Thursday, May 3, 2012

Haunted South Carolina

Hammock House, Beaufort:
    If you spend time visiting the little town of Beaufort, no doubt you’ll be confronted with the locals’ stories about ghosts and pirates, especially Blackbeard. The notorious captain (as well as other pirates) has certainly left his mark on this quiet seaside village, murdering many villagers, lovers, and crewmates who later came back to haunt the living. One particularly interesting, lust-filled story takes place around Hammock House, a large mansion at the top of a hill.
    Captain Madison Brothers was a young, hard-working sailor admired for his skill and ambition. However, he was infamously prone to fits of rage, especially when he had been drinking. It was rumored that his temper had drove him to fight and even kill. This earned him the nickname of “Mad” Brothers, courtesy of the other ship captains.
Somehow, Brothers had managed to win the heart of the beautiful and wealthy Samantha Ashby. Before he left on another sea voyage, they agreed to be married in the Hammock House upon his return. Time passed, and Samantha arrived again in Beaufort with plenty of time to spare. But her fiancé had not been so lucky, and was delayed out at sea with problem after problem. His first mate had fallen severely ill, the ship’s masts were damaged beyond repair, and storms were constantly tossing the ship and crew about.
    Meanwhile, Samantha had been waiting anxiously back in Beaufort, when she heard news of her brother returning from the British navy. She met up with Lieutenant Carruthers, and the two siblings spent a few days walking along the beach and catching up on each other’s lives. Finally, during a large party in the Hammock House, Captain Brothers’ ship finally arrived. Enraged by the light and merriment pouring from the house, the captain stormed inside. Timing could not have been worse, for the first thing he saw was Carruthers giving Samantha a brotherly peck on the cheek. Thinking a stranger had moved in on his bride in his absence, Brothers drew his sword and exclaimed, “Betrayed!” loud enough to silence the entire party.
    Carruthers drew his sword as well, and although a few guests tried to explain the misunderstanding, the two seamen began to duel. The fight whirled madly throughout the house, until Carruthers was finally killed on the staircase. Two hundred years later, his blood is still visible, and many pay a visit to his grave by the sea.
    Another victim of pirate rage was one of Blackbeard’s young “lovers”. (He is said to have at least two dozen wives in ports all along the coast.) This one, however, was rather disinterested and desperately fought against all of Blackbeard’s romantic advances. Fed up with her noise and struggle, he hung the girl from a large oak tree while on their “romantic” stay in the Hammock House. According to folklore, visitors can still hear her screams during the night.
In addition to screams and suspiciously irremovable blood, Hammock House is known for its constant creepy noises, glowing orbs of light, and, of course, violent history.

The Battery, Charleston:
Charleston’s Battery, also known as White Point Gardens, sits on the edge of the meeting place of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Long before the area became a scenic retreat and peaceful park, both Fort Broughton (established around 1735) and later Fort Wilkins occupied what was then known as White or Oyster Point, named for the eerie white and skeletal piles of bleached oyster shells covering the peninsula’s point. The Battery has been a place of conflict since its colonial beginnings. Frequented by pirates and later a key location as Charleston tried to defend itself from the Union’s invasion during the Civil War, Charleston’s Battery has seen enough death to explain it being haunted.
                  Charleston’s Most Haunted Inn
    Behind the wrought iron gates of “No. 20,” known more popularly as the Battery Carriage House Inn, ghosts have continued on well beyond their expected stays. Built in 1843, the battery Carriage House is part of a larger, private home, but visitors who dare overnight are welcomed by the B&B’s staff. Heavy footsteps are heard on stairways where no one is seen walking. Strange glowing masses appear, change shape and fade away and cell phones act oddly in Room 3 of the Inn. Shutters open and close on their own and some visitors report seeing faces on one of the Inn’s beautiful mirrors.
    Beginning in the early 1990s, reports started coming in about more oddities. People report feeling like they were being watched in the middle of the night, and perhaps most disturbing of all, some visitors claim to have seen a headless torso dressed in layers of clothing, overcoat on top haunting Room 8.
    The strange headless torso is thought to be either the remnants of a colonial pirate or a man from the Civil War period. His overcoat is of a coarse material, which, depending on additional details could belong to a man of either historical period. Speculation rages over the figure’s identity and people get an uneasy feeling when he appears. He is possibly one of the many pirates and near-do-wells that met their end “dancing the hempen jig” in 1718 when Charleston tried and hanged nearly 50 pirates. Charleston was overrun by pirates and was one of Blackbeard’s favorite ports. Anne Cormac (later Anne Bonny, the famous female pirate) grew up in the area and met her husband, pirate James Bonny in Charleston. It was from Charleston that Blackbeard kidnapped Council member Samuel Wragg and his young son, holding them hostage until his crew received necessary medicines. Stede Bonnet, “the Gentleman Pirate” met his end at the end of a hangman’s noose after his pleas were ignored. He was buried on White Point Shoal (now the Battery Garden); although most pirates were dumped unceremoniously into the ocean. Is it possible Bonnet still roams the area, displaced and angry, threatening in a raspy, breathy way because his final words were useless?
The other frequent ghostly visitor is the “gentleman ghost.” It is believed that the gentleman ghost is the spirit of a well-bred well-educated young man whose family owned the house decades ago. A college student with a supposedly sensitive nature, the young gentleman jumped to his death, leaving his motivation a mystery to friends and family alike. Now he seems to frequent Room 10 of the Inn, ghosting by like little more than a shadow—sometimes with the scent of fresh soap as if he’s just bathed. Occasionally he is rumored to take a liking to certain members of the opposite sex, ghosting nearby them and giving the sensation he is lying beside them, his arm gently around them.
    Whether you visit Charleston’s Battery for its history or the pleasant Southern hospitality and authentic warmth, be aware you may not be alone—even in your most private moments!

