Using Laser Grid Pens on Your Paranormal Investigation

Laser grid pens are by far, one of the cheapest ways to update your paranormal investigation kit. I use them on my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences with my guests in Charleston, SC. When researching why and how to use this inexpensive paranormal tool, I thought I should clarify a few things about this gadget.

Laser Grid Pens are part of a Paranormal Toolkit

First, this tool should be used in collaboration with a number of other tools in your toolkit. If you don’t have a toolkit, see my recommendations of the equipment I use and the upgrades planned on the Ghost Hunting Equipment page. The grid pen should never be used alone for a claimed haunting. Like other tools, this is not an “I have paranormal evidence from a grid pen only” type of tool. When used with video cameras, EMF detectors, EVP recorders, and other tools, you can then put clues together that a paranormal entity is present. Never claim you have a haunting because a laser was disrupted and you have nothing else to back it up.

What is a Laser Grid Pen?

Think of your cat’s favorite laser toy on steroids. The simplistic pen projects one laser into thousands of little “dots”, based on which tip you have on the pen, into a darkened area or room. Green is usually the color of choice on this device because it can easily be seen in the dark.

The basic use of this pen (which is how we use this device on my tours) is to hold as still as possible for the laser grid displayed not to move. Remember, that my tours are given on the streets of Charleston, SC as a walking tour. In other words, we are quickly investigating several locations and learning about the history of the location. Tripods are available when investigating one location or one room and with the camera setup, the investigator can leave the room and allow the camera to validate any movement.

Once the laser grid is in place, the purpose is that the investigator can then detect disturbances in the grid or an absence of light, thus detecting an entity nearby. To understand what I mean by this, I’m sharing GhostStop.com’s video for the basic use of a grid pen. Without visuals, describing what to look for is near impossible.

Streaks of light in the grid?

Glad you asked.

Ghost hunting television shows are usually our main source for finding what works in the field and the grid pen originated on Ghost Hunters International. Here’s a clip of the team at GHI showing true evidence to their client.

I want to point out that in the still image of the evidence that there seem to be streaks of light in the grid. Take a look at the video again to see what I mean.

This streak of light is caused by something translucent in the grid, thus distorting or bending the laser to seem extended. We’ve all read accounts of someone seeing a “spirit” or “ghost” and my personal belief is that the person claiming to witness this anomaly has the ability to see what others cannot, or has this ability because they were supposed to see the anomaly. In other words, the person claiming to see a spirit has been chosen to witness the supernatural event. But what about the rest of us? The skeptics? That’s where a laser grid pen comes into play.

What if you just don’t have the same ability as those that claim to witness something supernatural? The laser grid pen gives us the capability to manipulate the space we are investigating to witness what we cannot see with the naked or what we were not “chosen” to see.

I usually demonstrate a translucent anomaly with some type of smoke passing through the grid and how it creates “streaks” of light instead of a disturbance of the grid on a solid surface.  This is great for locations that have a reported seen spirit on location such as the Pinckney Mansion site.

Types of Laser Grid Tools

There are some general issues with using the inexpensive laser grid pen. Through experience and research from other paranormal investigators, the pen is known to heat up and distort the displayed grid by either dimming or pulsing, thus burning through batteries rather quickly. For long investigations, say overnight, this is not an ideal tool to rely on for true evidence.

For the sake of my 90-minute walking tours, this is an excellent purchase. The pen does not contain an “on/off” switch. It has a manual button only, so unless you purchase the ring or tripod for a long investigation, expect to hold this button down while investigating. Again, perfectly legitimate when walking the streets of Charleston.

I would recommend using something with a fuller grid as well as an on/off toggle for long investigations for one location. The GS1 by Ghost Stop is a part of the upgrade plan I have for my personal toolkit. The grid displayed is red in color and has full lines (think of grid paper you used in high school).

I am curious to use both the green grid pen “dots” in conjunction with the GS1’s red lines for a more accurate reading. Granted, the video above suggests taking any video to a 3-D modeler to give you the full shape of your anomalies, but what if you could physically see more of your supernatural activity by using both grids together?

Paranormal Evidence with a Grid Pen

During my tours, my guests and I have caught quick glimmers from the pen, but not a full-on disturbance in the grid. These “glimmers” could not be debunked, nor did I capture anything on video. (Using video on my tours is completely up to the guests, otherwise, legalities of waivers and the like would be involved).

Here is a video I found on YouTube of an investigator experimenting with his grid pen. It should give you a bit more of an idea of what to look for when investigating your own locations. However, I am going to highly recommend you use this tool in collaboration with other tools. An anomaly with a grid pen does not justify any evidence. Remember, we are investigators, we need evidence from multiple tools simultaneously before a claim can be made.

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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 using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Blog Post

Ghost Stop. “GhostStop Ghost Hunting Equipment Demo: Laser Grid Burst Pen.” n.d. 13 May 2020. <https://www.ghoststop.com/Laser-Grid-Scope-p/laser-greengrid.htm&gt;.

