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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
More than just a Blog
This is episode 18 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
More than just a Blog
This is episode 13 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
Philadelphia Alley, named after the help from Philadelphia after the fires of 1810, has had many names. Along with “Philadelphia Alley”, it was also known as “Dueler’s Alley” and originally named “Cow Alley” because it mainly held livestock.
This post will focus on why it was called “Dueler’s Alley”. It’s the name that also gives the alley a famous urban legend haunting. Which, of course, is the purpose behind my investigation.
Handprints in the Bricks
There are a few unique attributes to the alley that contribute to its spookiness. Search hard enough in the laid bricks and you’ll find the handprints and fingerprints of the slave children who made those bricks. These prints usually came from the child who was given the unruly job of turning the sundried bricks while they hardened.
Bricks like these can be found all over the Charleston area including Drayton Hall and Boone Hall Plantation. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon these bricks while exploring Philadelphia Alley. They’re not difficult to find.
Entry to St.Philip’s Church Graveyard
During the times where dueling was a way to settle differences, an entryway to St. Philip’s Church was provided for easy disposal of the losing party of the duel. How convenient. So, instead of waiting for an ambulance and a time of death report to come through, the townsfolk simply picked up the loser and took him to his grave.
So, now comes to our urban legend slash haunting of Dueler’s Alley. It is said that Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd, a known whistler, can be heard while walking through the alley. During my early morning walk through the alley, the only whistling I heard came from the early morning birds nearby and there were quite a few of them. There are also claims of heard gunshots while walking through the alley at night.
Now, Dr. Ladd was only in town after being shamed in his own hometown in Rhode Island. He was courting a young woman that he was intending on marrying, but his fellow townsman felt that he was only after the young lady’s family funds that she inherited after her parents had passed away.
So, to prove his lack of cowardice to establish his practice, he fled his hometown and came to Charleston, SC. Upon his arrival, he immediately became friends with Ralph Isaacs, who saved Ladd from a robbery and a group of conmen. This friendship contributes to the other party of the duel later to come.
However, as Dr. Ladd’s popularity grew, the friendship with Isaacs began to dissipate and Isaacs began to resent his friendship with Dr. Ladd.
After a showing of a Shakespearean play, Isaacs and the doctor began to argue about one of the actresses which quickly turned into an argument about Dr. Ladd’s love, Amanda, back in Rhode Island. After a few slandering words (some of even went public in a local paper), a duel was set up for them in Dueler’s Alley.
The duel would follow the rules of standard dueling and Dr. Ladd had no intention of shooting his friend. However, Isaacs had a different plan.
Although Ladd’s shot was intentional to the side of his opponent and friend, whereas Isaacs made a direct hit into Ladd. He was forced to retreat back home.
59 Church St.
Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd was living at 59 Church Street where he retreated after his soon to be famous duel with Ralph Isaacs. So, no, he was not taken through the entryway to his grave to St. Philip’s Church. He was aided to the second floor of his home where he spent his last ten days suffering from the gunshot from Isaacs.
As for my investigation of the Ladd/Isaacs duel, I found little evidence, but some evidence is better than no evidence! I researched this story during the daylight hours. Hopefully, with my upcoming “Stories in the Cemetery” Interactive Ghost Hunting Tours (hosted by Charleston Cavalier Tours) I’ll find more substantial evidence.
There were spiked EMF (electro-magnetic field) readings while in the middle of the alley. The morning was quiet aside from the whistling birds (or was it Dr. Ladd?) and the EMF detector spiked in several areas multiple times. I spent over an hour in the alley looking for light posts and other electrical entities that might deter an accurate reading but could find none. The EMF readings were true while I stood in the middle of the alleyway with nothing in arms’ reach.
I also had a spike on the EMF when I placed the device near this sign that is posted on the home at 59 Church Street:
Now, I haven’t researched Thomas Rose yet, but as my investigations continue, I’m sure I will come back to this location for multiple investigations.
On my future Interactive Ghost Hunting tours with the tourists that come through Charleston, I will keep a sharp ear for the whistling and gunshot claims that roll through this alley. All tours will be recorded for the tourists to have access to later and it is through these recordings that I hope to stumble across and verify the claims of hearing the Whistler and/or the Gunshots that mortally wounded Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd.
Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Tour in Downtown Charleston
To hear the story of Dueler’s Alley and other haunting tales around downtown Charleston, be sure to sign up for my email updates and follow this blog. To visit the website to purchase tickets for my upcoming tours, please click: http://www.charlestoncavaliertours.com. I can’t wait to investigate haunted locations with you!
