Charleston founded in 1670 is one of the oldest most historic cities in the South. Over the years there has been lots of hard work put in to upkeep and preserve many of the cities historical buildings architectural pieces and land. Charleston is a city with a unique geographical layout and is located on a peninsula. The make up of the area made Charleston originally Charles Town a geographical hot spot when the British were colonizing America. Recognized as one of the oldest cities Charleston has been through many wars from the American Revolution to the Civil War and has had its ups and its downs throughout history.
Although the city is thriving more than ever today the rich history of this beautiful city will always remain alive! It should come with no surprise that many of the historically appealing locations scattered around the city are said to be haunted!
Check out our list of The Most Haunted Places in Charleston as spooky season approaches! Featured in the list are places such as the Battery Carriage House Inn, listed as one of the South's 12 Most Haunted Places by Southern Living Magazine.
Continue on read about the sights and frights of the Lowcountry and learn how to book a ghost tour today!
The Battery Carriage House Inn
Charleston is home to some of the most haunted places in the South with The Battery Carriage House Inn being one of those places! Located at 20 South Battery, The Battery Carriage House Inn is recognized not only as one of the most haunted locations in Charleston but it is also recognized as one of the city's most historic hotels/landmarks.
The Battery Carriage House Inn has a long story behind its historical importance. Samuel Stevens purchased the land in June of 1843. Stevens built the house himself incorporating the neoclassical Charleston style. In 1859, Stevens sold the property to John Blacklock who moved his home to connect to the property located at 20 South Battery. Shortly after Blacklock purchased the land and moved in the Civil War began and he was forced to abandon the house.
In 1870, the property was sold to the Yankee Colonel Richard Lathers. Once the Civil War ended many of Charlestons properties sat vacant due to the struggling economy. Lathers thought differently about the economy and hired a former Confederate Captain to renovate the 20 South Battery house. During this time Lathers frequently invited friends from the North down to Charleston in hopes of revamping the city struggling state. Lathers did not succeed and in 1874 he decided to leave and sold the house to Andrew Simonds.
Andrew Simonds was a member one of the highest respected families in the state of South Carolina the Calhoun family, and like his family he was extremely successful. Time went on and the Simonds family sold the house in 1912 which was then passed along to many different residents. During the 60's the house located at 20 South Battery underwent another renovation. It was converted into apartments that would be rented to college students over the next two decades then by the 80's it became the hotel that is still standing today.
One cannot let the beauty of the preserved Battery Carriage House Inn fool them, with such a unique and complex history it is known to be one of Charlestons most "paranormally" active locations with numerous spirits roaming about the property. Certain rooms are said to be haunted more than others, in particular Room #3, 8, and 10. The most ominous of the three would be Room #8 the ghost that haunts this room is one that you do not want to run into. The spirit of Room #8 is said to be the sight of a floating headless torso!
The Old Charleston Jail
The Old Charleston Jail or known locally in Charleston as the Old City Jail was an operating prison from the year the jail was built in 1802 through 1939.
Once the jail's construction was completed it finished as 4 stories tall with an octagonal tower. Fifty years later the jail went through renovations incorporating a Romanesque Revival style and it also gained an extra wing. Unfortunately in 1886, an Earthquake deeply damaged the prisons structure and many of these previous renovations/improvements were lost.
This jail is known to have kept some of the most iconic criminals in the South, from pirates to Civil War Prisoners. But out of all the inmates that were held at the Old City Jail the most notably recognized prisoner is Lavinia Fisher. Lavinia is considered to be the country's first female serial killer in the US and she is one of the many spirits known to haunt the jail.
Lavinia was married to John Fisher and they owned the Charleston Inn commonly referred to as the Six Mile Wayfarer House since it was located six miles north of Charleston. The Fishers managed the Inn in the early 1900's and multiple reports of guests disappearing constantly make it to local authorities. It was not before an interaction with John Peeples whom survived a planned attack that the Fishers were imprisoned and sentenced to hang for their crimes. To read the full story on the Fishers click here!
Other than the Fishers the Charleston City Jail is believed to be haunted by the spirits of many inmates who died during their imprisonment from murderers and pirates to prisoners of war and slaves. People have mentioned some of the occurrences that happen today include run-of-the-mill haunting's, objects moving on their own, sounds of ghostly whispers in the air, and sounds of slamming doors.
Sullivan’s Island holds much of the Charleston areas war history. On the island between Stella Maris, the beautiful Catholic church nicknamed by mariners as the "Star of the Sea" and the still active lighthouse lies the Fort Moultrie National Monument. IT is said that the original fort was built entirely of Palmetto logs, which is why South Carolina is now known as the Palmetto State.
