Have You Seen the Gray Man of Pawleys Island? It’s Good Luck!

Have You Seen the Gray Man of Pawleys Island? It’s Good Luck!

Have You Seen the Gray Man of Pawleys Island? It’s Good Luck!

A hurricane is hitting Santee Cooper’s direct service territory of Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties. Hurricane Dorian has been an agonizing slow walk (with wobbles since Monday) for devoted Weather Channel watchers.

As always, we've prepared for the worst and are hoping for the best. We’ve had a lot of time to prepare and we're ready for whatever may come our way. If you live on Pawleys Island, you should have evacuated.

I’m certain a few souls have stayed on the island, whose sign on U.S. Highway 17 proclaims it as “America’s First Seaside Resort,” and whose “Arrogantly Shabby” attitude celebrates a throwback beach experience devoid of condos and HOAs.

All this evacuation mandating probably makes the Gray Man a little lonely on the South Strand these days. What? You’ve never head of the Gray Man, a Pawleys Island legend since at least the 1950s? I was a fifth-grader when I read the classic “Ghosts of the Carolinas” book by the late author Nancy Roberts, a North Carolina native. The black and white photography done by her late husband, Bruce, is captivating, setting a mood that in my view, set a standard for ghost book publishing.

The legend is, if the Gray Man knocks on your door and tells you to leave because of an approaching storm, leave right away. Other reported encounters are on the beach itself, a fuzzy apparition or a man dressed in gray clothes. One couple, interviewed on NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries” after 1989’s Hurricane Hugo, said they waved and the “man” then disappeared.

The alleged benefit of experiencing the Gray Man is that when the storm comes, your house will be spared (sometimes with clothes still on the clothesline), while your neighbor’s property will be severely damaged.

The Gray Man is a fun part of Grand Strand folklore. But hurricanes are not fun. As we watch this storm unfold via our modern methods of communication, maybe someone will report a Gray Man encounter and share it with us on social media. So, be vigilant and be safe. For more information on how you can stay safe in this and other storms, or to report an outage, visit the storm page on our website.

Author Willard Strong

Willard Strong

Willard joined Corporate Communications in 1989 after a four-year stint as a features reporter at The Post and Courier. A 1981 graduate of USC’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Kingstree native has served as news director at three radio stations, was editor of the weekly newspaper in Moncks Corner and is chairman of the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center Board of Directors. A boating enthusiast, he enjoys Gamecock football, lake life on Lake Marion’s Wyboo Creek and keeping his five guitars in tune.