More than just a Blog
This is episode 12 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
More than just a Blog
This is episode 11 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
More than just a Blog
This is episode 10 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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I’m a writer, and now you know another story that inspires my fiction. Thanks for reading,
More than just a Blog
This is episode 9 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
More than just a Blog
This is episode 7 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
The Brentwood Restaurant is said to be one of the most haunted places along the Grand Strand. You can imagine my excitement when the owners, Eric and Kimberlee Masson allowed me and my team to do an investigation for my unpublished book.
If you haven’t been following my blog or my podcast “Stories in the Cemetery“, I wanted to publish a book that proved a psychic’s abilities by investigating haunted locations with him. The concept was that I would pick him up, not telling him where we were going and have him use his ability to tell me more about the location. We didn’t use any equipment other than simple cameras, a digital recorder for me to recall events during the investigation and of course, Psychic’s marker and notebook for automatic writing.
According to the Massons, many investigators were trying to book a night’s stay to use various techniques to prove that the Brentwood Restaurant was haunted. I will say, that in my belief, any building or home that has been in existence for any length of time has other-worldly properties attached. The Brentwood Restaurant was no different, and Psychic’s abilities proved my theories and more.
When the Masson’s invited us to tour the property during daylight hours before they opened, I was ecstatic. Below you’ll find the chapter of the book that I wrote based on our experience:
The Brentwood Restaurant, owned by Chef Eric Masson and wife, Kimberlee has exchanged hands several times over the past century. The current use, a French Cuisine Bistro is lovely from both the outside and inside décor. Covered in wine corks and old pictures collected by the Massons along the east coast, the restaurant has claims of paranormal activity that simply couldn’t be ignored when researching for new places to visit with Psychic.
Paranormal investigators have long been trying to get into The Brentwood begging to have a sleepover session filled with moving objects and whispers in their ears. There has been one noted investigator, Stephen Lancaster that started the hype around this location, dubbing The Brentwood as the most haunted location along the Grand Strand.
Though this is quite possibly true, during our investigation, there were no strange voices (heard by Photographer and me anyway) or objects moving, or even doors slamming for that matter. No, what we found was a remarkable way to truly prove Psychic’s psychic abilities and allow him to wander through the house turned restaurant freely.
For this particular case, we used the Sony Recorder to record all audio of the conversations held, Psychic’s intuitions and any possible background noise.
Both digital cameras, the Samsung digital L120 and the Samsung SLR N300, were used to verify any “orbs” that were caught by other pictures.
Psychic and his sketchpad; as always, Psychic used his sketchpad for any automatic writings. Psychic did hear voices throughout this investigation and wrote down each saying that may have meaning during my validations later. Kim was able to validate quite a bit for us after we toured through the house and this is revealed later in this chapter.
Before Our Trip
Just like all trips, minimal research was done on this house prior to the trip. This keeps me unbiased and other than the claim of being haunted, I did absolutely no research on previous owners, the haunting claims et cetera. Psychic, as always was unable to do any research due to the lack of research materials and technology. He was completely blind coming to this case other than knowing that it has haunting claims.
The Car Ride
On the car ride over to The Brentwood, Psychic chose to sit in the backseat to begin “tapping into” whatever spirit(s) may want to come through during our visit. While meditating in my backseat, he came up with this sketch sheet of automatic writing:
Of course, none of us, Psychic, Photographer or myself knew what any of it could possibly mean but the same initials reference, “E.M.” and repetitive numbers would prove truth later. If you notice in the top left corner the letter “S” in between the initials. This was our first clue as to what we would be dealing with. The letters “C” and “P” are also written below the initials. These would also prove Psychic’s abilities through research.
Other clues that came about were “Moved”, “My ending > your start”, “recognition”, “I feel lucky”; all of these would have significance on this case and Kim was able to validate quite a bit for us after the tour.
In addition, take note that “Fish is OK for breakfast” is written on Psychic’s sketchpad. This statement not only brought some light to the previous owner, but also gave us some insight into who was coming through to Psychic.
Upon reaching the house, Psychic felt a need to go to a bedroom on one of the upper floors. He was drawn to it as we walked closer to the house. After introductions with Chef Eric and his wife, we made our way to this bedroom. Kim decided to stay with us for the tour, but promised not to reveal anything until after we were finished. Since Psychic was starting to say what he was feeling the moment we entered the house, I got the feeling that Kim was going to have a difficult time not revealing anything until after the tour.
Psychic spoke of the initials piece right from the start, claiming that whoever was coming through to him had the same initials as Chef Eric. Psychic had no idea the last name of the couple who currently own the house and definitely did not know about the previous owners. Chef Eric Masson’s initials, E.M., proved to match that of the previous owner, Essie McCorsley.
