Halloween is just around the corner, and the restless dead are once again stirring in Charleston. The oldest city in South Carolina has a history steeped in mystery, tragedy, and horror. Visit some of the most haunted places in the US with haunted tours that span both land and sea.
The city reaches far back into the Civil War — and ghosts of the past sometimes reach back. Buildings, forts, and streets mark the sites of battle where blood flowed like rivers as soldiers from both sides sacrificed their lives in a war between brothers. The sounds of marching and the dying wails of soldiers still echo through the structures — raging against a war that took young men away from their homes, never to return. Visit the Provost Dungeon hidden beneath the Old Exchange building.
What seems like an ordinary museum filled with Civil War history, houses a hidden dungeon where soldiers were held for treason and sedition. A literal underworld, the dark confines of the dungeon evokes eerie feelings — binding you closer to the souls that perished without seeing the sun for one last time. Explore old graveyards where soldiers finally found a place to rest. The night creates a beautiful scene of stone gardens with tragic tales of woe and loss.
Charleston is no stranger to tragedy, and there is perhaps no greater horror than burning to death. The Dock Street Theatre, which opened in 1736, burned a mere four years later — along with the hopes and dreams of actors and entertainers. It seems that even ghosts cannot let go of the call of the limelight as even now they make their presence felt in the reconstructed theatre.
Most prominent of them all are two particular spirits — one is a woman in red called Nettie, who was struck by lightning as she raged against the storm and the world that had forsaken her. The other is Junius Booth — father of the famed assassin who killed President Lincoln — reminiscing on his time spent in the theatre.
Fire also hit the Charleston Orphanage House, now the site of Berry Residence Hall. Four children died in the fire — and even now, fire alarms go off for no reason, and the sounds of children playing can still be heard.
Tales of murder and massacre abound in the city. The Old City Jail, featured in several ghost documentaries, housed some of the most notorious and vile criminals — most of them meeting their end in the jail itself. America’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher still makes her presence felt and heard.
Lavinia and her husband reportedly poisoned their victims, putting them to sleep before plunging them to their deaths by collapsing the bed through a trapdoor underneath. Take to the seas and visit the sites of pirate raids, where victims and their ships met a watery grave. Listen to stories of villains and victims as your boat lies silent in the same tragic waters.
Get a taste of true horror as you search for actual ghosts. Charleston is rich in tragic history — and its dark past is beckoning.