Urban Legends: Ghost Ship of the Carroll A. Deering (North Carolina)

Also known as the “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks,” the Carroll A. Deering was a very real schooner at the center of a mystery. The National Park Service website tells the details of the ship’s true fate: In August 1920, “the Carroll A. Deering set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, in tip-top shape, with an experienced captain and a crew of 10 men bound for Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of coal. The ship departed on August 22, and although Captain William H. Merritt fell ill a few days later and had to be replaced by the hastily-recruited Captain W. B. Wormell, the ship delivered its cargo on schedule and set sail to return in December.”

In January 1921, the captain of a lightship reported having seen the Deering and crew at what is now the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, heading for home. When the Deering was next spotted, on January 31, the schooner was abandoned and caught against the Diamond Shoals. “The crew had vanished like ghosts. Gone with them were personal belongings, key navigational equipment, some papers, and the ship’s anchors. Despite an exhaustive investigation by the FBI, no trace of the crew or the ship’s logs has ever been uncovered.” The ship was later scuttled but people say the ship can still be seen floating along the coast of North Carolina.

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