The Andrew Johnson Home is located in Raleigh, North Carolina in a small historic park called Mordecai Square. In the park is also a small chapel and a small building once used as a law office as well as a two- story mansion called Mordecai Manor.
The Andrew Johnson Home is tiny and has two stories. It was the birthplace of the 17th President of the US, Andrew Johnson, in 1808. The house has a small window by the front door and a small window in the middle of the second floor directly over the front door. There are only two more tiny windows at the sides of the home making it rather dark inside.
A disembodied hand holds a candle
It was a November afternoon when an employee of Raleigh Historic Properties was involved in a project in the main office which is located near the Andrew Johnson Home. Soon darkness came and she found herself the only one left on the property. All the other buildings were locked up. Leaving the office she had an uneasy feeling and she hurried toward the parking lot. Reaching the front of the Andrew Johnson Home she looked directly at the front of the house. There she saw a lighted candle as if held by an invisible hand in the window by the front door. She stared at the sight and stared at the candle until it seemed to be going out when it suddenly moved away from the window. After a moment the candle reappeared at the window on the second floor directly above the front door. It all happened so quickly that she realized no human person could relocate so fast. Frightened she ran to the parking lot and looked back at the second floor. The candle went out as if someone had used a period candle snuffer. Other employees have also seen this manifestation as if someone is still waiting for somebody to come home.
Mordecai Manor is a large, two-story mansion that has a balcony on the second floor that dominates Mordecai Square. A planter, Joel Lane built it in 1785. The house has a Greek Revival double portico, a double-doored grand entrance hall, and five large rooms, located off the long hallway that runs down the center of the mansion. It is furnished with the personal belongings of the early families who made their home here.
The ghostly apparition of the Lady of the Manor
One afternoon when Mordecai Manor was closed to the public a housekeeper was cleaning the dining room. Starting to wipe down the woodwork by the doorway she thought she saw a guide coming out of the library and started to come toward her. The housekeeper was surprised by this because no guides were ever present when she was there cleaning. She described the guide as being a pretty woman dressed in a long, black pleated skirt with a white “middy-type” blouse and black tie.
Walking past the housekeeper the woman didn’t acknowledge her. She walked as if she owned the place which annoyed the housekeeper. Then the guide walked into the parlor. Hearing no sound and seeing that the guide didn’t come back out of the parlor the housekeeper went to have a look and found nobody in the room. To come back out of the parlor the guide would have had to return the same way and the housekeeper would have seen her return. Then the realization set in this woman had been no guide but actually owned the place in the 1800s. The housekeeper knew where she had seen her it was Margaret Lane whose portrait hangs in Mordecai Manor.
Ocracoke Island is only accessible by a state-owned ferry or by boat. It is part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina located on the southernmost part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. By Springer’s point, there is a channel, called Teach’s Hole, which connects the Atlantic Ocean and Ocracoke Inlet with the deepest waters of Pamlico Sound. This is where Edward Teach, or better known as Blackbeard stayed before he set out to terrorize Atlantic merchant vessels. His favorite place to anchor was in the channel Teach’s Hole.
Along the shore of Ocracoke Island is a small beachside forest adjacent to Teach’s Hole, where Blackbeard was killed in 1718. The area is called the “Point”. It is a lonely and forlorn place where ancient live oaks and cedars form a canopy above the low dunes.
For visitors. there is a shop Teach’s Hole which sells all things to do with pirates. It also includes a life-size replica of what Blackbeard was believed to have looked like but if you’d like a better look then venture down to the “Point” and meet the ghost himself.
The wicked pirate Blackbeard was a tall man with a very long black beard that hid most of his face and extended down to his waist. He’s often associated with the meanest Pirates in history and one of the most merciless. He used to tie his beard up in pigtails with black ribbons and wore a bandolier over his shoulders with three braces of pistols and was reported to have hung two slow-burning cannon fuses from his fur cap which wreathed his head in black smoke. At times he would set fire to his rum using gunpowder then drink it flames and all. Many believed that Blackbeard was the Devil incarnate. It is said that he sent most merchant captains hurrying to raise the white flag just at the sight of him.
About 250 years ago, Blackbeard had his head chopped off near the “Point” known today as “Teach’s Hole”. He was killed by Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy when his vessel the HMS Ranger and HMS Jane engaged The Adventure captained by Blackbeard near Teach’s Hole. At this time Blackbeard had retired from Piracy having agreed to a pardon by swearing allegiance to the crown. The Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, was not assuaged. Wanting Blackbeard gone for good he sent Maynard to do the job. When they met with Blackbeard’s Adventure, they were hit with a great broadside attack. During this attack, Midshipman Hyde, captain of the smaller HMS Jane, was killed as well as six other men and ten men wounded in the surprise attack. Maynard continued his pursuit on the HMS Ranger and managed to blast the Adventure’s rigging forcing it ashore. Maynard ordered many of his crew into the holds and readied to be boarded. As his ship approached, Blackbeard saw only empty decks and assumed it was safe to board which he did along with ten men.
Blackbeard loses his head
Maynard and his men came forward and engaged Blackbeard in a bloody battle. Even though he fought hard Blackbeard died from blood loss from many wounds. He was supposedly reloading his pistol when he keeled out and collapsed on deck. Afterward, Maynard cut off his head and hung it from the bowsprit of his vessel. Blackbeard’s head was carried to various ports in eastern North Carolina. Until it was impaled on a stake at the entrance to the harbor in Hampton, Virginia as a warning to other “Brethren of the Coast” as the days of Piracy were ending. Before sailing from Ocracoke Inlet, Lt. Maynard tossed Blackbeard’s body over the side of his ship. Legend has it that the remainder of Blackbeard’s crew shackled and bound watched in awe as the headless body of their captain, perhaps in last devilish defiance, swam three times around the vessel before sinking into the murky depths below.
Ghostly pirate looking for his head
Those Islanders brave and daring enough who have ventured out to the “Point” after dark have reported encountering the ghost of Blackbeard himself, pacing along the shoreline, perhaps looking for his missing head. Aye, aye matey!