JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The tale of the largest Live Oak Tree east of the Mississippi began with a land grant in the late 1710s. The grant was given to a man named Abraham Waight, who passed the land down until it was later acquired by another.

Nearly 100 years after the land grant, a descendant of the original grantee was given a portion of that property with a house included. The descendant was a woman by the name of Martha Waight Tucker, who eventually got married under the large oak to a man by the name of Justus Angel. 

The Oak, eventually getting its name then. Andrew Kuhn, the Tour Guide Manager with BullDog Tours said the Angel Oak Tree is one of the Lowcountry’s most majestic and spiritual spots during the day.

When people go to visit the Angel Oak during the day, of course, they go and they take part and see something unbelievable, remarkable, and un-seen in nature.  

Andrew Kuhn, Tour Guide Manager BullDog Tours 

With the tree being 65 feet high with a circumference of 25.5 feet, and a shading area of 17,000 square feet, remarkable is a fitting term.

But at night, the history of the one-time plantation comes alive. It is believed that under the Oak—lay the lives of countless African Americans enslaved at The Angel Oak Plantation, and below them the bodies of Native Americans who came before all. 

When they go and visit, or just kind of walk by…they said there was something kind of alluring. It was kind of this aura surrounding the tree. And it’s believed that the spirits of those enslaved people would come back and actually serve as guardian angels of the tree. And they’re often seen around the tree at night as these glowing figures.  

Andrew Kuhn, Tour Guide Manager BullDog Tours 

One account of paranormal activity, from a couple who got married at the Oak during the day—later to return at night, when the site is off limits.

Well, as they go there, the gentleman decided he wanted to carve a bark into the side of the tree. Which of course is very illegal since it’s protected today. And so as he actually went to take the blade, and as the blade went to go and touch the actual bark itself—apparently there was this glowing presence that was growing around them. As they got startled, and as they turned around, him and his said something kind of demonic, something evil, some sort of creature staring back at them.

Andrew Kuhn, Tour Guide Manager BullDog Tours 

But with the story, a question remains: are these spirits evil, or were they protecting the tree from harm?


Admission to see the Angel Oak Tree is free, but donations are encouraged. The site is of limits at night and is patrolled by the City of Charleston Police Department. Masks must be worn at all times while visiting the park due to COVID-19.