—. “Laser Grid GS1 Ghost Detection System.” n.d. 13 May 2020. <https://www.ghoststop.com/Laser-Grid-GS1-p/laser-lasergrid-gs1.htm&gt;.

Higgy Pop. “Detecting Ghosts with a Laser Grid.” 8 May 2017. Higgy Pop. https://www.higgypop.com/news/detecting-ghosts-with-lasers/. 13 May 2020.

MichaelDMaGee. “Laser Grid – Real Paranormal Activity Part 34.1.” 10 October 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX56XSJ6pcc.

Seeks Ghosts. “Pros and Cons of Laser Grids.” 23 April 2013. Seeks Ghosts Blog. https://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/2013/04/pros-and-cons-of-laser-grids.html. 13 May 2020.

 

Spirit Boxes

To Listen to the accompanying podcast episode, visit “Stories in the Cemetery” or search in your favorite podcatcher.

Spirit boxes have long been used in the ghost hunting expedition. I use them on my Stories in the Cemetery Ghost Hunting Experiences with my guests as well as on my personal ghost hunting endeavors. Let’s get into what they do, where you can get them and how to listen for clues to the unknown question of the afterlife.

How They Work

Spirit boxes are, in a nutshell, radio scanners. The unique feature is that you can set how fast or slow to “sweep” the stations. Through the sweeping of the stations, an investigator can hear DJ’s, song lyrics, or disembodied voices over static.

If the sweep rate is fast enough to not allow anything to be heard other than a clicking static, then words from anyone are going to be difficult to hear or comprehend. I tell my guest using the spirit box on my tours to shout out anything they hear from either a DJ, song lyric or any disembodied voices over the static. I believe that due to the fast sweep rate of the radio frequencies, that if something comes through, even from a DJ, that we as the investigators were meant to hear that word or phrase. It takes a solid second or two to say a 1-2 syllable word and if the sweeping stops for that amount of time, I take that as a clue or a spirit wishing to communicate.

Types

Currently, I’m using an SB-7 device. I like the sweeping range of both AM and FM frequencies and it has proven a useful tool for my tours. The only unfortunate component on this device is that the external speaker is weak and requires an external speaker to listen while hunting outdoors.

I will say that for the sake of my tours, without the attached speaker, the hunter who gets this device on my tours plays an important role. They have to literally hold to their own ear and tell the rest of us what they hear. It gives a unique perspective of what they hear.

I’m looking into purchasing the S-Box for a few reasons. It comes with a loudspeaker already built into the device. Also, it has a recording feature for recording EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) with an SD card. This would give another perspective from a different device other than the voice recorder I’m already using. Two different recordings of the same tour might give more evidence into the paranormal realm.

Spirit Box Apps

Along with two manual spirit boxes running, you’ve all heard me talk about the spirit box apps that I use. They’re corny, but I love them to death, no pun intended.

“Ghost Detector” is the main app that I’ll leave running through the duration of the tour. I also use “Ghost Detector” when I’m the guest on a historical tour or on a personal investigation.

The app works like a game or hoax for college kids or a drinking game. Once you turn it on, the app will give green bars and a hissing effect for spookiness. Corny as hell. But the great feature is that the app will give words in the middle of the screen, an interpretation of what the app thinks a spirit might have said. Granted, this game-like app can randomly spit out words at will. I will say about 40-75% of the words that come across the screen are completely random. But the 25-60% that aren’t random are actual clues and communication to the situation at hand.

stories in the cemetery ghost detector app

I’m a believer that spirits from another realm can adjust and manipulate electronic devices at will to communicate. This is why I believe that the communication I receive through apps like “Ghost Detector” is working at least 25% of the time when there is paranormal activity occurring. I use EMF detectors and other gadgets to ensure that there is indeed communication from the spirit realm. This is my belief and until you see it or experience this phenomenon for yourself, you will be a skeptic of such devices or applications.

Another app that I use with activity from other devices is “Paranormal Hauntings” by Brian Holloway. This app acts as a reverse spirit box. In other words, it takes radio frequencies, scans them, but plays back the words from DJs, songs and other programs in reverse. First off, it sounds amazingly creepy and cool. But mostly, it allows the listener to make sense of the gibberish that comes through. Here’s an example of the reverse spirit box activity I captured one night with two guests. I asked the spirit to tell us her name.

As we left the site, I told her goodbye. She responded in the same voice as when she told us her name.

Non-Believers

There are plenty of studies that oppose that spirit boxes and EVP’s actually work. So what’s the difference between an EVP and a voice from a spirit box?

An EVP is a voice or sound recorded on a voice recorder. Some voice recorders have even been created with multiple channels to distinguish sounds heard. (New blog post on this topic later). But the science behind EVP is that it is a voice or spiritual entity that cannot be heard through naked hearing or rather, without a special device like a voice recorder.

