The 10 Most Haunted Places in North Carolina

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. All hosted affiliate links follow our editorial & privacy policies.

North Carolina’s state history is deep and sometimes sordid, with lots of interplay between cultures, humans and nature, and even some inexplicable phenomena.

From the mysterious disappearance of the “lost colony” of Roanoke Islan) to the dark history of the Cherokee removal and the Civil Rights era, this history is riddled with tragic tales and haunted places.

Many of the most haunted places in North Carolina— historic homes, forests, ships, swamps, hotels, etc.—are still open to the public today.

Visiting them can provide an ominous thrill for anyone with an interest in the paranormal.

Of course, these haunting experiences are all the more exciting when there’s some historical context to go along with the place.

To that end, we’ve put together this list of some of the most famous haunted places in NC and the spooky tales behind them, just in time for Halloween!

Read to learn more about the spookiest sites and stories of haunted North Carolina…

READ MORE: The 10 Best North Carolina Haunted Houses

Haunted Places in North Carolina Guide

  1. Battleship North Carolina (Wilmington)
  2. The Biltmore Estate (Asheville)
  3. The Brown Mountain Lights (Linville Gorge)
  4. The Demon Dog (Valle Crucis)
  5. The Devil’s Tramping Ground (Chatham County)
  6. The Duke Mansion (Charlotte)
  7. The Great Dismal Swamp (NC/Virginia Border)
  8. Grove Park Inn (Asheville)
  9. Paint Rock (Hot Springs)
  10. Teach’s Hole (Ocracoke Island)

READ MORE: Fall in North Carolina: 20 Great Places to See Fall Colors in Western NC

NC Haunted Places - USS North Carolina Battleship
USS North Carolina Battleship, photo via Facebook

1. Battleship North Carolina

The USS Battleship North Carolina is a highly decorated WWII ship. It’s now docked just across the river from Wilmington NC, and operates as a floating museum.

This vessel was involved in all of the major offensive strikes by the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean during World War 2, and it once survived a torpedo attack from a Japanese ship.

Nevertheless, the USS North Carolina has seen its share of tragedies, including several soldiers who died in battle and one sailor who was washed overboard.

Inexplicable figures and out-of-place shadows have been reported by visitors and staff, and even professional paranormal investigators have had ghostly experiences here.

Ghost Hunts USA offers overnight tours on the ship a couple of nights a month, but self-guided tours are also available daily from 8:00AM– 5:00PM.

READ MORE: 8 Important Civil War Battlefields in Georgia to Visit

Haunted Asheville - Biltmore Library
Biltmore Library, photo via Facebook

2. The Biltmore Estate

The historic Biltmore Estate was built in the late 1800s after a young George Washington Vanderbilt visited Asheville NC, and his mother fell in love with the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Vanderbilt bought some 125,000 acres of land to be the grounds of the opulent mansion (some of which the family later donated to create Pisgah National Forest). 

He established an impressive art and artifact collection, as well as a library full of rare editions. After he died in 1914, his grandsons ultimately inherited the estate and turned it it a tourist attraction.

Vanderbilt loved to spend time in his Biltmore library when storms rolled in, and visitors have reported seeing a shadowy figure there when the weather turns gloomy.

Additionally, the ghost of Edith Vanderbilt is known to visit her husband there, and many visitors have reported hearing her whispering “George” to get his attention.

Staff members have also said the Library is one of the most haunted places in NC. They’ve heard the eerie sounds of a party, with clinking glasses, guests’ laughter, and echoing music.

The Biltmore house is open to guided and audio tours all year round. 

READ MORE: The 35 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC

north carolina haunted places - The Brown Mountain Lights
The Brown Mountain Lights via Facebook

3. The Brown Mountain Lights

The Brown Mountain Lights in the Linville Gorge have been a part of local lore in the North Carolina mountains for centuries.

Cherokee legend tells of a battle between the Cherokee and Catawba Indians around 1200 AD, and explains the lights as wives searching for their husbands, who were lost in the battle.

More logical explanations for the Brown Mountain Lights have been offered, but never proven.

