Pirates, wars, massacres, and coups left a legacy of tragedy and real hauntings that torment the residents of North Carolina’s infamous Port City.Book Now
Dive deep into the murky waters of Wilmington’s hidden history on a night-time ghost tour that will reveal a shockingly haunted past and unearth the sordid secrets that continue to plague this waterfront colonial town.
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Nostalgic architecture and inviting southern charm veil centuries of bloodshed and a demented history filled with the barbarities of war, deadly insurrections, and oddities stranger than fiction. Follow Wilmington Ghosts to discover the diabolical origins that made this Port City one of the most active hubs for terrifying, unearthly activity on the East Coast.
What now offers an idyllic getaway was once a treacherous part of the nation with a violently dangerous route, where human predators fought for the very stretch of land you’ll tread upon at night on this bone-chilling ghost tour of Wilmington. The nefarious activity that claimed the lives of thousands would breed a curse that would engulf the city, summoning some of the most wicked personalities in history.
From its earliest dawn, darkness has cast a shadow over this tourist destination. The Cape Fear River would earn its reputation for being mysterious as it is perilous. Legendary creatures owned the menacing waters that infamous pirates such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet sailed, and where Stede would be captured and hanged. But the Cape Fear River wasn’t finished, sinking over 100 vessels including Civil War ships, adding to its disturbing legend.
Explore Wilmington’s calamitous past to discover the tortured souls of the American Revolution and Civil War that wander the streets in the dead of night, and the angered spirits of the deadly insurrection and massacre of 1898 that continue to seek revenge for their untimely deaths.
Take a walk into an era of tragedy, violence, and senseless crimes that shaped the devious, malevolent aura that fills the salty nighttime air.
Before Wilmington developed into the tourist hotspot it is today, the land was infested with nefarious behavior and wicked characters. Michaels on the Waterfront may be one of the newest restaurants to enhance downtown Wilmington but in the 1700s it was home to a brothel called the Blue Post.
On 5 S. Water St., myths, legends, and mayhem collided to create a hub of eerie, otherworldly activity as these streets once operated as an underground ring for crime, robberies, and piracy. Learn about the heatheness pirates and sleazy delinquents that frequented the brothel, requiring the owners to become handsy with the less-than-ideal clientele.
Learn about the legendary Gallus Meg, the towering, 350-pound pub owner who kept a pickle jar full of patrons’ ears in plain sight as a warning. Her hostility to the ill-willed came to a head when 5 angry sailors beath her senseless and left her for dead, leaving behind an immensely angry spirit. In the years since her brutal and gruesome death, her agitated spirit has continued to impose its will, terrifying unsuspecting customers and even choking them if they become unruly.
A bloody and brutal history laid the foundation for this port city to breed a cache of unexplained activity and panic-inducing sightings. One of Wilmington’s most decorated sights is also home to the atrocities of war and countless, tortured souls. Discover the Water Street Retreats, the former WWII battleship that now serves as a museum and memorial for the more than 11,000 North Carolinians who died in battle.
Famous for its role in the world-altering war, and infamous for the bloodshed caused by the prestigious weapon, the North Carolina wracked up a plethora of casualties earning it the nickname “showboat”. Though adorned for its victories, it’s also becoming recognized for its spine-chilling ghastly run-ins.
Employees and guests alike have been reporting supernatural activity for decades, each accounts more disturbing than the last. Hear hair-raising accounts of disembodied voices echoing throughout the ship, with one specifically saying “I’m tired” and another yelling “get out!” The apparitions of sailors running through the halls and the stench of alcohol and burnt clothing help make this “showboat” a show – and heart-stopper for unsuspecting spectators.
Some visitors might not be aware of a particularly gruesome side of Wilmington’s history – one that involves horrific acts of racially-charged violence, slavery, discrimination, and murder. Although African Americans accounted for over half of Wilmington’s population by the 1890s, something sinister lurked beneath the surface. Black residents were near-constantly harassed and targeted by white supremacists, and this violence came to an ugly head in 1898, when a former Confederate officer rallied a group of 2,000 people to vandalize and burn the offices of The Daily Record—Whilmington’s black-owned newspaper.
Over 60 black residents were senselessly killed that day, and thousands were pushed out of their own city out of fear for their safety, many of whom never returned. Eyewitnesses report that 60 lives lost is a gross underestimate, however. Hundreds of bodies are said to have piled up in the streets of Wilmington on that grim day. This pain can still be felt today, a lingering, otherworldly reminder of the atrocities man is capable of when fueled by hate.
Join us to learn about the horrific consequences of slavery, which was also extremely common in this part of North Carolina—a particularly hideous side of US history. Learn about the Bellamy Mansion Museum, an Antebellum-era plantation that is eternally tied to the institution of slavery. It could be argued that the ghosts of its past very much haunt its present, from mysteriously slamming doors, to unexplained voices. You’ll discover that this home—and this city—will never escape the sins of its past.
