Every September, on the first night of the new moon, there are those who vow they see a flaming ship sail three times past the coast of Ocracoke. No matter the direction or velocity of the wind, this fiery vessel moves swiftly toward the northeast, they say, always accompanied by an eerie wailing sound. The story of this ship is but one of the colorful legends intrinsic to the charm of North Carolina's historic coastland. From the northern tip of the Outer Banks to the lower end of the sweeping shoreline, there are stories to be found . . . and to be told with gusto, or awe, or sometimes with horror.
Charles Harry Whedbee was an elected judge in his native Greenville, North Carolina, for thirty-plus years, but his favorite place was the Outer Banks, Nags Head in particular. Whedbee was the author of five folklore collections. He died in 1990.
For decades, the folk tales of Charles Harry Whedbee have been available wherever you care to look on the Outer Banks. Their popularity has transcended Whedbee's loyal readership among North Carolinians and visitors from the Northeast and the Midwest.