Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Coasts
(From the Introduction to Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Coasts)
This is not my first ghost book; nor is it my second, or even my third. This is my fourth book on ghosts of the Carolinas. You may wonder what compels a person to write numerous ghost books. There are several reasons for this compulsion. One is that I absolutely love ghost stories. I remember my college professors drilling into my head “write what you love,” so that is what I’ve done.
Our legends help preserve the history and heritage of the Carolinas. By knowing them, we get a rare glimpse into what these communities and their inhabitants were like once upon a time. Towns that no longer exist, or at the very least have changed drastically, and lifestyles that long ago became extinct, are revealed. For example, lifesaving stations with heroic crews, active (and remote) lighthouses and their keepers, nefarious pirates, salt of the earth lightering pilots and whalers were once an intrinsic part of our coasts.
I also love the thrill that each bizarre tale brings us. I get goose bumps when I hear what has happened to the night watchman aboard the USS North Carolina in “Sailor Spirits.” Vivid images of watery graves and outstretched hands flash before my eyes when I close them and recall “Ship of Fire.” My heart breaks when I think about the wreck of the Crissie Wright and all the lives that were lost that night. How helpless those on shore must have felt as they watched the crew, one by one, slowly give in to their horrific fate!
I am reminded of the terrible things sometimes done in the name of love when I think about the “Spirit of Poor Nell Cropsey,” “Secret Signal,” “Brown Lady of Chowan College,” and “Haunted Hammock House.”
A chill runs down my spine when I think about strange, inexplicable things like “Ghostly Hoofprints,” “And the Sea Will Tell,” and “Colonel Buck’s Curse.” I dare the naysayers to provide me with any plausible scientific explanation! Those stories affect me the most because there is no rational explanation to dismiss what has been witnessed.
However, I can’t help smiling when I think about “Hatteras Jack” and “Calling the Real Gray Man.” Thank goodness for them. I like that there are no simple explanations for them. We can use all the help we can get, regardless of what benevolent form it takes—even an albino dolphin or gray-cloaked ghost!Shoo-Fly Ghost Train
Some stories, such as “Pirate Specter,” “Drunken Jack,” and “Dram Tree Superstition” conjure up images of diehard, rum-swigging buccaneers and their outlandish seafaring traditions.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am glad there are some things that cannot be readily explained. The world is a better place with a few juicy mysteries and good, old-fashioned “read with the lights on” scary ghost stories and legends.
I hope you’ll visit my web site, www.terrancezepke.com, and let me know which stories you enjoyed the most. Did any of them keep you awake most of the night? Did you have trouble getting one of them out of your mind? If you visited one of the haunted places mentioned in this book, did you find yourself looking over your shoulder? Did a chill come over you as you walked into the room of a reportedly haunted place? Or perhaps you know a story that I have not yet heard that you’d like to share.
Maybe we’ll meet sometime while exploring the same haunted place and we can swap tales of ghostly encounters.