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.

 

EMF Detectors

To Listen to the podcast episode on this topic, click here: Anchor

For my Stories in the Cemetery Ghost Hunting Experience tours in downtown Charleston, my guests get to use real paranormal tools of the trade. Those tools include grid pens, various thermometers, a spirit box among some other gadgets. The most important of all these gadgets is the EMF Detector (or electromagnetic field meter).

You may have seen this gadget used on paranormal TV shows or have heard about some digital apps for your phone. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of the EMF detector, how it’s used, why it’s used and give you some real data about this gadget.

Types

There are several types of EMF detectors. The most commonly used in a paranormal investigation is the K-II meter, a single axis point meter that measures all electromagnetic fields. What this means is that it can pick up fields created by your cell phone or smartwatch. This is the meter I use with my tours for the simplicity of use. If used properly, this meter can and will detect activity. It’s a great device for this type of investigation because there is no scientific data being recorded for studying. It has simple LED lights so that it can be seen in the dark and well, it’s an inexpensive piece of equipment.

The trifield meter measures with three-axis points for accuracy. Some trifield meters can even separate the AC/DC types of readings to eliminate any manmade electromagnetic fields like microwaves and cell phones. This leaves only anomaly fields to be detected as pieces of data that paranormal activity is actually occurring during your investigation. I will be investing in this slightly more expensive piece of equipment in the near future for my tours so that guests can see the K-II reading as well as the trifield reading to make a determination of an actual haunting.

What is an Electromagnetic Field?

Without having to write a full textbook on the subject of EMF’s, I’m going to add this video from Krystal Leandra. She does an excellent job explaining the physics of electromagnetic fields and why EMF meters are so important to our investigations. Leandra has other great videos too, so be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Reading an EMF Detector on my Tours

Great, so now that you understand (or kinda understand) how EMF’s work and why measuring them is so important to paranormal investigators. Let’s dive into why this gadget is so important during one of my tours.

At the beginning of all my tours, I inform my guests that the EMF detector will lead us into other uses of the paranormal investigation equipment. With spikes on the K-II meter, we may be able to communicate with spirit activity through spirit boxes, catch quick glimmers with the grid pen or even see a drop in temperature. The person using the K-II needs to be vocal and watching the meter consistently and tell the rest of the group when he/she sees a spike.

We first try to debunk the spike on the meter. Is it pulsing? Is it a steady light? Are there streetlights or crosswalks nearby? Erraticism is what we are after. We need that erratic array of lights moving all over the meter in order to determine if we need to move forward with other gadgets or if we are standing on an electrical grid.

Please remember, that my ghost hunting experience tours are on the streets of Charleston. I do not take my guests inside any building, nor do I have anything rigged in any of the set locations. In fact, I cannot guarantee that the tour through the alleged haunted locations will even give us activity during that tour.  I’ve had several occasions where a very active location gives off absolutely no activity or data from time to time. This proves not only to me that the location is haunted, but also to my skeptics in the group who listen to previous tours before coming to their own tour.

I record all my tours for two reasons: first, to listen for EVP’s or electronic voice phenomena, and second, to give my guests a souvenir for taking the tour. All of my tours are available here:Tour Audio.

Skepticism

Scientists for decades claim that using an EMF detector while ghost hunting does not claim that there truly is an entity nearby or that a spike on the meter determines paranormal activity.

It is said that electromagnetic fields can have an effect on the brain, thus causing the brain to hallucinate and create the illusion that spirit activity is occurring. These studies started with a neuroscientist, Michael Persinger who claimed that hallucinations can occur when dealing with specific frequencies in electromagnetic fields.

Through research on the effects of EMF’s on the brain, I came across the World Health Organization’s article on those effects. It reads in conclusion:

There is little scientific evidence to support the idea of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Recent Scandinavian studies found that individuals do not show consistent reactions under properly controlled conditions of electromagnetic field exposure. Nor is there any accepted biological mechanism to explain hypersensitivity.” (World Health Organization)

We are all exposed to electromagnetic fields on a daily basis through cell phones, kitchen appliances and the numerous screens we use in our daily life. Although consistent screen usage can and will cause headaches and/or migraines, these are minor effects caused by excessive usage.