Voices heard through a spirit box are sometimes heard over white noise. This is where the skeptics begin analyzing our data and why we hear these voices. I’m not going to quote or even give the details of these studies, but I will point you in the direction of one in particular that I found very interesting. I’m sure you will too. Check out the skeptics and non-believers here.

Conclusion

I love spirit boxes. They are indeed a useful tool when I’m investigating a new location or taking guests ghost hunting on my tours. I love when two spirit boxes (app and manual) sync up and give me two relevant or similar clues without the other hunter knowing what happened. I often find this in the audio later or after we’ve moved on from a location. You’ll have to hear these for yourself since I record every tour. Check out my tour audio here.

As for now, I’m looking to add the S-Box to my Ghost Hunting toolkit. I’ll probably do an unboxing video or show it off during a private investigation soon. Be sure to follow me on social media to see how this device works.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

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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 using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Post

Nees, Michael. “Hearing ghost voices relies on pseudoscience and fallibility of human perception.” 30 October 2015. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/hearing-ghost-voices-relies-on-pseudoscience-and-fallibility-of-human-perception-48160. 16 April 2020.

Nicholson Ph.D, Carol. “Difference Between Spirit Boxes and EVPs.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. https://imaginespirit.com/evps-and-spirit-boxes/. 16 April 2020.

—. “Spirit Box Ghost Responses.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. https://imaginespirit.com/spirit-box-ghost-responses/. 16 April 2020.

Villar, Ashley and Alex McCarthy. “The Statistics of Spirit Boxes.” 4 November 2017. Medium. https://medium.com/@astrovav/the-statistics-of-spirit-boxes-2cf021bf6c3. 16 April 2020.

Hollowed at Halfway Creek Church

From time to time, followers of this blog or friends who know I’m always looking for a new location to investigate will private message me a place without any explanation. These are my favorite types of investigations. I love going in blind, not knowing what to expect. Let’s face it, with my love of Geocaching and putting clues together, sometimes finding the location is half the fun. As was the case for the Halfway Creek Church in Francis Marion Forest.

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Francis Marion Forest is a mysterious place all on its own. I’ve driven through the 258,000-acre forest on several occasions to stay away from the busy traffic of Charleston or as a shortcut with a peaceful drive. To come across an alleged haunting in the forest was exciting and I couldn’t wait to get the day going to find the Halfway Creek Church.

Disappointingly, it was easy to find; a simple Google map search and I arrived an hour later. There were groundskeepers on-site and a funeral canopy in the cemetery ready for the mourning of a loved one. I grabbed my gear and headed to the church. With my voice recorder running and smartphone in hand, I said: “Good Morning” to all the men working. It was a peaceful morning and I looked like any other photoblogger investigating his site.

The history of the church is simple. Built originally in 1828 as a log building, the church had changed hands several times among congregations until it was rebuilt in 1941 to the dilapidated, hollowed-out building we can see and visit today. Church services ran until the 1970s.

Through vandalism and weather conditions of South Carolina, the church has fallen into more than dismay. Funding for the grounds stays with the graves and cemetery on site and leaves the building to rot along with its ancestors buried 6 feet under.  The floorboards were too worn for me to enter safely, so I remained at the doorsteps and windows peering in with my paranormal tools hoping to catch a glimpse of the history here.

The claims of hauntings come strictly from random threads and comments of pictures online. Some say that fog will come over the road that leaves one feeling disoriented, others just leave a simple line of “haunted church”.

I’ve said in earlier posts that a cemetery is usually one of the last places I would deem to be haunted, but with the church nearby, I thought I would take a chance on the allegations. It looked creepy enough and was far enough into the forest that I was willing to fulfill a curiosity.

Much like the absence of research to be found on the property, other than a listing of burial sites, the paranormal equipment left much to the imagination with absent reporting. A small glimmer from the EMF, no EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon) from my voice recorder, and not a single anomaly on any of the pictures I took.

I also used the spirit box apps in the background of shooting pictures with my phone. The word list is inconclusive and if there is a connection to any of the words/phrases listed, I could not find any research to tie the location.

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As for now, I’m deeming the Halfway Creek Church “not haunted” as per the claims of online thread commenters. With the number of pictures I found for this location, I’ll simply say that this is a quiet place to take beautiful pictures for photographers practicing their craft. Perhaps, a private picnic area to enjoy lunch or watch the stars through the trees of this giant forest. But definitely not haunted.

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If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

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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 using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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Called out at the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Visiting this giant piece of Charleston’s history is a must-do for any local as well as any travelers coming through Charleston. I’ve been through the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon on several tours, learning about the history throughout the building and piecing the clues together for hauntings around the city. However, going back to 1771 when the building was constructed, allows any visitor to see the connection Charleston had to our great nation.

The History

Constructed in 1771, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon has been used as several different operations including a mercantile exchange, a post office, and military headquarters to name a few. These different operations show the exchange of hands this building has undergone since the birth of this Georgian-Palladian structure.

Another fascinating piece to this building is that you can see a sliver of the original wall of Charles Town through the Provost Dungeon.

