Silence in White Point Gardens

With all the stories of ghosts, hauntings, boo-hags and paranormal activity, one cannot ignore the tales of White Point Gardens which adds pirates to all of our ghoulish tales.

I’ve been to White Point Gardens on multiple occasions while living here in Charleston, and for those occasions, it was of no importance other than to enjoy a water view with some fantastic architectural surroundings.  This last visit was different.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

With paranormal activity tools in hand, I set off to learn more about the paranormal activity on these grounds. Let’s look into the historical nature of the grounds first.

The History/Legendary Tale

The haunting story comes from that of Stede Bonnet and his men. Bonnet, known as the “Gentleman Pirate” was a family man and wealthy landowner gone rogue in 1717. He purchased a ship, named it Revenge, as most ships were named in this piratey age. He recruited anywhere from 50-70 men depending on which article you read and set sail. His notion of becoming a pirate is unknown since he left his wife and children behind to set forth a career of crime and piracy. Some articles state he borrowed a sum worth $400,000 in current currency and was bound to pay it back. Others say he simply had a mental breakdown and went mad for piracy.

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Stede Bonnet. Image from NCpedia.org.

After meeting Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch (or Teach, depending on who you are chatting with), there was turmoil afoot as the pair went their separate ways after befriending each other for a brief time. It is said that Bonnet was after Blackbeard, but was caught by Colonel William Rhett in Cape Fear. Bonnet’s men forfeited themselves and were hung from the numerous trees in White Point Gardens. Several days later, Judge Nicholas Trott condemned Bonnet to hang as well. All, including Bonnet, after being hung for several days from the trees as a warning to all other pirates, were buried in a nearby marsh.

The tale you’ll hear around Charleston after knowing this in-depth history of Stede Bonnet and his fated men, is that you can hear the screams from the hanging men and sometimes see their faces in the leaves of the trees at night. Fantastic story, especially when you bait in the legendary Blackbeard.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Byron Preiss’s The Secret

As a treasure hunter for Byron’s treasure casque, I couldn’t help but notice the hype around White Point Gardens when beginning my research into the casque’s burial site. This is truly what brought my attention to the hauntings that are said to be at this location.

I have to say, to all of you treasure hunters out there looking for Byron’s casque, that White Point Gardens is definitely the wrong location.

There are clues like the fairy wings on the painting being “white tipped” and the “white point” on the clock, but I, as a fellow treasure casque hunter, feel these depictions on the painting were meant to merely bring us to a point of such interest as Charleston. The “white” depictions in the painting are just clues to the city.

Okay, phew, off my soapbox….back to White Point Gardens ghosts.

Memorials on the White Point Gardens Grounds

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U.S.S. Amberjack Memorial pays tribute to the 374 officers, 3131 men aboard these 52 named submarines from the U.S. Navy. These submarines aided in the success of World War II.
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Erected in 1954, this memorial pays tribute to those who passed away on the U.S.S. Hobson. All 176 men have a tile below the memorial with their home state.
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William Gilmore Simms. Charleston native author known as “The Antebellum South’s leading man of letters”.

Although there are only three dedications/memorials listed on this post, there are others to be seen. I’ll leave those up to you to find on this over 5 acres of beautiful landscape.

Paranormal Activity

Sometimes silence can be a beautiful thing, just not when you’re looking for paranormal activity. During my walk of these grounds, I used two spirit boxes; one digital app and a manual spirit box. I also used my EMF detector during my walk of these grounds. I took several pictures that you can see throughout this post.

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Not a Spirit Box.

The spirit boxes remained silent for over an hour with either complete static coming through the airwaves or no words coming through the digital app. The EMF detector stayed on green without so much as a blip into the next level. And the pictures you see were analyzed for anomalies and blurred specs of dust. I came up with nothing.

However, I have to look at this two ways. With the spirit boxes being “dead”, I have yet to have that happen where something didn’t come through, at least on the digital app. At White Point Gardens, it was an empty word list. Very odd indeed.

I visited in the middle of the afternoon with other visitors enjoying the breeze off the water and traffic whizzing by.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

After researching more about “what” the paranormal activity is said to have been experienced here, I realized, perhaps I should’ve visited closer to the evening hours. The alleged activity is to see the pirates faces in the trees and hear their screams to avenge their executions. Perhaps the silence I experienced was due to the time of day?

I, like many other ghostly tale tour guides, give my tours/experiences at night to add to the effect of the stories being told. I often tell my business partner, Brian McFarland that “ghosts don’t care what time of day it is.” Perhaps with White Point, I am dead wrong?

My Conclusion

After all the ghost hunting I’ve done on the streets of Charleston and with actual evidence, I have to say that the stories of White Point Gardens are just that: stories. I can admit that the lure of adding a pirate to a ghost story will bring us closer to learning about the history of Charleston. But even researching the history of Bonnet and his men, the story changed over time from different articles. Who’s to say it hasn’t completely become a tourist trap story like that of Blackbeard’s treasure being buried beneath the street leading from the Pirate House to Dock Street Theatre?

I’m going to call it as I see it at this point and claim that White Point Gardens is not actually haunted by paranormal activity. In this case, I would need proof of pirate faces in photographs and/or audio evidence for myself. In the near future, I will continue to visit this site for its beauty, but I always keep my paranormal activity kit nearby for more testing.

In the event, I prove myself wrong, I will be the first to admit. But for now, when you’re taking your “ghost tours” downtown and you hear this story, know you’ve been pulled in for a pirate story to liven up Charleston history. Enjoy the story as the storytellers tell it, it’s a great tale.

To read a full story of Stede Bonnet and his encounter with Blackbeard, I recommend visiting the Smithsonian website.

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Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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Inside the Julia Legare Tomb

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode visit: Podcast episode

Believe it or not, most of the hauntings I investigate are not in an actual cemetery. But it’s always fun to tell stories in a cemetery, nonetheless. Such is the case of Julia Legare’s tomb in Edisto Island.

With so many versions of this story, it’s hard to determine if any of them are true, but the myth piqued my curiosity enough to take the short trip from Charleston. The pictures I took were gorgeous but they don’t really do the cemetery of the Presbyterian Church any justice. You’ll just have to visit Edisto’s graveyard for yourself.

The Myth

The story is simple and leaves many holes in the plot. Julia (Seabrook) Legare was buried in the tomb of her husband’s family after being pronounced dead from Diphtheria. After moving the marble door to the tomb to inter another family member, it is said that the remains of Julia’s body were found near the door with scratches on the inside of the door and the tomb.

I’m not going to debunk all the holes in the myth here for storytelling’s sake, but I will point out a few things worth noting.

There is currently no door to the tomb, so all are free to walk inside and for some of us, it’s a mere curiosity of what the inside of a tomb feels like, smells like and looks like. It’s creepy to say the least, but a peaceful creepy, in case you were wondering.

The door was removed after finding it open on more than one occasion and the legend says it’s Julia pushing it open so she doesn’t feel trapped any longer. I also found websites that claim the marble door is on the ground near the tomb. I can say, as of this writing, that the door was nowhere to be found when I visited.

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Miniature portrait of Julia Legare

I also wanted to note that with each version of the story I was told and what I read, Julia’s age always seems to be a bit off. Some stories claim her to be a child, others at 22 or 23. It makes for a much creepier tale if it is one of a child being locked into a tomb versus a grown woman. Grapevine effect at it’s finest here, folks.

