North Carolina is known for a lot of things: the Outer Banks, BBQ, the mountains... but it's also a uniquely weird state. Where else can you find fierce pirates, see singing munchkins, defy physics, and maybe, just maybe, glimpse bigfoot? Yep, North Carolina! As you explore the landscapes and Southern culture, keep your eyes peeled for these weird stops.
The oldest house in Beaufort, NC is the Hammock House, built in the 18th century. Its history is vague, but many suspect that it once served as an inn, and an inn where the legendary pirate Blackbeard stayed, at that. As the story goes, he stayed here with one of his common-law wives, and at some point during the stay, he grew so angry with her that he hanged her on an oak in the back yard. Her ghost is one of a few that haunt the historic home.
Vollis Simpson was an outsider art genius, a man who, without any training in art, simply started taking scrap metal and other materials, and built whirligigs, moving folk art sculptures. Some are on display in art museums across the country, but a few remain in this park in his hometown of Wilson. Stop by and spend some time admiring his beautiful and totally unique recycled creations, and get inspired to craft something of your own.
The small but informative Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum is about as weird as it gets. It's dedicated to the study of creatures and phenomena that traditional science rejects. It covers topics like bigfoot (of course), ghosts, lake and river monsters (like the Loch Ness monster), local cryptids and ghosts, and famous fakes (think, Feejee Mermaid). Even if you're not a believer, you'll get to see a lot of really weird stuff here, which is totally worth the trip.
Ghost towns aren't just for the Wild West... North Carolina has one or two of its own. Henry River Ghost Town is a former community that sprang up around an old textile mill. It had a church, a school, a moonshine still, its own currency, and generated its own electricity. But, when the mill started faltering, the town died off. Now, it sits abandoned in the woods. If you're at all a fan of "The Hunger Games", many scenes were filmed here!
As the story goes, Mystery Hill was built on a strange, otherworldly vortex that causes physics to act differently. Watch water flow uphill, feel gravity pull you in different directions, and attempt different puzzles, games, and challenges as you try and uncover whether or not its all an optical illusion... or if the vortex is real.
The Wizard of Oz is creepy enough on its own, but an abandoned Oz is even creepier. It may not be in Kansas, but this mostly abandoned theme park was still a major attraction back in the day. In the roughly 10 years it was open, it saw the death of its owner, a fire in the Emerald City (that destroyed some valuable movie props) and eventually a severe decline in visitors, forcing it to close. It still hosts reunions and Oz festivals, and parts of the park can be rented for various occasions, but it’s nothing like it once was.
If you've ever wondered about taxidermy, you can learn all about the art and practice of stuffing dead animals at the Wilderness Taxidermy and Wildlife Museum. You can tour their studio to learn just how its done, and see the many animals they have on display. It's definitely a very North Carolina stop, and who knows? You might walk away with a new hobby and passion.
From odd art like taxidermy and whirligigs to weird creatures like ghosts and cryptids, North Carolina is pretty strange indeed.