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  • September 13, 2018.

  • It's the middle of the night, and the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina,

  • is completely deserted.

  • The wind is blowing hard.

  • Seaspray fills the air.

  • Suddenly a CCTV camera catches something in the darkness: a ghostly figure waving its

  • arms.

  • It's the Gray Man.

  • He's doing what he's always done.

  • Warning people that a great storm is on its way.

  • September 14, 2018.

  • Hurricane Florence first hits land at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

  • The sea swells and the wind rages, reaching speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h).

  • The damage from this hurricane will cost $24.23 billion.

  • 53 people will die, and many others will be injured.

  • Some of you devoted skeptics out there are now thinking, “What a load of baloney.”

  • You have every right to have an opinion and we can't blame you for embracing scientific

  • rationality.

  • Still, we humans have a built-in feature to believe in the magical.

  • We've been doing it almost since day one.

  • Some say there's a reason for that.

  • Maybe magical things do happen, or at least have happened and the stories have been passed

  • down to billions of believers.

  • That's the basis of the Gray Man existence theory.

  • He was seen back in the day and his legend has been carried down for many years.

  • But more than that, every now and again he comes out of the woodwork and gives the people

  • a head start on approaching hurricanes.

  • We'll now talk about the past, and then we'll move on to the recent sightings.

  • When we reach the end, you can make your mind up as to if the Gray Man is real or not.

  • Ok, so even though you'd expect ghosts to have the ability to travel over vast spaces,

  • the Gray Man seems to stick to one patch, a few parts of North and South Carolina.

  • But his hood of choice is Pawleys Island in South Carolina, a tiny place home to just

  • over 100 residents.

  • That's where he appears mostly, but it seems occasionally he spreads his vaporous wings.

  • The folks on Pawleys Island certainly need an apparition that can forecast terrible weather.

  • During hurricane season the place is as blustery as an average day in Congress.

  • It's classed as a “very high-risk hurricane zone.”

  • Historically, entire houses have just been swept into the sea when great storms came.

  • That happened in 1954 during Hurricane Hazel.

  • One woman who claimed she saw the Gray Man back then and heeded his warning said her

  • house was spared, when others weren't so lucky.

  • But let's go back to the beginning.

  • As the legend goes, on September 27, 1822, there was a huge storm in the area.

  • A man who'd been at sea for two years was desperate to see his lover.

  • He got off the ship and started riding his horse, only to hit a mire in the marshland.

  • He was so desperate to get to her that he took a shortcut, a dangerous one.

  • He slowly sank, his eyes filling with tears for the lover waiting for him at home.

  • She was understandably upset at hearing the news.

  • She wept uncontrollably as she walked alone on the empty beach.

  • And then she saw him, or at least, she saw the ghost of him.

  • For a moment she believed it was really him.

  • She ran towards the gray figure and like sea mist, it just drifted away.

  • But as he disappeared she heard his words, carried on a gust of wind.

  • In a fading tone, she heard, “Leave the island at once.

  • You are in danger.

  • Leave the island!”

  • She told her pop what had happened, but he just thought grief was tormenting her fragile

  • mind.

  • The following day a hurricane ripped through the island, taking with it all the houses.

  • One house was spared.

  • Her house.

  • From that day on, the Gray Man stayed on the island, coming out now and again to warn the

  • residents that doom was around the corner.

  • That's one take on the tale, anyway.

  • Another iteration is way bleaker, but it doesn't really gel with the Gray Man supposedly being

  • some kind of Good Samaritan ghost.

  • This story says he'd been on a ship, longing for his lover, who was also his fiancé.

  • But while he pined for her out at sea, she was back on land enjoying amorous recreation

  • with his best friend.

  • All we'll say is when he found out he was so grief-stricken he soon died.

  • So did the two lovers.

  • Maybe that happened, maybe not.

  • He might even have been a pirate that got on the wrong end of a hurricane while out

  • at sea.

  • He could have been the first owner of the island, Percival Pawley.

  • Or he might have been mixed up in other matters.

  • We don't know.

  • We're not even that interested.

