CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. (WNCT) — One of the biggest mysteries in North Carolina history is the ghost ship of the Outer Banks.
The Carroll A. Deering was returning home to Virginia from Barbados on January 29, 1921. As the ship passed the Cape Lookout Lightship, the lightship keeper reported that the crew was around and a crewman was talking about how the ship had lost its anchors. The ship and crew were last seen the next day, going by the SS Lake Elon near the Diamond Shoals Lightship.
On January 31, 1921, the ship was seen by the Cape Hatteras Coast Guard Station. The ship had run aground on the shoals. The ship’s deck was awash, sails set, and lifeboats were missing. The seas were heavy where the ship was. It took waiting until the wrecker Rescue arrived on February 4, to check out the ship.
“Like a ‘Flying Dutchman,’ the five-masted schooner Carroll A. Deering loomed through the mists about Diamond Shoals today, all sails set, but un-manned.” –The Washington Herald, February 3, 1921.
Personal belongings, navigation equipment, and the ship’s anchor were missing aboard. Weirdly, food was laid out like the crew was about to enjoy a meal. No one was on board.
“I believe they abandoned her after taking everything of value,” said Captain Ballance of the Cape Hatteras station, “and ran her up on the shoals intentionally….”
In March of the same year, the boat was towed and blown apart by dynamite.
Many theories have come from the abandoning of this ship. That the crew were taken by pirates, had all jumped aboard, and more.
Another puzzling thing that was added to the mix was Christopher Columbus Gray, a man from Buxton. He reported finding a note in a bottle that had washed up on the shore. The note said the crew had actually been captured by an oil-burning boat with pirates. The note turned out to be a hoax, forever leaving the abandonment of Deering a mystery.