This story is about a young woman from colonial Charleston. She was from a wealthy and influential family and had many choices for a suitor. Although many of the local Pawley’s Island men tried desperately to win her heart, she ignored all suitors because she was madly in love with someone else. She had fallen deeply in love with none other than her rebellious cousin.
The two cousins parents were horrified at the idea of this and her cousin was quickly shipped away to Europe in an attempt to hide this shameful secret and keep the two lovers far apart from one another. Not long afterward, the news arrived in America that
he had been killed in a duel. The young woman was grief stricken and slipped into a deep state of depression, ignoring all other men who were possible suitors.
A while later, a young wealthy man from the Waccamaw area visited the family. He was a recent widow himself and he fell desperately in love with the girl. He was relentless in his pursuit of her hand and eventually she managed to grow fond of the gentleman suitor. A short while later they were married and moved to an estate in the Waccamaw area. They would retreat back to another home on Pawley’s Island during the summer.
During the Revolution the young woman’s new husband was away fighting the British and his family moved to the summer home on Pawley’s Island. One evening, a terrible storm caused a ship to sink just offshore. Slaves saw a weary and wet survivor crawl out of the ocean and ran to help him. They took him up to the summer house and asked the once depressed girl, who was now in charge of the home, to help him.
When she approached the stranger to offer food and drink, the stranger looked horrified, cried out loudly and ran off into the stormy night. As it turned out, the stranger was no stranger at all. He was her long lost love that was believed to have been killed in
Europe. He disappeared into the night, heartbroken and alone, never to be seen again. It was learned sometime later that he died of yellow fever and exposure. Some even say he died of a broken heart.
It is said he still today wanders the area of Pawleys Island where the house once stood. People have reported a shadowy gray man that will often appear just before a major storm. Locals take his appearance as a warning to leave the island. It is also said that if
you are fortunate enough to see the gray man that your home will be spared from the storm.