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
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.
Late debutant Alice Flagg is another of our ghostly figures with good intentions.
Forbidden by her family from marrying her true love from a lower class, Alice fell ill and died of a broken heart (or, more likely, malaria) in the mid-1800s. As she lay dying, her brother discovered the ring given to her by her lover hidden on a necklace around her neck. He ripped it off and threw it away.
Now, Alice’s ghost haunts the area in search of her missing ring. Visitors to her grave marker at All Saint’s Episcopal Church leave rings and coins for her. It is said that if you circle the grave 13 times and lie on top of it, you’ll be visited by Alice’s ghost.
The family’s former mansion, The Hermitage, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the site of frequent Alice sightings.
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.