Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Carl White’s syndicated column features stories about his journey as a TV producer and host. Carl says “I am writing about the people I meet as I travel and the interesting places visited. They do not all end up on TV, but a lot do and everyone becomes a friends. It’s a wonderful journey”

Below you will find a sampling of Carl’s columns. To read them in a paper nearest you, please subscribe to:

Greenwood, SC: Index Journal
Cheraw, SC: The Link
Lenoir, NC: The News Topic
Wilkes County, NC: The Record
Alleghany, NC: Alleghany News
Spruce Pines, NC: Mitchell News

A full moon on the island and Amy’s stories

It was to be a full moon night when I arrived on the Island, I had checked into The Cove Bed and Breakfast, as is my normal habit when researching for another Island story.

Sharon is the Inn Keeper and has a good feel for everything happening on Ocracoke. I ask if there were anything interesting going on that night and see said, well Amy is doing the Ghost Tour that blends in a lot of the Island history. An historic ghost tour on a full moon night sounded perfect. Sharon made the call and I was added to the list. 

The tour was conducted by ninth generation Ocracoke resident Amy Howard who has been a tour guide for more than 12 years.

There was a good number of people who showed up for the tour which started at 7:15pm. We were all warmly greeted on Howard Street and provided with a selection of mosquito repellent for which we were all grateful.  The tour was full of history that spanned from the settlement of the Island, War time, a variety of colorful personalities and of course stories of the unexplained. 

We learned that dreams were taken seriously on the island. A dream of death or disaster concerned everyone. One such dream was had by Fannie Pearl MacWilliams. Born in 1894 she was the daughter of Department store owners John and Elizabeth MacWilliams. 

When Fannie Pearl was 16 she was a student of Robert Stanley Wahab, who had returned to the island after going away for higher education. Stanley was six years her senior and it was not long before they found themselves attracted to each other. 

Fannie Peal was an accomplished student and her parents decided to send her to a boarding school. When Stanley learned that his sweetheart would be leaving the island he sought employment in the Norfolk area so that he could be near Fannie Pearl. There love continued to grow and they were soon married. Not long after at the age of 18 Fannie Pearl discovered she was with child. 

In 1912 the custom of the day was for expecting women to not be seen in public, so Fannie Pearl returned to the Island to stay with Martha Ann Wahab, her mother in law. Stanley continued to work in Norfolk and he sent money to his wife on a regular schedule. 

At breakfast on one fall morning Martha Ann noticed that Fannie Pearl seemed sad, however she was unwilling to talk about the reason for her uncommon despair. It as later in the day that Fannie Pearl shared with her mother in law that she had a dreadful dream, in which she had died.  She said that her spirt hovered over her own lifeless body that had been dressed in a solid white dress and placed in a white silk lined white casket.

The casket was then placed on a freshly white painted sailing skiff. On calm waters a silvery white moon suddenly rose against the distant live oaks on the far horizon. 

Martha Ann tried to comfort Fannie Pearl. The next morning Martha Ann called for Fannie Pearl to come down for breakfast, there was no response. She called again and still no response, with concern she climbed the stairs and opened the door to reveal the lifeless body of Fannie Pearl. 

Stanley was notified as soon as possible, he responded with a request to please do nothing until he returned. He quickly made plans to travel, he bought the best casket he could afford for his young bride. With the casket loaded on his pickup he made his way to wait for the mail boat to arrive.

The four-hour trip to the island was with a heavy heart and upon arrival things moved quickly. Fannie Pearl was to be buried on the other side of the water with her parent’s family plot. This was not an easy task and the only way to quickly make the trip was to utilize a skiff. About mid-way across Martha Ann who was in the skiff behind the boat caring the body of Fannie Pearl, gasp as she saw the new silvery moon and realized that the details Fannie Pearl shared about her own death had come to pass just as she described. 

As Amy Howard shared this story, I turned and started taking pictures over Silver Lake. It was a full moon night; however the full moon was behind me. It may have been dust, a moth or whatever, but whatever it I was, it was on perfect cue for Amy’s Story. Rest In Peace Fannie Pearl.  Another interesting visit to Ocracoke Island.