Those who heed the warning survive, as do their homes...
Who is this 'Gray Man' of Pawleys Island?
Just One of Many Origins Stories
A young woman readies her home for an expected arrival, her man that she has not seen in a long time. She prepares the house, getting everything ready and perfect, as she was told he had a surprise and something to ask her and she had a good idea of what that was. At any moment her beloved would make his arrival known and hopefully after this evening they would never again be long parted.
The man leaves his home with a companion on horse, eager to quickly cross the distance to the other side of the island. They follows the road for a ways before deciding on taking a short cut through a marsh and taking a more direct, off road route.
Back at her home the young woman waits patiently but her love never arrives. Soon news reaches her of the tragedy that has befallen them, her love dead, taken into the marsh. She is devastated and takes to walking the along the beach on her own.
One evening while making her regular walk along the strand, she comes across a solitary man dressed in gray staring out over the ocean. There was something about the way he stood that seemed familiar and as curiosity got the better of her she approached him. As she got closer the man turned around so she could see his face. Her heart skipped a beat as she recognised her love... but how was this possible?
Before she could ask any questions the man, her love, told her to leave, that the island was not safe. Before she could protest he disappeared.
More distraught than ever, she returns home and tells her parents of what took place. Whether they believed in the warning or not isn't known, but she was so distraught and determined to listen to her dead lovers advice that they left the following day for the mainland.
When they returned to the island they come home to devastation. A hurricane had gone through the island destroying everything it touched. However, asides from the young woman and her family one other thing survived the storm... their family home.
Foreteller of Doom
Regardless of who the Gray Man is, the story does not end with that one storm and the saving of that one family. The Gray Man is not an isolated incident, but he has appeared to quite a few people over the last two centuries and whenever he is seen another massive storm soon follows.
He is typically seen by only one or two people at a time, is typically dressed in gray, does not usually talk but when he does it is to warn, and when he does not talk people get the idea why he is there anyway.
If seen by larger groups of people it is usually at a distance, such as when he appeared to a family in 1893. He was seen at a distance and was waving, not in greeting but in warning. The family seemed to 'just know' what was happening and followed their instincts to leave the island. The following day the 'Sea Islands Hurricane' killed well over a thousand people but the family were saved.
The Gray Man has been seen a number of times since, most notably before Hurricane Hugo passed through the South East US states and became the (at the time) most damaging hurricane in recorded history.
However, for all the devastation these and other storms have caused Pawleys Island, one thing always astounds – the homes of those who see the Gray Man and heed his warning are typically spared or suffer a lot less damage then their neighbours. Many believe the Gray Man not only saves the lives of those he warns but also may have a hand in saving their property.
What stories have you heard about the Gray Man?
Have you heard a different origin story?
If so I would love to read it!
Written by Ashley Hall 2015
"Researcher, Investigator, Writer, Director, Film Maker, Folklorist... Basically I love a good story and even better if it has a dark or paranormal twist!"
Find Ashley on Facebook HERE!
Ashley founded, owns and operates The Paranormal Guide.