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The original wall of Charles Town. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

The dungeon was said to have housed criminals of all sorts; men, women, pirates, and tea. Yes, I said tea, because, during the Charleston Tea Party, this is where the tea was held to keep it away from the British hidden behind a wall that no longer exists.

The Old Exchange is also one of the four locations where the Declaration of Independence was ratified, an immense part of our American and Charlestonian history. The rooms above the dungeon glorify this moment with the artifacts and staff dressed in period costumes.

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Know that through this article, I am not even touching the surface of the history of this building. I am not claiming to be an expert by any means and I encourage you history buffs to put this building on your bucket list to enjoy for yourselves. For this article, I am focused on basic history to explore any proclaimed paranormal activity.

The Paranormal Claims

There are plenty of paranormal claims to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon including guests getting tugged, pushed or clothing pulled. Others claim that the period costumes of the staff make it confusing for the spotting of spirits because they, too, are in period dressings of their own time. Some staff claim that “staff members” are seen walking into walls from time to time.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr

In February of 2019, a paranormal investigation was led by Grant Wilson from “Ghost Hunters”, Chad Lindbert from “Ghost Stalkers” and Carol Cleveland from YouTube’s “Haunt ME”. I could not find the evidence from this ghost hunt, but tickets ran about $185 for a meet and greet with the celebrities and then a 30-minute ghost hunt afterward.

What I will say is that the venue for this ticketed event usually comes with some merit of the legitimacy of the alleged haunted location and I trust that the pros leading the investigation came up with more than substantial evidence.

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Stairs from the original Post Office. Currently, the lead to overtopping the exposed wall of Charles Town.

My Visit

Once paying for my ticket for the dungeon tour, I immediately head downstairs where my tour guide is about to begin. I already had my spirit box app running as well as my EVP digital recorder. The EMF detector was tucked away in a side pocket of my satchel so I could easily tell if any spikes would occur during my tour.

I will say that once I hit the stairs to the dungeon, the EMF detector was active throughout my entire tour of the dungeon. The erratic lights drew so much attention to other guests of the tour that I had to turn it to face me. The lights were not patterned as I was originally suspecting. With all of the hype of paranormal activity around this building, I was honestly expecting it to be rigged, hence why I took a daytime tour with the normal historian tourists.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr

I reviewed the spirit box app list of words after my tour and was surprised by a number of words. For those of you that have taken one of my “Stories in the Cemetery” ghost hunting experiences, you know that I find that 60-75% of the words provided are bullshit. With this list from the Provost Dungeon, not so much.

Words and phrases like “commit”, “cruel”, “he is guilty”, “violation” were all common themes throughout the word list. Check out the full word list in the picture slides below.

The words “cruel” and “violation” came through right around the time my tour guide was describing the conditions of the dungeon. Women were kept with the men without privacy, rat infestations and of course water coming over the top of the bricks from 1702. All these conditions were in fact “cruel” and were likely a “violation” of standards for prisoners.

The word that stood out to me most was my own name about 16 minutes into the tour. Just the night before, I told one of my ghost hunting guests that I would visit the Old Exchange and he texted me later that day asking how my investigation went. I showed him the list and his reply brought clarity to my work here in Charleston. He said, “They know you by name?!” Ironically, they do. I was called out just 16 minutes of my entering the building and beginning my tour of the dungeon. I have never seen any variation of my name (Nick, Nicky, Nicholas) ever brought through the spirit box app previously.

Conclusion

Upon listening to the audio from the tour, I could only find one instance where I may have heard something paranormal, but the evidence is insubstantial at this point and not worth posting until I have it analyzed. Other than that, I am pleased with the erraticism of the EMF detector (which stopped after I left the building) and the array of words I received through the spirit box app.

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I have explored the city of Charleston with my EMF detector looking for new locations to take my guests. With each passing of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the EMF detector usually signals for me to look further. Sometimes it’s just a blip, other times it’s an erratic display of lights screaming to be heard. I encourage you to visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, find an EMF app (yes, they work, just not as sensitive) and see for yourself who might be lurking in the basement of this extremely creepy structure that holds onto so much history of our country.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

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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 using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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Magnolia Cemetery

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode visit Stories in the Cemetery.

I’m not even going to pretend that I can cover the 130 acres of history that makeup Magnolia Cemetery. Normally, my posts will give you the history of a location before I dive into the paranormal activity. This post will give you some connections to my previous investigations.

Famous South Carolinians

Among the 35,000 burial sites at Magnolia Cemetery, lie 39 known famous South Carolinians that helped shape the history of both Charleston and South Carolina. Among this list of elites are politicians, writers, and soldiers. I will mention only a few of them here as they relate to my previous research. This is not to say that any of the others not mentioned here are any less important, but as a researcher and writer, I found it interesting that my previous investigations are linked closer to home.