The Jailhouse Pickens County:
What is now the Pickens County Museum of Art and History in Pickens South Carolina was once the county jail. In 1944 a string of events occurred around that place that has the ghost of a young boy pleading his innocence until judgement day.
    It all started in 1944 with a racist cabbie and a black passenger. As they drove towards the destination, the cabbie, a man named Johnny, took shots at his passenger, each more vicious and profanity laced then the last, trying to get a rise out of the man. But the black man stayed quiet. When they got to where they were going, the black man quietly got out of the cab and began to walk away. The cabbie jumped from the car, hollering after the man that he'd not been paid. The black man turned and said he was not paying and the cabbie was lucky not to get a beating. Infuriated, Johnny pulled a gun and shot the black man in the back, killing him.
    Johnny was never arrested, but he told almost everyone he knew about the killing. As if he were proud of taking the life. Tensions in the area ran high for some time after. That's when Willie Earle came to town to visit his mother. She left him in the house when she went to work at a diner That afternoon, she got a visit from the police telling her Willie had been arrested for the robbing and stabbing of a cab driver.
Willie was taken to the Pickens County jail, but he was never tried. A mob of cab drivers entered the jail and took Willie by force to the old slaughter yard where he was tortured and finally shot twice in the head. The cabbie Johnny was the only one who came to work the next morning. He acted as if nothing had happened. On Febuary 21, 1947 31 cab drivers were arrested for the murder of Willie Earle. That May, they were aquitted. To this day, people tell of hearing the soft moan of Willie Earle as he desperately trys to plead his innocence... "I didn't do it.. I didn't do it".

Litchfield Plantation:
    Back when the gates of Litchfield were made of wood and not iron, it was owned by a kind doctor named Henry Tucker. When he was finished visiting a patient or coming back from a horse ride he would ring the bell outside of the gates of Litchfield. This would signal a gatekeeper who lived nearby to let Tucker in.

    Sometimes the gatekeeper would slip away and Dr. Tucker would ring the bell furiously to no answer. He would then tie his horse to the fence and climb over to walk to the house where, if it was late, he would use a private staircase to avoid disturbing his family.
    Long after the doctor's death people claimed to see him on the stairs walking up to his room. Some would hear the sound of a horse trotting up the lane towards the main house. Others would hear the clanging of the bell at all hours of the night as though the doctor was trying to get the gatekeepers attention. It was this sound that caused one owner to remove the bell entirely to prevent the doctor from disturbing his slumber.
    So if you pass Litchfield Plantation late at night or on a gray, rainy day and see a bay tied near the gate, perhaps its the good doctor coming home yet again.

