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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

North Carolina has a rich tradition of folklore, and in honor of Halloween we thought we’d share a few of our favorite folk tales, eerie unexplained natural phenomena and historical mysteries from the Tar Heel State’s past.

1. Brown Mountain Lights, Burke and Caldwell Counties

Since at least 1833, as many as a dozen unexplained lights of a red, blue or yellowish color have appeared on Brown Mountain, northwest of Morganton, usually on warm summer evenings. The phenomena have been investigated to no avail and inspired countless songs and stories.

A composite image of some of the various lights seen at Brown Mountain. Image from Our State Magazine.

A composite image of some of the various lights seen at Brown Mountain.
Image from Our State Magazine.

2. “Ghost Ship” Carroll A. Deering, Dare County

Though investigated by the FBI, the wreck of the Carroll A. Deering remains a mystery. The Coast Guard found the ship abandoned but wasn’t able to reach it four days. When they did reach the ship, they found nearly everything missing (including all the crew), though dinner was on the stove. The Bermuda Triangle, pirates and a number of other explanations have been offered, but none seem to hold.

The launch of the Caroll S. Deering. Image from the National Park Service.

The launch of the Carroll A. Deering. Image from the National Park Service.

3.Blood Shower,” Chatham County

After a Chatham County woman thought she heard a hard rain fall in February 1884, she quickly discovered that the liquid falling from the sky wasn’t clear, but instead was a “shower of pure blood.” Samples were taken by a UNC chemist who confirmed the liquid was indeed blood, buthe unable to offer a scientific explanation for the phenomena.

UNC Chemistry Professor Francis Venable's analysis of the Chatham County Blood Shower. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries.

UNC Chemistry Professor Francis Venable’s analysis of the Chatham County
Blood Shower. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries.

4. The Disappearance of Nell Cropsey, Pasquotank County

The nation was gripped by the sudden disappearance of the beautiful Nell Cropsey from her Elizabeth City home in November 1901. Cropsey was found dead in the Pasquotank River a month later, and her boyfriend, Jim Wilcox, was implicated from the crime though he maintained his innocence and was ultimately pardoned by Governor Thomas Bickett. The death remains a mystery, at least for some, to this day.

Nell Cropsey. Image from Museum of the Albemarle (H.2005.80.50.

Nell Cropsey. Image from the Museum of the Albemarle (H.2005.80.50).

5. The Maco Light, Brunswick County

The legend of the Maco Light has its origins in an 1867 train wreck that occurred west of Wilmington. After the car he was riding in became uncoupled from its train, conductor Joe Baldwin attempted to signal an oncoming second train to stop by waving a lantern. He was unsuccessful and was killed in the resulting crash, and ever since, a flickering light has been seen close to the site of the crash.

An illustration of the Maco Light from Our State Magazine.

An illustration of the Maco Light from Our State Magazine.

6. Devil’s Tramping Ground, Chatham County

In western Chatham County, you’ll find a 40-foot perfect circle devoid of most vegetation. Though surrounded by normal vegetation, attempts to plant just about anything on the path through the circle have all failed and anything left there seems to mysteriously disappear. Local lore maintains that the circle is the result of Satan’s nightly walks in the area, where he paces in a circle.

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Paying a visit the Devil’s Tramping Ground.

7. The “Ghost Train” of Bostian Bridge, Iredell County

One of the worst railroad disasters in history took 23 lives in August 1891 when a speeding train jumped the tracks and flew off a 60-foot high bridge west of Statesville. A ghostly specter of the train is said to be seen each year on the anniversary of the tragedy.

The Bostian Bridge Wreck. Image from the State Archives (N_88_9_12).

The Bostian Bridge Wreck. Image from the State Archives (N_88_9_12).

8. The Lost Colony, Dare County

One of the country’s most gripping historical mysteries, the Lost Colony hasn’t been seen since its founder, John White, left Roanoke Island in August 1587 on supply mission. When he returned in 1590, all White found was the word “CROATOAN” was carved on a post in where the colony once had stood.

Discovering

Discovering “CROATOAN” on a Roanoke Island tree.

Interested in reading more North Carolina folklore? NCpedia has a great set of articles for you to browse. If books are more your style, North Carolina Legends, published by North Carolina Historical Publications would make a great addition to your library.

Our friends at North Carolina Miscellany have also put together a great “Haunted North Carolina” series of blog posts worth a read.

Happy Halloween!

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An old fashioned day in Albemarle, concerts of the music of Harry Potter in New Bern and Raleigh and celebrations of Halloween across the state are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Here are 10 things on our weekend to-do list:

1. Celebrate Halloween at one of our museums.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will offer activities exploring science’s spookier side Thursday, while the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will present a Halloween movie and crafts Saturday. Fayetteville‘s Museum of the Cape Fear will have trick or treating at the 1897 Poe House, also on Saturday.

 

 

2. Hear a spooky 40s-style radio show at Tryon Palace in New Bern Friday and Saturday.

 

 

3. See historic demonstrations and exhibits, make a craft and enjoy live music at Morrow Mountain State Park’s Old Fashioned Day Sunday in Albemarle.