I usually give the EMF detector to the skeptic on my tours. I can almost certainly guarantee at least one major skeptic per evening. I do this because it is up to the skeptic to be amazed when the meter lights up and their reaction is hard to hide.

Using EMF Apps

I keep a backup EMF meter on my phone while touring with my groups. Although I haven’t researched the exact technology of how this works through a smartphone, I have tested it with several locations and around my office equipment. They seem to not be as sensitive to EMF detection as say a K-II meter, but still gives a reading nonetheless. Some of them even give you a description of what could be giving off the electromagnetic field which makes investigating very interesting.

screenshot_20200406-160338_emf-finder

Conclusion

I will be investing in a trifield meter for future use on my tours and for my private investigations. This should provide more data and eliminate some debunking that I normally would have to do with the K-II meter. I will update this post once the gadget is received and tested. Who knows, I may do an “unboxing” video.

As for my belief in EMF meters; I believe they can determine unknown forces in the earth’s electromagnetic field. As for proving this theory, hopefully someday with all my research now posted on this website, my work will be studied more in-depth by those looking to prove the validity of the gadgets we choose to use while ghost hunting.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and show me your gadgets! Which EMF meter are you using for your investigations? What evidence have you recorded with them?

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

Frazier, Karen. “How EMF Meters Work.” 2020. love to know. https://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/ghosts-hauntings/how-emf-meters-work. 6 April 2020.

Leandra, Krystal. How does an EMF meter actually work in Paranormal? 27 May 2017. YouTube. 6 April 2020. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzS7C0y_i50&gt;.

Radford, Benjamin. “Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?” June 2017. Skeptical Inquirer. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2017/05/can-electromagnetic-fields-create-ghosts/. 6 April 2020.

World Health Organization. “Electromagnetic Fields.” n.d. https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html.

 

The Oddity of Orbs

To listen to this week’s podcast episode on The Oddity of Orbs, visit https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E28-Oddity-of-Orbs-ebvba1

Orbs have been caught on camera since the invention of the picture capturing device. This is a known fact. You, dear reader, have probably caught some miracles of light on photos without even realizing it. Go ahead, go through some old photographs, I dare you.

But what exactly is an orb? Some would say that it’s dust, pollen, an insect, an infrared flare of light reflection, or any other normality to debunk the situation. But what about those that can’t be debunked? What are they? Let’s dive in.

Orbs Defined

By definition, an orb is just a spherical globe. This could be a number of things including a crystal ball, a soccer ball, or the earth. By definition, all these physical objects meet the criteria for the definition.

In the paranormal world that I live in, if someone says orb, my mind automatically goes to a floating ball of light in a picture or in a video. On my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences, I encourage my guests to take plenty of pictures during the tour of downtown Charleston. And I always encourage to take two pics of the identical placement. This is to ensure that if something is caught, then we can either debunk it with the following or previous picture. The following is a picture taken by one of my guests.

img_3386

At first glance, we were interested in the top right corner and the middle left side of the original photo. We were able to debunk this as streams of light coming in from other corners outside the photo.

But a deeper look at the photo, we noticed a blue streak. Analyzing this streak, we first thought it to be a dragonfly as they are common in Charleston. But the blue depiction doesn’t reveal the body of a dragonfly and is independently depicted as a streak.

screenshot_20200301-185021_messages

The photographer who analyzed this knows the different cameras on phones and was able to debunk the top right mass and left side mass rather quickly. However, the blue streak of light in the foliage cannot be debunked since the foliage is in clear focus. This could possibly be a dragonfly in flight or could be a mysterious blue streak of light caught in a haunted area of Charleston. Leave your comments below.

Orb Colors

For the rest of this post, we are going to allege that most orbs that haven’t been debunked by skeptics are that of the spiritual world in which we can’t fully understand or explain.

