Until he passed away in 2017, Norris Austin was the oldest living Corolla native. His grew up in Corolla and lived there almost all of his life. Like his father before him, he was the postmaster of Corolla for years. Austin had a great memory and a gift for telling stories. Here are a few of the stories he told about ghosts in Corolla when he was being interviewed for the Corolla Walking Tour book.
Photo: Whalehead in Historic Corolla
Alone in the Whalehead Club
One season a pretty strong hurricane was coming for Corolla. I did not evacuate. My family never did. Bill Witt, owner of the Whalehead Club, said that I could at least stay at the club to ride out the storm.
I went over there by myself with my dog to hunker down. On the top of the second floor, I set up a mattress and some water and food for us for living through the hurricane. I lay down to nap.
All of the sudden, my dog’s hair stood up. He started growling and barking. I tried everything I could think of to get him to stop, but he kept barking and growling at nothing.
Whatever he saw, I was more afraid of than a hurricane. So I packed up and rode out the hurricane at home.
Was it the ghost of Mr. Adams who died in the house on New Year’s Eve in 1957? I don’t know but I wasn’t going to stick around long enough to find out.
I had a cottage on Corolla Village Road when I was young that I used to rent through a weekly paper in northern the Virginia/D.C. area. I was probably the first one to rent weekly in Corolla.
One time I had a family who rented and they brought a cat. They went to bed early and they were woken up around 1 a.m. by the commode in the bathroom nearest their bedroom flushing and filling up. There was no one in the house that had used the bathroom. About 3 a.m. they were woken up by something going down the keyboard of the piano. Again, around 5 a.m. the commode flushed and filled up with no one using it.
Soon after I opened the post office that morning the man came by to tell me that they would have to leave because the house was haunted. I said, “Let me come over and check it out.” There had to be some explanation. When I saw the piano lid was open I tried to make him think that his cat had walked down the keyboard, and that it was a problem with the plumbing that was causing the flushing. I closed the piano lid and they agreed to stay.
The next morning he was back again early. He said his family was a nervous wreck and wanted me to take them back to their car in Virginia Beach right away. During the night, in addition to the flushing, the piano was opened and played and there were frequent sounds of someone walking down the hall. Needless to say, I carried them to their car.
Mysterious Light in the Station
Three guys from a North Carolina college decided to take a break and come to the Outer Banks for a camping trip. They left their car in Corolla and walked about 5 miles up the beach and set up camp next to the abandoned Currituck Beach Coast Guard Station.
On the first night they were sitting out on a dune with a full moon and stars out. It was a perfect night in spite of the bitter February cold. All at once they looked up at the watch tower on top of the station, and there was a glow light in the tower that looked like there was a candle lit in there. No one could be seen through the windows. Slightly shaken, they turned in for the night, wondering what they had seen up there in the tower.
The next morning they went to examine the station. They saw a man’s barefoot tracks in the sand and on the porch, which had wind-blown sand on it, leading up to the door that had a large padlock on it. The tracks looked like it went up to the door, but didn’t return and the lock was still on the outside.
That night the same thing happened. When they saw the glow of light in the tower, the three guys got their flashlights and went on the station porch. The padlock was in place on the outside. Whatever was making the glow was padlocked inside.
The guys packed up their gear, walked back down the beach to their car and went back to college.
“God Rest His Soul”
There was an elderly couple who lived here. They went to bed one night and he suffered from a heart attack and died.
The couple had three children who were grown and married and lived in distant places. After the funeral they all wanted their mother to go live with one of the daughters, but she refused and said she wanted to stay home as long as she could. They said, “Mother, you don’t drive. Who will get your groceries?” The lady said she would get her groceries from the mailman who came over in the mailboat daily from Waterlily. He would take small orders for a few people in Corolla from Mr. Gard’s store or Doxey’s store in Coinjock. The stores would send the people a monthly bill, and the mail carrier would receive a tip for his services. So this lady convinced her family she would be fine.
About three weeks after her husband died, the lady woke up one night hearing hammering. Her husband had a workshop in the corner of the yard and the hammering seemed to come from there. The next morning she checked out the workshop and saw that everything was in place. That night she heard footsteps coming up to the side of her bed. But when she opened her eyes no one was there.
Every night there was a different happening. The woman always carried her pocketbook to her bedroom with her at night and took it into the kitchen in the morning. One night after she was already in bed she realized she forgot to get her pocketbook from the kitchen, but she decided it would be all right to leave it in the kitchen this one time. When she awoke the next morning, the pocketbook was on the foot of her bed.
One night, there was a bad storm coming up and she didn’t know what to do to prepare for it, as her husband had always battened everything down. She went to bed worried. The morning of the storm when she got up all of the porch furniture was packed neatly in his workshop. She decided that her husband’s spirit was protecting her. From then on, when she told of an unusual happening she would say, “God rest his soul.”
The woman was found dead in bed soon after. It was ruled a heart attack. The house was sold soon after her death. The new owners have never seen or heard anything unusual. We can only assume that both of their souls are resting in peace.
There was a young couple who got married and moved into the groom's grandparents’ home in Corolla. The grandparents were both deceased. The young husband was in the military service, and his wife wasn’t from around here.
The husband soon had to go away in the service and the wife was left alone. She was awakened in the night by a presence of a kindly older man who wanted to know where his “can” was. She would try to talk to him, but he would disappear to return the next night with the same question.
The wife finally asked an elderly neighbor about who the man might be. The neighbor told her that her husband’s grandfather had died from bladder cancer and always had to keep a can close by.