North Carolina’s first town and port, Bath, was hardly a place to take children. A pirate-filled party town, Bath was the ignominious home to Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard.
Looking to “cleanse” Bath, traveling evangelist George Whitefield began giving public sermons warning of hellfire and damnation. At night, he slept in a coffin to prove that he didn’t fear death. However, after annoyed locals threatened to put him in that coffin permanently, he fled, cursing Bath as he left.
Some say the curse stuck. The nearby town of Washington soon emerged, drawing most of the attention and prosperity away from Bath.