The defined colors found in orbs hold meaning. To some, it shows the mood or personality of a spirit. There’s an excellent article on orb colors by Beth Asaff entitled “The Different Colors of Ghost Orbs and Their Meanings”. The article explains how orbs are spiritual energy and how each color refers to what type of energy you are dealing with. I urge you to use this article for the colored orbs that you will find in your own photographs and videos. But here is a simple breakdown of the article’s color meanings:

  • Clear: Communicative energy
  • Black/Brown: Unsafe area
  • Red/Orange: Safety and Security
  • Green: Human spirit/one with nature
  • Blue: Psychic energy/truth
  • Gray: Fear
  • Pink: Love

As much as I want to believe that the blue streak in the picture above is some type of anomaly and part of the supernatural world, I can’t justify that it’s not a dragonfly like the shape depicts. I’d love to hear what you think. Drop me a line in the comments below.

Michael Newton, Ph.D

I, for one, believe that the colors of the orbs do hold significant meanings. Most of my fiction work is based on a surreal reality of studies done by Michael Newton, Ph.D. He wrote two volumes of his studies of reincarnation and life between lives called “Journey of Souls.”

The study he did was through hypnosis of subjects outreaching into their souls and revealing the in between life of a soul. The significance of these hypnotized subjects is that they all explain a divinity of colors that advance the soul through each reincarnation. Fascinating topic for a fiction author who needed a description of the afterlife. All of my works reflect this depiction of Newton’s study. Check out “Byron” if you would like my take on the study.

In the conclusion of Volume 1 of Newton’s “Journey of Souls” he writes:

“We are divine but imperfect beings who exist in two worlds, material and spiritual. It is our destiny to shuttle back and forth between these universes through space and time while we learn to master ourselves and acquire knowledge. We must trust in this process with patience and determination. Our essence is not fully knowable in most physical hosts, but Self is never lost because we always remain connected to both worlds.” —Michael Newton, Ph.D from “Journey of Souls” 1996

Newton’s theory shows the color hierarchy of souls in a succession pattern. Taken from an article that explains chakras, the color scheme matches that of Newton’s theoretical pattern of the age of the soul:

newtons stages of reincarnation
Diagram from https://eternalcircleblog.wordpress.com/consciousness-and-spirituality/auras-soul-age-colors-and-chakras/

Along with the article about the energy of orb colors, I highly recommend you use the chakra/soul chart as well. By using both charts, we begin to understand the orb and why it may have shown itself either in photograph form or in video format.

Proof of an intelligent orb

This video was sent to me by a Facebook fan who wanted some answers. It shows an orb coming in from the right side of their porch and intelligently moving through a plant and then behind the left pillar.

Notice how the orb goes through the plant while the plant moves in the opposite direction. This debunks any wind that could be passing through the area.

The orb also goes behind the pillar. I’ve blown this video up on my screen to see if it is depicted on the left pillar and it is clear that it moves behind the pillar.

Watch the video several times to see how the wind patterns and plant movement differ from that of the orb. This is clearly an intelligent orb and with the yellowish hue, it tells me that this is a middle stage soul passing through and not just a dust particle on the lens of the camera.

Conclusion

My conclusion on orbs is that they need to be debunked before any mysterious conclusion can be made. Skeptics will bash this post and try to debunk any circle of light that appears at the bottom in the comments, I’m sure of it.

However, as I’ve stated in my fiction work “Growing Dim”:

“We are raised in a society where we are taught to believe a more logical reason for an illogical happening rather than the illogical reason for something which may be of the unknown, hence, why the logical answer is illogical to the logical person.” —Nicholas McGirr

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

ArtMart. “Ghostly Orbs: Fact or Fiction?” n.d. ArtMart The Creative Marketplace. https://www.artmartstl.com/ghostly-orbs-fact-or-fiction/. 25 March 2020.

Asaff, Beth. “The Different Colors of Ghost Orbs and Their Meanings.” n.d. Love to Know. https://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Ghost_Orbs_Different_Colors. 25 March 2020.

Broome, Fiona. “Ghost Orbs: An Overlooked Question.” 12 September 2008. Ghosts and Hauntings at Hollow HIll. https://hollowhill.com/orbs-the-overlooked-question/. 25 March 2020.

Newton, Ph.D., Michael. Journey of Souls. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 1996. Print Book.