The Gray Man of Pawleys Island:
The gray man of Pawleys Island in South Carolina has walked the coastline for nearly 200 years. And much like the Gray man of Hatteras, his presence spells impending danger for the small island and the people who dwell there. It seems that while he is responsible for saving lives, he was unable to save his own.
   There are several stories about the origin of the Gray Man, this is just one.
    In 1822 a young woman was staying on the island with her family when she received word her fiancée was going to join her on the island after going to see his family. Delighted with the news, she had the servants prepare all his favorite dishes and decorate the house in anticipation for his arrival. When the time came for him to arrive, no one showed. For hours she waited for her love, only to be visited by the fiancées servant with tragic news.
    As they were traveling down the road, her fiancée was in great spirits and challenged his servant to a race on their horses. They raced down the strand and when he saw a shortcut through a marsh, he decided to take it. Fate stepped in and caused his horse to stumbled, throwing it's rider off. When he tried to stand, he found himself sinking in quicksand. Despite his best efforts, he nor his companion were able to free him and the girls husband-to- be sank beneath the sand.
    The news nearly drove the girl mad. She spent hours walking along the Pawleys Island strand. One afternoon she was out walking when she saw a man looking out over the water. As she got closer she felt her stomach tighten. She couldn't believe her eyes. When she got mere feet from the man, she was sure it was her love. Suddenly, a wave burst from the sea, enveloping him. When it had gone, so had he.
She told her family of what she had seen. They, of course, thought that losing her fiancée was starting to take her mind. That night, she had a horrific dream of being in a small boat in the ocean tossed by the waves. wreckage all around her. All the while, her lover stood on a dune, trying to wave her to him. When she awoke she was terrified. So her father took her and the rest of the family to Charleston to see a doctor.
That was fortunate. Within hours of their leaving, a hurricane struck the coast. When it was over, almost all the inhabitants of the North Inlet had died. Realizing that her love had returned to save her from a horrible fate, the girl returned to her normal self.
    People still claim they see the Gray Man. In 1954 a grandmother on vacation with her family saw a man dressed completely in gray fade to a blur before fading away. The next day tornadoes ripped through the area. One person tried to chase the Gray Man only to have him disappear in front of their eyes.
    So if you are on Pawleys Island in late September or October, keep an eye turned to the beach. And if you do see the Gray Man, heed his warning. and take shelter.

Ghost rider of Bush's River:
During the Revolutionary War, a time of darkness settled over South Carolina as hope for independence began to fade. It was during this time that a man living along Bush's River made a promise to the love of his life. He told her as he joined the cause, that he would return for her, alive or dead. A year later, he made good on his promise.
    Henry Galbreath was a courageous man. He was also well versed in the terrain around Bush's River and South Carolina in general. He was also a man in love. His heart belonged to a beautiful girl named Charity. Because he was wanted by the Tories in the area, Henry could only visit Charity at night, stealing away to a meeting point where they could be together until the morning when he would be forced to leave her once more.
    One night, as the clouds raced past the moon, he told her he was joining the continental army. "But no matter what," he told her, "Dead or alive, I'll be back to see you in a year". Charity promised to wait for him. So in July of 1780 Henry Galbreath left to join the cause for freedom.
    It is said he joined General Horatio Gates in the defeat at Camden. After which he supposedly joined Frances Marion, otherwise known as the "Swamp Fox" for a time before becoming a scout for William Washington's cavalry where his knowledge of the countryside made him almost a legend in the British ranks as well as the Americans.
    In January of 1781 the tide began to turn for the Americans. At the battle at Cowpens the British began to retreat in full barely an hour into the battle. As the British officers fled, one turned and fired a shot at a man on horseback giving chase. That bullet found its way into the heart of Henry Galbreath.
Henry's love Charity knew nothing of his passing. As the day of his scheduled arrival dawned, her heart sang. She swept the floor and made breakfast for her father and brother. Every so often she would go to the door, looking for his horse to bring him down the road. The day eventually passed without word from her love.
    She was awoken at around 2 o'clock the next morning by the sound of horse hoofs. She listened as the sound got louder until it stopped right outside her door. She opened the front door to see a man on a beautiful horse. A dark blue robe hung from his shoulders. A light flashed twice and off the horse and rider went, back down the rode where they disappeared from sight.
    The next day Charity and her family searched in vain for proof the rider had been there. No prints were ever found. Charity knew it was Henry making good on his promise to come back dead or alive. The British never again won a real victory in the south. General Cornwallis eventually went to Virginia where he would surrender.
    As for the "Ghost rider of Bush's River", it is said on moonless nights you can hear horse hoofs start at the battlefield of Cowpens and continue to Bush's River up to a spot where long ago a man spent time with the woman he loved... even in death.