I want to point out the obvious as well; the door. It is said to be made of marble. Even though I can’t verify this because the door is absent nor is it lying nearby, I find a larger than life portion of the story that says that Julia’s nail marks/tracks were found in a marble door. Keep in mind, I’m not ruling out that Julia’s death confirmation was false and she truly was buried alive. What I am debunking is the part of the story that says human nails of a weakened sick person could penetrate marble.

If you are curious about all the other debunkings of Julia’s story and family history, I urge you to check out J’aime Rubio’s article “Stories of the Forgotten: The true legend of Julia Legare – Fact vs. Fiction”. This is an in-depth look into Rubio’s research at debunking the myth. I, as a storyteller and paranormal investigator simply sought paranormal activity of one of the great myths of the Charleston area. I am not here to fully debunk the family’s history nor to expose any secrets the family may want to have kept.

The Grounds

As I said earlier, the cemetery and location of Julia Legare’s tomb are beautiful and peaceful. The pictures below show you the amazing craftsmanship of tombstones and memorials that seems like a lost art in today’s burials.

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The gates to family plats were also of note in the cemetery. Though aged, I always stop to appreciate the time it took to craft and mangle metals to become a well-built adornment.

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The church sits slightly off the road and has a welcoming appearance as well. When roaming in our islands of Charleston, you can always get a sense of the lifestyles that once were by visiting some churches and how you feel when you’re on the grounds. The welcoming feeling here says that Edisto Island is a place for family and all are welcome to come worship here.

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Presbyterian Church, Edisto Island. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.
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Presbyterian Church, Edisto Island. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Inside the Tomb

Another visitor the tomb asked if I was alright with going inside the tomb itself. I chuckled as April told them not to worry. “This is what he does,”, she said.

Inside the tomb was not as creepy or spooky as you would think. Of course, dealing with death is never an easy thing, but being inside the walls of where remains lie was interesting. I was enthralled at the structured and immediately began pulling out my equipment to talk to whatever spirit that wanted to talk back.

I did receive completely random EMF (electro-magnetic field) spikes and wasn’t able to recreate any of them. They weren’t strong spikes, but just enough for someone to let me know they knew I was there. With my spirit box app running as well, the only term/phrase that was of note was when I left the tomb to explore more of the cemetery. The spirit box told me to “Come Back”.

Normally a tomb would have burials in the walls of the structure and I began to question how and where Julia and her family members were inside the tomb. I happened to notice that the cracked plate on the floor of the tomb might have been (and this is my own speculation) where a sarcophagus was kept.

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This would explain the crack on the floor with the weight of a crypt, and what looks like a cement pillow could have been a slight step in order to move the lid to the crypt. Again, just my speculation.

Since the walls are not deep enough to hold bodies, it could also be said that the family is buried below the cement slab which would also debunk the story of Julia being trapped alive and the marble door having fingernail scratches. If she was buried under the slab, then the slab would have to be moved in order to add a family member and that’s where her body would still be, only slightly moved or with evidence to show she tried to get out. Again, my mind goes to a weakened woman with diptheria and how she would have found the strength to do anything let alone come out of a cemented slab once inside a crypt in the ground.

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J.B. Legare tomb in Edisto Island. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Also inside are three headstones along the back wall which leads me to believe that these three family members are also buried with Julia below the cement slab.

I found coins of patronage to Julia’s story along the ledge of the headstones and on the stepping stone.

Summary

As to not ruin a great ghost tale of Charleston and to keep the memory of Julia Legare alive, I will not further debunk any more of this ghost story. I will say that during my time at the Presbyterian Church cemetery and graveyard, I had paranormal activity from the tomb and only inside the tomb. Whether or not it was Julia herself, I cannot be certain. With the design of the tomb and no electrical influences to my EMF detector, I can honestly say that I would like to visit again with a more thorough investigation using my grid pen, thermal camera, and live spirit box. A more private investigation might bring about more evidence of paranormal activity in this absolutely gorgeous cemetery.

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Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations (including the Wagener Building) using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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Works mentioned in this post:

Julia Legare Picture: https://digitalcollections.frick.org/digico/#/

Article from J’aime Rubio: https://jaimerubiowriter.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-true-legend-of-julia-legare-fact-vs.html

Pinckney Mansion Site

I discovered the Pinckney Mansion site while looking for more locations to investigate on my Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience Tours in downtown Charleston. It was completely by chance that my EMF detector started showing signs of paranormal activity while standing in the middle of the parking lot once known as 235 East Bay Street.

Built in 1746 and burned by the great fire of 1861, this site is chock full of paranormal activity and rightfully so. The home belonged to Charles and Eliza Pinckney and was an absolute marvel for the 1740’s neighborhoods being built in Charleston. Forget the Jones’s, keeping up with the Pinckneys was hard enough.

Pinckney mansion ruins
Original photo of Pinckney Mansion ruins by George N. Barnard

The remains from the Pinckney Mansion were eventually torn down after fire damage. The land eventually turned into an Irish Pub called Molly Darcy’s, but today, the address sits as a parking lot. There are plans to turn the lot into a hotel which could make for a very haunted stay, but the historians of Charleston are afraid that historical artifacts could be forever lost if the parking lot is too be dug up and accommodated to favor the new hotel landscape. An archaeological dig before the hotel is raised can bring new data to slave quarters, the gardens as well as artifacts that might bring light to the architecture of this very important era in American history.

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Photo from the National Archive Records Group found on http://www.worthpoint.com

My fears are joint with historians and with good intent. Keep reading.

A local told me a story about the land after researching the readings from my EMF detector. The story said that another local witnessed a full-body apparition of a woman in period dress and he was able to circle her in full view. He literally walked around the full apparition of a woman in a dress!

Granted, Charleston is full of ghost stories, but rightfully so. I believe in the story and with evidence.

One of the stops on my Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences is the address of the Pinckney Mansion. With each visit, I’m able to acquire new evidence using all the ghost hunting tools on my tours. I’ve visited the site several times without a tour group and was still able to capture EMF readings in different areas of the parking lot. The fact that I cannot recreate the same type of pulses on any given night or day tells me that the spirit activity moves around, but stays on site.

I’ve even tested this theory. There are wires and other street light cables around the site and even on the wall of the front of the site that faces East Bay Street. There are absolutely no signals or pulses from the EMF detector when placed on or around the wiring!

I will also say that the EMF detector erratic pulses also emulate a light just outside one of the nearby buildings. When holding up the EMF detector so that both the light and EMF detector are in view, the two resemble the same erratic pattern of pulses. I’ve only seen this happen once thus far but will be tested on all future tours.

Using the spirit box, both the “Ghost Detector” app and the physical spirit box, I, along with ghost hunting tour groups have captured different phrases. The term “we will” has occurred several times within one tour. Even though I couldn’t find a relative piece of history with this phrase, I found it interesting nonetheless that it revealed itself to two different ghost hunters on the same night.

Later, on one of my tours, the name “Lucas” came through. The interesting thing about this name is that Eliza Pinckney’s maiden name was “Lucas”. I was standing near St. Philip’s Church when this name came through, so of course, I had to research. Eliza Lucas Pinckney isn’t buried in St. Philip’s Church Cemetery. She’s buried in Philadelphia, PA., but her husband Charles is buried at St. Philip’s, but his name has no relation to Lucas.