Smedley, Jenny. “10 Things You Need to Know about Orbs in Pictures.” n.d. Soul and Spirit Magazine. http://www.soulandspiritmagazine.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-orbs-in-pictures/. 25 March 2020.

“Stages of Reincarnation.” Auras, Soul Age Colors and Chakras. n.d. https://eternalcircleblog.wordpress.com/consciousness-and-spirituality/auras-soul-age-colors-and-chakras/.

A Piratey Powder Magazine?

With 307 years worth of history (as of the year 2020), the Powder Magazine has seen centuries worth of tragedies, restorations, and faces. Not to discount any previous work from historians, paranormal investigators or other Charleston fanatics, but to narrow down one of these elements and tie it to an alleged haunting has been quite the task.

A brief timeline of tragedies

Let’s get started with an overview of the history of the Powder Magazine to give you a scope of the historical timeline the building has suffered through.

  • Wars served:
    • Yamasee War
    • Tuscarora War
    • Stono Rebellion
    • King George’s War
    • French and Indian War
    • The Cherokee War
    • American Revolution
    • Civil War

Although the magazine wasn’t a major factor in all of the wars listed above, it did partake a role in some format.

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“Pirates and the First Revolution” Guide Panel

The Powder Magazine is said to be the oldest building in Charleston, SC being built in 1713. However, research shows that the Pink House on Chalmers street could date back as far as 1694 -1714. Regardless of which building is older, there is no doubt that The Powder Magazine has survived a much more tragic lifespan than that of the infamous Pink House.

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The Structure of the Building

There’s something to be said about the structure of the Powder Magazine and its lifespan. With 35-inch thick walls, sand in the attic and slate rooftop, the design was meant to contain any explosions from the gunpowder that resided here. I find the sand-filled lofted roof to be very interesting and the 307-year-old sand is still laid inside the loft. The nine pillars that make up this building were constructed in a groin-vault style. Along with the sand in the roof and groin-vault construction, this was meant to contain internal explosions and to shield the powder from enemy projectiles. The magazine could house up to five tons of black gunpowder.

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(The Old Powder Magazine, Cumberland Street)

Pirate History?

So, amidst all the wars served and survived, Charleston has had an attraction for our Pirates. Connected to the history of The Powder Magazine is that of Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Through any historical tour in Charleston (especially one based on the bloody scoundrels), you’ll hear stories of these pirate ladies along with Stede Bonnet and even Blackbeard himself. I’ve mentioned a bit about Bonnet and Blackbeard in my White Point Garden post.

Ghost stories and lore will tie the spirit of Anne Bonny to The Powder Magazine with alleged sightings and shadows.

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Bonny’s story is lacking details, to say the least. Just like the absent blueprints for the Powder Magazine, such is the written history of this female villainous pirate. Legend has it that Bonny, from Ireland, moved to the Carolinas with her father. It is said that her mother was a servant and Anne was born out of wedlock. Bonny’s defiance of authority led her to piracy where she married James Bonny, another pirate. She would soon leave James and meet up with Mary Read aboard the ship of Calico Jack, with whom she fell in love.

20200128_164248
Notice the groin-vaulted walls. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Upon being captured, both Mary Read and Anne Bonny claimed to be pregnant and were released. To this day, it is unsure if the two women went on to live the pirate life or if they settled and lived out their days with children at their feet.

I have no doubt that either of these two female pirates knew of The Powder Magazine or had raided its contents at one point in their piracy.

However…

In all the research for a tie to either pirate that is said to have had their spirits seen at the Powder Magazine could I find ANY tie to this historic building. I could find no pictures, video or any personal claims of persons visiting the Powder Magazine of such ghosts or haunting activity.

My Visit

I visited the Powder Magazine in the late afternoon just before their closing and told the staff why I was there: to research ghosts and paranormal activity. They welcomed me to do my research and then sold me a copy of the building’s history, The Arsenal of History by R. Alan Stello Jr. A fantastic read for this ghost enthusiast, I might add.

With my EMF detector running and spirit boxes gurgling out static, I took plenty of pictures and waited for any activity while touring the building and outside yard reading the guide panels and listening to other guests whisper to each other showing respect to the old building.