Over the years, Wilmington has managed to garner a glowing reputation. But beyond its quaint downtown, beautiful beaches, and lively university, there’s a side of Wilmington that its residents don’t want you to see. Visit the Cotton Exchange, the fun array of shops and restaurants that harbors a dark backstory, and even darker spirits.
Built before the Civil War, the Cotton Exchange was a thriving place of business in downtown Wilmington, but by the 70s the building was completely abandoned, only to experience further damage from a hurricane and fire. It may have been left destitute, but it’s been the perfect breeding ground for lost, anguished souls.
Hear terrifying accounts of both employees and visitors hearing phantom footsteps, witnessing disappearing shadows, and the incredibly unnerving feeling of someone – or something – breathing down their neck. There is no shortage of frights produced inside the Cotton Exchange, and anyone at any time is susceptible to them – even tour guests.
Wilmington Ghosts takes you on a journey into the macabre and the unpredictable where you’ll hear the spine-chilling, real-life tales behind places such as Lula’s A Pub, a 19th-century bar where paranormal investigators have come into contact with its resident ghost, Cooter. Around the corner, the Burgwin-Wright House boasts a haunted history of its own as a former prison, where the constant sound of disembodied, low muttering can be heard throughout the building. Visitors have walked out of tours because they feel so much anxiety here…perhaps, the lingering sentiments of the men who were imprisoned here, awaiting execution.
Wilmington continues to be relevant today, thanks to the city’s part in the film industry. Several big-budget blockbusters have been filmed in this part of North Carolina, from Iron Man 3 to The Conjuring. But behind the scenes, some strange, inexplicable events have taken place. Here, at Screen Gem Studios, is where Brandon Lee tragically lost his life on the set of The Crow after a dummy bullet from a prop gun accidentally fired, striking Brandon in the stomach. A crew member also suffered third-degree burns on set, among other strange injuries, leading to what the media would begin to call “the Curse of The Crow.” Or is this really just the curse of Wilmington?
Notable for its beauty, charm, and nautical legacy, Wilmington’s dreamy characteristics are rivaled by that of its nightmarish origins. Venture to Paradise Alley, the former Red Light District where sailors would spend entire paychecks for a night of liquor-fueled, unspeakable pleasures, parading amongst prostitutes and even sometimes, pirates. These pleasures however came with their fair share of dangers, and women of the night were often drugged, beaten, robbed, or even killed, leaving behind a dark mark on the otherwise inconspicuous space between Market Street and Dock Street.
Follow us and journey into the shadowy alleyways of Paradise Alley, and learn about the restless spirits that are said to roam these empty concrete corridors at night. Come face-to-face with those who were subject to tasteless violence, and experience the cruel consequences of the shootings, robberies, and fights that once occurred here, all of which have left this place cursed. If you’re brave enough to step into the night, the memories you make here will follow you far beyond your trip to Wilmington, maybe into the beyond.
Join Wilmington Ghosts for a nonstop, blood-pumping adventure through the terrifying, the opulent, and the mystic, and prepare for a new perception of “normal”. For more than two centuries the city was an undesirable magnet for violence and uncertainty, and the effects of these dreadful events continue to reverberate throughout the area for all to feel.
Walk along the seemingly inconspicuous Wilmington Riverwalk, which has been an epicenter for countless drownings, mysterious disappearances, and other bone-chilling tragedies for centuries. Learn about the freedom seekers who once stole boats and rowed out to the Atlantic to escape the cruel grasp of their owners, only for some to be captured, tortured, and even ruthlessly killed in the process. Many claim that the spirits of the enslaved still haunt the rocky waters of Cape Fear to this day, shackled, wet, and eternally struggling for their final shot at freedom.
Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, Wilmington has a little something to offer for everyone. And in no other group will you find such eclectic, creative minds than the ghostly community. For paranormal fanatics, Wilmington is something akin to a haven—or a hell—for haunting ghost stories, creepy local legends, and terrifying tales of cryptids, wispy manifestations, and phantoms from the city’s past.
We invite you to take a stroll with us through downtown Wilmington, where you can bear witness to a side of town that has been deeply hidden for fear that it might appear too disturbing to the average tourist. There’s a bizarre malfeasance to this city that has persisted thanks to the shootouts, merciless murders, and disease-related deaths that so defined its past. Experience a side of Wilmington that can only be seen once the sun goes down, as spirits begin to arise from their earthly graves.
* This is a walking tour and we do not enter privately-owned buildings or private property *
In the early 19th century, Wilmington was one of the rare US cities to have a thriving theater scene, and to many of these performers, Thalian Hall was something like a home. But today, once the lights dim and the applause fades into silence, the secret, spine-tingling history of this property begins to reveal itself. Once a Native American burial ground, this building sits on what could be tens—or hundreds—of long-dead corpses. This disruption has seemingly caused spirits to rise from the earth, who roam the shadowy auditorium of Thalia Hall in the form of wispy manifestations. The most sighted figures appear to be in costume and eerily linger in the balcony during dress rehearsals, staring down the actors and mysteriously moving their scripts. During recent renovations, crews have also found human bones and skeletons under the building, raising the question: just how many bodies lie beneath the floors of Thalian Hall? And why do they continue to haunt this opulent auditorium?