William Bull

Although not listed among the 39 notable burials in Magnolia, I couldn’t help but notice on the map of the cemetery, in the upper left-hand corner, the name of “William Bull”.

Magnolia Map
Map of Magnolia Cemetery. Picture found on http://www.magnoliacemetery.net

If you recall, William Bull was the man who funded Old Sheldon Church, a study I did in 2019. You can find that post here: Spirit Shoes at Old Sheldon Church.

William Gilmore Simms

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Bust of William Gilmore Simms at White Point Garden, SC. Picture by Nicholas McGirr

Last week, I posted about White Point Gardens and the lack of hauntings there. If you recall, there was a picture of a bust of William Gilmore Simms in White Point Gardens. Simms was a poet and novelist and his list of works includes “The Yemassee” written in 1835. Simms was also pronounced the “best novelist that America produced” by Edgar Allan Poe, another well-known author who spent time in Charleston. As an author myself, I like to think that Simms and Poe spent time together conversing over war and hardships of the South. The time periods match closely enough that this could’ve been possible.

Josephine Lyons Scott Pinckney

A descendant of Eliza and Thomas Pinckney, Josephine is also buried in Magnolia Cemetery. Eliza Lucas Pinckney, if you recall my post on their mansion site, was the mother of our indigo plants here in Charleston. Not only did she discover the crop’s capabilities to rebound Charleston’s crops, but she also stood as the businesswoman who was able to create and sell the crop overseas. A pioneer paving the path for future women of Charleston, Eliza’s tenacity lived through Josephine.

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Ravenel Bridge in the background of Magnolia Cemetery. Picture by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Josephine was the founder of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, Josephine also played a key role in the preservation of the Holy City. Active in the literary community, she influenced the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society through the restoration of Charleston buildings and neighborhoods.

The Hunley Crew

The men who served under Captain Horace L. Hunley and Lt. Dixon are also buried here at Magnolia. There are signs that lead you right to it, or you can use the map of the cemetery grounds.

Although I have no direct research of the Hunley and its crew, I have plans in the future to dive into this research and of course, visit the Hunley itself in hopes of learning more about the vessel, it’s missions and it’s men.

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The remains of the crew were buried here in 2004, after author Clive Cussler and his group, NUMA found the vessel with the remains and time-capsule like artifacts. The funeral and memorial service took place in White Point Gardens and in Magnolia Cemetery with a full honorary service to remember those heroes that were lost.

Feels like an art exhibit

Walking and driving through Magnolia Cemetery, one gets a feeling that they are not only stepping through time but quite possibly through lost craftsmanship. The style of memorials, statues, headstones, and incredible carvings is astonishing. So astonishing in fact, that there are numerous books with depictions of the grave markers. One that comes to mind and more recent is from Patrick Harwood, “In the Arms of Angels”.

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There are plenty of newer style headstones but the uniquity of this cemetery is the vast array of styles of carvings, tombs, and crypts spread throughout the large grounds. An appreciation of artistry and craftsmanship aren’t needed while exploring the grounds, because it will be provided. You can’t help but notice how many different types of stone there are throughout the cemetery.

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Paranormal Activity

It’s a cold January here in Charleston and I had to get in and out of my warmed car between research sessions in the cemetery. I mention this because with each step back into my car, the spirit box app would give me another warning of precaution. Words like “speed”, “coordinate” and “squeeze” came through. In other words, in my small car, I had to watch my “speed”, “coordinate” my next stop and “squeeze” through the thin dirt roads that lead you around the graves.

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The word “perception” also came through on the app around the same time I heard “picture” in the manual spirit box. This was telling me to change my “perception” in the “pictures” I was taking and so I used my selfie stick to raise the camera and get a fuller view of the grounds. I was hoping for anomalies to show themselves or even an orb, but research on my pictures found nothing.

Throughout my stay in the cemetery, I would get random “blips” from the EMF detector. Nothing too significant, just a little touch out of the green zone. I couldn’t recreate the data, nor was anyone answering my questions when talking out loud. At times, I’ll use the EMF detector to communicate.

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As I was driving towards the exit, passing by the land that honors the Confederates killed during the Civil War, the word “soldier” came through. I stopped, rolled down my window, and enjoyed my last moment of peace in the old cemetery.

This was a peaceful drive and walk, despite the cold weather, and my understanding of the grounds and those buried there are deepened, though not fulfilled.

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Picture by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Current Walks of the Grounds

There are activities that occur on the grounds to commemorate soldiers lost, ghost stories with more in-depth tales of the South Carolinians buried here, and to honor the deaths of those aboard the Hunley. The website for Magnolia Cemetery gives regular updates on happenings with the grounds as well as any updates to the property.

I’m sure this will not be my last tour of the old cemetery, as it holds many graves that need to be researched and preserved. As for this post, let this be the beginning and very broad scope of the importance this land on the banks of the Cooper River holds for Charleston.

I shall visit again, soon.

