QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-09 > 1096465017
Subject: Excerpt Of History
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 09:36:57 EDT
The Gray Man of Pawley's Island, South Carolina
Howling winds, torrents of rain, lightening streaking across the sky and the
night black as the deepest hole that will consume even the most devout.
This is what the Gray Man warns is coming when he meets you on the dunes of the
beach. He no longer needs to issue the warning orally as his mere presence
is enough. Who is the Gray Man and why does he warn of impending storms?
Unfortunately, the identity of the Gray Man is lost in folklore. It has
been said he was the founding father of Pawley Island, Mr.Perceval Pawley who
settled the island and named it. It was his love of his island and home that
keeps him earthbound.
Others believe it is the lover of a Charleston Belle that was sent away to
France because their relationship was not acceptable to their parents. Rumor
has it that the two were cousins and that the man was a scoundrel of sorts.
The lover vowed to return and make her his wife. Time passed and it was
reported that he had died in a duel. Grief stricken the woman mourned. Another
man who had recently been widowed drew the woman out of her grief later.
They married making the island their summer home from May through October each
year. In 1778 the husband joined the Army to fight in the American
Revolution. During his absence, a hurricane hit the island sinking a brigantine off
the islands shore. All were believed to have perished. However, a lone figure
was seen struggling along the shore. A manservant helped the surviving man
to his Mistress' door advising that the Master was gone to war but his
Mistress would look after him. When she opened the door and saw her lover there
she fainted. The man realizing that his love had married another fled. He
died alone on the mainland of a deadly fever. The Belle resumed her life but
she was frequently troubled by the presence of a gray figure that watched her
from the dunes. He appeared to her prior to a hurricane, advised her to leave
immediately. When she returned her house had been the only one spared the
devastation wrought by the hurricane.
Another candidate as the Gray Man is Plowden Charles Jeannerette Weston who
loved his home and the island faithfully. He died of tuberculosis but is
said to appear to residents to warn them of impending storms. No one can
identify the Gray Man as he does not have a face and is not clearly seen. Even
someone coming face to face with him cannot make out his facial details, as they
are a blur - almost like a silhouette. Whoever the Gray Man is or was he
continues to warn residents of hurricanes. It is recorded that he appeared
prior to major hurricanes in 1822, 1893, 1916, 1922, 1940, and 1954. Prior to
Hurricane Hugo in 1989, an elderly couple reported walking the dunes when they
encountered the Gray Man. Not a word was spoken but familiar with the
legend, they fled. Their home was the only one not demolished by the hurricane.
Their kitchen door had opened in the storm, but their towels on the railings
of the porch were still hanging undisturbed.
How is this possible? Coincidence? Divine intervention?
The spirits who remain behind do so for various reasons. Some because they
don't want to believe they are dead, some who died tragically, and those who
love someone or something so great they feel a need to be the guard for
eternity. Sometimes there is no explanation only faith. We have faith that
someone will watch over us and keep us safe. For example, in 2003 a forest fire
devastated California. In one area the fire fighters were struggling. A lone
house survived. Why? Was it because the fire fighters were successful or
was it the lone fax that was sent by the homeowners asking that God protect
their home and the fire fighters in their battle? Was it their faith? The
Gray Man is now an entity that when seen, people have faith that he is warning
them. They don't hesitate, they respond. Frequently, their home is the only
one left standing.