Halloween Hauntings, Part 3: Ghosts and Haunts of Charleston, South Carolina

October 27, 2012   The Thirteen Days of Halloween, Blog 9

One of my daughters just visited graceful old Charleston last week, and out of curiosity I went on the web and I looked up my Aunt and Uncle’s antebellum home, the old DeBose Hayward house, located on the South Battery, only to see that it was on the market.  All of which made me a bit wistful—both for the old days and for the ghosts that reside in Charleston.

Mind you, Charleston being an old city, and being Southern, has quite a gaggle of ghosts—far more than I could ever chronicle in Dixie Spirits, much less here.  So I will briefly highlight I few that I recall I here.  First off, just a few houses down from my Uncle Bob’s old home on the South Battery, facing Charleston harbor, is the Battery Carriage House Inn.  Like all the grand and gracious homes lining the Battery, it is a large place with a courtyard leading to the carriage house in the back—the actual bed and breakfast.  And like most of the homes lining the battery, the place has a gaggle of ghosts attached to it.

Located at 20 South Battery, it offers a cozy place to stay while visiting, plus the added bonus of one or two friendly ghosts, who may or may not show up to keep you on your toes.  There is the Gentleman Ghost, who from the accounts of past visitors, has a certain affection for the ladies; then there is the Headless Torso, thought to be a victim of the Yankee bombardment of the city during the Civil War; and then there is the unnamed female ghost who resides in Room 9 who was photographed by one hotel guest.  All in all, a very interesting place to stay.

Elsewhere in Charleston, other spirits of the restless dead also may their appearance at various times.  In the heart of the city, where once a military hospital stood, in the dark hours before dawn, late night revelers have occasionally seen a phantom army marching through the streets.  They are marching, it is said, out of their death beds to defend the city against the invading Yankees who are besieging the city.  No one can tell them now the war is over.

Then there is the Old Jail, an old gothic looking structure that in its day not only housed murderers and other criminals, but runaway slaves and Yankee prisoners—many of whom still abide there.  Tour guides report heavy objects moving on their own inside, “shadow people” have been reportedly sighted there, plus the ghost of one notorious murderess—Lavinia Fisher—who haunts the cavernous prison dressed in her wedding gown.

While Halloween is a good time to visit it really doesn’t matter as far as the spirits are concerned; they’ll still be there whenever you go.

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