BY LEA HARMON SUTTER
(April 10) Well, here I am on this island everyone calls mysterious and frightening, and I hope you are as curious as I am to find out if any of the stories are true. I tend to be skeptical. I have a bunch of older brothers who loved making up stories to terrify me, and I quickly learned not to believe any scary story anyone ever told me.
I suppose it’s odd to being a travel blog by saying that no one comes here. But before I can being to describe the unique charms and dark mystique of Cape Le Chat Noir, I really have to start with that fact.
No one comes here.
Of course, no one really believes the island is cursed. But there are too many frightening stories from its past to ignore. The dozens of Spanish ships that mysteriously sank off the island shores in the 1600s? The rumors of dark-magic rituals? The stories—that many believe to this day—of the living dead walking the island in broad daylight?
If you are an adventure traveler like me, those all seem like good things!
But the fact is, no one has paid much attention to this island of whitewashed shacks, tall pine forests, fishing villages, and eccentric islanders—despite the fact that you can almost reach out and touch the place from the Outer Banks because of South Carolina.
Located a hop, skip, and a splash from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, vacationers have avoided Cape Le Chat Noir like—shall I say it?—a black cat crossing their path.
For you history nerds, here’s the 411: The island was annexed by the English sometime around 1650. They had little interest in it. Too small and too far from the mainland. Most English settlers chose the Roanoke Colony to the north (and we all know how that worked out).
Small groups of nomadic American Indians found their way to the island. Spanish pirates arrived later, sometimes unhappily, because they watched their ships go down just offshore.
Yes, this part of the ocean is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. You can Google it. Don’t bother to look for a reason why all the ships sank. No one can tell you. But this was the beginning of the island’s bad reputation.
When French traders arrived and heard the stories, they gave the island its unlucky name. I haven’t been able to find out what they were trading. Most likely rum or some concoction like it. The islander’s I’ve met seem to drink from morning till night. And it that’s your idea of travel adventure, go ahead—pack your bags.
I’ve saved the best (or worst) for last. Here’s the most interesting historical detail—and it’s definitely creepy. Especially with frightening forecasts of a big hurricane heading this way.
I don’t want to talk about the hurricane now. I’m pretending it’s not going to happen.
You see, Le Chat Noir was devastated by one of the most powerful storms in hurricane history. It was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. And I have ever finger crossed that history is not going to repeat itself now.
The card security code is an added safeguard for your credit/debit card purchases. Depending on the type of card you use, it is either a three- or four-digit number printed on the back or front of your credit/debit card, separate from your credit/debit card number. To make shopping at Book-of-the-Month Club®
even more secure, we require that you enter this number each time you make a credit/debit card purchase. Please note that your security code will not be stored with us even if you have saved your credit/debit card information.