My EMF gave a “blip” (I should really define this one day) of just outside the green zone on occasion, but I couldn’t relate it to any other activity to the spirit boxes or specific location of an artifact inside the museum.

The Spirit box app, “Ghost Detector” gave me one word that stood out: “Writing”. I took this as I should really dive into the book I purchased as well as other research, in other words, the “writings” about the building would give me what I was looking for. Coincidental enough, I took the clue and ran with it.

The manual spirit box, spit out static and nothing else. Not even a whisper of any kind of activity came through this device.

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“The Walled City” guide panel.

So, I dove into the book, by Stello Jr. and read from cover to cover. Stopping at the Anne Bonny page, I read it over several times looking for any connection or tie into the Powder Magazine. Without a direct relation to Anne Bonny, Mary Read or any other pirate, I was baffled as to why she was even mentioned in a book strictly about the magazine and its history.

I dove into an online search looking for more about Bonny and her whereabouts in her life. Not one indication of historical videos, articles related to her history, or other experts on Bonny could I find any relation to the Powder Magazine. I researched evidence of sightings or shadows and came up with zilch.

In Conclusion

As a writer who needs evidence and physical proof of alleged hauntings, I have to say, the whole Anne Bonny and Mary Read correlation with the Powder Magazine feels more like a tourist trap attraction to liven up such a historical building. Let’s face it, when someone starts rattling off dates and war heroes, most of us get a little bored and/or if nothing else, a little confused about how things tie together. Throw a pirate into the mix after a few blockbuster hits with a big name actor and the history juices start flowing again with interest.

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The Powder Magazine and front yard. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

I pass by the Powder Magazine on my Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tours, mainly because I didn’t know much about the history of the building other than haunting “claims”. In the future, I will take my guests closer to the structure (it’s closed in the evenings) and do a bit more researching with gadgets we use on my tour. The Grid Pen will come in handy in this scenario as well as any thermal imaging from our camera.

In the event that any new evidence is found with an actual piece of evidence, this blog post and podcast episode will be updated with such evidence. For now, enjoy the legends and lore on other tours as they will heighten your attention to look closer at the history of Charleston, even if some of the stories are a stretch to attract attention.

20200128_163847
Photo 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

Bartelme, Tony. “The true and false stories of Anne Bonny, pirate woman of the Caribbean.” 21 November 2018. Post and Courier. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/the-true-and-false-stories-of-anne-bonny-pirate-woman/article_e7fc1e2c-101d-11e8-90b7-9fdf20ba62f8.html. 29 January 2020.

National Park Service. “The Powder Magazine.” 15 February 2018. National Park Services. https://www.nps.gov/places/powder-magazine.htm. 29 January 2020.

Sandlapper Water Tours. “7 Spooky Charleston Ghost Stories to Get Those Goosebumps.” 21 March 2019. Sandlapper Water Tours. https://www.sandlappertours.com/7-spooky-charleston-ghost-stories-to-get-those-goosebumps/. 29 January 2020.

Stello Jr., R. Alan. Arsenal of History: The Powder Magazine of South Carolina. Charleston: History Press, 2013. print book.

The Old Powder Magazine, Cumberland Street. Charleston, 24 November 1860. https://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:281?tify={%22panX%22:0.489,%22panY%22:0.531,%22view%22:%22info%22,%22zoom%22:0.479}.

Traveler of Charleston. “6 Spookiest Places in Charleston.” 10 October 2017. Traveler of Charleston. https://travelerofcharleston.com/6-spookiest-places-charleston/. 29 January 2020.

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.

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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 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.

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.

Julia Legare
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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Quest for Byron’s Charleston Secret Treasure

**Please note: There are updates at the bottom of this post. Each update will be dated with links to the BONUS episodes of our Quest to unbury Byron’s Charleston Secret Treasure.

To Listen to this week’s episode with an interview from Brian McFarland, visit Anchor here or listen to Stories in the Cemetery on your favorite podcatcher.

To continue following the updates on the methods of finding this mysterious casque, you can support “Stories in the Cemetery” on Buy Me a Coffee, and receive the BONUS episodes. Just a buck in the coffee pot and you can stay up to date with the folks that are going to pull the Charleston casque out of the ground.

