North Carolina Scary-Tales: Five local legends that will make your skin crawl


Graphic by Claire Reinthaler

Photos from Google.

Claire Reinthaler, Features Editor

North Carolina is home to a multitude of folklore, legends and ghost stories. Read on if you dare to discover a few of the Tar Heel State’s creepiest tales, just in time for Halloween.
The Ghost Ship, Outer Banks: A strange sight befell the Coast Guard patrolling the Outer Banks on Jan. 31, 1921, when they discovered a commercial sailing vessel, the Carol A. Deering, wrecked on the Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras. The ship had been spotted two days before the wreck by the Cape Lookout lightship returning from Brazil. Even so, when the Coast Guard discovered the ship it was entirely abandoned. All belongings, equipment and lifeboats were gone, with no passengers, dead or alive, to be found. What confused the Coast Guard the most, however, was the utter wreck that had been made of the captain’s quarters and the fact that the dinner that was assumedly to be served to passengers was still on the stove. Unable to explain the mysterious circumstances of the ship’s demise, the Coast Guard brought in the FBI, who explored all theories ranging from pirates to a Bermuda Triangle storm, all of which ended up being disproved. One hundred and one years later, the means of the ship’s destruction and the whereabouts of any survivors remains unknown.
Chatham Blood Shower, New Hope Township: Kit Lasater, a resident of Chatham County in central North Carolina, was walking around her neighborhood in February 1884 when she heard what sounded like heavy rainfall. Looking up she saw nothing, but when she looked back down, the surrounding area, including herself, had been drenched in what appeared to be a “shower of pure blood.” There were multiple neighbors as witnesses, who all confirmed Lasater’s story.
The substance was later sent to UNC professor, Dr. F.P. Venable, who, in the next two months, performed a multitude of tests and experiments; all of those experiments except for one came back with the chilling conclusion that the liquid that had rained down on Kit Lasater and the New Hope Township that day was indeed blood. The professor could offer no explanation for the astonishing discovery, stating that it was “quite a puzzle and offers a tempting field for the theorist blessed with a vivid imagination.”
Haunted Capitol Building, Raleigh: The former Raleigh capitol building, built in 1840, stands only two blocks away from the current one. Since the latter was built in 1961, the original building has reported many accounts of paranormal activity, from doors opening and closing of their own accord to screams echoing through the building’s empty space. A watchman known only as Mr. Jackson is said to have witnessed the elevator going up and down on its own, with voices conversing, as if the guard had been transported back to the time of the building’s use. While there is no way to confirm the tales, the legend has been a popular one for years and reports of hauntings have never truly gone away.
The Stubborn Piano, Salisbury: Legend has it that a man lived alone in a large farmhouse in Salisbury after his wife had died. She had loved to play the piano, and when she was dying, she made the man promise that he would never move or sell her precious instrument. The man obeyed for many years, but when he decided it was time to sell the farmhouse, he removed all furniture from the house, the piano last of all. Once he had dragged the instrument out onto his porch, however, the piano suddenly became animated, and walked back to where it had been sitting for all those years. No matter how many times the man tried to remove the piano, it just kept going back to where the man’s wife had instructed him to leave it.
The man couldn’t handle the piano any longer, so he offered a large sum of money to anyone who could take it away. An old woman came, swearing she could do it, but when she moved the piano it became quicker and more violent, knocking the woman to the ground and killing her right then and there. The piano was clearly destined to stay in the old farmhouse, with or without its former owners
There’s no specific name or date attached to the story, which is possibly proof to some skeptics that it never actually happened. However, this particular piece of lore is a common story among North Carolinian legends, and is still discussed to this day.
The Little Red Man, Winston-Salem: The Brother’s House, located in the historic village of Old Salem, was a communal home for unmarried Moravian men. Andreas Kresmer, a shoemaker, was killed around midnight on March 25, 1786, crushed by a falling piece of earth while excavating a new extension for the Brother’s House. He remained alive for a few hours after being trapped, but no one else was around to help him.
For multiple years after, reports flooded in of the disembodied sound of a shoemaker’s hammer in the house, as well as many sightings of a short man wearing a red cap, similar to the one Kresmer had once worn. Even many years later, Little Betsy, the deaf granddaughter of a widow that lived in what used to be the Brother’s House, claimed to have not only seen the Little Red Man, but to have made friends with him, despite her lack of knowledge on the legend. Eventually, a minister was called to ‘lay the ghost to rest,’ and there have been no sightings of the spirit since.
Be careful where you step this Halloween season. All the spooky rumors that go around this time of year could very well set the scene for North Carolina’s next haunting tale. Watch your back, or you may just find yourself at the center of it.