In 1776, Fort Moultrie was stationed by American soldiers more specifically commander William Moultrie fought off British warships trying to take over Charleston in the Battle of Sullivan's Island, during the American Revolution. Between the years of 1776 and 1809 Fort Moultrie suffered lots of destruction from war and was rebuilt with brick in 1809. When looking at the Fort today, you can see the different periods history through the restored areas throughout the fort.
It is said that a pelican known to be the spirit of Seminole leader Osceola, haunts the grounds of Fort Moultrie. Osceola or also originally named Billy Powell, was born in Alabama to a Creek Indian mother and Scotts Irish father in 1804. After the Creek War, Billy and his mother moved with their tribe to Florida and lived with the Seminoles were he was given his nickname Osceola or "Black Drink Crier". This nickname was representation of the tribes ceremonial black tea used as a ritual to clear the mind before battle. Osceola over time became a war leader against the Federal removal of the Seminole tribe from Florida.
If fights of keeping his tribe alive, Osceola was seized in October 1837. He was eventually transported to Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island where he died from a throat infection on January 30, 1838. He was then decapitated and the doctor ordered further studies. The skull of the Indian leader was passed around to many different professionals and was destroyed by fire in 1865 by the Medical College of New York. Many claims have been made on visitors seeing Osceola's spirit in bird form perched in various locations around the Fort. Many say the pelican at first look seems like a regular bird flying around but it has been seen in flight, spilling drops of black liquid across the burial grounds.
Take a look for yourself! Fort Moultrie is open daily from 9 AM - 5 PM. There are self-guided and guided tour options available as well as a visitor center and museum explaining the lush history of the Fort.
The Dock Street Theatre
Oddly enough The Dock Street Theatre is located on Church Street in downtown Charleston. The construction of the "original" Dock Street Theatre began in 1735 and was completed in 1736. Unfortunately, the theatre was short lived and burned down many believe due to the Charleston Fire of 1740. It was replaced with another theatre, which remained opened for over 40 years and then it closed down in the 1780's due to the construction of a new and more grand theatre just around the corner!
About 30 years later in 1809, the building was converted into the Planters Hotel. Owned by the Calders the building went through numerous renovations in 1835, this is when the building would adapt a lot of the architectural style and elements which can still be seen today.
In the mid 1800's The Planters Hotel was known as one of the finest hotels in all of Charleston. Oddly enough the hotel was a signature location to host theatre groups! Over time the hotel faced many challenges including the post Civil War struggling economy of the city as well as the devastating 1886 Charleston earthquake. With too much damage and work for anyone to take on the building then remained abandoned for almost 50 years!
By the 1930's and the building was in poor condition and The City of Charleston stepped in and began restoring the building as a joint project with the Works Progress Administration. The building was revamped and restored into a theatre named after the city's first ever, Dock Street Theatre! The theatre remained open until 2007 when the building was forced to close due to needed renovations.
These renovations took almost 3 years and 19 million dollars, but on March 18, 2010 the Dock Street Theatre held its grand reopening! Not only is the Dock Street Theatre located in an 350 year old structure it is also considered one of the most haunted buildings in the area. There have been stories from those who have passed by at night who have seen the ghosts of lost souls gazing out the windows.
There are several ghosts said to haunt the Dock Street, but there are two in particular that have been seen more than others. One of the two being Junius Brutus Booth the father of the infamous John Wilkes Booth. The other being Nettie Dickerson, Nettie lived in the 1800's and was a prostitute who frequented the Planters Hotel. She is usually seen floating on the second floor of the theater wearing a tethered red dress.
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
Who would not think an old Dungeon from the late 1700's were to be haunted? The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon located at at 122 East Bay Street would be one of the most historically recognized buildings in Charleston, SC. Built in 1767, the Old Exchange once served as a customs house, commerce center, and post office the Exchange and Provost served as a British Prison during the Revolutionary War.
The Old Exchange building is one of the most recognized buildings in the country, The Declaration of Independence was presented on its steps, the U.S. Constitution was ratified in the "Great Hall" and even President Washington was known to have visited in 1791 . For most of the 19th century, the Exchange functioned as the Federal Post Office. In 1791, George Washington appointed a new postmaster to the Exchange and everything ran successfully until the early 1840's.
During this time northern abolitionists began to send locals anti-slavery packets and Charlestonians were not happy. Various groups of locals began to rebel and on many occasions these groups tried to break into or damage the Exchange Building in hopes of destroying the anti-slavery packets being sent around. With multiple attacks to the building it was decided in 1849 that letter carriers begin delivering mail directly to residents homes.
As time went on, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon spent most of the 20th Century battling risks of redevelopment but was saved by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1981 the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon opened officially as a historical museum.
