People refer to Charleston, South Carolina, as the Holy City, but it might as well be Ghost City because of its numerous supernatural stories. In fact, so intriguing and compelling are these tales that agencies such as Sandlapper Water Tours offer ghost tours in Charleston. Below are three of these stories.
Legend of a serial killer
Regarded as America’s first female serial killer, people say Lavinia Fisher helped her husband repeatedly commit murder at their Charleston inn, the Six Mile Wayfarer House, in the early 1800s.
One version of her story tells of Fisher making unsuspecting guests drink poisoned tea and having them sleep on a bed with a trapdoor underneath leading to a pit full of spikes. Urban legend tells her spirit is roaming the Old City Jail, where authorities incarcerated and publicly executed her.
Story of a theater actor
Brutus Booth is probably better known as the father of the infamous John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin. His family background aside, Booth was a renowned 19th-century actor who used to perform and stay at Charleston’s Planter’s Hotel, now the Dock Street Theater.
Legend has it that he once attempted to kill the hotel’s manager. Although these were his only connections to the city, they seemed enough for him to haunt the theater.
Tale of a poet’s lover
In Charleston, many believe a local maiden inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s celebrated poem “Annabel Lee.” The story goes that Poe and Annabel Lee fell in love, but her father forbade their relationship, prompting the young lovers to meet at the Unitarian Church Graveyard secretly.
When she died, her family didn’t allow Poe to attend her funeral, and he never found her grave. Apparently still waiting for her poet, many have seen her apparition at the cemetery.
These are just three of the various ghost stories in Charleston, and there are still many left for brave tourists to discover.