 

This week’s post and podcast episode is a Secret: Byron Preiss’s Charleston Secret. If you’ve been following my podcast episodes, you know that this book and the verses within it have been consuming quite a bit of my time. However, I think I am truly onto a solve for Preiss’s Charleston riddle and it’s not anywhere near the previous solves for this near-impossible puzzle.

The Book

If you’re unfamiliar with this book, let me give a quick and brief explanation. Byron Preiss wrote a fantasy novel in 1982 that held 12 paintings and 12 verses. Each of the 12 verses matches up to one of the 12 paintings for clues to a hidden treasure in 12 different cities. The verses are not aligned with the picture, so it’s up to the treasure hunter and reader to interpret which verse matches to what picture.

Since 1982, only three of the 12 puzzles have been solved. The interest here is that one of the paintings in the book points straight to Charleston, SC. I was dumbfounded when Brian McFarland, owner of Charleston Cavalier Tours sent me a link to this book, saying “I think this is right up your alley…” I couldn’t believe with all the research I do on Charleston’s haunted locations that I never came across this book and its puzzles.

The treasure in each city is a key in a casque that is protected by a plexiglass box buried three to four feet in the ground. The key can then be mailed in exchange for the gem represented in the painting for each city. The gem for Charleston is a diamond.

Preiss passed away in a car accident before all the treasures could be found. The key at this point can be taken or mailed to his living wife in exchange for the gemstone.

There is a conglomerate of YouTube videos, TV Shows, blog posts, wikis and websites dedicated to giving readers clues on how to solve the puzzles. Each one of them has their own interpretation. I’m not downplaying any of these puzzle solvers answers to where the remaining 9 treasures are buried, but if their solves are so accurate, why haven’t they been found?

I will not reveal my solution for the Charleston puzzle in this blog post or on the podcast.

However, keep reading and you’ll find some of my theories and thoughts about each verse: yes, I said “each” simply because there are two puzzles that are associated with the Charleston painting.

The Painting

The painting for each of the already solved puzzles: Cleveland, Chicago, and Boston shows that the painting merely takes you to the correct city with the clues that are beheld in the brush strokes. It’s the verse that gives you step by step directions on how to find the actual treasure.

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Painting 2: Charleston from Byron Preiss’s “The Secret: A Treasure Hunt”

I feel as though some treasure hunters are taking the painting a bit too far and overthinking it. Many hunters have already figured out that Painting 2 is representing Charleston. Here are some of the clues that you can look for:

  • The pendant: Obviously in the shape of Fort Sumter. It also holds the three stripes of the French flag which are represented on a guide panel on Sullivan’s Island.
  • The African lion: a representation of the slavery in Charleston’s history
  • The African fairy: another representation of the slavery in Charleston’s history
  • The map on the African mask forehead: This is obviously a map of the islands that make up Charleston.
  • The pear: This is said to represent “Pearman Bridge”
  • Lion’s mane: If you look closely, you can see the words “Navy Way” at the very top of the mane. There are numbers throughout the mane. In previously solved puzzles, numbers represented the coordinates of the city. The numbers hold some weight with the Charleston painting as well.
  • The cross: There’s a cross in the lower-left portion of the lion’s mane. I point this out singly because it’s not a word or a number. It represents the many churches we have around Charleston.
  • There are dozens of more clues that are open to interpretation. What did you find?

Verse 6: Commonly Wrong

Verse 6 is the most commonly used verse to match with the Charleston painting. There are wikis and other studies that show this is the correct verse. The most commonly used resource is a wiki that you can find here: Verse 6 Interpretation

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Verse 6 from Byron Preiss’s “The Secret: A Treasure Hunt”

The first five lines are said to reference the poem at the beginning of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. With Byron’s purpose to start a treasure hunt and Charleston’s long history of pirates, this holds some merit. However, I do not feel strong enough about this reference for it to be part of Charleston’s treasure location.

Again, my theory is that the verse is a line by line guide that will lead you straight to the exact location.

Feel free to explore more of the Verse 6 Interpretation. It seems legit at first glance and I applaud those that have put the effort into piecing together the Charleston history to make this verse work for their theory. I simply feel as though you are all overthinking this process.

