In a city that has survived more than 300 years and the occasional war, fire, hurricane, and earthquake, you’re bound to find a few ghosts.  So many of Charleston’s visitors come here hungry for a good old-fashioned ghost story and we’re happy to oblige. We have Ghost Walks, Graveyard Tours, even a Haunted Harbor Boat Tour.  Since today is Halloween, I thought I’d save you the price of admission and tell you about some of our city’s most famous spirits.

The Battery Carriage House Inn is reportedly the home to several ghosts.  One of my favorites is called “the Gentleman Ghost” sometimes referred to as “the Gentleman Caller.” I find this particular spirit incredibly strange and fascinating. He usually visits room 10. “Well-dressed and groomed…he likes to lie down beside female guests. He never disturbs them knowingly.” If you scream or cry he will exit quickly through the nearest wall.  Sounds like it’s lonely on the other side.  A lady recalls her experience “…I was restless and couldn’t fall asleep…I noticed a wispy gray apparition to be floating through the closed door, and through the air, entering the room…he lay down beside me on the bed. He placed his right arm around my shoulders. I didn’t feel any pressure from his arm touching me…I wasn’t frightened because he didn’t seem threatening”. So ladies, the good news is, even if you’re the only guest registered in room 10 at the Battery Carriage House Inn, you may not be sleeping alone. You can read some first hand accounts of other hauntings and ghost sightings from the Inn’s past guests HERE.

The ghost of Sue Howard Hardy, a woman who died six days after giving birth to a stillborn child, is said to roam St. Philips’ graveyard. In 1987, an amateur photographer captured this image of Sue, kneeling beneath her headstone on the anniversary of the death of her child. Spooky!

If you’re interested in seeing Sue for yourself, you can take a tour of the graveyard any night of the week with Bulldog Tours.

Finally, if taking an early morning walk down Church Street, don’t be surprised if you hear the “Whistling Doctor” strolling along beside you. More than 200 years ago, Joseph Brown, a young doctor, came to Charleston to establish his medical practice. Dr. Brown rented a room at 59 Church Street, the home of two elderly women who always knew when he was home because they could hear him whistling a happy melody. And everyone in the neighborhood knew when the doctor was walking the streets of Charleston because they, too, could hear him whistling the same bright tune.

After attending a play,  Dr. Brown joined several other young men at a tavern to discuss the performance. The conversation was light as the young men extolled the virtues of one of the young actresses. But when one of the men made a derogatory remark about her, Dr. Brown felt he must defend her honor. So he challenged the fellow to a duel.

Unfortunately, Dr.  Brown was shot and had to be promptly carried off to his lodgings on Church Street. Blood poisoning soon set in and the doctor languished, becoming weaker and weaker with each passing day. Then one morning, to his landladies’ surprise and delight, they heard his usual bright and happy whistling. The two hurried to his room only to find him dead.  Ever since, people have reported hearing whistling along Church Street, even when no one is around and all windows are closed.

It’s widely believed that Charleston is one of the most haunted cities in America.  That’s not surprising considering all the births and deaths she’s seen in her more than 300 years.  Many people believe spirits congregate here because Charleston is about as close to Heaven as you can get.

Happy Halloween from the Haunted Holy City!

-Traci Magnus