While the top of the building is historically recognizable under the building the dungeon is widely recognized as well. The dungeon is known to have kept pirates, slaves, and war criminals shackled in awful conditions. Many of these prisoners suffered terrible deaths while locked in the dungeon leaving this historic building flooded with spirits of the past. From 1680 to 1767 Charleston was a closed off city surrounded by walls in hopes to keep out pirates and marauders. Any of whom were caught, such as Stede Bonnet and his crew of pirates, were were thrown into the dungeon until their execution time was up.
Many people have reported hearing terrifying screams and yells of pain while down in the dungeon. There have also been stories of visitors seeing chains swinging out of no where while in the dungeon. Dancing orbs have been commonly reported as well as many chilling cold spots throughout the area. One of the spookiest reports of them all would be those who said they feel invisible hands wrapping around their throats or being pushed by an unseen object. The spirits of the Provost Dungeon were not treated under the best of circumstances so they area not the nicest of ghosts to be lingering around.
The Powder Magazine
The Powder Magazine is one of the oldest structures still standing from the colonial period in Charleston. The Powder Magazine was build in 1713 by the British colonists and the structure was used to house guns and ammunition for the surrounding colony to protect itself in times of danger. The building was solid, strong, and kept the city's weapons and ammo safe for over a hundred years.
The history of the building dates way back, in 1663 King Charles II of England granted a charter to eight lord Proprietors to establish the Carolina colonies. The Proprietors decided to name the capital of the colony "Charles Town" after the King. Charles Town and the colonies were considered private, meaning they could not incorporate a lord mayor or establish a standing army.
Leaving the colonists single handedly to protect themselves. During this time the Spanish were constantly trying to gain more land and stood as a strong threat to the colonies safety as well as Native American tribes. In order for the colonists to stay safe they decided to build a wall around the entire city of Charles Town and decided to build a strong and stable arsenal. The Powder Magazine was completed in 1713 with the original intent to hold gunpowder and weapons but it was found the roof was not air tight and water would seep through the cracks. So after several years of reconstruction The Powder Magazine was completed in 1717. The Powder Magazine is an extremely well crafted piece of architecture. The building has only one room 27 feet by 27 feet but what is so amazing is that the walls are 32 inches thick.
In 1729, the Carolina colony became a royal colony and received its own royal British army. But by the 1770's American royal colonies were fed up with British rule, having to pay extremely high taxes on British imports and had no representation in Parliament. In April, 1775 the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were made but the war did not make its way down to Charles Town till 1779.
In May, the British launched what would become the largest sledge of any American city. The British army began digging trenches around the city, slowly getting closer and closer to the wall surrounding the city. The royal army also intercepted a letter for General Lincoln including information as to where the Charleston troops were stationed. The royal army attacked the colonial troops early in the morning, leading General Lincoln to surrender the city on May 11, 1779. Although the city had surrendered the the war was not yet over. The Charleston colonists feared early on that The Powder Magazine would be a military target and emptied the building of all its supplies. They stored the gunpowder in the basement of The Old Exchange Building and it was never to be found by the British. All the colonists became prisoners of war after the surrender and many were sent to prison ships floating in the Charleston Harbor.
The Powder Magazine saw some more action during the French and Indian War but once they ended the city began to settle down. The magazine then became nothing more than a general storage facility. At one point The Powder Magazine during the mid-nineteenth century once acted as wine cellar for French Huguenot, Gabriel Manigault, who was at the time the wealthiest man in North America.
By the early twentieth-century, the building was in desperate condition and The Colonial Dames of America stepped in to preserve this beautiful historic structure. The building was converter into a museum and in 1972 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Being involved in the history of many wars, violence, death, and struggles it only makes sense for The Powder Building to be haunted. Many people have reported seeing the spirits of soldiers standing guard at their posts at The Powder Magazine as well as many other ghostly figures.
Boone Hall Plantation
Boone Hall Plantation is said to be home to around 10 ghosts, however the exact number of ghosts are unknown.
One of the more popular stories of ghosts is the "13th Step". Ammie Jenkins, who grew up on the plantation in the 1700s, was shot with an arrow that came through her bedroom window. She managed to make her way from the bedroom to the stairs where she died in her fiances arms on the night before her wedding.
The blood stain on the 13th step has since been removed but people sometimes still see it.
Watch the video below to learn about the Haunted History of The USS Yorktown!
The Pink House
Constructed in 1712, The Pink House is located at 17 Chalmers Street in downtown Charleston and is located in the French Quarter neighborhood lined with cobblestone streets. The Pink House dates back to the early 1700's but this date has been disputed and many believe the house was there as early as the mid to late 1600's. It still holds on to its original terra-cotta roof and Bermuda Stone which gives it the blush pink color.
