What better time than Halloween for a Ghost Story? And our favorite ghost story is the one that inspired our company's unique name. The legend of the Grey Ghost of Pawley’s Island says that he is a friendly spirit, warning beach walkers of impending storms. But it’s not just a story - I have seen the ghost myself!
One spring weekend when I was 13 or 14, I was at Pawley's with my family and a friend, Lauri. Lauri and I were out on the beach around dusk on a misty evening and looked north toward the next groin up the beach, and saw a man standing near the groin, but he didn't seem to have any legs or feet. We looked at each other and said "That looks like the Grey Ghost!" We ran toward the spot where we saw him, but by the time we got close, no one was there. No one else was near us on the beach at all. That night, there was a big thunderstorm...so we were convinced we really had seen the Grey Ghost!
Everyone agrees that the Grey Ghost, or Grey Man as he is also called, is a benevolent spirit. He appears as a warning of impending storms but also acts as a protector to those who heed his warning. The person who sees the Grey Ghost is saved from the storm and frequently, their home is also spared even when many others are damaged.
But who was the Grey Ghost in real life? I always heard that he was a ship captain whose ship was lost in a storm off the coast of Pawley’s Island. He returns to the beach to warn others of the coming storms.
Another popular legend claims that the ghost was originally a young man on the way to see his fiance on Pawley’s Island. While traveling to her beach house, he was trapped in quicksand and never seen again. A few days later, while walking on the beach in mourning, she saw who she thought was her fiance. But it turned out to be a ghost, all grey in the mist of the beach. She became so distraught that her parents decided she needed a change of scenery and traveled back to their inland home. The next day, a massive hurricane destroyed most of the island. But they were safe and even their home at the beach was saved from the storm.
Some of my favorite memories of childhood are of spending summers at my family’s beach house on Pawleys Island, baking and telling ghost stories. Inspired by those memories and wanting to really give our cookies a sense of place, I named the company for our beloved legend.
Ironically, when we moved the business to Charleston in 2014, Lauri and I reconnected and she came to work with us, handling all of our order processing and shipping. A few weeks after she started, she asked me if my family still had the house at Pawley's. As soon as she asked that, the light bulb went off in my head and I remembered that she was, in fact, the friend with me when we saw the Grey Man. Spooky, isn't it?