Legendary Gray Man ghost walks Carolina beaches as hurricane warning

This video is from the security camera at Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills in September 2018.

One of the most famous ghosts of the Carolina coast may reappear along with Hurricane Dorian, if legend holds true.

A gray misty figure -- known as The Gray Man -- has been seen walking the beaches at Hatteras Island, NC, and Pawleys Island, SC, before storms since the early 1900s or longer, including sightings prior to infamous Hurricane Hazel and, most recently, Hurricane Florence.

Who is this spirit (or spirits) who warns those who see him of the impending storm -- and reportedly may even protect the areas where he walks?

Collectors of coastal legends and supernatural stories don't know his identity - The spirit does not speak and disappears when he's approached.

Pawleys Island residents speculate that the spirit is either the island's founder George Pawley, who died in the 1700s; or a young Charlestonian of the 1800s who perished on his way to see his fiancee after he and his horse were trapped in the swamp.

The Pawleys Island Gray Man is said to wear a long billowing coat which many who have seen him say resembles a pirate cloak.

Meanwhile, The Gray Man of Hatteras -- The 252's resident spirit -- may be the ghost of a sailor from the island who died at sea in a hurricane, according to

Greenville Judge Charles Whedbee, the late historian who collected legends of the Outer Banks, included the tale of The Gray Man of Hatteras in his "Outer Banks Mysteries and Seaside Stories." He wrote that old-timers told him the ghost was the spirit of a man named Gray who lived near Cape Point in the late 1800s. Gray drowned in a sudden storm on the beach -- and returns every time a hurricane approaches.

"He is known as a friend and is nothing at all to be afraid of," Whedbee wrote. "He loves his people, and he wants to protect them from harm."

The last reported sightings of both Gray Man spirits was in September 2018, just before Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas.

In addition to beach-goers reporting that they saw the spirits, cameras at fishing piers in Pawleys Island and Hatteras Island show a mysterious shadowy gray form walking the pier as the stormy winds whip the waves.