Charleston’s Spooky Side

Halloween is approaching frighteningly fast. That means it is time for pumpkin carving, costume parties, candy corn and of course, getting spooked! Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and has been named one of the top ten most haunted so it is the perfect place to get into the Halloween spirit. In this blog post, you will learn about some of the spookiest sites in Charleston. Stop by on your next visit to Charleston…if you dare.

Old City Jail Old City Jail
Located at 21 Magazine Street is the Old City Jail, arguably Charleston’s most haunted location. It was operational from 1802 to 1939 and was featured in an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures”. Denmark Vesey, famous for leading a slave rebellion, and 19th-century pirates were jailed here before being hanged. The most intriguing tale regarding the Old City Jail involves Lavinia Fisher, the first female serial killer in the United States. She and her husband, John Fisher, operated a hotel called the Six Mile Wayfarer House. After many male travelers were discovered missing after last being seen at the hotel, it was discovered that Lavinia and her husband were robbing and murdering their guests. The couple was sentenced to hang on the gallows behind the Charleston Jail. Before being hanged, John prayed that his soul be saved while Lavinia was anything but repentant. Lavinia requested to wear her wedding dress and yelled “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me – I’ll carry it” before jumping off the scaffold herself. Today, the Old City Jail is an official “Save America’s Treasures” project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council.

Provost Dungeon
The Provost Dungeon is located at 122 East Bay Street beneath the Old Exchange Building which was used as a customs house and post office. Soon after taking control of Charleston in 1780, the British started housing local criminals and insubordinate soldiers beneath the Exchange Building. Pirates and deserters were also housed in the “dungeon”. Some people were only held here for a short time before being transferred to other jails or prison ships but others remained until their death. Today, costumed guides lead you through a piece of history that tells the story of what it once was like to be condemned and confined in terrible conditions.

USS YorktownU.S.S. Yorktown
Now decommissioned and docked at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, the aircraft carrier known as the U.S.S. Yorktown was active during WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Over the years, there have been a number of reports of unexplainable noise, sightings and activities from visitors, employees and area law enforcement officers. The spirits of those who lost their lives while aboard the ship seem to still be on active duty. The U.S.S. Yorktown was featured on the Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” earlier this year. Their findings include ghostly figures caught by thermal imaging, unexplained footsteps and voices. The U.S.S. Yorktown is now offering guided ghost tours that detail these findings as well as other accounts.

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Fall Tour of Homes and Gardens

The Preservation Society of Charleston hosts the 36th Annual Fall Tours of Homes and Gardens through October 28th. The tours feature the opportunity to see beautifully appointed gardens and architecturally significant homes, churches and public buildings. Highlighting the best of American architecture, each tour highlights a unique neighborhood that represents Charleston’s flourishing culture from the Colonial era to the present. Most of the properties on tour are privately owned and are open to the public exclusively for this event.

Charleston BatteryEach tour is unique and offers the opportunity to explore different areas of the historic district. Guests can take in the panoramic views of the Charleston Harbor from the homes on East Battery, then continue to Lower Tradd Street to explore some of the city’s oldest architecture.  The Colonial and Georgian period dwellings located on Church Street and in the heart of the historic district are not to be missed. Take a stroll down Charlotte Street to view architectural influences from the Federal to the Greek Revival periods illustrated in the grand homes of the Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood.

Concierge Tip: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes since tours often cover six to eight blocks. Also, high heeled shoes are not permitted since they can damage wood floors.

East Battery of CharlestonThe tours take place each Thursday evening from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm All tours are self-paced walking tours held on the peninsula of Charleston within the city’s various historic neighborhoods. Trained volunteer guides will interpret the history, architecture and decorative arts of each property. Tickets are $45 per person, per tour and may be purchased through the Preservation Society of Charleston and by calling (843) 722-4630. Weekend passes are available.

Concierge Tip: Get your tickets early! Tours will sell out quickly.

Historic CharlestonThe Preservation Society of Charleston is the oldest community-based membership historic preservation organization in the United States. Founded in the 1920’s, the Society celebrates over 90 years of preserving and protecting the heritage and architecture of South Carolina’s oldest city. Proceeds from these tours further work in preservation, education, advocacy and planning to secure the future of Charleston’s unique and diverse heritage.

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Fall at Boone Hall Is Calling Your Name

Boone Hall PlantationLocated just eight miles from downtown Charleston is one of America’s oldest working plantations. On the National Register of Historic Places, Boone Hall Plantation is famous for its three-quarter mile lined avenue of oaks dating back to 1743. The 90 live oaks create an enchanting canopy leading to the plantation’s main building. Bordering the avenue of oaks are nine original slave cabins, which housed servants and skilled craftsmen. This cluster of cabins, known as Slave Street, is one of the few remaining intact in the Southeast and the only brick slave street in the U.S. Touted as “America’s Most Photographed Plantation,” Boone Hall was established in 1681 by Major John Boone and is located just north of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, SC. The present Colonial Revival-style house dates back to 1935, and combined with the lawns and gardens, provides the perfect stage for many popular seasonal events.

Pumpkin PatchDuring the month of October, Boone Hall Farm hosts its annual Pumpkin Patch. After finding the perfect pumpkin, try to make your way through the 8-acre corn maze for some great, family fun. It is open from 9am until 6pm Monday through Saturday and from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday.

Also, there are plenty of thrills to go around during Boone Hall’s Fright Nights. Featuring four frightening attractions, Fright Nights promises to continue its tradition of Halloween horrors. Attractions include the Asylum, Chaos and Quarantine “The Outbreak”, the Terror Trail Haunted Hayride and Little Amy’s Nightmare in 3D. The fun continues through the end of October.

Battle of Sucessionville ReenactmentThis year commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Secessionville. November 10th and 11th Boone Hall will host its annual Re-enactment of this famous battle. This will be a fun and educational experience for families to experience the lifestyle of the antebellum era at Boone Hall.

Boone Hall Avenue of OaksOn Sunday, December 2nd from 1pm to 5pm, Boone Hall will be hosting “Wine Under the Oaks”. At this casual and elegant affair, food samples will be provided by a diverse group of some of the Lowcountry’s finest restaurants. The event will also provide the opportunity for holiday shopping with retail vendors offering a unique selection of gift ideas. The Plantation will be decorated in holiday décor, and it is the perfect way to kick-off the holiday season.

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