We know what we like to hear about our state, about the place we dwell, the place we let our children call home, however, nothing is all sunshine and rainbows. There is an underbelly to everything. A place where the darkness lives; a place where the sunshine never reaches. This is the place that births the strange, unusual, and sometimes…sometimes the most terrifying stories you will ever hear or the ones you never want to hear. These are the stories that become urban legends; the ones we tell each other around campfires and the ones children tell other children in their rooms on sleepovers using flashlights. Are they real? I’m sure that everything is based on some fact whether it is a huge vein of truth or a sliver of breath. It is up to you to decide in the end. What do you believe?
1. The Lizard Man
Described as being taller than the average man, the Lizard Man is said to be muscular, covered with dark hair and scaly lizard-like skin on its face, hands, and feet. It is said that he has three fingers on each hand and three toes on each foot. The strength of the beast has been reported to be more than enough to rip a car to shreds.
There have been quite a few reported sighting of this creature around South Carolina. The first such sighting was reported on June 29, 1988, by Christopher Davis. His report is as follows: “I looked back and saw something running across the field towards me. It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off."
Other reports have been made as well including the mauling of cars that have been documented as looking as though they had been chewed up by something.
2. Crybaby Bridge
Everyone knows the legend of Crybaby Bridge. Some know the one in Anderson, which by far is the most famous one in South Carolina, and many know of another one. In fact, there are quite a few in South Carolina and nationwide. The one I will discuss is the one in Anderson, SC. This particular bridge has quite a history. It was originally built in Virginia in 1919, brought to Charleston, and the in 1952 was moved to Anderson.
There are a few different ways this story goes, but the most popular is that there was an accident late one night. A mother lost her baby to the flow of the river. It is said that if you go on this bridge late at night you can hear the crying of a baby and if you are lucky you may even see the mother walking up and down the bridge searching for the child she lost so long ago.
3. Third Eye Man
What is lurking in the catacombs beneath the University of South Carolina? He was first seen in 1949 by two USC students. A man all dressed in silver was seen opening a manhole and disappearing into the underground. One of the students was a newspaper reporter and wrote about his experience. Six months later a police officer was making his rounds around campus when he came upon some mutilated chickens. He went to his car to report the incident and on his return he reportedly saw a strange figure all dressed in silver. The policeman reported that when the man turned, he saw an odd colored face and the in the middle of his forehead was a third eye. The policeman ran from the scene to request backup, but when backup arrived there was no ‘third eye man’ to be seen. However, it didn’t stop the policeman from telling that story for the rest of his life.
The next time the ‘third eye man’ was seen was in the late ‘60s. There are catacombs or tunnels beneath the university and a few fraternity guys thought it would be a great place to take their pledges. Upon rounding the first corner they report that they saw a crippled old man all dressed in silver. He swung at them with a pipe and knocked one of them down. The young man suffered minor scrapes and bruises along with shock, but nothing life-threatening. A manhunt was started that night, but nothing and no one was found. The entrance to the tunnels have since been sealed and so far there have not been other reported sightings of the ‘third eye man’.
4. Boo Hag
According to Gullah legend there is a creature that rides the night looking for someone that they think are good candidates to steal energy from. No, this is not a vampire. This is a creature that reportedly gains energy from a human’s breath by riding their victims. It is said that they have no skin which makes them red in appearance. In order for them to be less noticeable, they will steal a victim’s skin and use it for as long as possible. When they find someone that they wish to use they will remove the skin. They then get on top of the victim’s chest, hold the face close to the person and inhale the person’s energy from their breath. It is said that this will induce deep sleep in the human and they may awake tired. If, however, they fight the Boo Hag, the Boo Hag will take their skin to use.
If you ever wonder how to keep one out of your bed, put a broom beside the bed before you lie down for the night. The Boo Hag will become so obsessed with counting the straws in the broom that they will not have time to take your energy before the sun comes up.
5. The Ghost Hound of Goshen
On a desolate stretch of road known as Buncombe between Newberry and Union counties, there dwells a terrifying beast known to many as the ‘Hound of Goshen’. The stories go as far back as the 1850’s when a young slave boy saw him for the first time while going to get the doctor. It is said to be an overly large dog and white in color. Some say that if you are to happen upon this dog that a death is sure to follow. Some say that the dog has red eyes. The last time this dog was seen was in 1998, but there is no information on the encounter. As far as anyone knows, this dog has not bitten or otherwise attacked anyone to date. But, if you go down that stretch of road, I would take with me some friends. I don’t think I would chance an encounter with the ‘Hound of Goshen’.
