A phantom feline and a former governor are just some of the figures you might come across if you dare to visit these spots.
Whether you grew up in North Carolina or you are new to the state, you probably already know that we Southerners love a good ghost story. We like to hear them. We love to tell them. And North Carolina has more than its fair share of them.
The best stories always involve a little history, a little suspense, and well, sometimes, they also involve a little murder and mayhem. If engaging in a little paranormal activity is your sort of thing, North Carolina truly is the place to be.
Here are a few spots you might want to visit this spooky season to decide for yourself whether ghosts really do exist, or does our state just have some excellent storytellers with vivid imaginations.
The North Carolina Executive Mansion
200 N. Blount St., Raleigh
The North Carolina Executive Mansion is called the “people’s house,” but it has also been home to 30 North Carolina governors dating back to 1891. Legend has it, however, that the ghost of former Gov. Daniel Fowle may still be hanging around.
The gubernatorial ghosting began in the 1970s after the antique bed that Fowle died in was moved out of the governor’s bedroom to accommodate the preference of then-Gov. Bob Scott, according to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Shortly after, the mansion’s new residents could hear knocking from the spot where the antique headboard used to be. The knocking continued for years until the bed was returned to its rightful spot. The banging has not been heard since, but visitors can decide for themselves whether the mansion is haunted. The Capitol Area Visitors Center offers free tours.
One Lodge Street, Asheville
This 250-room French chateau isn’t just known as America’s largest home—it is also known for being haunted by its former residents.
The magnificent estate was built by George Vanderbilt, the grandson of a shipping tycoon, who visited Asheville in 1888 and fell in love with the area. He spent years building the opulent home and opened it on Christmas Eve 1895. Three years later, he married Edith Stuyvesant and they had their one and only child who was born at the estate.
The home was the site of many parties and much happiness—that is, until George Vanderbilt died unexpectedly at the age of 51 following an emergency surgery for appendicitis, according to The New York Times. He died at another home in Washington D.C.
But one could argue that his spirit never left Asheville.
In the years since its original occupant’s death, Biltmore Estate has been opened to the public. Various accounts suggest that George Vanderbilt and his beloved wife Edith may still roam its halls. Guests have reportedly heard a woman, possibly Edith, whisper the name George as they pass by the library, which was known to be his favorite spot. Others have heard laughter, people toasting glasses and even splashing in the now empty pool.
It’s hard to tell whether any of these accounts are true, but guests can visit Biltmore, one of North Carolina’s most popular destinations, and decide for themselves.
The Ghost Hiker at Grandfather Mountain
2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville
Visitors to Grandfather Mountain in Linville have reported seeing an older gentleman hiker with a long beard, mid-20th century workman’s clothes and a long walking stick hiking the trail alone just before the day turns to night. Known by many names, including Ghost Hiker, Phantom Hiker, or the Lone Hiker, the mystery man never speaks nor acknowledges anyone who talks to him. He simply walks the trail then is suddenly gone.
Visitors describe seeing him mainly when twilight starts to settle over the mountain. By all accounts, the Ghost Hiker is harmless. You be the judge on whether this is a fact or just some good old folklore. You just need to be brave enough to hike Grandfather Mountain’s trails before dusk.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
46379 Lighthouse Rd., Buxton
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is famous for protecting ships from what has been dubbed the Graveyard of the Atlantic. It stands to reason that the East Coast’s most well-known lighthouse is reportedly haunted.
While you might assume the apparition that calls this landmark home is some burly pirate or poor tormented merchant marine, your hopes are likely to be dashed. Nope. This lighthouse is actually said to be haunted by a cat. Unsurprisingly, the ghost cat is reportedly black and white, which matches the very distinctive lighthouse. Visitors have noted feeling the cat brush up against their legs, only to disappear when they go to pick it up.
If you are skeptical, you can always take the ride out to Cape Hatteras and see if this phantom feline is fantasy or just another fantastic tale. North Carolina coastal towns are full of such stories.
The Mordecai House
1 Mimosa St., Raleigh
This two-story home, built in 1785, is the oldest home in Raleigh still on its original foundation. With that long of a history, you know the house must harbor some stories—including one that suggests it is haunted.
The house was built by Joel Lane as a wedding gift for his son and new daughter-in-law, and ownership ultimately passed down to Mary Willis Mordecai Turk in the 19th century. The house was her showpiece, and she enjoyed entertaining guests and playing the piano in the historical home.
Turk died in 1937 at the age of 78 from a cerebral hemorrhage. Since her death, guests and visitors have noted seeing a woman, who many believe to be Turk, roaming the hallways of the Mordecai house. The woman wears a black skirt, white blouse. Others have described a vapor like-figure seated at a piano, while hearing the faint sound of the instrument play. Still, some claim to have seen a woman standing on the balcony of the home.
The Mordecai House offers tours—if you dare—Tuesdays through Sundays. It is best to call first to find out about availability.