Urban legends of North Carolina


Sasha Kaiser, Features Writer

Have you ever heard of Bloody Mary? What about the Hookman? Both of these are popular urban legends that some people may even believe in, but did you know that North Carolina has its own urban legends? 

Like the Mothman, North Carolina has its very own cryptid. The Beast of Bladenboro is described as a cat-like vampire creature and is blamed for a string of animal deaths in Bladenboro from 1953-1954. The animals were killed in very gruesome ways with little to no blood left in them. There was a hunt for the beast, but what they ended up finding and killing was a bobcat. Reports went out that they killed the Beast of Bladenboro, but people are still skeptical of if that bobcat was really the culprit. Recently, in 2007, the beast made another appearance. The first kill of the beast was 60 goats who had all their blood drained. Other animals it killed were primarily dogs, including two pit bulls killed and found with blood drained and missing body parts. The creature hasn’t had a documented appearance since but he could very well be lurking, waiting for his next kill.

Down in Raleigh, there’s a place called Crybaby Lane. Crybaby Lane was the location of an orphanage that came to a tragic end in 1958 when the place was destroyed by a fire. The fire killed many of the children and the whole building was reduced to ash. Although the orphanage is no longer there, they say you can still smell the smoke strong in the air, and if you stay a little longer, you can hear the children’s screams. 

In Jamestown, NC, there’s a bridge called Lydia’s Haunted Bridge. It’s a very straightforward name, although the story itself isn’t as straightforward. The story changes depending on who’s telling it, but there are some aspects that stay the same.  The main idea is that since around 1923, people who travel near the underpass have encountered the ghost of a young girl in a white gown. The girl, whose name is Lydia, is looking for a ride home. She gives the drivers directions and then disappears once they arrive at the location. When one of the drivers talked to the owner of the house he was led to, he was told that the ghost he saw was the owner’s daughter, Lydia. She was killed in a car wreck at the underpass in 1923 on her way home from a dance. This is a place that you can actually visit, and maybe Lydia will even ask you for a ride home.

Down where the Neuse river goes into the Pamlico Sound, resides the ghost of an old woman eternally looking for her son. One day the woman’s son had gone down to the riverside where the water was rough and fast since it had been raining all day. The boy was swept into the river never to be seen again. His mother called out to him but there was no response. She went out to look for him, but she wasn’t seen again. A couple of weeks later, her body was found not too far from the river. Her cause of death is still a mystery, but eventually, she and her son’s house was forgotten as the towns around it grew. People who lived near the scene reported hearing a voice calling, “Where are you, my son?” and tapping on the floors. Nearby was the Camp Sea Gull boys’ camp. Legend says that sometimes the woman’s ghost will walk in between the cabin bends at night searching for her son.

In the 1800s in the town of Bath, horse racing was a popular sport. Jesse Elliot was one of the best horse racers and was never one to back down. Although some say he made a deal with the devil to help his horse win every race. One day while Elliot was bragging, a tall man who wore all black challenged him to a race, saying his horse would beat him. It’s said that the race took place on the Christian Sabbath which angered his wife very much. The stranger appeared with his horse, bigger than any Elliot had seen before, but he wouldn’t back down and yelled, “Take me a winner or take me to hell!” As he neared the finish line his horse suddenly jumped back, kicking Elliot off of him. Elliot was thrown into a tree and killed instantly, and the Devil rode back from where he came with Elliot’s spirit alongside him. Locals said clumps of Elliot’s hair were left on the tree for years after and that the footprints the Devil’s horse left are still visible to this day.

North Carolina has such a rich history, and apparently even has had a few visits from the Devil himself. All of the places these legends take place are open to the public and can be visited at any time if you ever want to go on a ghost hunt.