Not all ghosts are evil and not all haunted places are eerie. But the ghost that inhabits the woods near the North Carolina Zoo is there to do harm to those that come near his area. It's the ghost of a hunter that doesn't hunt animals, it hunts people.
Purgatory Mountain in Randolph county is now home to the North Carolina Zoo, but during the civil war it was home to a group of peaceful Quakers. It was their custom to no engage in war so when the confederate government sent a recruiter to the area the Quakers were understandably upset.
That didn't last long as the recruiter was a nice, well like and respectable guy who respected the Quakers beliefs and culture. It's also a fact that as nice as he was that he was also unsuccessful in getting men to fight for the confederacy. So it was that when the rebel army began to lose the war a new recruiter was sent in to the area.
Unlike the recruiter before him, this man was hated for his rudeness, vulgarity and lack of respect for the Quaker women. He did whatever it took to get troops for the south including kidnapping a group of boys no older than 13 and marching them to a fort in Wilmington.
However, due to the lack of guards at the fort, the boys quickly escaped and headed back home. It took the boys nearly 2 months to make it through the winter storms, flooded rivers and going sometimes days without food. When they reached Purgatory Mountain, they knew they couldn't go back to their homes because the recruiter would be looking for them.
They were right. the recruiter who had now earned the title of 'hunter' had learned of the escape and was searching the area for the boys. So the boys lived in the woods as long as the possibly could before deciding they had to eliminate the hunter. Those considered the best marksman of the group studied the habits of the recruiter/hunter and on one morning at sunrise the hunter came out of his house and was dropped by 2 bullets to the head.
Not long after his death, the civil war came to an end. Life slowly went back to normal and no one in the town asked questions about who killed the recruiter. Frankly, nobody cared. But just as he was a menace in life, the recruiter seems to be a menace in death.
Since the end of the civil war, people have reported seeing a spirit wandering the rocky outcrops of the mountain trying to get revenge on those that killed him. it is said that the ghost most often appears at sunrise, the same time of his death.So as you walk around the NC Zoo, keep an eye peeled for the ghost of the hunter. I, for one, wouldn't want to get in his way.