  • It's what happened after that floats our boat, excuse the pun.

  • The sightings have been numerous throughout the decades, but the story got some legs when

  • the owner of the island's most famous house saw the Gray Man.

  • She was Mrs. Eileen Weaver, and the house was the Pelican Inn.

  • It's still there now, functioning as a Bed & Breakfastmaybe a haunted Bed & Breakfast,

  • with a five-star TripAdvisor rating, no less.

  • Anyway, Mrs. Weaver claimed to have seen the Gray Man, but then she also claimed to have

  • seen a Gray Woman who appeared in the kitchen while she was kneading bread.

  • Her daughter-in-law, Gayle, also said she once felt something tug on her clothes from

  • the back while she was reading a comic.

  • She turned around and there was nothing, but she heard footsteps.

  • A guy named Bill Collins swears that he saw the Gray Man in 1954.

  • He was on his honeymoon with his new wife when at around 5 am, he heard a knock at the

  • door.

  • Feeling a bit peeved at the early morning call, he got up and opened the door.

  • In front of him stood a man dressed in what looked like rags.

  • On his head was one of those old oilskin fisherman's hats.

  • The guy told him to get off the island immediately, to pack his bags, and leave with his wife.

  • He said a great storm was coming.

  • For a second, Collins instinctively turned around to look at his sleeping wife.

  • When he turned back, the Gray Man had gone.

  • The next day, Hurricane Hazel made landfall, and parts of North and South Carolina were

  • almost annihilated by it.

  • We are talking destruction on a major scale, not just there, but over vast areas of the

  • US, the Caribbean, and Canada.

  • Up to a thousand people died.

  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced a “major disasterhad happened in the Carolinas.

  • News reports said 80% of all oceanfront houses from Little River to Pawleys Island had been

  • reduced to piles of bricks and wood.

  • Had the Gray Man foreseen this?

  • If he had, he could have been a bit more instructive to more people, but hey, two lives saved is

  • better than none.

  • It seems he has a thing for saving lovers.

  • Three decades later a couple went on TV and told the American public that they too had

  • seen the Gray Man.

  • This was groundbreaking since people got to hear about the ghost from the horse's mouth,

  • not just in books or around the campfire.

  • The couple was Jim and Clara Moore.

  • On September 19, 1989, they were walking down the beach on the island when a ghostly figure

  • appeared in front of them.

  • It disappeared just as soon as it appeared, but they didn't need to ask questions.

  • They knew what they'd seen.

  • The Gray Man.

  • A storm was coming.

  • They packed and left without blinking an eye.

  • Not long after, Hurricane Hugo caused untold damage all over the US and further afield.

  • The Carolinas, as always, took the hurricane's knockout punch right on the chin.

  • Over 50 people died.

  • 129,687 families in the area suffered overall.

  • After the hurricane had left, Pawleys Island looked as though Godzilla and King Kong had

  • chosen it for the location of their latest scrap.

  • 100 homes there were totally destroyed.

  • Resident Dave Garlock described the destruction, saying even the island's sand bar had been

  • cut in half by the sheer force of the winds.

  • A news report back then said, “Winds gusting up to 140 mph raced through the Bird's Nest,

  • wiping out a row of 11 oceanfront homes.

  • Some smashed into the second and third rows of homes.

  • Others were carried into the creek.”

  • You get the picture, hardly anything was spared.

  • So, when Jim and Clara appeared on the TV showUnsolved Mysteriesand said the

  • Gray Man had saved them, you could say some folks were surprised.

  • Others were understandably a bit annoyed that people were claiming ghosts saved them.

  • Looking at the ruins of their house, the last thing they wanted to hear was a ghost story.

  • Nevertheless, this is what Jim told the interviewer, “You see so many people walking on the beach

  • at that time of day.

  • That particular afternoon we only saw the one, and he was coming directly toward us.

  • When I got within speaking distance, I raised my hand to say 'hi' or 'beautiful evening'

  • and he disappeared.”

  • Jim also said that while most houses on the island had been felled, his was ok.

