my attention because it’s a very good list. Some of those same haunted sites appeared in my early book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.

I was at the Driskill Hotel (in Austin) is among the top three on the list. I was at that hotel when they were working on the “suicide” room, to reopen it. Its atmosphere was definitely eerie, and the hotel was reluctant to tell me why the room had been sealed up for so many years… with good reason.

The Driskill has many more ghosts than what’s in this article – I talk about them in my book – and that hotel remains one of my favorite haunts to visit when I’m visiting Texas’ spectacular hill country.

If you’ve encountered ghosts in that part of Texas, I hope you’ll share your stories in comments at this article.

3. Dead Man’s Hole, Burnet Co.

Dead Man's Hole
Flickr/ Steve Jurvetson

Discovered in 1821 by a roving entomologist, Dead Man’s Hole is a gaping Texas hell-mouth that drops some 15-stories into the ground. During the Civil War, Union sympathizers, including Judge John R. Scott, were killed by proud Confederates and dumped down the Dead Man’s Hole. Multiple bodies were retrieved during the 1860’s, but the deaths did not stop during the Civil War. Most recently, one ghost hunter reportedly heard the voice of a young girl pleading, “No Daddy, I just want to go to Dairy Queen.” It is believed that Dead Man’s Hole has claimed as many as 35 bodies.

2. Driskill Hotel – Travis Co.

Driskill Hotel Flickr/ Ian Aberle
Flickr/ Ian Aberle

The Driskill Hotel opened its doors in 1886.  It has been the site of paranormal activity ever since the passing of its wealthy owner, Jesse Lincoln Driskill. His spirit is believed to haunt the hotel. Legends also have it that in Room 525, two honeymoon brides committed suicide in the bathtub–exactly 20 years apart to the day. Once blocked off to the public, the room was reopened in the 1990’s. Since then, inexplicable leaks and faulty lighting have continued to disrupt guests in this room. Multiple guests have also spotted the spirit of Samantha Houston, the child daughter of a Texas Senator. Samantha died tragically at the Driskill in 1887. She was chasing a ball down the stairs when she fell down the grand staircase and broke her neck. Her giggles can be heard throughout the hotel to this day.

1. The Devil’s Backbone, Comal & Hays Cos.

Devil Backbone
Flickr/ Pascal Coleman

The Devil’s Backbone is a limestone ridge that stands tall from Wimberly to Blanco. Ranchers have been known to hear galloping horses running along the ridge. Several people have claimed to see the ghosts of Confederate soldiers, a wounded Native American, and even the White Lady running back and forth across country roads. Once, a four year old boy visiting the area was found speaking often to an “imaginary friend”. When asked about the friend, the boy said she was a little girl with a hole in her head. When his parents asked why she had a hole in her head, he said, “Her daddy put the hole in her head to save her.” The parents were later told by local historians that families of settlers from the region often committed suicide, and even killed their families, rather than being captured by Native American raiders.

 

Source