Spookiest spots in North Carolina

From local folklore and legends that have been passed down for centuries, to ghostly accounts of things that go bump in the night, we’ve highlighted four places in North Carolina that are sure to send chills down your spine.

1. Broughton State Hospital (Morganton, N.C.) – Stories of tortured patients, botched experiments, suicides and tragedy surround the asylum that was built in 1883 to house the mentally ill.

It’s not hard to believe all the tales of ghostly encounters told by former nurses and patients. Haunting apparitions aimlessly wandering and disappearing down vacant halls and dark corridors seem to be a reoccurring theme from all accounts.

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Screams can be heard echoing down the halls, coming from wards that are no longer occupied. Other odd occurrences experienced on the premises include the sound of rattling chains, doors slamming, and unusual cold sensations.

A graveyard sits on the hospital’s grounds, where patients who were wards of the state were once buried. Some photographers who have photographed the gravestones say they’ve even captured unexplainable figures and strange mists in their pictures.

To add to the creepiness, there are underground tunnels below the institution that are no longer utilized. Rumors as to what these tunnels were actually used for have been debated for years and the explanations have been pretty extreme. Some argue the tunnels were once used to safely transport the most dangerous mental patients through the building, without exposing them to the general population. Others contend that unruly patients would be hand-cuffed to the tunnel walls and left as form of torture and punishment.

Are these apparitions lingering souls of former patients or doctors back to haunt the living? No one knows for sure!

2. Ocracoke Island (Outer Banks, N.C.) - The North Carolina Coast isn't nicknamed The Graveyard of the Atlantic for no reason. Its storied history full of notorious pirates, ship wrecks and violence makes it easy to believe there are lost spirits lingering on the water's edge.

Though most of the towns that are settled on the state’s coastline have endured harrowed pasts, Ocracoke Island’s disturbing past seems to make it the perfect hub for paranormal activity.

Most notably, the notorious pirate Blackbeard was defeated and beheaded on the island. His entire crew of pirates was then tortured and executed on the banks of Ocracoke. On stormy nights locals claim to hear Blackbeard hauntingly call out, searching for his detached body. While rumors of his headless ghost wandering the streets also circulate.

Additionally, there are detailed accounts of witnesses seeing a phantom ghost ship off in the distance. They say the boat floats by then mysteriously vanishes. Most recollections describe the ghost ship going up in flames.

The frightening apparition may stem from historical events involving a ship bringing settlers to the Carolina Colonies that ended tragically. Sources say the cross-Atlantic voyage began to approach land in the middle of the night, but before the ship ever reached shore its greedy crew slaughtered the passengers who were sleeping below deck, before stealing their valuables.

The pirates then proceeded to transfer the stolen goods to a boat they could row ashore. In an attempt to conceal their ruthless acts and plundering, the pirates doused the entire vessel with flammable liquids and set the ship aflame.

To this day, Ocracoke residents swear that the ghostly ship returns each year.

3. Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C.) – Each year Grove Park Inn's world-class accommodations, restaurants and spa draw hundreds of thousands of guests, including former presidents and celebrities. So ghost stories and hauntings might be a little unexpected for the upscale hotel. Nevertheless, there have been a multitude of stories surrounding the Inn's resident ghost known as the Pink Lady.

Employees and guests have reported seeing anything from an unexplainable pink mist to a full-bodied apparition roaming the halls in a pink nightgown. Guests have also been woken by childlike pranks including the tickling of feet, doors slamming and the lights being turned on and off.

The mysterious spirit is believed to be a former hotel guest from the 1920s, who fell to her death from one of the Inn’s stone balconies. Rumors swirl about how she fell. Was it suicide after being scorned by a married lover or was it an accident?

No one knows for sure.

Want to check it out for yourself? To book a room, click here.

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4. Devil’s Tramping Ground (Chatham, N.C.) – Ten miles outside of Siler City sits a piece of land that has been completely barren for over a century. For years people have attempted to plant anything from trees to crops on the plot, but nothing will grow within the 40 foot circle of land, not even weeds. But the grass surrounding the sphere is plush and plentiful. Some say that any items placed within the circle are always forcefully removed or dead by dawn.

Tales regarding the circle’s origins have been passed down for generations dating back to the early 1800s, but scientists have yet to explain the phenomenon.

Locals say the ring is where the devil himself rises from hell to pace at night, thinking of ways to wreak havoc on mankind.

People who have visited the circle say they’ve become increasingly overwhelmed by the eerie feeling of being followed or watched. Some accounts include hearing whispers and screams that are uncomfortably close; while others have reported seeing a shadow figure with horns circling the area.

Rumor has it; many brave campers have attempted to spend the night within the circle’s boundaries to disprove the supernatural theories. None have lasted through the night, however.

Would you be brave enough to explore the grounds and find out the real culprit?

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