  • Both Jim and Clara said the good lord and the Gray Man had served them well, which didn't

  • go down too well with some homeless residents.

  • We're not sure Georgetown County Civil Defense Director Eddie Carraway was impressed either.

  • He'd been saying for years another massive hurricane was coming and people should live

  • accordingly.

  • We found Clara's obituary.

  • She died after Jim, in 2008, aged 91.

  • There was no mention of how she'd been saved by the Gray Man, but it said she was a Sunday

  • school teacher and a member of the Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church.

  • Moving on.

  • We can't seem to find the date of this next story, and we can't be sure who the fisherman

  • is, but the tale has been repeated a lot.

  • According to a fisherman, he saw the Gray Man at a place called Murrells Inlet, a coastal

  • town around 10 miles from Pawleys Island.

  • He said he'd been out on his boat all day when he thought he saw something.

  • In his own words, he said, “I was going to do one more sweep of the Inlet for oysters

  • when I noticed a man standing alone on the shore, waving to me.”

  • He said as he got closer, he realized the guy wasn't waving, but signaling for him

  • to stop.

  • The fisherman explained what he saw when his boat drew close to the figure.

  • He was dressed in all gray and looked like an old pirate.

  • I couldn't believe what I saw.

  • I literally rubbed my eyes and looked again.

  • He was gone.”

  • This tale doesn't end with a hurricane.

  • It's just a regular sighting, which doesn't often happen.

  • He's a prophesier, not a regular spooker.

  • From what we can tell though, the Gray Man has been seriously lacking when it comes to

  • making appearances at the right time.

  • It seems he was a no-show when Hurricane Matthew made a mess of the island in 2016 and washed

  • away at least 16 houses.

  • The disaster was compared in the press to what Hurricane Floyd did back in 1999, which

  • also saw an absence of the ghost.

  • In 2019, there was Hurricane Dorian, and again, Gray Man was asleep on the job.

  • He could also be accused of a dereliction of duty on many other occasions when storms

  • damaged the island.

  • Though it could just be also that folks don't feel comfortable talking about having seen

  • a ghost, so we don't have any gray man stories to link to the hurricanes.

  • Admittedly, though, when he has gotten off his unembodied behind it's been for some

  • of the worst storms.

  • That's why some people still believe he's real and he's needed.

  • This is what a 23-year old college student on the island told the media in 2018, “He's

  • a friendly entity.

  • Not that it's a good thing to see him, but when someone does claim to see him, it

  • gives us locals an idea of what we're dealing with.”

  • She said that when she asked her parents what happens when you dismiss what the Gray Man

  • says, they told her those people's houses are destroyed.

  • As you know, he came out for Hurricane Florence in 2018, but this time things didn't quite

  • work out so well.

  • Here's what someone Tweeted, “Oh lordy, it's getting real now.

  • I just read that there was a sighting of the Gray Man at Pawleys Island yesterday.

  • South Carolina better get ready because he doesn't appear for nothing!”

  • In defense of people that believe in the Gray Man, that tweet was sent five days before

  • Florence hit land in North Carolina.

  • Still, it seems that the Gray Man got that one all wrong.

  • News media said the island actually fared really well during Florence and there was

  • no significant damage or injuries.

  • Other places had it much worse, but the Gray Man's home turf was fine.

  • Other news reports suggest that the Gray Man might do well from trying to understand modern

  • crime trends.

  • Homes were evacuated on the island before the hurricane hit, but after that, a series

  • of burglaries took place at a number of expensive residencies.

  • In just one house $100,000 was stolen from a safe, not to mention all the jewelry and

  • other valuables the thieves got.

  • Six homes were raided in what can only be called a hurricane heist.

  • Maybe the Gray Man should hang up his gloves.

  • Don't we have meteorologists now, anyway, utilizing data and high-tech forecasting models?

  • Who would you put your trust in?

  • Now you need to watch, “Russian Sleep ExperimentEXPLAINED.”

  • Or, sticking with ghosts, “New Video Evidence That Proves Ghosts Are Real.”

September 13, 2018.

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"Get Off The Island"

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    Summer posted on 2021/09/20
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