With a rich and often times stronger history, the Outer Banks has had its share of mysterious happenings and unexplained phenomenon, on both land and sea.
We thought a small sampling of some of the unexplained lore that have become a part of local “history” would be interesting to share as we enter the Halloween season. As these things often go, often times the story doesn’t match the facts, but they are fun and often incorporate some great Outer Banks history.
Roanoke Island Inn
Sometime after the Civil War, probably in the 1870s, Asa and Martha Jones built a home on what is now Fernando Street in Manteo. The original building still stands, although it has grown over the years to become the Roanoke Island Inn.
Owned by John Wilson, the great grandson of Asa Jones, the Inn has seen its fair share of spooky sightings. A man, dressed as a postmaster from the early 20th century, has reportedly been seen leaving and entering the front door of the building. It’s been reported that strange sounds emanate from various rooms, and mysterious footsteps are heard in the dark of the night.
According to legend, the figure is the spectral likeness of Roscoe Jones, son of Asa and Martha.
As the story goes, Roscoe Jones was the postmaster of Manteo, but in 1915 the US Government told him they no longer had need of his services. Humiliated, he retreated to his room and would speak to no one, and he soon passed away.
While it’s true that Jones was a postmaster, he was never the postmaster of Manteo. From 1909 until 1915, he was the postmaster of Griffin, a town designation that no longer exists. In 1915, the Griffin postoffice was merged with Nags Head and Jones lost his position.
It is possible that he did retreat to his room, but since county records indicate he lived until 1953, the timeline of this tale doesn’t seem to quite line up.
The Black Pelican Restaurant
It’s hard to imagine that a place as popular as the Black Pelican Restaurant in Kitty Hawk could be considered haunted, but there have reportedly been some eerie sightings.
If the Black Pelican is haunted, it would seem to be visited the restless spirit of Theopolis L. (TL) Daniels.
Here’s the story:
At one time, the Black Pelican was a Lifesaving Station.
In 1884, the Lifesaving Station Keeper job was by political appointment, and Keeper James Hobbs got the job. By all accounts, he was conscientious and seemed to take the responsibilities of his job seriously.
As the story goes, TL Daniels and Hobbs did not like each other. It is unclear if Daniels was part of the lifesaving crew, but it does seem that Daniels wanted to be Station Keeper. In pursuit of his desires to lead, he (possibly falsely) reported to Lifesaving authorities that Hobbs had painted his personal boat with government paint and used station personnel for labor on his farm.
On July 7, 1884, Lt. E.C. Clayton came to investigate. It didn’t go well.
During the investigation, Hobbs and Daniels ended up in the same room. Daniels went for his pistol and Hobbs pulled out a shotgun, firing twice, killing Daniels. The official report noted, “He died with his revolver cocked in his hand.”
Supposedly the body was taken to sea and buried. However, in the Daniels Cemetery in Wanchese there is a gravestone to Theopolis L. Daniels from his widow, Margaret. The marker indicates he died on July 7, 1884, aged 32.