North Carolina February 10, 2017
7 Insane Things That Happened In North Carolina You Won’t Find in History Books
North Carolina is home to some of the richest history in the nation. From being the first state to declare independence from Britain, to schmoozing with the infamous pirate Blackbeard, to the entire disappearance of the Lost Colony, there’s a lot of well-known North Carolina history. But what about the history we don’t always know about – or the urban legends we’ve heard with no clear facts? You might’ve stumbled across these seven stories but never really knew the truth, until now.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Buried alive in Wilmington
While the cemetery at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington is a popular spot for both accompanied and unaccompanied ghost tours, there's a dark secret lingering beneath the surface.
In 1810 after a young Samuel Joselyn got in a fight with his wife, he rode off on his horse into the freezing night. The next day, his body was recovered frozen in four inches of water. After his burial, his friends were disturbed and haunted by abnormal, almost lucid dreams of Joselyn begging them to dig up his body. When his friends gave into the strange request, they found him in a dried puddle of blood with his fingers chiseled down to the bone from trying to claw his way out. Centuries later, visitors still claim to see a figure leaning against Joselyn's headstone.
2. The submerged city
While you can find plenty of haunting (and sometimes undisclosed) history on
The Road to Nowhere
, what is usually not spoken of are the towns submerged beneath water due to the creation of Fontana Dam. From Judson, Proctor, to the town of Almond...there's more than a few once thriving small towns that are now vanished. Read more about it
3. The Curse of Bath
North Carolina's first town and port was once a thriving place to be. From pirates to parties, the residents of Bath knew how to have a good time. But after a visit from a strange, notorious guest by the name of George Whitefield, it all changed seemingly overnight. The evangelist, known for his striking sermons of damnation and eternal hellfire, traveled with a coffin to remind all that he wasn't scared of the afterlife.
The residents of Bath didn't take kindly to his visit, and they told him that if he stayed, they'd put that coffin to good use. Whitefield told them, "If a place won't listen to The Word, you shake the dust of the town off your feet, and the town shall be cursed. I have put a curse on this town for a hundred years." The following years saw the establishment of nearby Washington which was more accessible by boat and not deemed "backwater" like Bath. Read all about the rise and demise of
4. Abraham Lincoln was born...where?
If you head over to Bostic, they'll greet you at the Bostic Lincoln Center and tell you the story of why they believe Abraham Lincoln was actually born in North Carolina. While the mainstream belief is that he was born in a cabin in Kentucky, he could have very well been born atop Lincoln Hill, east of Cherry Mountain in Rutherford County. The cause for this conspiracy revolves around the idea that Lincoln's 'father,' Thomas Lincoln, was actually hired to wed Nancy Hanks, take her to Kentucky, and adopt her illegitimate son (baby Abe). Some speculate the cause for this was that Nancy's employer at the time was actually Lincoln's father. Read all about the mystery behind the Lincoln center or plan a visit
5. The true munchkins of 'Munchkinland.'
Outside of Burlington, the historic Glencoe Mill and Village is commonly referred to as 'Munchkinland' or Munchkinville. After the thriving mill town was all but emptied of residents, it fell into decay and became a source of strange rumors. People said that a group of 'munchkins' would chase after your car, throw rocks at you, and some might even shoot a gun. The strange twist was that there are actual 'little people' in the town, but they wouldn't run at your nor chase and cuss at you. Their story is much more heartbreaking. Read our article on it
6. Bombs over Topsail
For years, a top secret operation coined 'Operation Bumble Bee' took place on Topsail Island. Today, you can still see the former assembly buildings and spotting towers strangely dotted along the beach. The island proved a perfect place because at that time it was uninhabited and miles away from everything. What was the purpose of the island? It was where the U.S. Navy tested ramjet missiles by shooting them into the ocean.
7. Famous writer dies in fire
For 12 years, the mental ward of Highlands Hospital in Asheville had a famous resident: Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of renowned American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. While F. Scott was recognized for works like The Great Gatsby, his wife was a genius writer as well. However, her extreme bouts of schizophrenia prevented her from living up to her potential. F. Scott took up residence for two summers at the Grove Park to try and revive his storytelling spark after the days of the Great Gatsby. At that time, Zelda was staying in the mental ward. On her good days, she was a riot to be around and a favorite of the staff. On her bad days she fell into extreme depression and sadness.
After her husband moved out west and eventually passed away, Highlands was a permanent home for Zelda. One night, a fire started in the hospital. Rumors circulated that patients were left chained to their beds and sedated. Zelda and eight others lost their lives in the fire that destroyed the building. Nothing was ever built in place of the hospital as a way to pay respects to those who lost their lives.
Wow! That was certainly interesting. Had you heard of any these before? Any you’d like to add?
For more North Carolina history that is stranger than fiction, how about these
10 chilling urban legends.