Spooky and Sensational

Writer Brooks Preik will speak at the NC Maritime Museum’s Third Tuesday Evening Adult Program. Courtesy photo

Writer Brooks Preik will speak at the NC Maritime Museum’s Third Tuesday Evening Adult Program. Courtesy photo

What: Third Tuesday Evening Adult Program: Legends and Lore of the Lower Cape Fear with Brooks Preik
When: Tuesday, October 15th
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Southport Community Building
223 E. Bay St., Southport
Cost: FREE, but registration is required
Info: (910) 457-0003

Rich in history and lore, Southport will come alive with the spirits of the past this Tuesday, October 15th. Author Brooks Preik will divulge spooky tales at the Southport Community Building that will both entertain and enlighten. The event is part of the Third Tuesday Evening Adult Program, a monthly series hosted by the local branch of the NC Maritime Museum.

“Southport is the place I grew up, and even though I haven’t lived there in years, it is the place nearest and dearest to my heart,” Preik, a native of the town, describes.

A seasoned storyteller, Preik has a long history of weaving ghostly tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. So much so, she published a book of stories called “Haunted Wilmington and the Cape Fear Coast.” Though she cannot claim to have experienced a ghostly encounter herself, Preik advocates that most all of the legends she tells are grounded in truth.

Southport Magazine had the privilege to sit down with Preik and learn more about her love of storytelling.

Southport Magazine (SM): What can attendees expect to encounter at this event? 
Brooks Preik (BP): Just a good evening of fun and stories. Old stories based on legends of the Cape Fear and reminiscences of Southport.

SM: What sparked your interest in local folklore? How long have you been working with it?
BP: Since I was a child. I grew up in Southport before the days of television, so storytelling was a large part of the entertainment back then. My mother and father both loved folklore and storytelling.

SM: What responses do you usually get from audience members?
BP: I find that everyone, no matter how young or old, loves a good ghost story, so the responses are always positive!

SM: What do you think makes the ghost stories you tell such a compelling way to educate people on local history? 
BP: Well, I don’t think you can separate history from ghost stories. All legend, I think, is a mixture of story and history. It’s a great way to educate people – especially children. They like the historical part of the story and seem fascinated by it.

SM: Why do you think coastal cities like the ones found in the Cape Fear area are so alive with the souls of the past?
BP: I think one of the things is that there have always been sea-fearing men who like telling stories and who were out to sea months at a time. Some of these men were pirates or buccaneers who had their own reputations that they brought with them. Stories of smuggling and hidden passages to the sea certainly contributed to these things. I think, also, the whole region was settled by Scots, Irish and English—all of whom have a long tradition of ghost stories.

SM: What makes your experience of telling a story different from when you write the story? 
BP: I love to write, but I prefer telling stories because I can see the audience’s reactions and that gives me the incentive to keep going—the inspiration to expand the stories. That makes it exciting. It’s just that immediate back and forth between the storyteller and the audience that makes it gratifying or enjoyable, and when I write I don’t have that same sensation.

However, over the years since my ghost-story collection came out, in talking to various school groups or adult programs, I’ve been happy to know that it has been received well, even though I can’t see the immediate effect, and it will live on beyond me.

SM: Do you have any plans to release more story collections? 
BP: Probably not another collection, but I do have another ghost story that will be one of the feature articles in the October issue of Salt Magazine. I think it’s a fascinating story about a 150-year-old house in Wilmington.

SM: What is your favorite story to tell and why? 
BP: I think my favorite is the story of Theodosia Burr. She lived a very sad but very interesting life. The story of her disappearance at sea has never been solved. It is a true story, and there are ghost stories related to her disappearance from Georgetown, South Carolina, all the way to New York City. My story is the version of Theodosia’s ghost at Bald Head Island, and it will be one of the stories I tell at this meeting.

To register to attend the Third Tuesday Evening Adult Program with Brooks Preik, a free event, call the Southport branch of the NC Maritime Museum at (910) 457-0003.

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