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Picture by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

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 using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Create this Post

Bulldog Tours. Spirits of Magnolia Cemetery Tour. n.d. https://www.bulldogtours.com/tours/the-spirits-of-magnolia-cemetery-tour/1. 23 January 2020.

Charleston Currents. HISTORY: Josephine Lyons Scott Pinckney. 23 November 2015. https://charlestoncurrents.com/2015/11/history-josephine-pinckney/. 23 January 2020.

City Walking Guide. Charleston. n.d. https://www.citywalkingguide.com/charleston/magnolia-cemetery. 23 January 2020.

Find A Grave. Famous Memorials in Magnolia Cemetery. n.d. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/70585/famous-memorials?page=1#sr-6719543. 23 January 2020.

Harwood, Patrick. In the Arms of Angels. Birds Eye Productions, 2014. Print Book.

Hunley.org. Hunley crew to “rest in peace, at last”. 6 May 2003. https://www.hunley.org/hunley-crew-to-rest-in-peace-at-last/. 23 January 2020.

Magnolia Cemetery. Magnolia Cemetery Blog. 16 August 2019. http://www.magnoliacemetery.net/. 23 January 2020.

SC Picture Project. Magnolia Cemetery. n.d. https://www.scpictureproject.org/charleston-county/magnolia-cemetery.html. 23 January 2020.

Wikipedia. William Gilmore Simms. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Gilmore_Simms. 23 January 2020.

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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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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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

Shadows of a Swinging Corpse: The Wagener Building

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode of this blog post: Stories in the Cemetery

The Wagener building is one of the stops on my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences and I felt the need to dive further into this huge building on East Bay Street.

A Ghost Story

The building holds an often told ghost story of George Poirier, a suicide from the third floor. His story goes a little like this:

After inheriting a very wealthy cotton business from his father, Poirier knew very little about investments and business management. To escape the demise of his cotton business from the boll weevil insect, and to pay off debts, Poirier sold his cotton stock to the British.

Poirier was already a depressed man, having his fill of dealing with his father’s passed down business and being in over his head after spending his inheritance.

East Bay Street Wagener Building
Photo found in “Indelible Photographs” of Charleston, S.C. from the Low Country Digital Library (lcdl) of the College of Charleston. 1890-99

With the British ship loaded with his last load of cotton, Poirier watched the ship head out to see from the third floor of the Wagener building. The ship allegedly caught fire from someone smoking a pipe too close to the load of cotton and caught the entire ship ablaze.

In all the stress of handling a business he was not trained to manage, losing his inheritance and now the shame to his family of selling the last bit of cotton to the British that was set to fire, Poirier was at his ultimate limit. The story says that Poirier stacked the furniture in the room with his captain’s chair on top; climbed the furniture and hung himself from the rafters. It is said that a broken window on the third floor invited the crows to feast on his carcass before a newsboy found Poirier’s swinging remains the next morning.

Not too bad of a ghost story, huh?

Paranormal Evidence

The claims of furniture moving, being stacked, cold drafts that can’t be explained have all pushed subsequent owners and tenants out of the Wagener building.  There are also claims of a swinging corpse shadow on a stormy night from the third story windows.  I’ve had some subtle evidence come through on my tours of downtown Charleston while passing by the building.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Taken from a rooftop across from the Wagener Building.

EMF spikes around the corner doors and my trusty ghost detector app giving off phrases like “Under the Chair” and “Insects Itching” all come to light after this research. I’m taking the “Insects Itching” as the boll weevil insect that invaded the cotton crops of South Carolina during this time. According to a CDC study, the boll weevil can cause rashes and itching to those allergic to the beetle.

Just before writing this post, I visited the building one last time to look for more paranormal evidence other than a few EMF spikes. What I found was a construction crew working diligently inside and in a restricted area.

With the EMF detector and Ghost Detector app running, I paced around the building a few times waiting for answers. One name, in particular, showed up that I’ve never seen come through the app before: “Elias”. I did my research.

Writer Richard Fowler wrote an article on the building while he, too, was researching the haunting. He discovered a scandal from the original Wageners whose name bears the building but also involving a Washington Whilden, son of Elias Whilden, wrapped around lost business ventures around the great earthquake of 1886.

Reading his article and speculative theory, I’m convinced (again) that I have come across paranormal evidence that my tools are working. You can check out Fowler’s theory here:

Nothing New Under the Sun by Richard Fowler

Future Use

The Wagener Building has plans to be used for an upscale restaurant (yet to be determined) and for wedding receptions. This makes complete sense since the three floors facing East Bay Street are all wide open floorplans and would be a perfect venue for a Charleston wedding.

The back of the building is currently comprised of condos. During one of my tours, a guest explained that she had a friend who lived in one of those condos and has never mentioned any abnormal or paranormal activity. If I’m following the story of George Poirier, I can see where this would be legitimate due to his hanging in the front of the building.

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Stories at the Sorrel-Weed House

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode: Click Here!

