Scary stories: Legends and lore of Myrtle Beach
The Grand Strand is filled with haunted houses and hosted tours, but its real haunted history is hidden away from the neon lights to the south.
The Grand Strand’s ghost stories involve the popular themes of pirates, ghosts, lost love and even our very own neverworld-version of The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore.
The Gray Man, as he is popularly known, has been spotted on the beaches of Pawleys Island for more than a century. His appearances are always well-timed warnings of approaching hurricanes.
The legend tells of a young sailor desperate to reach his love in Pawleys Island, arriving only to be bucked from his horse and drowning in the rising tide’s surf after suffering a broken neck.
Dating back to the legendary hurricane of 1893 that ripped through the Strand, the Gray Man is often seen roaming the beach on the eve of big storms and beckoning residents to leave at once.
The South Strand is filled with ghostly figures with good intentions, like the late debutant Alice Flagg.
Forbidden by her family from marrying her true love from a lower class, Alice died of a broken heart in the mid-1800s. Soon after she began appearing at her former mansion, the Hermitage, and her final resting place at the All Saints Church cemetery in Pawleys Island, dressed in a white wedding gown and snatching rings from women’s fingers.
Another South Strand ghost died with a smile on his face.
Drunken Jack, as he is commonly known, was a pirate who was stranded by his crew on an island in Murrells Inlet with only cases of rum to sustain him.
Needless to say, Jack polished off the booty and proved that man cannot live on rum alone. He returns to the inlet on certain nights in search of more rum, or maybe a sandwich, and the island he died on is now known as Drunken Jack’s Island.
There are other spirits spooking the Strand – angry pirates lost at sea, native Americans searching for their homeland – but the best known and richest stories are on the south end. That makes Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island the best places to check out the area’s haunted history, just make sure you leave your rings and rum at home and don’t go the night before a hurricane.