America’s Haunted Lighthouses: North Carolina

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse | Hale Kell

Hurricanes and gale force winds frequently visit the coast of North Carolina, and its lighthouses have their share of ghostly comings and goings. Two lighthouses actually share their ghosts. One is the daughter of Aaron Burr, and the other the pirate who held her captive.

The Blue Lady of Hiton Head

Hilton Head Range Rear (Leamington) Light

Caroline Fripp braved a three-day hurricane climbing the lighthouse tower to bring her father, Keeper Adam Fripp his dinner. The hurricane blew out tower windows and the boards Keeper Fripp used to cover them, while the wind kept blowing out the lamp needed to steer sailors away from the rocks.

One evening, Caroline called to her father to re-light the lamp, and not hearing any response, found him on the tower floor clutching his chest. The next morning, during an uneasy calm, she went to assess the damage and found the tower floor submerged in nearly two feet of water, which meant the island, was under at least four feet. Caroline was frantic to learn the fate of Frisky, her dog, the islanders and the island cattle.

Harbor Town on the island of Hilton Head, South Carolina

When the hurricane returned at full force, an exhausted Caroline unable to summon medical help for her stricken father, fell into a troubled sleep. The storm finally passed, and while the island remained under water, the lighthouse keeper’s cottage stood fast. Caroline replaced the wet wick, and urged her father to stay above water as she tried to take them home.

Fripp was so weak that when she finally reached the porch of the house, Caroline pushed him over the rail, placed a blanket over him and went for help. Island fisherman, Donald Stuart helped her get her father into bed, but when Caroline asked him to go for a doctor, he refused explaining that he needed to look for his family who were lost in the hurricane.

Caroline descended into another troubled sleep and had nightmares about the house being swept out to sea. The next morning while looking out toward the light, she saw the body of a dead child clutching her doll and floating in the water. When Caroline returned to the keeper’s house to check on her father, she found he had died from a heart attack. Stuart and two islanders placed Fripp’s body in a sea chest, weighted it down and left it at the low water mark saying, “Die by water, live by water.” Caroline never recovered from the shock and died a few weeks later.

People reported seeing a lady in a blue dress standing in the tower window or at its foot on stormy nights and during hurricane season. Some have reported hearing a woman sobbing near the keeper’s house.

Is the lady in blue Caroline searching for her father?

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse behind dunes of Outer Banks island near Buxton, North Carolina

Ghost Share

Old Baldy & Cap Hatteras Lights – North Carolina

It is rare that two lighthouses share the same ghost, but apparently, Old Baldy and Cape Hatteras Light do exactly that.

The ghost in question is none other than the daughter if Aaron Burr. Theodesia Burr Alston, anxious to visit her father after his trial for treason, booked passage aboard the sloop Poet. The sloop was caught in a ferocious ocean storm, and, the crew and passengers reportedly were lost.

The sloop actually went aground at Shoals Head and immediately boarded by looting pirates. The pirate chief’s most valuable prize was the lovely Theodesia. She was taken to the pirate camp where three men were instructed to guard her with their lives. Unfortunately, for the men the angry pirate chief beheaded them when he learned that Theodesia managed to escape. The pirates eventually re-captured her and returned to camp. The confinement was too much for Theodesia to bear. She died, her body buried on Bald Island.

Shortly after her death, several witnesses reported seeing a woman roaming the shores of Bald Island and Cape Hatteras, seemingly looking to escape. Others reported seeing three headless pirates spotted roaming the same shores looking for their heads and their captive.

Some say they Theodesia and the headless pirates still roam these shores at night.

Marianne L. Kelly, a former chef is a freelance, journalist, editor, web content writer and lighthouse enthusiast. Marianne has written three themed cookbooks including one that features America’s most haunted lighthouses along with regional recipes. She is currently working on a third that follows each season with stories, poems, thoughts and sayings along with healthy recipes from the bounty of each season. Marianne works with a web designer writing original content and re-writing existing content, and is available for hire. For more information visit or

Source: Marianne L. Kelly

1 comment

    • ThingsHelenLoves on October 24, 2022 at 9:34 am
    • Reply

    Fabulous tales- lighthouses of old are such fascinating things, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t have ghosts!

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