The great thing about visiting Savannah, Georgia is that the city seems to welcome its own paranormal history and evidence. Such is the case with the Sorrel-Weed House. It is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Savannah. April, Byron and I took the haunted tour with a great guide by the name of Graham.

The History

From the feature picture of the historical marker, you can read that the house was built in 1840 and was influenced by the French background of the original owner, Francis Sorrel. The story of his wife, Matilda and his slave mistress, Molly is what makes this location so interesting.

Molly, who had her own bedroom in the carriage house, was the mistress of Francis. After Francis’s wife was unable to find him one night, Matilda decided to ask the slaves if any of them had seen her husband. What she found was her husband in Molly’s private bedroom above the carriage house. Matilda ran away from the carriage house and into the main house. From the second-story balcony, Matilda argued with Francis while he was standing in the courtyard. Matilda fell to her death from that balcony.

It is also alleged that Molly, through all the turmoil of being discovered with Francis, that she hung herself in her bedroom. However, in today’s world and looking at the forensic evidence, a 4’11” woman was unable to reach the 8′ beams in her bedroom where she was found, nor did she have tall enough furniture to aid in her suicide. What logic also tells us about this death, is that hanging wasn’t necessarily a form of suicide in the mid-1800s, but more a way of the white man’s homicide as a form of punishment sentence. To this day, Molly’s death remains a mystery.

Multiple Haunted Rooms

Throughout the main home and carriage house, Graham was able to tell us the history of each room and some of the paranormal activity in each room. Although, after listening to the recording of the tour, I couldn’t truly put my finger on all the evidence to tie it together. Each room also had photographic or audible evidence that Graham presented.

There is a gathering room in the main house that has a giant mirror over a fireplace. Our guide was able to show us a photo of apparitions in the reflection of the mirror.

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Although we couldn’t capture any apparitions in the reflection, it’s difficult not to stare into this stunning mirror. Photo by April McGirr

The room was also decorated with ornate furniture that could’ve probably told more stories of the happenings during the prime of this gorgeous home.

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An old desk urging us to look for clues to the mystery of the deaths in the home. Photo by April McGirr

The basement we found most interesting. According to Graham, the home was bought in the 1950s and turned into an old dress shop. The shop changed out the old black slate tiles in the basement and cemented over them, ruining the originality of the home. However, when repurchased for restoration, the slate was too far ruined to be restored. Instead, the restoration turned into digging up the flooring to be renewed and artifacts from the Revolutionary War were found: buttons, red cloth, and a French Cannonball. Interestingly enough along with these artifacts, the bone capacity of 12 bodies was also found. Instead of spending restoration funds to further research the bones, the bones were returned into the earth. So, in the event, you ever visit this home, know that you are walking over the remains of human skeletons while in the basement.

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An old wheelchair found in the basement of the Sorrel-Weed House. Photo by April McGirr

There was an eerie feeling when walking into the “laundry room”. A heavy feeling came over me as I passed through the door and my depth perception began to waver. I don’t normally discuss my personal emotions and feelings from my investigations, but Graham told us later in the Carriage House that these types of feelings were normal while in the Carriage House. Odd that I felt them so much earlier in the tour.

There are claims of a “Shadow Man” in the basement as well. The staff at the Sorrel-Weed House have even given him his own breezeway since his tall shadow is often seen there. In the breezeway is one creepy old chair.

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Shadow Man’s chair. Photo by April McGirr

Other claims in the basement are that of clothes being tugged, jewelry and metals being pulled and purses being unbuckled. None of these things happened on our tour, at least no one confessed, but we found one interesting anomaly that we caught on camera. When we started looking at it again, another tourist said she captured three anomalies coming together in one of the other segments of the basement.

At first glance, it looks like the anomaly is on the camera lens, but it begins to move quicker than the motion of the camera towards the end.

A friend of ours, also showed me similar footage from his visit to the Sorrel-Weed house basement, proving the validity of this video.

I will also mention that Byron (my dappled dachshund) was also with us on this tour. He could not take his gaze off the fireplace area while Graham was speaking and telling us the history. The video above was taken after realizing that Byron was a bit uncomfortable with the fireplace.

The Carriage House

The history portion of this location is mentioned above and I’ll say again that Graham warned us that during most of his tours, at least one guest becomes nauseated, disoriented or hears footsteps while in the Carriage House. During our tour of Molly’s bedroom and the Carriage House, I did not feel any of these emotions and there were no footsteps being heard over the audio.

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Molly’s private bedroom in the Carriage House. Photo by April McGirr

However, the TAPS team of Ghost Hunters was able to capture a very distinctive yelling that lasted for several seconds. In the evidence of EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon), it is rare that an audible piece of evidence is broken up into clear audio of screaming over a time span of a second or two. The TAPS team captured this audio without anyone in the Carriage or nearby to manipulate a different sound. Your guide will be proud to honor this audio evidence while on your tour.