Why the significance with Eliza Lucas Pinckney you might be asking? Eliza is the mother of Charleston’s indigo crop which was the saving Grace after rice plantations began their decline.

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Eliza Lucas Pinckney, photo found on the National Park Service website.

Eliza was also the mother of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, one of the signers of our U.S. Constitution. I would say that Eliza is a large part of the history of South Carolina and finding the site of her former home using an EMF detector is quite the find.

Eliza has done more than just mother one of our founding fathers and begin our indigo crops. She was also the international businesswoman for insuring her indigo crops would help South Carolina by exporting it to various locations in Europe. You can read more about Eliza’s life on the National Park Service website. She’s absolutely fascinating.

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Zoomed copy of Page 4 of the U.S. Constitution showing Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s signature. Digital copy found on http://www.constitutionday.com

As for the SITC Ghost Hunting Experiences, I will listen intently to each and every tour to listen for any EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). This site will change again in the future and I’m hoping that the new construction will not disrupt any of the paranormal activity. As most of you already know, construction can either enhance or destroy this type of evidence.

An archaeological dig can also bring about new evidence and data that will tell us more about the Pinckneys’ life as well as the architecture about this unfortunate building that housed so much historical significance. You can read more about the future of the Pinckney Mansion site on the Post & Courier website.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Works Cited

Behre, Robert. “One of Charleston’s most intriguing archaeological sites could be lost forever.” 16 July 2018. Post & Courier. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/one-of-charleston-s-most-intriguing-archaeological-sites-could-be/article_835fd8dc-7f99-11e8-acb1-0b1ca7fa47f1.html. 19 November 2019.

National Archives Records Group. Charleston: Worthpoint, n.d. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/south-carolina-history-charleston-1811125761.

National Park Service. “Eliza Lucas Pinckney.” 22 August 2019. National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/chpi/learn/historyculture/eliza-lucas-pinckney.htm. 19 November 2019.

“U.S. Constitution.” Page 4. n.d. https://www.constitutionday.com/the-constitution.html.

 

Dock Street Theatre

To listen to the Stories in the Cemetery podcast episode click Dock Street Theatre

With a long history of changing businesses and fires, the Dock Street Theatre is known as the first building to be used for entertaining plays in the United States. However, the building we now know as the Dock Street Theatre is the third business to call this plot of land home.

Its original building was the Dock Street Theatre named after Dock Street where it is located. Dock Street later became Queen Street, but the name Dock Street stuck.

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After a fire in 1740, the building was rebuilt into Planters Hotel, which is when the first haunting story hails.

Lady of the Night

Nettie, a lady of the night, is often seen wearing a red dress near the second floor. Yes, an actual apparition. Her story goes a little something like this:

Nettie used to work at St. Philips Church just down the road from the hotel. At the age of 25, she was not at an ideal age for marriage. Watching the men enter the hotel for their nightly pleasures, Nettie wondered if she, at the age of 25 was still desirable. She was said to pretty, just not at marrying age. She had passed her prime.

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Nettie’s dream was to become part of Charleston’s high society. Descending from a poor upbringing, this made things difficult to become part of the desire, not to mention, at the age of 25, she was well past marrying age.

Soon, after watching all the prominent people of Charleston enter the Planters Hotel, she sought employment as a prostitute at the hotel. After appearing in a red dress, Nettie was one of the most desired women of the hotel. Although still unhappy she often stared at St. Philips Church, longing to go back from the second-floor wrought-iron balcony.

It is said that during one of these daydreams on the balcony, that lightning struck the wrought iron Nettie was leaning on and it killed her instantly. It is also said that Nettie died during an abortion. Urban legends can be tricky that way.

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The funny thing about this story is that Nettie is said to be seen wearing her red dress on the second floor in an almost full apparition. Notice the “almost”. She is seen from the knees up. Why? During the reconstruction of the hotel back into a theater, the second floor was raised one foot and therefore it is said that Nettie’s spirit is walking on the original flooring of the Planters Hotel. Interesting, right?

What’s with the Booths and Theaters?

The other said spirit to be haunting Dock Street Theatre is that of Junius Booth, the father of John Wilkes Booth. Little history lesson: John Wilkes Booth was the assassin of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln. The irony here is that Lincoln was shot in a theater.

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Back to Junius…

Junius didn’t die in the theater which is what makes this story so interesting. He was one of the most famous actors that came out of Dock Street Theater and his apparition is seen wearing period garb from the early 1800s.

My Self-Guided Tour

Although there is no physical proof of these two apparitions, I can see where odd feelings and the eerie nature of the facade of the building can give these tales some merit.

I’ve received EMF readings (or electromagnetic field) when around this building, but have yet to capture any apparitions or spirits in my pictures. Who knows, maybe you can analyze the photos in this post and tell me if you see anything?

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While taking a self-guided tour of the theater, I found myself tip-toeing around while snapping photos and letting my EMF detector tell me which direction to take. The EMF detector spiked from time to time, but I was unable to recreate any specific incident of spikes which tells me something (or someone!) was with me. The theater is beautiful and hopefully soon, I’ll have an opportunity to see a show and catch a few spirits along the way.

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I found my way to the courtyard which is an excellent relaxing garden area with a fountain. The internal waiting area also contains a bar, where I could feel the nostalgia just pouring off the furniture and paintings on the walls. If you get the chance during your stay in Charleston, be sure to check out this self-guided tour. It’s completely at your own pace and well, you could search for spirit activity!

With the open self-guided tours of Dock Street Theatre, I plan on visiting as often as I can with different pieces of equipment from my ghost hunting tours. Hopefully, one day, I will catch evidence myself either through the spirit box, photographs or some cold spots. If you happen to capture any evidence before I do, please feel free to leave in the comments below. I would love to hear your story.

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Pirate Booty Legend

It is said that the Pirate House, located just one block away from the Dock Street Theater used to house pirates, yes, including Blackbeard himself when pirates were in town. Hence, the title of Pirate House.

Allegedly, there was an underground tunnel leading from the Pirate House into Dock Street Theater for pirates to do dealings and enjoy a show. There are stories that say that Blackbeard hid his treasure in that tunnel before it was filled in after the last renovation of the theater. Now, I’m sure that this is a grapevine urban legend simply because other stories will claim that Blackbeard never set foot on Charleston soil, merely stayed upon his ship in one of our harbors. Who’s to say which is true, but who doesn’t love a good pirate treasure story?

Join Me on a Ghost Hunt!

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If you’d love to hear this story and more about haunted Charleston locations, join me for my Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience with the same name, Stories in the Cemetery. It’s October and well, you should be doing something a bit Halloween-ish, shouldn’t you? I’ll see you soon on one of my tours around this amazing city! Click below to check the dates and times of your tickets.

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If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

 

Halloween Costumes

Charleston’s Old Jail

With three different trips to Charleston’s Old Jail, the evidence is substantial to say it is truly haunted.

The Old Charleston Jail is the final home to Lavinia and John Fisher. Lavinia was known as America’s first serial killer and it is questionable whether her husband, John, was involved with the murders she was charged with.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that we were using apps for smartphones to aid in our investigations. Our third and final trip to the old jail, we used a K-II EMF reader, a voice recorder as well as an actual spirit box. With my team in tow, we each had a device we were in charge of and the results almost matched what we caught with the smartphone apps.

