Along the oceanfront boardwalk in Virginia Beach stands a 9-foot lady, crafted in bronze and looking longingly out across the ocean. Looking at this iconic statue, passersby likely have no clue that far away, in the sister city of Moss in Norway, an identical bronze-clad woman gazes back at her.
These twin figures, known as The Norwegian Lady Statues, represent the sinister, heart-breaking history of a tragic shipwreck and the innocent lives lost at sea.
Learn about the Norwegian Lady and other sites of haunted and tragic happenings on a ghost tour of Virginia Beach. US Ghost Adventures guides you through the historical and hair-raising to show you the spooky side of this tourist destination.
The Dictator’s Demise
On March 27, 1891, a Norwegian ship called the Dictator met its untimely demise off the coast of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. The ship had journeyed far from its homeport of Moss, Norway, and was making its way up the coast from Florida to New England. Hit by storms repeatedly, this 15-crew cargo ship needed to make a stop to seek refuge from the terrible weather and repair damages before finishing their mission.
While creeping along the coastline to stop for service in Norfolk, VA, the crew met with gale-force winds, tossing and turning the Dictator. Having already sustained sufficient damage, the ship couldn’t withstand the violent storm.
They collided into a sandbar off the coast of Virginia Beach. The shipwreck destroyed their lifeboats and stranded the poor souls on board.
As residents and tourists of the town held their breath from the shore, the rescue service set out into the choppy, deadly waters to save the living. Their efforts were only somewhat successful. Of the 17 people on board, they could only save eight.
To this day, locals allege that—on dark and stormy nights—the ship’s sails can be seen waving in the wind: a memorial frozen in time for the lives lost on board the Dictator.