By Tim Binnall
As Hurricane Florence barrels towards land, the monstrous storm has rekindled talk of a legendary ghost in South Carolina. Known as the 'Gray Man,' the eerie spirit is said to appear on the shores of the state's Pawleys Island prior to massive storms making landfall. However, unlike similar urban legends, this particular apparition it not a harbinger of doom and, instead, it is believed to be something of a good luck omen provided that one heeds the spirit's warning and evacuates the area.
The origin of the 'Gray Man' is most often traced back to an apocryphal 1822 incident in which a young man died on the island as he was en route to reuniting with his fiancée after being apart for several years while he was serving as a sailor. When he never arrived at the woman's home, she went out searching for him and eventually spied a shadowy figure resembling her lost love, but it soon vanished. Days later, a huge storm struck the area, but the woman's home was somehow spared while other residences around it were destroyed.
Tales of the apparition have since been passed down through the generations in South Carolina and really seemed to pick up steam when the story first appeared in print back in the 1950's. Since that time, the legend of the spirit has been featured on numerous television programs and in a variety of publications, often resurfacing on the eve of a major hurricane, as we're seeing this week. And, true to form, rumors of 'Gray Man' sightings have already begun circulating among South Carolina residents.
Strangely enough, this is not the first that we've heard of the spirit this summer as a spooky ghost sighting in the state back in July led some to wonder if perhaps the spirit was offering an early warning about what was to come. Whether that was the case or not, people in the path of the storm would be wise the heed the message of the 'Gray Man' anyway and head for higher ground before the Florence arrives, since forecasters say that the hurricane will likely be devastating for the area.