To elaborate, an EMF reader detects an electromagnetic field near a specific area. We tested the reader around our home with a spike around surge protectors with multiple electronics plugged in. The spirit box uses radio waves to randomly spit out words as it scans through each individual radio signal. The voice recorder was so we could record any words that came out of the spirit box by saying them out loud.

The front gates of the old jail gave us plenty of words with the smartphone app along with some strong EMF signals. One of the words that came through the app was “chair” and after some research, I found that there is an old wheelchair inside the jail that is said to be haunted all on its own. Feel free to check out the “Links” section below to watch a YouTube video that discusses this chair.

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Also, during the first and second visits, quite a few names came through the app. It wasn’t something we were expecting, but there was a definitive pattern.

Please keep in mind that we did not take the interior tour, all three of these visits were simply by walking around the building. We did not want to be influenced by tourist attractions that speak of the legends, we wanted to remain in the dark.

With our last and final trip using everything but our smartphones, we found a few hot spots with our EMF reader where one of the team members felt dizzy and a bit disoriented. We tested this by removing ourselves from that area and then returning to the exact area. I also wanted to note that is was approximately 50 feet away from the building, in the parking area. The EMF spiked and remained there until we walked away leaving one of my team members feeling disoriented. Here’s a pic of the EMF detector:

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EMF Detector spiking near the back steps of the Old Charleston Jail.

 

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Another hot spot with the EMF reader was at the bottom of the stairs that sits behind the building. I climbed the stairs to catch a stronger signal, but it was only at the bottom of the stairs where the meter spiked. No disorientation from any team member occurred.

As for the spirit box, over 40 phrases came through our hour-long walk around the building. Phrases like “It’s an accident”, “July 20th”, and “Free the cannon”. I was unable to find a connection to any of these phrases, but “July 20th” sticks out in my mind and I plan on investigating further in the downtown Charleston library where the records are kept from all inmates who entered and served time in the old jail. Perhaps a second post/podcast episode will be in order with my findings.

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One other phrase stands out; “Why John?” came through about 20 minutes into our tour. This could refer to the questionable involvement of John Fisher, (Lavinia’s husband) with the murders he was charged with. It is said that John Fisher before his death wanted to address the public and apologize for any wrongdoings he may have caused. Lavinia, on the other hand, did nothing of the sort.

Names that came through the spirit box app: “Kennedy”, “James”, and “Madison”. Notice how all could be first or last names.

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Names that came through the physical spirit box: “Why John?”, “Father Morgan” and “South Carolina”.  I mention “South Carolina” here only because that’s five syllables that were able to come through during a speedy search of radio signals by the device.

Overall, the disorientation of team members, the spikes of EMF outside the building and the terms that came through the spirit box(es), I can conclude that there is something residual staying at the Old Charleston Jail. With the other phrases that came through, I can also conclude that someone or many someones are trying to clear up any urban legends that are surrounding the mystique of the long-standing building.

There are plenty of resources I will need to investigate before making a second post about the Old Charleston Jail,. As for now, if you have any connections to the aforementioned terms, please reach out to me. I would love to hear your take on the Old Charleston Jail and its mysteries.

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RESOURCES and LINKS

YouTube video: Wheelchair

Listen to the Podcast episode on the Old Charleston Jail here:

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E11-Old-Charleston-Jail-e4r53a

You can find my podcast, “Stories in the Cemetery” on all major podcatchers. Reviews on Apple podcasts are greatly appreciated.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

 

 

USS Yorktown Tour

Welcome first time visitors and followers! I’m Nicholas McGirr, Author of the Afterlife and you’ve landed on another blog post of haunted stuff. This blog (and podcast) is intended to entertain you with my research on haunted locations for inspiring my fiction works. I hope you enjoy another adventure with me! Read on for this week’s post on Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Memorial Day Weekend

Visiting Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, SC with my daughter on Memorial Day weekend turned into not just a history lesson for her, but also a haunting search for both of us.

Patriot’s Point is the home of the USS Laffey Destroyer, the USS Clamagore Submarine and the “Fighting Lady” herself, the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier. We thought Memorial Day weekend would be a perfect time for some exploration on all three vessels.

 

Spirit Box App, “Ghost Detector”

With this tour, we continued to use the “Ghost Detector” app since we knew that the weekend would pack in tourists. The “Ghost Detector” app, if you haven’t been following this blog, gives off white noise for spirit activity to communicate with the living. It records each word or phrase that comes through and allows me time to research it later without having to know all the history on front side of the investigation.

Please note that the app “Ghost Detector” is intended more for party games and hoaxes. However, the app does give off white noise which, in my earlier tours of alleged haunted locations, I was able to find the historical relations to many words and/or phrases provided by the app.

Previous Tours

Our tour was not guided, and we were able to freely roam all three vessels at our leisure. Some day in the future, I will take a ghost tour with Bruce Orr, author of “Ghosts in the USS Yorktown”. Like most tours, I do the heavy research after the tour is complete. Along with my research for the USS Yorktown, I read Orr’s book and it’s not one to overlook.

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The team of TAPS, the host of the TV Series, Ghost Hunters, also did an investigation on the USS Yorktown. TAPS was able to find an apparition as well as a shadow figure in their investigation. None of the activity they encountered was found to be harmful. In fact, most of the TAPS team experience was based on footsteps pacing on overhead catwalks. At one point in the show, part of the team set up a shadow box light, which makes an alarm sound when a beam of light is broken. Although they did not have evidence on camera, the light box did make the alarm sound once the team left the area. It can be heard in the background.

Our Tour

As for our tour and investigation, we did not encounter any eerie feelings, see shadowy figures out of the corner of our eyesight, or feel any cold spots. In fact, like the TAPS team, we used an EMF detector (electromagnetic field) to no avail.

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In truth, the Ghost Detector spirit box app seemed random as well. The words and phrases we received had no relevance in my research. The app did capture quite a few names with the closest relation of “Pierce” on the app, we found the dog tags of “Jesse James Pearson”.

 

With all the words/phrases grouped together, I was able to point out that a small group of words made sense and we’ve never seen them come through before. Those words/phrases were:

  1. Preacher
  2. Pray
  3. Preacher (again)
  4. Holy
  5. God
  6. Pray (again)

 

Keep in mind, that there were two phones running the Ghost Detector app. The above list is a conglomeration from all words/phrases taken from both devices.

It makes complete sense that the men who worked these vessels were no doubt men of faith and the list above came through the app on both devices.

 

Granted, this was the only bit of evidence I could find with the hauntings of the USS Yorktown, a very well-known haunt in the Charleston, SC area. I may one day do a full investigation of the ship and stay overnight.

If in the future, I decide to stay overnight on the USS Yorktown, I will report any findings of footsteps, apparitions and other supernatural activity. I will not provoke and try to duplicate any prior investigation. Experiences should be just that, an experience.

For now, I’m convinced that the haunting claims on the ship are indeed true and in the words of Mac Burdette, the director of Patriots Point: “They’re our guys!”

While exploring all the aircraft on the ship, I happened to notice a sign pointing off to an island in the distance:

 

I’m taking this as a “sign” of a future tour/investigation!

Not all hauntings have to be demonic or dark in nature. The claims on the USS Yorktown have been of fully uniformed men working the ship as if nothing’s changed for them. These are men who died for our freedoms, fought for the life we have today. We might be related to them and we may never have met them or known them personally, but they’re our guys. No one to fear.

