Tracking tropical storms or hurricanes headed for North Carolina is a normal occurrence almost every summer, but some come with a paranormal twist.

What You Need To Know

  • Stories of the Gray Man date back 100 years

  • Sightings occur before hurricanes strike

  • There is video evidence of the Gray Man

Stories of a gray man appearing along the Outer Banks during hurricanes have circulated for years, so if you’d like to hear a ghost story with a bit of weather mixed in, you’ve come to the right place. 

The legend has been around since the early 1900s and tells of a shadowy figure walking the beaches as the first winds of a hurricane start to blow. Many have seen the figure, but none have gotten a great look, as the ghostly presence dissipates as onlookers approach. 

The Gray Man never speaks or does anything particularly scary; he's usually just seen calmly walking near the shore. People often see him in the Outer Banks, especially along Hatteras, but a similar figure also haunts Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

The Gray Man's appearance is also seemingly a sign of a tremendous storm, most recently showing up during Hurricane Florence in 2018. In this video, a figure appears to be walking along Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills as Florence was coming ashore. Hurricane Florence, as you remember, caused devastating flooding across the coast over a three-day span. 

Who could the Gray Man be?

There are many theories about who the apparition was, or is, or however you want to describe it.

Some say the ghost is that of a sailor lost during one of the many shipwrecks that occurred along our coast in years past, who has come back to warn residents of the impending storm.

Others claim it’s the ghost of George Pawley, the original owner of Pawleys Island. Another legend is that Blackbeard the Pirate has returned to roam the beaches for a long-lost treasure during a stormy night. 

Another theory is that it was never a man at all, just a spirit that represents the force of the wind and waves heading toward the Outer Banks. 

No matter what you believe, the next time you find yourself along the coast and a storm is brewing, take a look along the beach. If you see the Gray Man, take that as a warning and head inland because a big storm is bound to blow in.