When we think about paranormal activity, South Carolina isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind. But don’t think for a second that that means it doesn’t happen here. Charleston in particular is full of creepy, crawly, bump-in-the-night stories – we just might not have been aware of it. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of them for you. I hope you aren’t alone while reading this! Here are the nine creepiest ghost stories about Charleston. Read if you dare.
1. The story of America's first convicted female serial killer
Lavinia Fisher and her husband, John, ran a motel of sorts north of Charleston over 200 years ago that weary travelers would stop at for the night. Unfortunately, they would never continue their journey. Lavinia would offer them a cup of tea that she had poisoned just enough to make the guest extremely drowsy. When night fell and the victim was fast asleep, John would pull a lever that opened a trap door below the bed, sending both it and the innocent soul tumbling down into an abyss below the home.
One traveler by the name of John Peoples managed to escape. He didn't care for tea, so he poured it down the sink when Lavinia wasn't looking to spare her feelings. Since he wasn't poisoned, he didn't get tired enough to lay in bed before it fell. Upon seeing it occur, he ran out of the house all the way to the police station to report his sightings. Upon investigation, police eventually found all the bodies of the missing people buried beneath the home and arrested the couple. They were both hanged in The Old Jail, pictured above. Locals say you can see their apparitions haunting the building to this day.
2. The ghosts of Battery Carriage House
This bed-and-breakfast has been around since 1843, so the abundant ghost sightings shouldn't come as a surprise. Two ghosts in particular are seen repeatedly: the Headless Torso in Room Eight, who was supposedly a Civil War soldier and appears as the name suggests - a torso with no head or legs attached, and the Gentleman Caller in Room 10 who likes to pet the hair of women while they're sleeping. Are you brave enough to stay in one of the rooms?
3. The legend of the former orphan house
The Charleston Orphan House was in operation until 1918, when a devastating fire supposedly destroyed the entire building and the children who were housed in it. There have since been other business built on the property, and people have reported seeing children running around and hearing light footsteps and high-pitched shrieks. Have the children, angry about their untimely demise, come back to haunt anyone occupying the premises? I guess you'll have to find out for yourself - if you dare.
4. The ghosts of Dock Street Theatre
This building has been around since 1809 and has an incredibly rich history. It began as a theatre that suffered from a fire that, much like in the previous story, brought actors and audience alike to their death. Planter's Hotel was built on the property shortly after the catastrophe before being converted back into a theatre that still exists today. Performers and spectators alike have claimed to see spirits wandering about above the rafters and even on stage. Are they the ghosts of actors not ready to give up their time in the spotlight?
5. The moaning dungeon pirates
The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon used to house pirates who came ashore and committed atrocities. Denied food and water and awaiting execution, all they had energy to do was moan in protest of their situation. Even though nobody has been held prisoner there in a very long time, staff of the building today claim to hear low moans from the below the floorboards and hear eerie, creaking footsteps.
6. The teacher of Poogan's Porch
Poogan's Porch restaurant is a Victorian-home-turned-Southern-restaurant that's been around since 1888. The home was the residence of Zoe Amand, a schoolteacher and spinster who died there in 1954. Locals have reported seeing an apparition in a long nightgown staring out the window - even when the restaurant is closed.
7. The rendezvous of Madame Talvande's schoolchildren
This house on Legare Street is named after a goldsmith who built the first house on the premises. The building that stands there today beyond this ominous gate used to be Madame Talvande's School for Girls, a boarding school of sorts where no boys were allowed under any circumstances. Despite the headmistress's watchful eye, one girl managed to carry on a secret affair with her boyfriend reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. When Madame Talvande found out, she was so furious that she had this gate and a fence surrounding the school erected so that no more boys could enter without her knowledge. Apparently, if you drive down the road late at night, you'll see a ghostly figure with a stern face standing just beyond the gate, glaring out at passersby to make sure they aren't boys on a mission to corrupt her innocent girls.
8. The polite ghost of Fort Sumter
As is customary with most former battlegrounds, Fort Sumter has its share of ghostly sightings. Ironically, no Union soldiers were killed in the actual battle against the Confederates - the only casualty was killed in a misfire when the troops were saluting their flag for the last time before it was replaced with that of the Rebels. Visitors to the fort have reported seeing a man dressed in a dated war uniform resembling that of the Union and even smelling gunpowder.
9. The weeping woman of St. Philip's Church
Although the current church has only been around since 1838, the graveyards behind it have been untouched since their establishment in 1768. A mother who died from blood loss after giving birth to a stillborn child is buried there along with her baby. Many paranormal investigators have visited the cemetery to take pictures, and nearly all of their prints have come back with the image of a woman standing over a grave, weeping. Is this the ghost of the woman mourning her baby's untimely demise?
Have you ever visited any of these haunted locations? Did you see anything out of the ordinary while you were there? Where else in Charleston is notorious for paranormal activity?