To listen to the podcast episode from Stories in the Cemetery: visit here!

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Works mentioned in this post for reference:

Ghost Hunters, SE 8 EP 10. (2012, May 2). Haunted by Heroes.

Orr, B. (2012 ). Ghosts of the USS Yorktown: The Phantoms of Patriots Point. Charleston: Haunted America.

Hauntings at Fort Fremont Preserve

Welcome first time visitors and followers! I’m Nicholas McGirr, Author of the Afterlife and you’ve landed on another blog post of haunted stuff. This blog (and podcast) is intended to entertain you with my research on haunted locations for inspiring my fiction works. I hope you enjoy another adventure with me! Read on for this week’s post on Fort Fremont Preserve in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Finding the location

Finding another location to investigate after my time at Old Sheldon Church was a fairly easy decision. Looking through online haunting catalogs (I love shopping for new haunts!), I found little information about the Fort Fremont Preserve, even though it is listed as one of the hauntings in Beaufort, South Carolina.

With this investigation, I was accompanied by April (my wife) and a third person to help manage the use of equipment while I handled Byron, my dappled dachshund.

The beach is surreal

It was late afternoon when we arrived. Our GPS didn’t take us to the front gates of the Preserve and we had to walk around the gated area through a beach to find a way in. There was a much easier way to enter the preserve, but we found it even more interesting to have to pass through a very small segregated beach area. There was no one on the beach, but the waves crashing in were calming. The beach made the entire area feel surreal and the eerie factor crept up on us as we kept exploring.

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Using a Spirit Box app

Like our visit to Old Sheldon Church, I wanted to explore the possibilities of a Spirit Box App. A spirit box uses radio frequencies or white noise (static) to allow spirits to communicate. If you’ve watched ghost hunting television shows, it’s the static box that spits out words.

The app we chose is called “Ghost Detector”, and it was chosen for the cheesey name. My thought behind the app is that it is intended for party games or hoaxes on friends. Nonetheless, it provides white noise and will keep a tally of words it thinks come through with the abled frequency settings.

Without having a psychic with me, or Psychic himself from my previous investigations, I found that I needed words or phrases to investigate through research. The “Ghost Detector” app was readily available, fun, and well, free.

I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of using the app, but I did notice that in both locations, Old Sheldon Church and Fort Fremont Preserve, that the words came through much quicker than when I tested the app in my home.

A brief history of Fort Fremont

This fort was one of six forts intended for the Spanish-American War. It was built in 1889 and then abandoned by 1910. It housed three disappearing canons, two of which were given to France during WWI and the other sent to New Jersey. To date, it is known that all three canons were scrapped.

This fort was never under attack nor was it used in the Spanish-American War. It housed approximately 110 soldiers which took care of the facilities that included a commissary, a bakery, a hospital and many other buildings. Overall, the entire fort area covered more than seventy acres of land. All to protect Beaufort from threats of the Spanish-American War.

The Haunted Claims

There are many haunting claims of this area including those of Land’s End which sits where the original fort would have extended.

It is said that there was a fight on the Fort Fremont grounds between soldiers and local African-Americans over moonshine. All survived but one: Pvt. Frank J. Quigley. It is also said that this soldier had intimate relations with a local’s wife and that’s how he died. Who’s to say? None of us were there.

This leads to the haunting of Land’s End Light, where it is said that if you drive to the end of the road near the beach that you will see a lantern swinging. Locals claim it is Pvt. Quigley.

Other claims on the Fort Fremont Preserve are of EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon) or of smoky images that seem like spirits.

One YouTube video shows a couple investigating with a Spirit Box app similar to the one I used. The words that came through their app were much different than that of what came through my phone. They had words like “chemical”, “No one”, “Spirit”, “Charles” and “This is one”. Towards the end of the video the woman claims that the spirit box answered her questions by using her name.

All of these stories were just creepy enough for me to want to visit for myself.

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Headaches

Upon the arrival while my team and I walking through the beach area, I began to get a migraine. I’ve had a history of migraines, but hadn’t had one in quite some time, I pushed on so I could discover the grounds.

As I did, the headache grew stronger as I got closer to the fort until finally I had to come to a stop once we reached the front of the fort with the cavernous openings. I had to sit down, my eye was watering to the point I couldn’t see and I had sweat pouring down my brow and neck.

My team checked on me as I sat down. Byron stayed with me as April took a few photos and the Spirit Box app was running picking up a few words before I decided I couldn’t handle the headache any longer.

April had to help me to the car since the migraine behind my eye was causing it to strain and water profusely. Once we reached the car, the headache eased slowly, my eye stopped watering and the sweating seemed to come to an end. After 20 minutes, I was able to drive us home.

I tell you about my migraine due to a connection in my research. Keep reading…

Spirit Box Findings

Now we come to the cheesey Spirit Box, “Ghost Detector” and the words it gave me for research. I was able to connect the history of the Fort Fremont area with six out of the nine words it recorded. Not too shabby for a free app.

screenshot_20190415-165319_ghost-detector

The only three words not connected to this area: “January”, “Warrior” and “Tea”.  But let’s work backwards on this list to see the connections.

Three: I connected this term to the three canons that were stationed at the fort.

Friends: There is an organization called “Friends of Fort Fremont” that preserves the land and educates on the history of Fort Fremont. Also, notice there are “three” F’s in their title.

Soldiers: This one is pretty obvious as there were over 100 soldiers stationed at Fort Fremont.

Now, I’m going to tie a story together for the words, “Raid”, “Weak” and “Rocks”.

Going further into the history of this land, it is known that Harriet Tubman led a raid of Col. Montgomery’s men to the Combahee River (just across from Rock Creek) to weaken the  rebel’s Army camp and freed over 700 slaves in June of 1863.

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Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, pgs 85-6

The area that Harriet Tubman started this raid was near the grounds where Fort Fremont currently stands. I looked into the maps of these areas to show where the Combahee River and Rock Creek are in relation to Fort Fremont. You can see Fort Fremont on the bottom left of the map, Combahee River with the Red pin and Rock Creek in the very top right corner.

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Google Map of Fort Fremont, Combahee River and Rock Creek

Dear Reader, I would love to be convinced that the legendary Harriet Tubman came through on a free app used for a game. But I needed more clues.

I found that Tubman suffered from migraines and seizures throughout her life due to a riot that happened when she was just a girl. These migraines and seizures were spiritual for her as she grew closer to her religious values.

Final Conclusion

My overall conclusion is that similar to Litchfield Plantation. I went in expecting one haunting, but through research was able to dig up a whole other history. This experience for me went further than just a history lesson, it became personal. The migraine I felt during this investigation was intense and I felt that it had something to do with the property at Fort Fremont.

I want to know your thoughts on the matter:

Do you feel that deeper histories arise when researching a haunted location?

Have you had an experience at Fort Fremont?

Tell me your ghost story and we’ll compare notes. Be sure to leave your comments below.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get wind of when my blog posts and podcast episodes are published and you’ll get a FREE audio book of my novelette, The Life Tree.

I’m a writer, and now you know another story that inspires my fiction. Thanks for reading,

Nick.

