Pawleys Island is a true ghost story about a gray man who haunts a small town Summer resort in South Carolina and warns of impending storms.
They say The Gray Man always appears on Pawelys Island before a deadly storm. He warns of impending danger for the small island and its residents. He appears as a shadowy figure dressed in all gray clothing, standing on the beach or among the sand dunes, waving to people before suddenly vanishing in front of their eyes. People who see the man in gray and heed his warning always survive the storm. They say he saves lives, because he was unable to save his own…
He was once the son of a rich man who owned the Pelican Inn on Pawleys Island. One evening, he was going to visit his girlfriend who lived on the other side of the island. He had just returned from a long voyage at sea and planned to marry her. The young woman waited and waited for him to arrive, but he never came.
As the young man was traveling down the road, he was so eager to see his girlfriend that he took a shortcut across the marsh. His horse stumbled and fell, throwing him off. When he tried to stand up, he realized that he was standing in quicksand. Despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to free himself and he died a lonely death, sinking beneath the sand.
The young girl was devastated by the terrible news. It almost drove her mad and she spent countless hours walking forlornly along the beach in Pawleys Island, mourning her lost lover.
One windy afternoon, she was out walking when she saw a man dressed all in gray. He was looking out over the water. As she got closer he started waving at her. She felt her stomach tighten because she recognized him. It was her dead fiance. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Suddenly, a wave burst from the sea, enveloping him. When it had gone, the gray man had disappeared.
The young woman was terrified and she told her family what she had seen. Her parents thought she was losing her mind, so they took her to see a doctor on the mainland. That night, a hurricane struck the coast and the ocean was tossed by the waves. They called it The Great Hurricane and its violent winds destroyed nearly every home on the island.
The next day, when the girl and her parents returned, Pawleys Island was in ruins. Over 300 people had lost their lives, most of them dragged out to sea by the rolling waves. There was wreckage strewn all around, but the girl’s house was somehow left strangely untouched by the storm. It was as though it had been protected by an unseen force. She was convinced that her dead lover had returned to save her from a horrible fate.
Ever since then, The Gray Man has been seen before every major storm, warning people to take shelter.
In 1893, a family saw The Gray Man silently waving at them. They fled the island and survived a hurricane that killed an estimated 1,500 people.
In 1954, a newly married couple went to Pawleys Island for their honeymoon. One day, they spotted a man in gray. He was dressed in rumpled gray clothing and a gray hat which hid his face. Suddenly the man disappeared. The couple left the island and a hurricane struck soon after, killing 95 people and destroying 15,000 homes.
In 1989, a husband and wife were walking along the beach in Pawleys Island when they saw a man all dressed in gray appear from among the dunes. As they approached him, he suddenly vanished. The couple knew about the legend, so they promptly packed their bags and fled inland. A hurricane struck the coast, killing 76 people along its path.
So if you ever take a vacation on Pawleys Island, keep one eye on the beach and look out for the gray man. If you see him waving at you, take heed of his warning. It might just save your life.