You know exactly what I’m talking about. People talk of ghosts all the time and sometimes they will share a personal experience. Maybe you have had your own experience with someone or something from the other side of the veil. It might have been when you were sitting in your living room reading and you felt a cold chill cross your flesh. It made you look, but there was nothing there. Still you felt the presence as if someone or something was hovering, waiting to be acknowledged. Things are moved or misplaced and you can’t find an explanation then suddenly they are back where they are supposed to be.
Many shrug these off, but there are more than a few who believe; who know that the bump in the night is not just a noise. As old as South Carolina is there is no way that there cannot be a ghost or two…or three… hanging around. The following 10 tales are just a smattering of what South Carolina has to offer.
1. Edgefield Ghost
The year was 1828 and the place was the Izaac-Burnett mansion in what is now known as Greenwood County, SC. Nuel and his wife, Hetta, had seven children and of those children was the first to become the focus of a disembodied voice. Her name was Martha. It seems that the voice at first only mimicked noises and made the father believe that it was a child. Then, it moved into the house where it started talking in a human voice. It was told that it would answer questions when asked. Martha, however, was extremely terrified of the ghost. The mother and father finally called the Reverend to the home where they realized that the ghost did not like to talk about scripture or the Lord. After the conversation, they children were told to stop talking to the voice and the ghost said that it was going to have to leave. It is noted that the voice was gone for approximately two weeks and in that time visited other neighbors that had come to the house to talk to it, but eventually it came back. By July of 1829, it was reported that the voice was seldom heard and eventually the whole story faded from history. Nothing remains of the mansion now and the land itself is on private property at the edge of the Oconee National Park. However, one has to wonder that if you were to find the place and sit there quietly would it talk to you?
2. The Haunting of Holley House
Holley House which is now known as Hotel Aiken is housed inside of a building that was built in 1878. The place is terribly haunted and, from what I understand, the second floor is the epicenter of these hauntings. People have said that they have heard whispers, crying, and terrible screams from empty rooms. More have said that they have encountered shadowy figures. The housekeepers, however, get the brunt of the haunting as toilets flush, doors open and slam shut, as we as their carts will be taken and moved. If you ever go there ask for room 225. The ghost that inhabits that room loves to watch television although, I don't know if they like to share…
3. Bingham's Light
Dillon, SC, is the place you will find Bingham’s Light. It is said that the light is the light of Mr. John Bingham who was killed by a train as he was trying to flag it down with his lantern. Depending on whom you ask, this occurred in the late 1800s or early 1900s, but it really is of no matter. What is important is that this ghost haunts these grounds. The railroad tracks that once were there are now long gone, but he remains. Some say he is still trying to flag down the train and others say that he is looking for his children that he left behind.
4. The Battery Carriage House Inn
In Charleston, SC, you will find the Battery Carriage House Inn located directly across from White Point Garden. The inn was built in 1843 and in all those years, it shouldn’t surprise that there are just as many haunting as there is living there. From all the experiences, it seems that there are two main ghosts that can be seen at any given time, but of course, they are seen usually at night. There is a gentleman who is believed to have once been a college student and for some unknown reason jumped off the roof and killed himself. The other ghost is of a headless torso. This one seems to be the one that scares most people. (I don’t know about you, but something that is headless would probably scare me too.) This ghost is believed to be the ghost of a Civil War Soldier and it seems that he does not intend harm. Perhaps he just wants company as the lonely usually do. If you do get to stay in this beautiful place, you might want to ask for Room 8 or Room 10 if they are available. These rooms seem to get a lot of activity. Not only might you encounter The Gentleman or the Headless Torso, but there have also been lights, feelings of energies, and the general presence of another.