To Listen to the “Stories in the Cemetery” Podcast episode:

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E10-USS-Yorktown-Tour-e492bb

 If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Spirit Shoes at Old Sheldon Church

The Grounds

In Beaufort, South Carolina sits the serene and very still ruins of The Old Sheldon Church. Originally named Prince William’s Parish Church, the site holds gorgeous oak trees, randomly scattered headstones/graves and the remains of a twice destroyed Georgian style place of worship.

What better place to find supernatural happenings than a building that was destroyed twice?

Originally built in the 1740’s and 1750’s, the contributor who funded the church was that of William Bull whose grave is still on the grounds, allegedly. He was married to Ann Bull, and it was the stories of his wife, Ann, that led me to this visit.


 

There are stories online of a lady in a brown dress guarding the grave of her child. The gender of the child she’s protected is unknown by the headstone, but research states Mr. & Mrs. Bull had only one child. I mention this because of some of the research conducted on site later.

Old Sheldon Marker
Stone marker connected to outside church wall. Photo courtesy of April McGirr.

Once Loved, Twice Burned

According to www.scriptureproject.org, the history goes like this:

Originally organized and funded in the 1740s and 1750s by William Bull, whose Newberry Plantation bordered church grounds, … The church was set on fire in 1779 by British troops led by General Augustine Prevost during the Revolutionary War. 

Tradition states that on January 14, 1865, near the end of the Civil War, General Sherman’s troops burned the church a second time as part of his “March to the Sea” campaign… In a letter dated February 3, 1866, …, Milton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.” “

So, there it is. Destroyed twice in two different wars: The Revolutionary War and then the Civil War. It is a possibility that the materials inside the church were stolen by locals to repair their own homes during the Civil War, but the church was destroyed nonetheless.

There is no doubt that between both of these vandalizing acts of war, that death occurred on the grounds of the church.

My Visit

Our visit to this location was one of two locations that day. We visited the Old Sheldon Church in the early afternoon. There were others there also visiting the site, taking pictures and the site remains open to the public to visit the history of South Carolina without a cost or a tour guide.

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Taken from behind the remains of Old Sheldon Church. The crypt of William Bull. Photo courtesy of April McGirr.

As said earlier, the grounds are covered with plenty of mossy oaks, some with cement blocks in them to retain the strength of the trees. The air is quiet and very still in this place as it sits in the backwoods of a very old South Carolinian city. It is exactly as you would suspect.

Some new testing

For our day in Beaufort, I decided I wanted to test a spirit box app and an EMF detecting app from my phone.

A spirit box uses radio frequencies to allow spirits to communicate. The app I found is called “Ghost Detector”. And yes, I chose it for the clichéd name. I tested this app at home first, playing with the features and waiting for anything to come through. At random intervals, it spits out a word. It seemed pretty bogus at the time, but thought I would give this a try at an actual haunted location. After all, according to the technology, a spirit simply needs the right frequency to communicate. Who cared if the app I was using was a hoax? It still provided random frequencies and that’s what the spirits needed.

I also want to point out that when toying with this app at home, the words came across my screen about every 5-10 minutes. While at Old Sheldon Church, the words came much faster.

The EMF (electromagnetic field) detector was also tested at home. Electromagnetic Fields are said to determine whether there is spirit activity nearby.

I walked around my home placing my phone around electrical outlets and electronic items and it actually worked! I don’t know how my phone is able to do this through an app, but I went with the proof of little lights on my screen lighting up.

**(Note that while I used the EMF detecting app at Old Sheldon Church, there was no activity to be documented.)

I brought a third person with me to handle my phone with these new apps. April (my wife) was taking pictures as usual. Byron and I walked around reading as many headstones as we could find and the third person was gauging the apps letting me know which words were coming through the “Ghost Detector” app.

Shoes at the Church

As we were all exploring the grounds, the app was spitting out random words that made no sense. Like my investigations with Psychic, I thought these words might make more sense with research.  Take a look at these screenshots:

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Notice that there was a word coming through every 1-3 minutes. This is more activity than I had at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now take a look at this screenshot. This is from the same location, you can tell by the timeframes.screenshot_20190415-145151_ghost-detector

 

See the word “SHOES”? Yeah, I thought the same thing; stupid. I originally began researching these words with “RANDY” in mind since it came up twice. I found nothing. Even on the gravesite listing on www.graveyard.com did I find anyone, even a middle name, of Randy.

 

 

 

 

What I did find was section from the book, “Wicked Beaufort” by Alexia Jones Helsey. Here’s the section:

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Jones Helsley, A. (2011). Yamassee War. In Wicked Beaufort. History Press Library Editions.

“SHOES” doesn’t seem so stupid now does it?

Arbitrary Headstones

This leaves me to wonder if these apps that are built to be hoaxes or just for fun can actually be useful. The “Ghost Detector” app seems like a hoax with the weird sound effects and the cheesey pixelated screen, but it gave me proof that someone was there. All the other clues listed like “MY SON”, “FIND HIM” and “RANDY” all seem relevant too, but I wasn’t able to find any research to justify any of these phrases.

I wanted to note that with all the 75 headstones in Old Sheldon Church, most of them seemed to be broken, cracked, sinking, or had some other type of vandalization. I can’t help but wonder if this was done by actual vandals or if the graves were moved from their original burials. The headstones were randomly placed as well. In other words, unless you are part of one of these families, the reasoning behind the arbitrary placement of these graves is uncertain.

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Randomly placed headstones at Old Sheldon Churchyard. Photo courtesy of April McGirr.

 

Conclusive Evidence

With the end of our visit to Old Sheldon, I concluded that the grounds are indeed haunted. After the research and the common term of “SHOES” and the story from “Wicked Beaufort”, I have to say, I can see the connection.

Other words that came through the “Ghost Detector” app are inconclusive at this point, but may shine through with another visit to this location later. But for now, I’m convinced that there are those from beyond the grave trying to speak to us at Old Sheldon.

As always, let me know your thoughts below. Have you visited this site? Have you had an experience? Sometimes that experience doesn’t come to light until later.

This week’s book sponsor is “The Umbrella Tree” by Nicholas McGirr. Be sure to check out this title on Amazon or you can read about it here: The Umbrella Tree.

Listen to the podcast episode Right Here!

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E8-Spirit-Shoes-at-Old-Sheldon-Church-e3qthu

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!

Who is haunting Litchfield Plantation?

Listen to the Podcast Episode from Stories in the Cemetery Right Here!

