5 of the Best Haunted Attractions Near Your Emerald Isle Rental


Haunted Attractions

Not for the faint of heart, there are tales of unusual sights and sounds, unexplained occurrences, and tales from the past that still haunt the Crystal Coast of North Carolina to this very day. Are you looking for a real-life history lesson combined with the chance to experience the unexpected? Then these five local attractions will have you looking over your shoulder. Visit one or visit them all, if you dare. They're all close and convenient enough to do as a day trip from your Emerald Isle rental. Blackbeard the pirate tales and tragedies, Civil War soldier apparitions, and the ghost of the little girl buried in a rum keg are all ghost stories you're likely to hear, and perhaps see for yourself, during your visit. Don't go these alone!

Fort Macon

1. Historic Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach

It's not hard to imagine why ghost stories surface and resurface in a place like Fort Macon. This Civil War era historic site has been through a lot—if only the walls could talk, oh the stories they'd tell. They don't actually talk but the chilling sound of dripping water, cannon-ball-chipped walls, and the echoes of the past are enough to send a shiver down your spine. But are there any ghosts? Well, that depends on who you ask. There's one particular story of an unlucky soldier named Ben Combs who stood sentinel in the April of 1862 as the Confederate Army was huddled inside the Fort while Union cannons rained down all around them in a bombardment that lasted 11 hours. He was only 25 and had volunteered in the months after the secession, leaving behind his wife, Eliza, and their Wayne County farm. As he stood dutifully with a rifle on his shoulder, a mortar shell dropped out of the sky and landed a little too close for comfort on a hill nearby, rolling down to him on this fateful day. The explosion left him alive, but barely. Ben Combs suffered for five long days before dying a painful death. The story gets more intriguing and macabre when in the early 1980s a woman named Linda Coats, who claimed to have spoken with the ghost of Ben Combs, also met an untimely death by the hand of a soldier. You can read more about exactly what happened and more of the Ben Combs ghost story and haunting of Fort Macon here.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the real life stories and war time history that you'll find at Historic Fort Macon are haunting enough to make it worthy of a visit next time you're in town.

2. The Haunted Webb Memorial Library in Morehead CityWebb Memorial Library

The Webb Memorial Library was not always a library. In 1929, Mr. Earle W. Webb, Sr., CEO of Ethyl Corporation in NYC and native Morehead City resident, began construction of a commercial building on the corner of 9th and Evans Streets in downtown Morehead City, North Carolina. For the first few years the building had doctors’ offices downstairs and a training facility for the local garment factory upstairs. When the upstairs noise became too much for the downstairs occupants, the garment factory left. Mrs. Webb, a member of the Morehead Woman’s Club, asked her husband if the club could move its 300 book library to one of the upstairs rooms. When he agreed, the library was moved. A few years later in 1936, the Webbs’ son, Earle W. Webb, Jr., became ill and died. In honor of their son, Mr. and Mrs. Webb dedicated the building as the Earle W. Webb Jr. Memorial Library and Civic Center and opened it to all the citizens of Morehead City for community use. You can read more about the history of the Webb Memorial Library here.

Did you know that the Webb Memorial is the most paranormally investigated building on the Crystal Coast? It is. So here's your chance to experience it with an after-hours paranormal investigation led by an expert in the field. On this tour you can join a real hands-on investigation by using varying paranormal equipment. Learn about the history of the Webb, hear about the real hauntings over the years, and perhaps come home with a ghost story of your very own. Due to the nature of this tour, it's only available to those age 13 and older. Port City Tour Company has been doing ghost tours in the Webb Memorial since 2008, so they know a little bit about things that go bump in the night. They offer tours year-round and reservations are required. (IMG Source: Haunted Webb Memorial)

Old Burying Grounds

3. The Old Burying Grounds in Beaufort

With the oldest grave marker dated back to 1711, it's fair to say that the Old Burying Grounds in Beaufort holds a lot of history within its gates. A stroll through the cemetery is pretty peaceful with its shady live oaks and shadowy gravestones of those who lived before us. Probably the most notable grave site in the cemetery is the one marked "Little Girl Buried in a Keg of Rum". You'll see tokens from sympathetic visitors strewn all over and around this little girl's grave. Have you heard of her story? It begins in the mid-18th Century, when a family named Sloo (pronounced Slow) traveled from England to the North Carolina colony bringing with them their infant daughter. Sloo was a merchant captain who made his living trading in the English settlements scattered across the Atlantic. The family was prosperous, and they soon built a gorgeous house which still stands on the Beaufort waterfront. But despite thriving in the colonies, the mother was homesick and often spoke of England. As the Sloo's daughter grew, hearing her mother's stories, she too began to long to see the distant land where she was born. Whenever her father was about to set sail, she would beg him to take her with him so she could see England for herself. Long story short, she finally got her wish. The voyage to England took months, and a sailing ship was no place for a child. After years of pleading, her father finally agreed that she could travel with him. The mother consented to the voyage on one condition, that no matter what happened, he would bring their daughter back to her in Beaufort. And so, Sloo and his daughter set sail for England.