 

 

4. Join Jones Lake State Park in Elizabethtown Saturday for costume contests, hayrides, games, hikes with rangers and animal exhibits as part of its annual Fall Festival.

 

 

5. Explore the intricacies of the Battle of Wyse Fork during a lecture and book signing Saturday the CSS Neuse Civil War Center in Kinston.

 

 

6. Take your Jack-O-Lanterns to Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead Sunday to see them launched in trebuchet built by local boy scouts.

 

 

7. Try and strike it rich at Reed Gold Mine in Midland before panning for gold closes for the season Saturday.

 

 

8. Experience a Halloween at Hogwarts with performances of the music of Harry Potter by the N.C. Symphony, presentations by an illusionist and face painting in Raleigh and New Bern throughout the weekend.

 

 

9. Trick or treat under the sea and enjoy a whole host of other Halloween-related activities throughout the week at the N.C. Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher.

 

 

10. Marvel at Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester when it goes on view Saturday at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

 

 

Check out DNCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Try your hand at candle making Saturday at Brunswick Town/
Fort Anderson’s Colonial Day

Pumpkin catapulting in Mount Gilead, a beer bar and magicians in Raleigh and a colonial port brought to life in Winnabow are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Start your weekend off Thursday, with a celebration of Civil War music by the N.C. Symphony in Raleigh complete with re-enactors and artifacts from the conflict.

The fun continues Friday in Raleigh when the N.C. Museum of History will invite kids to trick-or-treat through The Story of North Carolina exhibit and the N.C. Museum of Art spotlights one of the spookier items from its collection. NCMA will also offer performances by a magician and a screening of and the 1940s film noir I Wake Up Screaming.

At the coast, the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will present dramatic performances of mysterious tales from around the region, while the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will have Halloween-themed crafts, treats and a movie to celebrate the spooky day.

Saturday, Winnabow‘s Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson will come alive as it was in the 18th century with period militia drills and crafts, while the Museum of the Albemarle will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the N.C. Cooperative Extension with interactive displays and a round table discussion.

In the central part of the state, Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead will catapult pumpkins through the air to help support the Boy Scots, and Historic Halifax will host a community yard sale. In Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of Art will host an afternoon of art making, dance performances and tours for families and the N.C. Symphony will kick off its kids series with a concert of spooky tunes from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The weekend wraps up Sunday with guided tours of the Small Treasures exhibit and a concert of music by French masters at the N.C. Museum of Art.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Durham’s Duke Homestead will be transformed into a Victorian house
in mourning Saturday. Stop by for a candlelight tour!

Spooktacular crafts and games for the whole family in New Bern, tours of a Victorian house in mourning in Durham and a Civil War field hospital brought to life in Four Oaks are just of the few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The fun starts Friday when the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wind Band performs a concert on Tryon Palace’s picturesque South Lawn in New Bern, and the Museum of the Albemarle helps kids create a colorful piece of fall-themed art in Elizabeth City. In Raleigh, staff from the N.C. Museum of History will give advice to visitors on how to best preserve their family treasures, and the N.C. Museum of Art will host a lunch and lecture highlighting the history of female artists in its collection.

Saturday, Historic Stagville in Durham will highlight the “secret” history of pumpkins, serve up some pumpkin-themed desserts and help kids carve a pumpkin of their own, while the State Library and State Archives will host speakers and a variety of exhibitors during their annual Family History Fair in Raleigh. Just outside the Triangle in Four Oaks, Bentonville Battlefield will have wagon rides, corn shucking and carnival games as part of its fall festival, before coming alive as a Civil War field hospital in the evening, with interpreters portraying surgeons performing operations and amputations. Also in the evening, Durham‘s Duke Homestead will be transformed into a house in mourning for special candlelight tours.

Elsewhere in the Piedmont,  the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville will offer ghost stories, traditional Halloween carnival games and a trick or treat at its 1897 Poe House, while Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead will invite visitors to enjoy an evening of stargazing on its grounds. The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will have hay rides, old-time games and crafts and a pumpkin patch for kids as part of its inaugural harvest festival.

At the coast Saturday,Tryon Palace will explore the history of Halloweens past and offer spooktacular crafts and games for the whole family as the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport tells tales of lost souls, pirates and other mysteries from the Lower Cape Fear region in celebration of Halloween. Historic Edenton will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Edenton Tea Party with colonial games and activities for families, while the Museum of the Albemarle hosts a murder mystery tea party.

In Asheville, Lenoir-Rhyne writing professor Laura Hope-Gill will offer a “Write with the Wolfe” workshop for new writers and lead an architecture tour of Asheville focusing on the buildings of Thomas Wolfe’s era in conjunction with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Throughout the weekend, the N.C. Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and the Museum of the Cape Fear will host its annual Halloween tours of the Poe House.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Halloween is just around the corner, and North Carolina’s state historic sites and museums are celebrating in a whole bunch of neat ways. To help you get the most of your limited time, we’ve collected the ten of the best ways you can get culture on this Halloween:

1. Take your kids trick or treating aboard the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

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2. See how the Victorians mourned their dead on one of Duke Homestead’s Widows and Wakes tours in Durham.