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E7-Who-is-Haunting-Litchfield-Plantation-e3qtng

Litchfield Plantation has a history of being haunted throughout several books, websites as well as paranormal investigation groups. The legend is pretty simple, it goes a little like this:

From http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com, it reads:

  • Litchfield Plantation – Some believe Dr. Henry Tucker, the plantation’s owner in the late 1800s, still remains. People have reported seeing him in the Blue Room. It is said he used to ring the bell at the entrance gate in the middle of the night, until the bell was removed several years ago.
Pretty simple, right? Only my investigation with Psychic proved another spirit is also watching the grounds at Litchfield.
If you haven’t been following my Show Notes blog or my podcast, the investigations I did with Psychic were basic. The principle was to prove a psychic’s ability by visiting and researching haunted locations. The psychic, whom I call “Psychic” had no idea where we were going with each trip. I simply warned him of what type of attire he should wear. Other than that, we showed up, he gets his vibes and I research his intuitive findings.
Now that the explanation is out of the way. I should note that Litchfield Plantation’s chapter in the book was never written. I had to jog my own memory from my visit in 2014 by going through all the data collected. The material you are reading is fresh and new, but from an old visit.
At the time of my visit in 2014, the Paranormal group, Lost Souls Paranormal had a few overnight stays and investigations in Litchfield. To date, I believe they are up to seven overnight stays. I mention this because I met with the LSP Team to swap research and findings. I also showed them parts of the grounds that I found later with Psychic.
Let’s get into the story…

The Litchfield Plantation Grounds

Upon arriving at Litchfield, Psychic of course, started his automatic writing. He continued this automatic writing throughout our tour.
We were lead by John Miller, the current owner of Litchfield. He’s a pure skeptic of the hauntings and the reason he allowed Psychic and I to tour the grounds was to fulfill his own curiosities.
The main house and grounds are beautiful and John tells us how the plantation is often used for weddings. And reasonably so.
The grounds hold the main house, the cook’s house, the caretaker’s home, and the old carriage house which is now being used as a church. Also, on the grounds is an old casing that was used to harvest rice; it is made of old shells and is stunning to study the architecture.
Psychic feels a female presence as we enter the main house and has claims of conversational phrases throughout the tour. His automatic writing shows things like “shells” “L/F”, “Child Not His Wife”, “Mint/Tea” and other key phrases that we’ll dive into individually.

auto writing 2 litchfield

auto writing 1 litchfield

Shells

In Psychic’s automatic writing, he mentioned shells, which was alarming at first since we weren’t going to be near the beach. What we found after we toured the main house was a giant casing that was used to harvest rice, a major crop throughout the Grand Strand in the 1800’s.  This was my first clue that psychic was on the right track.

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

Oyster Shell2

Mona, Age 16

Also, on the grounds are several headstone markers randomly placed. The most significant one that has the current owner stumped was a small marker that simply read “Mona, Age 16”.

Mona Age 16 2.2

Through research, I was able to find the death certificate of a Mona Avant who died of pneumonia at the age of 16. Not much can be told by the death certificate as you can see, but the parents were both South Carolina residents. Through my research, this was the only “Mona” who died at the age of 16 that I could find in South Carolina.

death certificate for minor Avant, mona_LI

Later, Psychic confessed that he felt his breathing get very heavy while in one of the bedrooms and near Mona’s grave. I took this is him channeling the pneumonia that Mona would’ve felt while lying on her deathbed.

With the last name of Avant, I couldn’t find any owners of Litchfield Plantation with same surname. Which could lead to the “Child Not His Wife” in Psychic’s automatic writing. I can’t say anything for sure on this topic, but found it interesting nonetheless.

“L/F” and “Tea”

Here’s where things got a little out of hand for Psychic and I. And I will say that I did not truly discover this reference until I listened to the audio when recapping this investigation.

After leaving the main house and thanking John for his hospitable tour, we went off track to venture down the other roads on the plantation. What we found was a few more headstones destroyed by vandals. One of the few headstones still in tact was that of “Wm Bowens”.

Bowens 2

When researching the symbols on the headstone, I found that the three chain links and the FLT in the links stands for the mantra for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Friendship, Love and Truth. Taking a listen to Psychic’s testimony throughout the tour, he came across an “L” at first, then an hour later, an “F” and once outside, he mentioned “Tea”. Now, I might be reaching with the tea, but it is a bit coincidental that F and L came through first, then tea.

Slave Graveyard

I mentioned earlier that I met up with the Lost Souls Paranormal team. I took them to the site where I found the Bowens headstone. They pointed out that the small patch of land where the headstone stood was a full blown graveyard. I took a step back to get the full picture and it was then obvious to see the sunken in parts of land, each about 6 feet in length. Very few headstones, even broken, remained. There’s no telling how many slaves have been buried there and forgotten.

Secret Society

During the tour with John, he took Psychic and I into the caretaker’s house. Immediately, Psychic mentioned old secrets being held and something masonic. Give a listen here:

It wasn’t until I began researching the Bowens grave markings that I discovered the secret society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Also, with the Bowens grave being in a slave graveyard, I decided to look up his race and investigate if blacks or slaves were even allowed into this society during that time period.

SouthCarolinaDeathRecords1821-1960ForWilliamBowens_LI

As it turns out, Mr. Bowens was African American as his death certificate says “colored” in the race section. I also learned that African Americans were allowed into secret societies after the Civil War ended in 1865. It began in the northern states and slowly trickled down into the southern states. With Bowens’s death in 1916, he would’ve rightfully been allowed in the IOOF.

“L” Again

I want to revisit this “L” again since my audio with Psychic was so strong about it. With the legends of Dr. Tucker being the prominent urban legend, I dug into previous owners of the Litchfield Plantation.

I found Louis Claude Lachicotte and his wife Ella Florence Stokes Lachicotte who owned the property in 1887. There are plenty of “L’s” and even an “F” in these names. It would also match up with the time period of the graves on the grounds.

 

 

Granted, the word “medicine” came through in Psychic’s automatic writings as well, but that could also lead up to Mona’s death of needing medicine to ease her breathing.

As to exactly who is haunting these grounds, I cannot say for sure. The Lost Souls Paranormal Group have caught EVP’s of a girl laughing and a woman trying to tell them something. Could this be Mona? Or maybe even Ella? Nobody knows for sure, but all the same I was inspired by this investigation. It proved Psychic’s abilities yet again and well, I gained inspiration for my writing.

I’m Nicholas McGirr, Author of the Afterlife, and now you know another story that has inspired my fiction works. Be sure to click the book covers to the right to check them out.

Thanks, for reading,

Nick.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always Buy Me A Coffee to keep me fueled and ready for more investigations. Your contributions to my craft are always appreciated!
 

Hatcher Cemetery w/Audio

You can listen to the episode here!

https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E2-Hatcher-Cemetery-wBonus-Audio-e37t3n

Show Notes

The second case I worked for my unpublished book was that of Hatcher Cemetery in Conway, South Carolina. It was a location I had read about and some of the locals told me to investigate, and well, so I did.

To further back up, this story was originally for a book idea I had to prove a psychic’s abilities. If for nothing else, it would prove his abilities to me, regardless if you, dear reader, believed in the story or not, I would have my proof. Here’s the details that the Psychic and I went over before beginning this project:

  1. He would not be given the location and/or the backstory of the location once we arrived.
  2. I was allowed to record audio but only for use in research.
  3. His automatic writing could and would be published in the book.

We broke a rule with the Hatcher Cemetery case and later you’ll see why. The audio for this case was too intense not to allow the readers to hear. Keep reading and then listen to the audio at the end.

I debated whether I should post this story or not, because with each story I researched, I found some type of family secret that only clues could put together. This was the case with the Hatcher Cemetery. I learned of family secrets and family business that shouldn’t be totally revealed. I struggled when writing each line trying not to reveal too much about this family’s history. Even during the initial investigation with Psychic, I heard voices in my head, an uneasiness to turn back and go home. Needless to say, I pushed forward.