5. Abbeville Opera House
Ah, the story of a ghost in an opera house. Cliché, you say? Maybe. There may not be an opera house that has been built that does not have some story of a haunting, however the Abbeville Opera House may just be a bit different than most. It is a building that is over one hundred years old, so it would be of no wonder than there would be a ghost lurking about. I have heard two different stories of this ghost. I wonder which would be true. The first one described to me is that the ghost is a woman who may have been an actress on her way to the theatre when she became ill on the train and died in town. They say that you can see her from time to time in period dress. They say she can also be seen on stage as well. The opera house keeps a seat for her alone. The second story says that the ghost is that of a young black man who fell in love with a white actress. It is said that he was murdered in the balcony by locals who did not agree with such romances. No matter which one is true the fact remains that there is a chair saved for that haunt. If you ever visit keep an eye out on the balcony.
6. Legend of Julia Legare
Perhaps the most popular legend of Edisto Island, SC. For over 100 years, this story has been told time and time again. Julia came to the island to visit family when she suddenly became ill and fell into a coma. The doctor came and pronounced her as dead. The family buried her in the family mausoleum not thinking that the doctor may be wrong. Fifteen years later another family member died and they went to bury them also in the mausoleum, but when they opened it they found the skeleton of Julia at the door. It is said that she had not been dead, but in a coma so deep that her breathing and heart rate were not visible and so she died trying to get out of the mausoleum. However, the door to the mausoleum would not stay closed even with locks and chains. They eventually stopped trying and today there is no door there at all. Some say that Julia guards the tomb now that there is no door to block in another soul and some say she can finally rest.
9. The Laughing Sheriff
On the outskirts of Olar, SC, there is a home that houses many ghosts, orbs, and the presence of thick energy. The laughing sheriff is just one of its many stories. The family that used to live there was very familiar with many of these ghosts and it was no secret that the laughing sheriff was a family member that had passed. He had been the sheriff of Olar when he had a heart attack in the middle of main street while attempting to subdue a robber. It is said that on early Saturday mornings you could stand at the kitchen sink and you would hear a car drive up, the door close and you could hear the sheriff/father/grandfather laughing as he came up to the door. However, the laughter never made it to the door as it would die off just after he got passed the kitchen window. Many who have heard it would go to the back door and look out. Confusion would mar their looks if they didn’t know what was happening, but the ones who did know smiled as he still came to visit.
8. The Gray Man
The Gray Man of Pawley’s Island has to be the most famous ghost of South Carolina. He has walked the shore of Pawley’s Island for over 200 years. The first time he was noted in history was in 1822 before a massive hurricane hit. No one really knows how he came to be although, some surmise that he was the fiancé of a young woman who lived on the island and died before they could become reunited. No matter how he came to be he is one very hard working spirit. He does not tend to cause harm; on the contrary, he tends to warn people of impending storms. So, if you are ever on Pawley’s Island and you encounter a man dressed all in gray do not hang around to see what will happen. Go back to wherever you are staying, pack your things, and get off the island. The Gray Man will save your life.
9 . Seneca Guns
All along the east coast people have reported ‘booms’ of sound coming from the ocean. In fact, they have been so loud they have shaken homes and rattled windows. Not long ago the Kiawah Islands reported hearing these booms. Seismologists have not recorded earthquake activity. Some scientists believe that they are gases released from under the sea, or landslides along the Continental Shelf. Others believe it could be the sound of distant thunder or even meteors crashing into the atmosphere. Legend says that it is the guns of the Seneca Indians who want revenge against the settlers who drove them away. No matter what you may believe the fact of the matter is that no one so far, scientist or otherwise, can say for sure what causes them.
10. The Shooting Star Ghost
This ghost has been reportedly seen in Georgetown, SC since 1900 and even made the news more than once. In some accounts it is described as a goblin more than a ghost. It is reported that the ghost is that of an older black gentleman who was a slave that killed his ‘master’ and paid for that with his own life. He has been seen as well dressed and doing various stunts, but then just as fast as you see him…he is gone like a ‘shooting star’.
There are hundreds of ghost stories in South Carolina and many more that no one really knows of. I imagine that one or two of you also have a tale or two to tell. Please, if you do, don’t hesitate to comment below. I, for one, would be interested in what you have to say. Until next time…