Let’s talk about the OTHER verse that is open to interpretation for Charleston.

Verse 5: Vachowski’s Study

James Vachowski wrote a blog post of his “solve” for the Charleston treasure and he claimed it was on Sullivan’s Island. He shows his full solve for matching the Charleston painting with Verse 5 on his website. You can read the full solve here: Vachowski’s Verse 5 Solve. 

It’s a great solution for a couple of reasons. First, he went against the grain of all other puzzle solves by using a different verse. Verse 5 is commonly disregarded because of the word “Citadel” in Line 8. Most treasure hunters would claim that this one word, with the complexity of these puzzles, would make the search a bit too easy. I, like Vachowski, disagree.

Vachowski’s solve for the Charleston puzzle places the buried treasure in Fort Moultrie very close to the USS Patapsco obelisk monument. However, Vachowski’s claim puts the treasure on the grounds of a National Park where excavating anything is simply prohibited. This sucks for Vachowski, after reading his blog post, his research was well thought out, detailed with pictures and references and very well written. I was highly impressed.

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Picture of Vachowski’s theorized casque location. Picture from Vachowski’s blog, “The Buried Treasure on Sullivan’s Island” on http://www.jamesvachowski.com

Regardless of how I was impressed with Vachowski’s research, I think he’s wrong.

My thoughts and theory

After reading Vachowski’s study of Verse 5, I felt like he was onto something. His advice to read previous solves for the riddles was great advice since I was already reading his. If you decide to go into this rabbit hole of looking for the clues and matching verses, you’ll start to doubt your own research with each interpretation you come across, that’s a guarantee.

Vachowski’s thought that Preiss could bury something in a National Park is a bit far-fetched even for the time that Preiss was piecing together his puzzles in 1980-81. Burying a casque three feet deep in a National Park would definitely get noticed, even if he did it in the middle of the night.

Like I said earlier, I’m not going to post my theory and thoughts on my own research, but I will say that the research done by Vachowski holds some merit. I, too, am using Verse 5 for my interpretation of the clues. Although there are some clues to the exact location hidden in the painting, I feel that the verses hold more water than the paintings.

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Verse 5 from Byron Preiss’s “The Secret: A Treasure Hunt”

For updates on my research, please continue following this blog or you can listen to the Stories in the Cemetery podcast episode on your favorite podcatcher. I may have plans to do a special one-hour episode at the beginning of each month until I solve the Charleston puzzle. There are plenty of other podcasts and blogs that talk about the puzzles, but if you are interested in hearing a month to month update on where I am with solving the puzzle, stay tuned.

UPDATE 3.22.20

Brian McFarland and I have been recording BONUS episodes on the crowdfunding site http://www.buymeacoffee.com. If you’d like to hear those episodes to hear more about our research and methods for finding the casque, drop a buck in the coffee pot at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/nicholasmcgirr

UPDATE 3.22.20

We are closer than ever to dig up the casque in Charleston. If you’ve been following along, Brian McFarland and I have been using Verse 5 with the heeded warning of “Get Permission, To dig out.” We have asked for our permission and have been granted our request to probe, use an endoscope for clarification and then to dig.

However, we’ve been sworn to secrecy due to the laws and regulations of the city of Charleston. We understand that the only proof one treasure hunter can have is a casque in hand, but know that we are both very excited and honored that our request has gone through many committees and our research was thorough enough and convincing enough to be granted this amazing opportunity.

Stay tuned to Buy Me a Coffee BONUS episodes to find out WHEN we find this casque. Granted, through the struggles of the COVID-19 virus spreading, we are in waiting. You can be one of the first hunters to know when the casque has been found. Keep following.

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 my alleged Secret Treasure 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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Dock Street Theatre

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

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

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

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

Lady of the Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s with the Booths and Theaters?

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

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Back to Junius…

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

My Self-Guided Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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Pirate Booty Legend

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

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

Join Me on a Ghost Hunt!

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

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

 

Halloween Costumes

Charleston’s Old Jail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESOURCES and LINKS

YouTube video: Wheelchair

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

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

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

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