Ghost Treasure of Folly Island:
Stories of buried treasure and ghosts go hand in hand. In this tale we have a lust for treasure, murder, and a guard from beyond the grave, All on Folly Island in South Carolina. How far would you go to grab a share of the booty? Would you fight the ghost of a pirate?
    During the Civil War the Union army landed on Folly Island off the coast of South Carolina. While preparing to attack the Confederate port of Charleston, men were sent around to gather up citizens to transport them off the island. A young officer named Yokum was assigned to help with the task. As he was going about his duty, his came across a run down shack housing and elderly black woman and a child.
    When she was informed that she would be leaving, the woman protested, and began telling the young man stories of her life in the house. Yokum sat on the porch and politely listened to her stories, although he wasn't really paying any attention. It was only when she mentioned that treasure was buried around did she truly grab Yokums attention.
    She told Yokum that a group of pirates had come ashore and dug a hole between two big oaks and lowered six chests of gold, silver and jewels into it. Then, when the last chest was in place, the captain stabbed one of his crew in the back and threw his body in the hole. The gang then covered the hole and sailed away.
    Yokum, trying to act casual, then asked the old woman if the treasure was still there. "Who gonna go to that place? That pirate watches over the treasure even though he's dead". She said. Yokum then helped the woman with the child onto the ship to take them off the island.
    That night, Yokum and his friend by the name of Hatcher, crossed the sand dunes with shovels in their hands. Finding the trees the old woman had pointed to, they began to dig. It was then that they noticed the tops of the trees started swaying as if a powerful wind had suddenly come up. The more they dug, the higher the wind got until the blown sand felt like needles on their faces. Then, flashes of light began to appear. The more they dug, the more frequent the flashes of light in the night sky. Suddenly, a flash came that lasted for several seconds, making the night as bright as if it were noon. It was then that Yokum and Hatcher realized there was someone, or something, there with them. The outline of whatever it was was clear. It was a pirate. Leaving the gear behind, Yokum and Hatcher raced back over the dunes to the safety of the camp.
    The two men swore to never tell of what had happened. A few years after the war, Hatcher was dead and Yokum had moved west. The story would've been lost forever, but fifty years later, Yokum recalled the story at a veterans reunion and a writer named Frances Moore printed the story.
As for the treasure, I guess some things are better off buried.

The Ghost Hound of Goshen:
On Buncombe Road between the Ebenezer Church in Newberry County and Goshen Hill in Union County in South Carolina, there lurks a strange beast. Know as "The Hound of Goshen", it has been witnessed by many reputable people. Some say it's the dog of a peddler falsely accused of murder and hanged. Whatever the case, the dog is known to chase those who trespass in its territory. But don't worry, it's never caught anyone... That we know of...
    Some say the ghost hound was, in life, the pet of a peddler making his way across the area in the early 1850's. Unfortunately for the man, a murder occurred while he was passing through and was the scapegoat. After a sham of a trial, the man was hanged. His faithful dog stayed by his grave until either starvation or stones thrown by the townsfolk (depending on which story you hear) ended it's life. It was after this that "The Hound of Goshen" was seen.
    The earliest sighting of the Goshen Hound happened in 1855. William Hardy sent a young slave to the home of Dr. George Douglass to bring the doctor back to look at a sick man. When the boy arrived at the home of the doctor, he was terrified of something. After a while the doctor had calmed the young slave enough to hear his story. It seems the boy was riding on a mule headed for the doc's, when he heard an awful noise coming from behind him. He described what he saw as the biggest, whitest dog he'd ever seen.
Immediately, the boy dug his heels in the sides of the mule to hurry the animal along. As they ran for all they were worth, the dog got in front of the mule, causing it to rear up almost throwing the boy off. The boy then said the dog just stared at him. It never left the boys trail until he had turned into Dr. Douglass' yard. Dismissing the boy's story, Dr. Douglass told the boy to go home only to have the child plead and beg to stay with the doctor for the night.
    Years later, Dr. Jim Coefield saw the the animal. Try as he might, he was never able to give a rational answer for what he'd seen. Dr. Coefield even had a dog of his own who would walk along side his master until they got to the Ebenezer cemetery. Then, the dog would whine and disappear into the woods until the good Doctor had passed the ghost dog's territory. Only then would he rejoin Coefield on the road.
In 1936, Berry Sanders was making the trip home when he came face to face with the ghost hound. Over a mile from the safety of home, Sanders ran the entire way, screaming. Only when he made it to the door did the animal turn and head back into the woods.
    In the 1970's an elderly woman was said to have had an encounter with the dog when it came into her yard, grew in size and leaped towards her. The woman fainted. When she awoke, the dog was no where to be found.
The latest sighting is said to have happened in 1998, but I could not find any information on that account.
    So if you travel Buncombe Road between Ebenezer Church and Goshen Hill, keep and eye towards the woods. For the Hound Of Goshen still watches and waits. Ever ready to chase anyone from its territory.

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