Other initials (or letters) also came about through Psychic’s automatic writing. The letter “C” we found was a reference to Essie’s husband, Clarence. On Psychic’s sketchpad, there’s also a note that reads, “Always watching” with an arrow pointed to the “C”. Psychic believes that though Clarence was silent through our tour, he was and is always watching over the businesses that have taken over the home since his death.
Also written is the letter “P” and Psychic’s instinct tells him that Essie did not get along with this “P” person. Kim was able to validate that a “Mary Platt” took over the home after the McCorsleys and the two did not exactly get along. This information came from a descendent of the McCorsleys.
Psychic also notated the repetition of numbers from the start. When asked which numbers were repeating, he claimed to hear the numbers 15 and 17. Though I could not find the relevance to the number 17, the number 15 proved to serve several dates in later research. This was one clue to add to another.
Essie McCorsley’s death on October 15th also marks the date of the closing of the sale of The Brentwood Restaurant for the Massons. “My ending > your start” was written in the first sketch of automatic writing done by Psychic. This writing done by Psychic now made sense.
Wait, there’s more to this “15” number. During the investigation, Psychic felt the need to stand by the front door as Kim was just about to show us underneath the stairwell where the Brentwood computer is kept. Psychic felt someone collecting “dollars” at this front door, and then heard the whisper “1954”. Psychic went on to explain that in 1954, the person collecting dollars, did not collect any money. At the time, we had no idea what he meant.
What we did find out is that Hurricane Hazel came through Little River, South Carolina (the location of The Brentwood) on October 15, 1954. This was not only another repetitive 15, but could also mean that Essie was not charging people to come into her home for protection from the storm. Although there is no written evidence that Essie took people in from Hazel, it was too ironic that underneath the stairs was a focus when Psychic heard the whisper. Could the passage underneath the stairs have been a storm barricade that Essie used to protect her neighbors from the hurricane? I have no evidence that says this didn’t happen.
“Recognition” and “I Feel Lucky” is written on Psychic’s sketchpad and these two phrases had no meaning to us on our way to The Brentwood. We pulled in to The Brentwood’s parking area to find that the actual street name is Luck Street. Although, The Brentwood’s current location is not the original, we still felt there was a connection here.
The “Recognition” written, Psychic felt as though it was a gracious recognition, as if Essie was saying “thank you for the recognition.” Again, we had no clue what Psychic was referring to until we asked Kim about it later. She remembered while pointing out the original location of the house that there are two streets just a bit down the road from the original location named after Essie. Those two streets form a crossroads of each other and are named McCorsley and Bessent. Kim explained that Bessent was Essie’s maiden name.
This not only proved the “recognition” writing, but also the “moved” that Psychic felt the urge to write twice.
End of Chapter
Something on the Stairs
Granted, although it seems that I never finished this chapter, I recall something on the stairs that wasn’t there the first time we passed through. We usually did several passes, following Psychic around to see what he would come up with next. I’m not sure exactly why I didn’t include this in the first draft of the chapter, but I distinctly remember something on the stairs that wasn’t there originally. It was something hard and tangible, not something that would have been quiet when hitting the hardwood floor of the steps.
Regardless, my experience at The Brentwood Restaurant is one to remember. Although, we had no paranormal activity happen while we were there, we found one more thing interesting.
At the beginning of our tour, after meeting Chef Eric Masson, the four of us, Psychic, Photographer, Kimberlee and myself all moved to the front room of the house to discuss the process we go through and terms of the tour.
We regrouped in the same room in which we started and happened to notice the ceiling was covered in ladybugs. According to Kimberlee this had never happened before. During my research, I found that ladybugs are a symbol of luck in many cultures. This could be more to the meaning of Psychic’s auto-writing of “I Feel Lucky”.
Fish is OK for Breakfast
I should also note that I never explained the “Fish is okay for breakfast” in Psychic’s auto-writing. As it turns out, the fisherman that stayed at the McCorsley home would bring fish for Essie to cook for them. Therefore, “Fish is okay for breakfast”. Kimberlee explained this to my team and I during our regroup and we all found it hilarious since it made no sense at the beginning.
I have to say I feel lucky indeed after having the experience I did with Psychic and The Brentwood Restaurant. It was another case where I felt that his abilities were proven yet again.
This week’s sponsored book is Book One: Growing Dim. If you love Greek Mythology tales about the Underworld, you will be enthralled to follow the new Shade (Hades) on his new adventures. This is the first book in the series.
I’m a writer/podcaster and now you know one of the many influences of why I write what I write.
Thanks for reading,
More than just a Blog
This is episode 4 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.