A German scientist was immediately disputed when he explained them as inflamed nitrous vapors. A US Geological Survey decided they were locomotive headlights. A pulp magazine, The Argosy, claimed it was aliens.

Paranormal investigators and science professors have since tried to get to the bottom of this unexplained phenomenon, but no verified answers have been found.

Viewing locations for seeing the Brown Mountain Lights include Brown Mountain Overlook (off NC-181) and Wiseman’s View in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area (SR 1238).

READ MORE: The 25 Best Pumpkin Patches in the NC Mountains

haunted places in north carolina - The Demon Dog
St. john’s Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis NC, photo via Facebook

4. The Demon Dog

The small Blue Ridge Mountain town of Valle Crucis NC (“Valley of the Cross”) is located at the convergence of two streams near Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock, and Boone.

Though Valle Crucis is widely recognized as a wholesome setting, there’s a churchyard cemetery off of Hwy 194 where things reportedly get a little supernatural from time to time.

Two young men out for a late-night drive under the full moon reported seeing something leap from behind a headstone and run out into the road.

When they turned to see what had nearly killed them, it was a huge, human-sized dog with black hair, gnarly yellow teeth, and eyes aglow.

The dog chased them for miles, reportedly reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour. They were only able to shake the dog loose when they traversed a bridge, where the two streams crossed.

The cemetery is located at St. John’s Episcopal Church. And while it’s not an official North Carolina tourist attraction, such cemeteries are free to visit.

READ MORE: Appalachian Folklore, Monsters and Superstitions

haunted north carolina - The Devil's Tramping Ground
The Devil’s Tramping Ground, photo via Facebook

5. The Devil’s Tramping Ground

About 10 miles from Siler City in Chatham County NC, there’s a strange footpath that forms a circle 40 feet in diameter. Locals claim that this is where Satan walks to contemplate his evil deeds.

The path is completely free of vegetation, and the only thing that’ll grow inside the ring is tough clumps of grass. Even sticks left in the pathway are cleared away by the following morning.

Some folks claim the area was a meeting place for Cherokee people or other Native Americans, who made the circle bare with their ceremonial dances.

Others link the site to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, citing that the area was once called Croatan after a tribal chief was buried there. (The same name was famously carved into a tree on Roanoke Island.)

Scientists have tried to explain the Devil’s Tramping Ground as a former molasses mill, saying that the spot was made bare due to incessant circular treading.

Samples have shown the soil here to be high in salt, possibly due to remnants of salt licks in the area.

There is an NC Scenic Byway that was originally named (by the NC DOT) Devil’s Tramping Grounds Road, and it is free to travel. But the Devil’s Tramping Ground site is currently located on private property.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Fairs in North Carolina to Visit

most haunted places in nc - The Duke Mansion
The Duke Mansion via Facebook

6. The Duke Mansion

Located in Charlotte’s Myers Park neighborhood, the Duke Mansion was built in 1915 as the home of James “Buck” Duke (of Duke University and Duke Energy fame).

But the property was briefly owned by Jon Avery in the 1920s, which is when the paranormal happenings reportedly began.

After Avery’s wife was hospitalized for severe mental health issues, the lonely Jon began renting a room to a young writer, Maggie, with whom he eventually fell in love.

When Avery refused to leave his wife, Maggie quickly broke off their affair. But Avery got her to promise to meet him at the home one year later, dead or alive.

Maggie waited until nearly midnight on the same day, one year later. Jon Avery showed up just in time, and the two reached out for one another as Avery said, “Dead or alive.”

It turned out that Avery had actually died a few days earlier. Those tending to him in his final days recalled him wondering aloud if he would be well enough to make it to the meeting.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Duke Mansion is operated as a non-profit hotel and wedding venue. Check rates for the Duke Mansion on if you want to visit!

READ MORE: Apple Picking in North Carolina: The 15 Best NC Apple Orchards

most haunted places in north carolina - Dismal Swamp State Park
Dismal Swamp State Park, photo via Facebook

7. The Great Dismal Swamp

The Great Dismal Swamp encompasses more than 100,000 acres straddling the boundary of North Carolina and Virginia.