One of Wilmington’s most popular “must-see” destinations, unsuspecting tourists might find themselves horrified by the hidden haunted history that dwells deep within the walls of the Cotton Exchange. Here, employees and visitors have reported hearing the disembodied sound of phantom footsteps creeping along the hardwood floors, in addition to strange shadows and other eerie phenomena. But perhaps the most damning piece of ghostly evidence is a resident spirit called “Fred,” who appears at night in the form of a shadowy manifestation, wearing all black with long, curly hair. Those unlucky enough to encounter his spirit have claimed that Fred stops right behind them, only to breathe down their necks, before vanishing into the night. And with nearly 150 years of sordid history, it’s safe to say that Fred is far from the only mysterious presence to haunt this infamous building.
One of the most haunted residences in Wilmington, the Latimer House has acted as the headquarters for the Cape Fear Historical Society since the 1960s. But back in its heyday, this 10,000 square foot mansion would serve as the setting for tragedy, heartbreak, and death. Five of nine children born to Elizabeth and Zebulon Latimer would sadly die of disease shortly after their births, which perhaps explains the strange, chilling energy that visitors often feel when stepping into this home. The Historical Society is very hush-hush about haunted activity, but it’s not exactly a secret that the Latimer House is occupied by several otherworldly residents. Items often go missing around the building, and it’s been reported that a foul smell comes from the basement—though its origins remain unknown. Passerbyers also frequently spot a mysterious, shadowy figure in the window…perhaps, the spirit of Elizabeth Latimer, mourning the untimely death of her lost children.
Wilmington and war go hand-in-hand, and it’s difficult to ignore the bloody side of this town’s history when visiting. But after exploring the Battleship North Carolina, the Confederate Memorial, and the Military History Museum, you might find yourself ready to learn about something lesser known—something that you can’t find in the history books. Join Port City Ghosts and prepare to learn about a different, more hidden side of this historic town. Hear chilling stories of Wilmington’s haunted underbelly, from the senseless murders and ungodly acts that took place in the former Red Light District, to the mysterious appearance of a shadowy figure in the windows of the Latimer Mansion. Who knows? You might just learn something new.
Want to travel like a local? Get the blood pumping with a tour from Port City Ghosts and prepare to learn the legends behind some of the infamous spirits that have roamed these shadowy streets for decades. From the many ghosts of the Burgwin-Wright House to Cooter, a longtime resident of Lula’s A Pub, there are plenty of otherworldly entities just waiting to meet you. Put on a brave face and strap in for a riveting adventure—one that’s sure to be the highlight of your trip.
We get it—it’s nice being able to snuggle up on the couch, turn on Netflix, and binge-watch the newest season of your favorite ghost-hunting show. But believe us when we say nothing comes close to actually seeing these haunted locations in person. Switch off the TV and follow Port City Ghosts on a walking tour of downtown Wilmington, where you’ll get to stop by some of the most haunted sites the East Coast has to offer. Feel the hair raise on the back of your neck when learning about the USS North Carolina, a decommissioned battleship said to be manned by a platoon of ghostly sailors. Wilmington is a city full of strange mysteries, murder, and despair—things you won’t be able to experience through a TV screen.
If you’re a recent Wilmington transplant, get to know your new city by diving head-first into its haunted history. Follow us on an expert-led stroll through town, and learn about a side of Wilmington only known by true locals. Stop by the world-famous Museum of the Bizarre, which holds some of the most haunted items in the state, as well as the Price-Gause House, where the words “HELP ME” were once seen etched into the frost on one of the upstairs windows…perhaps, the actions of a long-departed slave who once worked on the property. If you’re feeling brave, join us on this chilling adventure—there’s no better way to learn the gritty and authentic stories of the city you now call home.
Do you have a morbid curiosity when it comes to sirens, sea serpents, towering beasts, or other mythical cryptids? Then Wilmington is sure to pique your interest. Join us on a curated walking tour around North Carolina’s Port City, and hear the terrifying tales that have been passed down from generation to generation since the city’s inception, rooted in Native American folklore. It’s long been rumored that Cape Fear was, at one point, home to a small population of mermaids, with long hair and shimmering tails. Whether you believe the stories or not, dive deep into the one-of-a-kind history of this region, and see for yourself why these legends have continued to persist throughout the decades.
Tired of the usual wining and dining? Switch up your typical date night routine with a tour from Port City Ghosts, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable evening out you’re never going to forget. Learn about the chilling tales behind some of the most active buildings in Wilmington, and prepare to feel your heart racing. Stop by the infamous Bellamy Mansion, Lula’s A Pub, and stroll down the Wilmington Riverwalk while hearing authentic retellings of the tragedies and horrific events that have taken place at these sites. Just make sure you have someone to hold you tight when all is said and done.