6. The Legend of Julia Legare
Picture it: Edisto Island. Mid-1800s. The story has been told time and time again. I’m sure that you may have even heard of it or some part of it. Julia Legare came to visit family. It is said that she became terribly ill with a fever and eventually slipped into a coma. Her family called the doctor whom pronounced her as dead. Much to the dismay and sorrow of her family, they interred her in the family mausoleum.
Life went on and 15 years later they had to open the mausoleum to place another member when they found that Julia’s skeleton was at the door instead of laid to rest where they had left her. It seems that she had not been dead at all, but in a coma so deep that the physician could not detect a heartbeat or her breathing. They put the girl’s remains back where they were supposed to be and sealed and locked the door once again. But, that is not where the story ends. It seems that the door will never be shut. No matter how many times they have locked it, it has been opened. They say that now that there is no door, her spirit can rest because she knows that no one else will be locked in the mausoleum.
7. The Haunted Baynard Crypt
The story goes the way many do in South Carolina. It is a story of love, loss, and a ‘ghostly’ happy ending. William Baynard built a magnificent home on the highest point of Hilton Head for his bride to be. On the night of their wedding as they were dancing, he noticed that she was sweating and feverish. He took her by the hand to usher her to a chair, but she collapsed before ever getting there. When the doctor arrived, he told William that she had contacted a deadly fever. That night, William sat beside her as she drew her final breath.
As with other devoted husbands, William built an elaborate place of rest for his dead bride and laid her to rest, but that is not the end of the tale. When the Civil War broke out, grave robbers tried valiantly to get into this beautiful mausoleum thinking that there were treasures galore. However, the only thing they found was their own demise. No one would be able to get into the mausoleum without meeting their own death. Many years later, it is said, that a group of teenagers (being as teenagers are known to be) were going to try their hand at opening the mausoleum, but as they approached it they saw an elderly couple sitting on the bench that sat in front of it and as they got closer the couple disappeared.
8. Ghost Treasure of Folly Island
Who doesn’t love a good buried treasure story? Who doesn’t dream of finding it? Well, I don’t know if I would go looking for this particular buried treasure as along with this treasure comes the guard of a ghostly pirate who watches over it.
The story goes that when the Civil War broke out a young soldier was told to gather all the people and bring them in off Folly Island. When he got to a particular run down shack, he found an elderly black woman and a child living there. She didn’t want any part of leaving her home and told the soldier of the time she has lived in her house. She told him of pirates who had come ashore to bury six chests of gold, silver, and jewels. She even showed him the two oaks that the treasure was buried between. She also told him that when they had gotten all the treasure inside the hole that the Captain buried a knife in one of his crew and threw him in upon the treasure itself. The soldier, being curious, wanted to make sure that he was sure of the location, but the old woman told him to leave the treasure alone that there was a pirate watching that treasure whether he was dead or not.
Later that night, the soldier and a friend went to find the treasure and the more they dug the higher the winds came and the closer the lightening until it became so bright that before them stood the silhouetted figure of a pirate. Needless to say, the treasure remained buried and the story would have to but for the soldier who told it at a reunion and another man just happened to put it in print.
Does Bigfoot live in the swamps and forests of South Carolina? Do you believe that there is a possibility? I’m not sure myself however; I can tell you that if he does reside in this state that there are a lot of places for him to roam. There is more than 80,000 acres of land that is claimed by the government that goes untouched by human hand.
Described as a huge, hair, ape-like creature, many people of South Carolina have claimed to have seen this beast and many more have said that they have heard his cries. January 15, 2015, The “Finding Bigfoot” researchers came to Aiken, SC to seek proof and in that meeting 15 people from all over South Carolina stood up to tell their tales of the strange beast.
Is he out there? Will we ever find him and do we really want to? I can image that the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I, personally, would hate to see what would happen to him and his kind if they were to be found. I know that their lives would be radically changed. No animal or beast should have to live in a cage.
Urban legends can be fun to tell especially around a campfire while roasting marshmallows or inside with the lights down low. But, the question remains: How much of it is true and how much of it is the imagination of a scared individual? We may never know.