The swamp was home to Native Americans over 13,000 years ago, and George Washington tried to convert the wetlands into farmland. It also was home to Maroon communities of escaped slaves.

Though beautiful, the Great Dismal Swamp is also dangerous and spooky. In addition to wild animals (including snakes), the swamp is deep and difficult to climb out of.

Many have drowned in its waters. Mysterious lights have been seen in the forest and gliding over the water. Hunters have lost bears and deer, claiming they disappeared without a trace of blood. 

Perhaps the most famous tale from the Great Dismal Swamp was that of two Native American lovers.

The woman died before the wedding and was buried in the swamp. The man later drowned while paddling out, because he swore he could see her in a white canoe.

Now the ill-fated can reportedly be seen from time to time paddling on Lake Drummond together.

From North Carolina, visitors can go to the Dismal Swamp State Park. In Virginia, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located near Suffolk.

READ MORE: Non-Venomous vs Venomous Snakes in North Carolina (ID Guide)

NC Haunted - The Grove Inn
The Grove Park Inn, photo via Facebook

8. The Grove Park Inn

The Grove Park Inn could be considered the frightful jewel of haunted Asheville. Its most famed apparition is called the Pink Lady.

Although the ghost remains unidentified, it is believed that she’s a young woman who fell 5 stories to her death– from Room 545 to the Palm Court Atrium– back in 1920.

A contractor who was repairing the room felt a presence, got the chills, and felt a tugging on his ear. He ran out of the room scared out of his wits and never returned.

Since then, many guests have reported encounters with the Pink Lady, most of which involve being touched by her. But the general consensus seems to be that she is gentle, not malevolent.

The Grove Park Inn remains a functioning hotel on the north side of Asheville, near the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, and the town of Weaverville.

If you want to visit, check rates for the Grove Park Inn on It’s especially cool around Christmas, when the hotel hosts the National Gingerbread House Competition.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places for Horseback Riding In/Near Asheville NC

NC Haunted Spots - Paint Rock
Paint Rock photo via Facebook

9. Paint Rock

Located near the Tennessee border and the small town of Hot Springs, Paint Rock is considered one of the most haunted places in NC.

Paint Rock has been a landmark for eons, featuring one of the best examples of Native American pictographs in North Carolina.

Located right on the French Broad River, the cliffs were first noted by Europeans in the 1790s. They were later a strategic hold bordering Cherokee land.

The figure of a lone Cherokee man has been seen walking through the forest near Paint Rock.

But what makes this one of the most haunted places in North Carolina is more about the famous body water it overlooks. Legend has it that singing maidens here have lured men to their deaths.

Paint Rock can still be visited today, and remains famous as the best place in North Carolina to see in-situ Native American pictographs.

READ MORE: The 15 Best North Carolina Mountain Towns to Visit

North Carolina Haunted Places - Teach's House
Teach’s House, photo via Facebook

10. Teach’s Hole

Located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke Island is riddled with ghostly stories, particularly the tale of Teach’s Hole.

Ocracoke Island was the home and final resting place of the pirate Blackbeard (real name Edward Teach). He was known as a great intimidator, inspiring white flags at just the sight of him. 

Despite having given up piracy and pledged allegiance to the Queen, Teach was beheaded in 1718 by Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy.

Maynard was sent by the governor of Virginia, who was not convinced the famed pirate was truly willing to give up the lucrative trade.

Blackbeard is now said to haunt the land near where his body was tossed into the sea (known as the Point, or Teach’s Hole). Witnesses report seeing him pacing the shoreline, looking for his missing head.

Ocracoke Island can be accessed via a state ferry or personal boat.  –by Jonathon Engels; featured image of a fire whirl at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge by Greg Sanders via USFWS


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting the Western North Carolina for the first time, Jonathon Engels and his wife Emma spent two years looking for a few acres of property there to establish a permaculture homestead. During that search, he explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, surrounding towns, and parks. He has taught at both Blue Ridge Community College and Surry Community College, is a member of a long-established land conservation community near the town of Dobson, volunteers at the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and continues to explore the Blue Ridge, a place he now lovingly calls home.