CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the country — and one of the most haunted.
A key location in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Charleston has seen more than its fair share of bloodshed and destruction. Many of the souls lost over the years are said to still roam the Lowcountry.
These are some of the most haunted spots in Charleston:
St. Philips Church Graveyard:
Constructed in 1723 and with a congregation established in 1680, St. Philips Church is one of the oldest in the nation. The graveyard is the final resting place of founding fathers like Edward Rutledge, who signed the Declaration of Independence, and Charles Pinckney, who signed the Constitution. Perhaps the most infamous grave is that of John C. Calhoun former Vice President of the United States.
The most well-known ghost tale associated with St. Philips Graveyard is that of Sue Howard. According to legend, Howard gave birth to a stillborn baby and died shortly after. She is said to roam the graveyard, often appearing over the graves of infants. In 1987, a photographer captured an image he believed to be the apparition of Sue Howard mourning of the grave of an infant.
Dock Street Theatre:
Originally opened in 1736, the Dock Street Theatre was reportedly the first true theatre in the country. The building was likely destroyed in a 1740 fire. The current Dock Street Theatre is located at the former Planter Hotel, constructed in 1809.
The theatre is said to be haunted by the ghost of a prostitute named Nettie, who frequented the hotel. Angry at society for refusing to accept her, legend says that Nettie stepped out onto one of the hotel’s iron balconies during a storm, screaming into the night, and was struck by lightening.
Exchange Building and Dungeon:
Built in 1771, the Exchange Building has witnessed some of the best and worst moments in history. The building was used by the British, who converted the bottom floor into a dungeon for prisoners of the Revolutionary War; it hosted George Washington during his tour of the South; slave auctions were held on its steps.
Those who currently work at the building report frequent unexplainable events. Some hear the clinking chains of prisoners in the dungeon. Footsteps are often heard when no one is around and doors open and close on their own, especially in the Col. Isaac Hayne Room. Hayne was a member of the British Army who defected in favor of the revolutionaries. He was accused of being a traitor and hanged in August of 1781. Prior to his hanging, he was kept in that same room at the Exchange House.
Unitarian Church Graveyard:
Built in 1774 just before the onset of the Revolutionary War, the building was not actually used as a church until 1787. It was first used by both American and British troops as barracks and reportedly even a stable for horses.
The graveyard is said to be haunted by Edgar Allen Poe’s forbidden love, Annabel Lee. Poe spent time in the Lowcountry while he was in the military, which inspired poems such as Goldbug and reportedly, Annabel Lee. According to legend, the two fell in love, but her father did not approve. Poe was eventually shipped off and Annabel Lee fell ill and died. When Poe returned for her, Annabel Lee’s father refused to disclose where she was buried. Now, visitors to the graveyard report a woman in a white dress rumored to be Annabel Lee wandering through the headstones.
Old Charleston Jail:
The Old Charleston Jail, constructed in 1802, is a hotbed of paranormal activity. The Travel Channel has sent ‘professional ghost hunters’ to capture the events that so frequently take place at the jail, which housed hundreds of criminals in reportedly terrible conditions during its time in operation.
One of the most high-profile inmates was the nation’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher. Fisher and her husband John owned a nearby inn and are said to have killed and robbed many well-to-do business men. She is said to haunt the jail along with many other inmates who died while incarcerated. Other notable inmates included Denmark Vesey as well many pirates. Visitors report being physically grabbed and scratched by ghosts during tours, and faces appearing in photos of empty rooms.