But on the return voyage, the foreshadowing thoughts become a sad reality when just a week or so out of port, the young girl fell ill and died. It was the custom in those days for anyone who passed away on a ship to be buried at sea. But Captain Sloo couldn't bear to allow his daughter's body to be lost in the depths of the ocean. He also recalled his promise to his wife, so the Captain did what he could. There was only one thing on board the ship which could preserve a body, something which every sailing ship carried in copious supply, rum. Captain Sloo gently placed his daughter's body in one of the many barrels of rum in the hold and sealed the barrel shut. When he returned home with the heartbreaking news to his wife, she wept for her lost daughter. Not wanting to disturb her further by exposing her to the condition of their daughter's body after being soaked in rum for months on end, Sloo arranged for his daughter to be buried in the cemetery with a barrel full of rum as her casket.

Today, there are some who say that the figure of a young girl can be seen running and playing between the graves in the Old Burying Grounds at night. They say that the tributes left on the young girl's grave are often moved about the graveyard at night, often found sitting balanced on top of other gravestones or in places they couldn't have moved to by just the wind. You can read more about The Rum Keg Girl here. Then go ahead and download the Beaufort Old Burying Grounds Tour Map and explore it for yourself.

4. The Hammock House in BeaufortHammock House

Dating back to the 1700s, the Hammock House on Front Street in Beaufort is steeped in history. Most famously it is associated with Blackbeard the Pirate, but there are many legends and stories connected with the house. Some people have believed it to be haunted because Blackbeard stayed here for a while with his 18-year-old French common-law wife who was not a willing occupant. The pirate got so angry with her that he hanged her on an oak tree in the back yard when he departed. Some people say her screams can be heard to this day when conditions are just right. Another tale frequently told has to do with one Richard Russell, Jr., who, upon his return from a sea voyage decided to take a slave up into the Hammock House attic to punish him. The slave overpowered Russell and pushed him down the stairs, breaking his neck. And yet another story of a British Navy Captain, engaged to a Beaufort woman, upon arriving in town mistakenly thought that his fiancé had been untrue and killed her alleged lover in the upper area of the house where traces of the victim's blood can be detected on the treads of the steps. Then there's the tale of the Civil War Union officers who were quartered in the house. Three of them set out for the building and were never seen again. In 1915 workmen digging near the back porch found their remains. Recently, during renovations, a human scapula bone was uncovered. So as you can see, there is a lot of torrid tales that surround the house.

Today you can see the Hammock House from the outside by taking the Beaufort Ghost Walk and the Legend of Blackbeard tours. You'll get to hear more ghost stories, learn about local legends and see the area haunts for yourself. You'll get a good dose of maritime history along with some spooky tales to tell your friends. (IMG Source:Blackbeard the Pirate)

National Cemetery

5. The National Cemetery in New Bern

Established in 1867 in New Bern, North Carolina, the New Bern National Cemetery contains the remains of the Union soldiers, including 300 U.S. Colored Troops, originally buried throughout the Inner Banks region. The cemetery’s grounds are dotted with numerous private grave markers, and four large monuments erected by states to commemorate fallen Union soldiers. The rectangular cemetery is surrounded by an 1874 brick wall, with a rostrum and 1916 lodge situated on the grounds.

You'll hear the usual run of ghost stories about the National Cemetery in New Bern, one of the oldest graveyards in the region, because everybody in town has tales of voices, visions, footsteps, bone-chilling arctic blasts and things that go bump in the night. New Bern was established in 1710 and Tryon Palace, home of colonial governor William Tryon, was completed in 1770. One hotly debated story concerns the natural stone archway that stands at the cemetery's entrance. Allegedly William Tryon participated in a duel at this site and fared none too well in the contest. His pistol shot widely missed its mark and struck the archway, while his adversary was a better marksman and mortally wounded him. Reputable historians take issue with this account of events, pointing out that it is a matter of record that Tryon died of natural causes at his home in England in 1787. The strange thing is, there really is a pistol ball mark in the stone archway of unknown origins. Even stranger, that archway leaks and drips all the time, not letting up during long, hot summer droughts, its water source unknown—unless of course those droplets are tears. Some say the so-called Weeping Arch is lamenting the yellow fever epidemic of 1798. You can read more about the Weeping Arch here.

Are you ready to explore the local history and haunts of the Crystal Coast for yourself? Make your plans now!


Have you been to any of these haunted places on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina? Did you hear or see anything unusual? Inquiring minds want to know!

Haunted Attractions