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
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.
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.
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.