Have you ever wanted to explore some of the most unusual and unique places in the world? If so, I would like you to consider Woods Bay State Park. This swamp in Florence County lays claim to some pretty inexplicable and potentially supernatural events. An environment full of endangered plants and animals lives within a bizarre landform called The Carolina Bay. Perhaps you will enjoy the legend of a headless ghost who appear from thin air. Maybe you will just wish to canoe past the towering cypress-tupelo trees or stroll down the boardwalk. No matter what you do, this is one park that will not fail to amuse.
•A Headless Visitor•
Before we go any further let me tell you the story of The Headless Woman of Woods Bay. Many years have passed and yet the number who claim to have seen the resident spirit only grows. The stories began long ago before the State acquired the land and turned it into a park. Back in the mid-nineteenth century, only two gristmills stood. It was then that the body of a young woman was discovered, although no one had been reported missing from the area. Identification was extremely difficult. The reason being she had no head. The marks showed it was removed with a razor sharp blade.
As I’m sure you will understand, these events sent the locals into a bit of a panic. Shortly after people began to admit to seeing the headless women as she wandered along the roadside. That is the Legend of the Headless Woman of Woods Bay. Every so often you will hear another report, someone else admitting that they too have seen her seeking out her head. Whether the story is factual is hard to say. No records were ever made. Still, visitors to the swamp apparently tend to see her all the same.
Possibly even stranger than spirits, Woods Bay has baffled scientists for years. Elliptically shaped depressions exist which date back over a hundred thousand years. This landform is called the Carolina Bay and for many years it was believed to be an impact crater. Magnetic anomalies had been reported and for a while, it was popular to believe that a meteor created this unique ecosystem.
Years later this theory was deemed to be inaccurate. The data was lacking. Magnetic anomalies were found to be inconsistent and little to no meteorite fragments were ever found. Another major theory is that the Carolina Bay is the result of the dissolution of a carbonate coral head. While scientists still are uncertain as to the exact cause it is the consensus to believe that the depressions are the result of terrestrial processes.
While Woods Bay State Park does offer some very bizarre features, it also affords the visitor many wonderful activities such as fishing, photography, and wildlife viewing. It is not uncommon to see alligators among the cypress-tupelo trees as you walk along the boardwalk. While I wouldn’t consider paddling beside alligators, you might wish to rent a canoe and go down the 1-mile canoe trail.
Location: 33.94583, -79.97896