Here are the notes I took before writing the new chapter:

Case 2: Hatcher Cemetery 10.21.13

  • Hard time finding the exact location.
  • Ventured off into woods several times, branches wrapping around me, feeling entrapped.
  • Back out on the road, I was drawn to the only set of flowers visible, white flowers. Upon entering the woods just under the woods, I heard “Go Now.” And then something large moved around in the woods.
  • Psychic then got out of the car feeling that he should “cut the square in half” and go “diagonal”. It was Psychic who finally found the actual cemetery, yelling “Found it!”. See recording.
  • Dogs started howling the minute we found the cemetery.
  • Birds were squawking in the background of Psychic’s audio.
  • Several pictures were taken of the gravestones.
  • See “favorites” in internet settings, but the four-year-old grave reveals death of diphtheria. Research this disease.
  • Psychic feeling very uneasy, hard to breathe. Tapping into diphtheria death? Where symptoms include difficulty breathing.
  • Photographer became very attached and emotional over the headstones of children in the cemetery.
  • Earlier in the week, text messages from Psychic indicated he was sensing woods and water. Later, the photos taken revealed a conch shell near one of the headstones. Further research needed as to why a conch shell was in the cemetery so far away from the beach.
  • Compare pics of gravestones to those on http://www.findagrave.com . Possible destruction involved. Why?
  • While in the woods, I felt as though the cemetery and family didn’t want to be found, weren’t meant to be found. Allow their memory to fade.
  • Audio Note: Psychic’s voice seems to change to a southern draw in his last lines as if channeling: “you need….You need what I have to survive.” Look into the land split up in the Will listed under internet favorites. Psychic does not even recall saying this line when I asked him about it later. He listened again and noticed his breathing was off here as well, as if trying to find the right rhythm.
  • Audio Note: EVP during this last line? Have analyzed.
  • Investigator box lesson: The Fates.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity thus far. The notes above reveal more than the actual story.

As you read through, you’ll find where we had trouble finding the exact location and what happened when we got there. There were dogs howling and birds moving away from our location. The caution in Psychic’s voice is undoubtedly genuine and be sure to check out the change in his accent and tone at the end of the audio.

Please note the psychic and photographer’s names have been changed to their titles; Psychic and Photographer. This is the only change I made to the original document. With this investigation happening over 5 years ago, I didn’t want to alter any of the original details that occurred.

Here’s the Chapter,

Case 2: Hatcher Cemetery

Automatic Writing

As a prerequisite to every case, I always question Psychic to see if he is picking up any “vibes” or has any thoughts of the whereabouts we are heading to next. It never ceases to amaze me of his answers and the fact that he is reading other people during Tarot readings or even in group readings, that he is able to be as concise as he is cunning.

Upon questioning Psychic for the Case 2: Hatcher Cemetery, I left out the name of the cemetery, the location and the time era of deaths there and asked for his thoughts. His exact responses were that he saw woods and water, his mouth felt salty and he couldn’t put his psychic finger on the time era, only that it was “newer” than the last case. One last note from Psychic’s intuition prior to visiting the cemetery; he felt something/someone/team/crew was aggressive.

Auto Writing Carl Ray Hatcher

Psychic was correct about the time era being newer and the location being in the woods. The water piece has yet to be discovered but there is a later reveal that may shed some light on this.

Finding our way

The trip to Hatcher Cemetery was quite the trip indeed. The directions to the unmarked cemetery were very unclear and therefore I asked several local friends of mine the whereabouts of the roads mentioned in the directions listed online. Once verified, there was still confusion that lead the team and I in small circles with only tenths of a mile close. We stopped at a local gas station and asked the local gentlemen having coffee if they knew of the old cemetery and each had given the place a different nickname. We got the directions straightened out and narrowed to “in the woods”. Not very precise at all.

Once in the vicinity, I stopped the car and allowed Photographer to take the wheel so that I could explore the woods and find what it was that I couldn’t find. This left Psychic and Photographer in the car to further discuss Psychic’s thoughts of the case which would eventually lead him straight to the site.

After exploring the woods for nearly an hour staying close to the road of course, I found myself feeling a sense of entrapment as the vines and thorny branches literally wrapped around me as I walked through the brush. I had a sense that possibly the Hatcher family didn’t want to be found and the rumors of it being “grown over” were far beyond my comprehension as to why. I was beginning to lose hope, but I exited the wooded area and walked further along the road noticing the only white flowers off in the distance. A beacon of light calling the ship home.

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I walked towards the flowers and just as I was about to enter the woods again, a very loud and clear “Go Now!” stopped me from entering. My heart pounded, and I became paranoid immediately. Suddenly something was moving in the wooded area just beyond my sight and I immediately began walking back towards the car with Photographer and Psychic waiting for me patiently. They saw me coming and began moving the car forward down the road.

Before I entered the woods initially, Psychic advised me to “cut the square” and “move diagonally” through the woods and I would soon find what we were looking for.

When he left the car, I stayed back and watched Photographer take photos of the white flowers and suddenly from Psychic in the distance, a “Found it!” came bellowing out. I heard dogs barking and howling and the birds nearby seemed to get a bit more frenzied. I walked further up the road chasing Psychic’s voice and found Psychic standing in a perfectly good clearing straight up to the cemetery, no woods at all. I was now angry that I had to push myself through thorn bushes and vines in order to move an inch, and here was the cemetery with a straight path leading up to the gate.

Inside the Cemetery

Psychic was inside the cemetery already and was shaking his head as if trying to ward off any negative energy he was picking up on. Photographer and I approached him, and he immediately walked back down the path to the road speaking into his recorder, tallying up the feelings he was having about the old cemetery.

Of course, like most cemeteries, the air was heavy, and the dogs never did stop barking while Photographer and I walked around reading headstones and snapping photos. I asked Photographer to insure she got photos of specific graves and I then went to check on Psychic. He was doing fine, just out of breath.

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As Photographer exited the cemetery, I noticed a very sad look on her face as she realized she was taking photographs of the headstones of children and infants along with adults. It took all night for Photographer to shake the feeling of sadness and dread and the short trip through Conway had taken its toll on all of us.

Empathy for the Deceased

With this particular case, I feel my trudging through the woods and feeling the senses of entrapment and restriction were necessary in order for me to understand the research later. As it fits, the Fates made sure that I would empathize with this case by analyzing my partners Photographer and Psychic. Through this case, I would need to feel that some secrets are better left alone, and I would gain what I needed from the information I would actually be able to find. I need not dig too deep into the history of these lives in order to know what happened to this family. The secrets they hold are to be respected as just that, family secrets. The Fates have once again shown me the lesson I needed to learn ahead of time.

Creepy Bonus Audio

So here comes the most eerie part of this whole story: The audio. Below you’ll find the three minute venture that Psychic took on his own. Pay attention to his breathing and his accent in the first three minutes, then notice the shift in the last few seconds:

If you didn’t hear the change in his voice, then listen again. It could be that I’m too close to the case or too good of friends with Psychic. Regardless of the accent change, I felt compelled to take that as a clue to further investigate. What I found were those “family secrets” that I mentioned earlier and I feel obligated as an honest writer not to reveal those secrets.

Tell me a Ghost Story

Unfortunately enough, there aren’t too many more cases from this unpublished book that I started in 2013. However, rest assured that I have plenty more stories to tell based on the research I use for my fiction works. You can find them all on amazon here: Author of the Afterlife.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter that will not only give you a free audio of my latest book, Byron by Nick Knight (my pen name), but also updates on new blog posts and upcoming events of my works in progress.

I’d love to hear/read your thoughts on this case, the audio and any abandoned cemeteries that you have visited. Feel free to leave comments below or  share on your favorite social media, I won’t mind.

Thanks for reading,

Nick