Looking at the house many find it "cute, quaint, and beautiful" but many do not know about the dark and gloomy past of of the 17 Chalmers Street Pink House. The Pink House is one of the few remaining intact buildings of the old walled city once named Charles Towne by the British. In the late 1600's the Pink House operated as a "groggerie" (Coffee Shop) and a tavern for sailors passing through the town. By the early 1700's, Charleston was the 4th busiest port in the colonies and The Pink House was a easy trek for those stopping by.
The cobble stoned street also known as Mulatto Alley at the time was lined with many different taverns and bordellos also widely known as brothels. Most of these businesses belonged to slave-owners and offered only enslaved or free women of color to the sailors and clientele. These woman acted as "housekeepers" and it was understood the role to include sex but some slaves were forced into providing sexual encounters by their owners. Some woman chose the lifestyle of being a "housekeeper" as they would receive material rewards in exchange of the service. This area was known at the "Red Light District" of Charleston at the time. Many believe a stain that stamps the cobblestone in front of the Pink House dates back three centuries leaving marks of piracy, brothels, and greed.
In 1946 it was time for a change to the "Red Light District" area of Charleston and Harry McInvaill, Jr. bought the property and opened a small publishing house. The house acted as an art gallery for years to come, and was passed from McInvaill to one of Charleston's most famous painters Alice Ravenel Huger Smith. Smith converted the Pink House into her own studio.
With so much vast history incorporated into The Pink House over time it is only normal for ghost sightings to be a common ground for this Charleston location. For years there has been multiple sightings of spirits popping up in photographs around the Pink House.
Opened in 1976, Poogan's Porch is located on Queen Street in and has been serving locals and visitors southern soul food for many many years. Legend says that the previous homeowner continues to haunt the building to this day. The Victorian home was built in 1888 and was located in a residential part of downtown Charleston. In 1976, the demeanor of the neighborhood was changing and the house at 72 Queen Street was sold to be converted into a restaurant.
The previous owner of the house left behind a little white haired dog named Poogan. Poogan was left all alone on the porch and the new owners decided to take him in. While others say Poogan was a neighborhood stray who would jump from porch to porch in hopes of food. While the house was going through renovations Poogan would hang on the porch like he was the "king of the castle". Whatever story one likes to believe is there own but Poogan was a real dog and was loved so much that the 72 Queen Street restaurant was named after the furry friend. Poogan was the mascot and official greeter of the restaurant until he passed in 1979. But he has not been gone forever there have been reports from many to have seen sights of Poogans spirit while visiting the restaurant.
Poogan is not the only ghost known to roam the building, another one being the ghost of Zoe. Zoe St. Amand lived at the 72 Queen Street house with her sister Elizabeth in the early 1900's. Zoe worked as a local school teacher but had never successfully found a true love of her own. Zoe and Elizabeth were very close and seemed to keep to themselves for the most part. Unfortunately in 1945 Elizabeth became very ill and passed away leaving Zoe mortified and depressed. Her mental health continued to decline and one night she was found roaming the neighborhood frantically yelling her sisters name. She was taken to a hospital where she spent the rest of her life.
Zoe haunts her old Queen Street home that was converted into a restaurant still searching for her sister. There have been many accounts of employees as well as guests seeing Zoe's spirit many don't even realize it is a ghost until they noticed the picture hanging on the wall, how crazy! Out of all the haunted locations in Charleston Poogan's seems to have the most visual spirit sighting stories.
White Point Gardens
While Charleston is a city with hustle and bustle there are scattered parks and gardens throughout the city where residents and visitors can escape and take sometime to relax. White Point Gardens is a large park located in downtown Charleston at the tip of the peninsula right next to the famous Battery.
The location of this park is very historic and holds some interesting artifacts from the Civil War era including cannons, bandstands, and numerous statues scattered to honor famous Charleston legends. The land the park sits on today has seen pirates, gunfires, executions, Civil War Battles and much more. When visiting this particular area of Charleston you can feel the history come alive! White Point Gardens is considered one of the most haunted places in this spooky city.
During the day the park is calm with beautiful trees and a view of the water, but at night time gloom town arrives. The dark large area near the water is extremely creepy and with the amount of history taking place on this plot of land one can only imagine the number of spirits roaming around. In 1718, 49 pirates were executed at White Point and it is said that their spirits continue to haunt the park at night. Stories have been told of peoples seeing faces staring out at them from within the trees and others have reported the sightings of an apparition hanging from the big old oak trees.
If your brave you will set foot on White Point Gardens on a gloomy October night, in the dark the spirits come out! Another legend is said that when people stand near Water Street and glance down, they can see the faces of the 29 executed pirates looking back at them on the waters surface.
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