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3. Hear about one of the spookier items in the N.C. Museum of Art’s permanent collection before watching a local magician and sipping on a beer in Raleigh.

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4. Learn about the “secret” history of pumpkins, sample pumpkin-based foods and paint a pumpkin of your own at Historic Stagville in Durham.

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5. Enjoy tales of lost souls, pirates and other mysteries of the Lower Cape Fear region at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport.

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6. Take your kids to hear the ghoulish sounds of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice performed by the N.C. Symphony in Raleigh.

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7. See how Halloween was celebrated around the turn of the 19th century on a night tour of the Poe House in Fayetteville.

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8. Meet friendly ghosts on the grounds of Tryon Palace in New Bern after celebrating “All Hallow’s Eve” with crafts, games, spooky stories and a 1940s-inspired radio show.

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9. Trick or treat through the Tar Heel State’s history at the N.C. Museum of History’s “The Story of North Carolina” exhibit in Raleigh.

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10. Meet a pirate at Halloween in Halifax after seeing Blackbeard’s booty in the Queen Anne’s Revenge traveling exhibit.

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Our event offerings don’t stop after Halloween, so be sure to stay tuned to our events calendar and sign up for our weekly event emails to stay in the loop.

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Join SECCA in Winston-Salem for a new exhibit examining graphic design.

A new exhibition focusing on graphic design, a family history fair and a program on Victorian mourning traditions are just a few of the opportunities for family fun you’ll find this weekend with historic sites and museums of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend fun starts tomorrow with another installment of the N.C. Museum of History’s popular Storytime in the Gallery series in Raleigh, and continues Friday when the N.C. Museum of Art, also in Raleigh, will offer free food, musical performances and activities as part of its College Night. Also Friday, the Museum of Art will screen the film Car Crazy, while Duke Homestead in Durham will give visitors the chance to experience Victorian mourning traditions and customs through Widows and Wakes, a guided candlelight program.

In Fayetteville, the Museum of the Cape Fear will offer Halloween-themed tours of the Poe House and host a Jack-O-Lantern contest, while the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem will host a preview party for its new exhibition, Graphic Design: Now  in Production.

Saturday, SECCA will officially open the Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibition to the public, and host Doug Powell, a designer with IBM, for the first lecture in a series associated with the exhibition. Throughout the day, the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will present games, special train rides and trick-or-treating just in time for Halloween.

Also Saturday, the State Archives and State Library will host the 2nd Annual Family History Fair with a special focus on DNA’s increasing role in genealogy, while the N.C. Museum of Art will host a family program focusing on textile design. Both events are in Raleigh. The Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville will present another round of Halloween tours in addition to an opportunity for kids to trick-or-treat and costume contest.

Toward the east, Historic Bath will offer ghost tours of North Carolina’s first town, while the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport will present ghost stories, activities for kids and refreshments as part of its Halloween Ghost Ship program. And Aycock Birthplace in Fremont will celebrate the anniversary of the school that is part of the site with an education-related living history program.

The weekend fun wraps up Sunday with a tour of Asheville’s historic Riverside Cemetery hosted by the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, a concert by David Holt and Will McIntyre to benefit the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort and a program by the Pasquotank High School Percussion Band at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.

Throughout the weekend, the N.C. Symphony will present concerts of Mozart and Beethoven in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Southern Pines.

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Join Horne Creek Farm Saturday for its annual Cornshucking Frolic

Join Horne Creek Farm Saturday for its annual Cornshucking Frolic

A Civil War living history program in Four Oaks, an exploration of home movies in Raleigh and a fall festival in Pinnacle are just of the few of the opportunities for family fun you’ll find this weekend at the historic sites and museums of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The fun starts Friday night with Halloween-themed tours of the 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville, and a screening of the film Two-Lane Blacktop at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Saturday, the State Archives will host Triangle Home Day in Raleigh, where attendees can share and talk about their home movies, while across town the N.C. Museum of Art will host a European car meet up in conjunction with its Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed exhibition. Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks will offer a fall festival and living history program featuring wagon rides, carnival games based on 19th-century games, a corn shucking competition, a quilt contest and more.

Also Saturday, Somerset Place in Creswell will offer a Civil War living history program focusing on the medicine of the era, while in the west the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will host an antique car show. Horne Creek Farm in Pinnacle will also offer its Cornshucking Frolic complete with living history demonstrations, storytelling, food and games, while the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville will host an 8k road race fundraiser.

The weekend fun wraps up Sunday with a screening of the film The Admiral at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, and a family fun day focusing on design down the street at the N.C. Museum of Art.

This weekend is also your last chance to check out the Queen Anne’s Revenge traveling exhibit at Historic Edenton. The exhibit is open for public view Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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