There are several opportunities during your visit to investigate ghostly happenings in Charleston. There are many old churches and cemeteries, along with the Old Slave Market, Pirate's Courtyard, the area around Dock Street Theatre, and 131 Church Street. With all the past and present spiritual activity taking place.

Church Street is said to be haunted by spirits because of the excesses and debauchery prevalent in that neighborhood during the early 1900's.  Right across from the churches, rich Charlestonians were said to have entertained guests and partied extravagantly, gambled, consumed incredible amounts of alcohol.  Victorian "Ladies of the Night" did a lucrative business, and many lived in the Planters' Hotel. It is said that Charlestonians opened the door to ghostly spirits through this behavior.

On Church Street lies the entrance to Battery Park. This area of Charleston is well-known for it's apparitions from the past.  For four days in 1729, twenty-nine pirates all hung for their crimes on the limbs of oaks in Battery Park , and it is said that the pirates cursed the citizens of Charleston as they swung to and fro from their ropes.

The Dock Street Theatre was built in 1736 but burn down four years later. In the early nineteenth century, it was replaced by the Planters' Hotel, in ruins after the Civil War. The new Dock Street Theatre opened in 1936. A male ghost, dressed in formal attire, is sometimes seen in the theater. It is thought to be the spirit of actor Junius Brutus Booth (father of John Wilkes Booth), who often stayed at the hotel. The ghost of an alleged prostitute who died of a botched abortion in the 1830s, has also been seen on the second floor.

There are people still living in these allegedly haunted homes, and they're pretty used to all the sounds and strange visions....  footsteps  up and down stairways, turning doorknobs,  doors opening and closing on their own, rushes of cold air and a feeling that someone brushed past you. Items in a room are very often moved and placed somewhere else while you're gone.

There are many tales told by visitors to Charleston of apparitions.  It's been reported that one visitor had seen the body of a man dressed in a wool outer garment. The man is moaning in pain. He's been seen to hover over beds or marching back and forth. Some believe he's a dead Confederate soldier who was horribly maimed in the war, some believe it's one of the Pirates making good on threats for revenge. At  20 South Battery, Room 8 is said to be haunted by a headless apparition.

The Ghost of Annabel Lee

Just before the Civil War began, Charleston was already one of the most prominent port towns on the East Coast. And Charleston was proud of it's navy men.A young sailor from Virginia met a Charleston girl named Annabel Lee. They  quickly fell in love and soon became inseparable. Annabel's father did not approve of  her sailor, he determined him  to be an unsuitable match and forbid Annabel from ever seeing him again. Annabel and her lover decided that they would meet in the secluded Unitarian graveyard.

For several months, they continued to meet at the cemetery without getting caught, until one day, Annabel's father saw her sneaking into the cemetery. He followed her, and caught Annabel and the sailor together. Her father dragged her home and punished her by locking her in her room for several months.

During her punishment, the sailor returned to his home in Virginia. He eventually received news that Annabel Lee had died of Yellow Fever from a mosquito bite. Heartbroken and grief-stricken, he quickly returned to Charleston to say farewell to Annabel. Annabel's father refused to allow him to attend the funeral. On the day of the burial, Annabel's father had all except one of the family graves dug to a depth of three feet. The remaining grave was dug to a depth of six feet and this was to be Annabel's grave. Her father wanted to be sure that the sailor would never know exactly where she was buried, and he would never be able to say goodbye. The bereaved lover wandered to visit the family plot in the cemetery where they had met. Filled with grief, the sailor sat there for hours upon hours every day, mourning her loss.

The legend is that because their love was so strong, and they were never permitted to say goodbye to each other, the ghost of Annabel Lee wanders through the Unitarian Cemetery. Those who have seen the ghost say that she appears to be searching. Perhaps for her lost love.

Don't Let the Boo Hag Ride Ya

According to Gullah superstition, Boo Hags steal a victim's energy by sucking their victims breath, and the process is called "ridin'". Boo hags have no skin, and are red in color. They are said to be hard to hold on to, should you be unlucky enough to be ridin' with one. Boo Hags feel like warm, raw meat. They are so grotesque and frightening, that the boo hags often disguise themselves inside another person's skin, which they borrow for as long as the borrowed skin lasts. Boo hags can then wear the skin like clothing. Once disguised as a regular person, boo hags roam the streets, looking for their next victim.

To go for a ride on a victim, Boo hags have to remove the stolen skin and hide it, so they can put it back on when they come back. When a boo hag chooses a victim, it will enter that person's home at night through a crack or keyhole. The boo hag sneaks into the room where the victim is sound asleep. The hag will then hover over and then lay itself over it's victim and begin sucking his or her breath.

As the boo hag rides, the victim goes into some sort of trance and is unable to defend himself. If you struggle and wake up, the boo hag may take your skin. If you let the boo hag finish sucking your breath, there don't seem to be any after-effect, except for feeling very tired. Better to be patient
than lose your skin altogether. A boo hag doesn't kill you, because it might decide to return to your bedroom someday for another ride.

Dr. Brown -  The Whistling Doctor

About 200 years ago, Joseph Brown was a young doctor who came to Charleston to establish his medical practice. He was well-liked and had many friends all over the city. He lived in a rented at 59 Church Street. Everyone in the neighborhood knew when the doctor was walking the streets of Charleston, because they would always hear him whistling a familiar tune.

Dr. Brown entered into an argument after seeing a play, and challenged someone to a duel. The next morning, the men met at dawn with their seconds in attendance. In the light of day, it is supposed that things looked a little bit differently. Dr. Brown aimed his shot into the ground so that he wouldn't hurt his opponent, and his opponent shot him in the knee. Blood poisoning set in, and the doctor became weaker and weaker.

One morning, his landladies heard his usual happy whistling and were very happy that the doctor seemed to have recovered. They  hurried to his room, but found him dead.Many generations since then, have heard Dr. Brown whistling in his room and along the streets of Charleston. Some visitors to Charleston have heard the "Whistling Doctor" in the mornings, while walking down Church Street.

Other Hauntings in Charleston

The Old Exchange Building was built on the site of the Court of the Guard, where many pirates were imprisoned. Poltergeist acitivity is reported in the dungeon area, which was where Colonel Issac Hayne was held before his execution in the late 1700's. On the way to the gallows, he passed the Perroneau House, where his sister lived, and he promised to return to her. Several people state that they hear footsteps approaching the room that was his sister's

The Old City Jail is reported to be haunted by Lavinia Fisher, an innkeeper and who robbed and murdered her guests.

St. Phillip's - A highly publicized photograph reveals what appears to be the transleucent image of a woman kneeling by the grave of a woman who died six days after giving birth to a stillborn baby  in June of 1888.

City Hall - The meeting-place of the Charleston City Council from its construction in 1802 until today. The spirit of General Beauregard, supervisor of the southern assault on Fort Sumter, has been observed in the building.

There are several ghost tours of Charleston - take an evening out and explore the areas where they are said to spend most of their time when back on our earthly plane.

There are also a few books in our reading room
about the Charleston ghosts, click here to visit--->

Getting Around Charleston--->

If you'd like to spotlight your Charleston Ghost Tours
on this page, click here for more information-->

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