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.
Wilmington: a Colonial Town With Cursed Beginnings
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.
What will I see?
A Cursed History Plagued by Pirates, Violence, and Mysterious Entities
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.
War and No Peace
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.
Racial Violence, Coups, and Senseless Killings
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.
WHY IS WILMINGTON SO HAUNTED?
Catastrophes and The Lives They Claimed
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.
Why Wilmington’s Dark Past Continues to be Resurrected
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?
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE WILMINGTON GHOSTS TOUR?
See a Different, Darker Side of this Historic Destination
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.
A Unique and Unforgettable Adventure That You’re Sure to Remember
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.
Join a Growing Ghostly Community
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.