North Carolina’s Can Opener Bridge: this too-low North Carolina railroad trestle is still a notorious truck executioner

At the corner of Gregson and Peabody streets in Durham, North Carolina lies what at first glance appears to be an innocent railroad trestle – but this is no ordinary railroad trestle. It is sinister and cunning and will mercilessly scalp any vehicle too high and mighty for its own good. Well, most bridges in North Carolina have a 15-foot clearance (about 4,5 meters), but this was designed in the 1920s and built in 1940, and so it has a clearance of 11 feet 8 inches (3,6 meters). This architectural…

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Charlie Lawson, the wandering ghost of Stokes County

Stokes County, North Carolina, is located in the heart of tobacco country. Back in the heyday of the Golden Leaf, as tobacco was once called, almost every man in Stokes county farmed tobacco or had some kind of connection to it. And the most infamous tobacco farmer of them all was such a Charlie Lawson. It is said that his crimes are so horrible that his soul is not even welcome in Hell and, as a result, some local residents say his ghost still wanders the road in Stokes County…

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The mystery of Brown Mountain Lights

Near the town of Morganton, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the so-called Brown Mountain. Interestingly, as far back as the early 1900’s, people have observed a ghostly phenomenon in the skies around the mountain that has become known, not coincidentally, as “the Brown Mountain Lights”. However, some of the earliest reports of these ghost lights came from Cherokee and Catawba Indians, but also settlers and Civil War soldiers, and thousands have witnessed the spectacle, which is ongoing to this day. Ghost hunting is a…

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The bedside ghost of Edenton’s Cupola House~

Ghost stories are one of the most fascinating ways to uncover an area’s history, past residents, culture and stories. Nestled on the banks of the Albemarle Sound, in a remote part of eastern North Carolina, lies the small town of Edenton. Incorporated in 1722, it was the first capital of colonial North Carolina and as such has a rich history dating back to its early days as a maritime seaport of pre-Revolutionary War America. Given the age of some of the historical homes and buildings in Edenton, not to mention…

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The Tar River Banshee~

The Tar River flows into the Pamlico Sound after crossing much of the northeast part of North Carolina. It meanders through the fields and small towns on its way to the Sound and was once a major shipping route for tar-laden barges. In addition, as it goes with just about everything in the area, the Tar River is said to be haunted… As story goes, during the Revolutionary War, a native of England named Dave Warner came to the area and opened a mill on the Tar River. Sympathetic to…

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The curious folktale of Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Apparently, most people born in North Carolina have visited Blowing Rock at one time or another in their lives. The town of Blowing Rock, is named for “The Blowing Rock”, an outcropping of rock studded with crystals that hangs over a deep valley in the Appalachian Mountains. In any case, along with Tweetsie Railroad and the “mile high swinging bridge” at nearby Grandfather Mountain, it is a popular destination for anyone that visits the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, few people know the story behind Blowing Rock. As a child, my…

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The mystery of WWII bomber plane that still lies in North Carolina’s Badin Lake

Apparently some North Carolina lakes of considerable depth generate as many legendary tales, expecially fish tales, but not only. Badin Lake, just outside the town of Albemarle, is not an exception. Created in 1917 by the damming of the Yadkin river, the 5300-acre lake reaches depths of over 60 meters and holds in its belly the remains of farmhouses and entire forests, as well as, according to a legend, the mysterious wreckage of a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber. As story goes, Mary Elizabeth McDaniel hurried through an early…

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Lydia, the phantom hitchhiker of North Carolina

Phantom hitchhiker stories are not rare. Most entail someone driving on a road or highway when they come upon a person walking along side, flagging them down for a ride. A kind person might stop to get them a ride, only to discover the hitchhiker has disappeared. The Lydia’s story is no different. North Carolina has it share of ghost stories, unexplained phenomena, and tales of the supernatural. One such tale comes from Jamestown, in Guilford County. The legend begins in late December 1923 (the 23rd or 31st depending on…

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A Nessie-like monster supposedly lurks in Lake Norman, North Carolina~

Lake Norman, North Carolina’s largest manmade lake, is about 30 kilometers from Charlotte. Its about 836 kilometers of coastline make it a popular destination for free time, and its shores and placid waters are home to a host of aquatic species like box turtles, catfish, and yellow perch. It was created by Duke Power in 1963 as part of the Cowans Ford Dam. Sometimes it is called North Carolina’s “inland sea”, and there may be much larger creatures swimming! Though the lake is man-made, there have been reports of a…

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