Old Diver

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Augustus Abner McGuire circa 1880s – Photo provided by David Huntley, Old Diver’s direct descendant.

About one hundred years ago a diver drowned while attempting to repair a hull in a ship anchored offshore of Ocracoke Island. Augustus Abner McGuire’s body was brought to the island and buried near the Howard family and Williams family cemeteries along what is now known as British Cemetery Road.

A cedar post was placed at the head of McGuire’s grave and his diving boots at its foot. Not long after his burial, islanders began feeling that the ghost of “Old Diver,” as he came to be known, haunted the narrow lane and wooded area near where he was buried. For many years, people were wary of walking there after dark.

Eventually the cedar post rotted away and the boots were removed, but the ghost of “Old Diver” may still appear to those who believe.

Today the grave is unidentified, however there is a marker near the spot.  You can see one of Old Diver’s boots on display at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum.

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Published:February 4, 2015

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