How did Nags Head NC get its name?

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The land pirates of the Outer Banks of North Carolina would place a lantern around a “Nags Head” (the head of a mule or similar 4 legged animal) and walk it up and down the sand dunes on the beach. This up and down motion of the lantern, at night, would look like a ship or large vessel moving up and down in a harbor. The vessels or trade ships that were out at sea would see the light and head towards in hopes of finding a place to wait out the storm. As the trade ships got closer to land (towards the direction of the lantern on the mule going up and down on the sand dunes) the trade ship would beach itself like a whale or in nautical terms, “Run Aground”, and the Land pirates would then invade the ship and do what pirates do best…

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