As I said earlier, Savannah welcomes its haunted history. Graham later took us on a walking tour throughout the city and was able to tell us more of the haunted history. The Sorrel-Weed House welcomes paranormal groups to investigate and Graham even offered up a direct email in the event any guest captures photographic or audio evidence while on the tour.

While looking for more evidence on the Sorrel-Weed House, I discovered this video on YouTube: (pay close attention around the 2-minute mark)

Could this video be actual evidence of Matilda walking around? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this video. Feel free to leave comments below.

In future visits to Savannah, GA, I’m hoping to book a lockdown night in the Sorrel-Weed House and use my own equipment for a full investigation. There seems to be enough evidence here to last a lifetime and well, let’s face it, the Sorrel-Weed House staff will actually appreciate what paranormal investigators can bring to light.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

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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. Even though we won’t trek to Savannah, GA, 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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Links to references used for this post:

All photos were taken by April McGirr and cannot be used without permission.

Paranormal

Swamp Fox Ghost Town

To listen to the accompanying podcast episode, CLICK HERE

Taking a step back in time is a normal activity for Charlestonians and tourists alike. However, this hidden gem of history is located outside of Charleston in Summerville, South Carolina. What remains of the Colonial Dorchester Site are tales left to be told of how early settlers in the area lived and eventually vanished after the Revolutionary War.

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Inside the bell tower. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

The Structures

The first thing anyone would notice as you pull in to this park is the remains of the St. George Bell Tower. Erected before 1756, the bell tower was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War. It held four bells in it’s prime and was slightly repaired after the torture of being burned. What remains today is a scope of historical architecture for all to observe.

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Burned bell tower of St. George’s Church. Photo from Art of Charleston
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Repaired bell tower of St. George’s Church. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

Towards the back of the park next to the Ashley River is a tabby fort with walls made of oyster shells and concrete. Today, this is the best-kept display of tabby in America even though it was damaged during the earthquake of 1886.

Inside the fort walls are the remains of a powder house where Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion was stationed. The remains are preserved by keeping visitors from climbing or damaging the remaining structure. Along the Ashley River, the park has set up benches and tables for fishermen and for those wishing to enjoy a very peaceful lunch. At low tide, you can observe the wharf and dock that was once used in this colonial society.

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Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

Behind the church, you can stroll through the base structures of homes and the school that was located there complete with informational panels to guide you. There were even street signs still visible, their date is unknown.

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The History

With the site once thriving with homes, two schools and a church, where did everyone go? I’ll keep it simple.

During the Revolutionary War, many settlers began to flee the area after many of the structures were burned. These areas included parts of Georgia and further south to avoid another raid in the area. By 1788, the entire town was abandoned leaving it to become a ghost town.

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Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

During the war, it was Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion and Thomas Sumter that were stationed at the site to guard the powder magazine. The remnants of the magazine can be seen today in the middle of the fort walls.

During my research, I found no reported deaths or tragedies on the area which left me curious as to find any paranormal activity on the grounds.

The Data

It was on the bell tower that I first received EMF readings, but after several visits to the site, I have never been able to recreate the readings. Even with a small cemetery nearby (at least what’s visible as a cemetery), there are absolutely no EMF readings, cold spots or spirit box activity of any kind. Even the app that I normally use to accompany the actual spirit box gave random answers and words while investigating this site. None of the terms and words that came from the app could be linked to the site.

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Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

This ghost town is just a town abandoned. Even though I was able to find a slight EMF detection near the bell tower, I was unable to recreate it. This tells me two things: First, any hauntings that are at this site do not wish to be found. Second, that this was once the home to many of our early settlers doesn’t mean it will hold onto the residual spirit activity.

The intent for my research is to not just investigate the famously haunted locations but to find new locations that may not have been discovered as having activity. The Colonial Dorchester site is not one of those locations. What I did get out of this investigation is a furthered understanding of the Charleston history which may tie into future investigations later. This is a good thing.

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Photo of the tabby fort walls at Fort Dorchester. Photo from Art of Charleston.

So even though I found no paranormal activity, to keep my integrity as an author and researcher, I presented this investigation anyway. Not all investigations are going to be a success, but with the history attached to the Colonial Dorchester site, I am claiming success on what I’ve learned to further understand how our ancestors lived before us.

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Parish Church of St. George. Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

I recommend you visit this site for yourself to not only see the tabby walls but to get a feel for how our ancestors before us would have created a community.

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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. Even though we won’t trek up to Summerville to visit the Colonial Dorchester site, 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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References Used to write this post

City of Charleston. Art Work of Charleston: Published in 12 Parts. W. H. Parish Publishing Co., 1893. https://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:129214?tify={%22panX%22:0.449,%22panY%22:0.964,%22view%22:%22info%22,%22zoom%22:1.393}.

South Carolina Picture Project. Colonial Dorchester, Summerville, SC. Updated 2019. https://www.scpictureproject.org/dorchester-county/fort-dorchester.html. 28 November 2019.

South Carolina State Parks. Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site. 2019. https://southcarolinaparks.com/colonial-dorchester. 28 November 2019.