A city’s history speaks. The battles fought, won, lost. The people involved, their legacies, and the generations left in their wake. They all compose a tale worth telling. Some of these stories are told by voices not seen. The spirits of a city constructed by religious turmoil still remain and yell their stories across old cobbled streets. Charleston, South Carolina is a city such as this. One whose canon grows further with every day. Its pages turn by the dead and read by the living. A city with hundreds of years of history, passing through violent periods of war and back out with its core still intact. From the historic cemeteries, architecturally astounding churches and other colonial remnants come stories of loss, love, and lingering languid anguish.
Charles Towne was originally named for King Charles II. The reigning monarch of England in 1670. The town’s early population, gained it the nickname The Holy City. Religious divergence, stemming from the Protestant movement, compartmentalized and claimed Charles Towne as their new home. French Huguenots were one of many early dissenters to make landfall in the Province of South Carolina. Their influence can still be seen in the old French Quarter, the cemeteries, and the subsequent architecture around the city. 121 cemeteries dot the city’s landscape. 26 of these are in the historic cemetery district, home to the renowned Magnolia Cemetery. This particular consecrated landmass greets visitors with the eerie feeling of being unwanted and watched at all times. Many psychics, mediums, and empaths who set foot in here arrive at the same answer. They are not wanted.
The cemeteries are not the only locations ripe with spiritual activity. Surviving two major wars and many minor skirmishes, Charleston is no stranger to violence and destruction. In March of 1780, a turbulent year for the revolutionary war, the British captured the city. This capture leads to the hanging of an innocent man, Issac Haynes. Executed in the Old Exchange and Provost after being double-crossed by the British. His spirit now haunts the top floor, still yelling for his freedom.
During the Civil War Charleston operated as a center for Confederate beliefs. These beliefs were to protect the large rice plantations, and slave labor that fueled it, which brought the city its fortune. The city fell to Union troops in 1865, but not before defending its precious walls from attack. In 1862, 500 Confederate soldiers defended Fort Lamar from over 6,000 union troops. Secessionville Hollow and the surrounding area are now haunted by the 150 soldiers that were killed in the battle. Many can hear them early in the morning. The sounds of splashing and loud thuds came from the marshy water.
The spirits of the enslaved African peoples who lost their lives and livelihoods building America remain too. At Boone Hall, north of the downtown area, a brickyard is haunted by young children who lost their lives in the plantain’s brick factory. One woman, in particular, has terrified guests of the old brickyard for decades. She appears in the moonlight, her hands making erratic jerking motions, hunched over a brick kiln. No one knows her name and her story is lost to history forever. We remember many others, however. Colonial leaders, doctors, politicians, and of course criminals. Back in downtown Charleston, the spirits of pirates run amuck. Charleston became a hot spot for pirate activity due to its location as a port city. They say the spirits of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and others haunt the downtown area.
The Colonial port of Charles Towne has served its purpose in history. As a central port for a nation looking to find its freedom. The appreciation for a time past registers strongly in Charleston. Those interested in learning about its haunting history need to look no further than right here with US Ghost Adventures.