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Top 10 Haunted Locations in South Carolina

With the arrival of October just around the corner, people are getting into the spirit of Halloween. Pumpkin carving, making costumes, and setting up decorations are popular activities right now. However, one of the best ways to get into the spooky season is to get a taste of real-life horror that can be found in South Carolina. Haunted locations are always an interesting and exciting topic to discuss, made even more exciting when these locations can be found in your own state. Here is a list of the top 10 most haunted locations in South Carolina.

#10: Stoney-Baynard Ruins (Hilton Head)

Located in Hilton Head, the Baynard Plantation Ruins, also known as the Stoney-Baynard Ruins, have both an interesting and haunting history behind them. The plantation was built around 1793 by Captain Jack Stoney, a merchant who fought for the rights of the colonies during the revolutionary war and was considered a war hero. Eventually, the plantation was passed down to his two sons, John and James Stoney. Although the story is not completely clear, lore tells us that Jack Stoney lost the plantation in a bet to a man named William Baynard (hence the name Stoney-Baynard Ruins). Nothing particularly interesting happened in the years that Baynard and his family lived on the plantation. However, after Baynard’s death in 1849, the plantation began to play a more interesting role, primarily in the Civil War. Allegedly, Union soldiers used the plantation as a headquarters during the Civil War. Somehow by the time the Union soldiers left the plantation, the property had been destroyed in a fire. Some people believe Confederate soldiers burned it, while others believe the Union soldiers themselves created the fire. The truth is not known, but the rich history behind the plantation makes it understandable that many believe the area to be haunted. Many believe if you visit the plantation after dark, you have a chance of seeing the ghost of William Baynard. Others have even claimed to hear the sound of Baynard’s funeral procession passing by the plantation. There are also claims of having seen Baynard’s ghost lurking around the Baynard Mausoleum, also located on the estate, where his body was laid to rest.

#9: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

The Magnolia Plantation is rich with over 300 years of history, lasting through both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. This plantation, the oldest plantation site on the Ashley River, is said to be haunted by a number of spirits. People claim to hear the screams of the overseer who was allegedly murdered. Many believe that the Confederate soldiers who died in the slave cabins haunt the grounds, sometimes whispering the names of people as they tour the plantation. Adding on to the creepy factor of the plantation, there is a room in the main house named “The Dying Room” where (you guessed it) the residents of the plantation went to die. Magnolia Plantation is a majestic, beautiful plantation and a popular spot for tourists, but the history behind the property makes it a popular spot for paranormal activity.

#8: Poogan’s Porch (Charleston)

Poogan’s Porch is a well-known restaurant in Charleston. A converted Victorian-style townhouse, tourists are attracted to the delicious food, Southern hospitality, and cozy yet exquisite design of the restaurant. However, this restaurant has a chilling history behind it. Built in 1888, Poogan’s Porch housed a number of people through the years. One of these people, perhaps the most well-known of them all, was named Zoe St. Amand. Zoe and her sister Elizabeth lived together in the home, and the two of them were rather closed-off to the community of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1945 when Elizabeth passed away. Zoey’s mental health began to take a turn for the worst, eventually becoming so distraught and delusional that she would cry out the name of her sister on the streets outside her home. Eventually, Zoey was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where she passed away in 1945. In the 1970s, a woman named Bobbie Ball bought the home and remodeled it into a restaurant. The name of the restaurant was acquired because of the frequent visits of a stray dog. The Wheaten Terrier enjoyed napping on the porch of the restaurant, and Bobby named the dog Poogan. The friendly dog would often greet visitors as they entered the restaurant. Unfortunately, Poogan passed away in 1979 at nine years old. He was buried near the front porch where his grave can be found to this day. Poogan’s Porch has been the site of a variety of spooky happenings. Many individuals have claimed to see the spirit of Zoe wandering the property and the streets, still searching for her sister. Many women have seen the image of Zoe behind them in the mirror of the ladies’ room. One chef recalls a time when he placed his coffee down and returned a moment later to find it missing. However, a few moments later he found his cup in the location where he had initially placed it, only now there was a lipstick stain on the edge of the cup. Other encounters include hearing odd noises coming from the upper level of the restaurant, and the image of Zoey, seemingly panicked, being sighted in the upstairs windows. As for Poogan, many people claim that he can still be spotted lounging in his favorite area, the front porch. Young children in particular often attract the dog, and he can sometimes be felt rubbing his fur against the legs of the children as they dine. Whether you are visiting for the food, the location, or perhaps for the chance of encountering something spooky, Poogan’s Porch offers a unique experience that visitors likely won’t quickly forget.

#7: The Powder Magazine (Charleston)

The Powder Magazine was built in 1713 by American colonists with the purpose of housing gunpowder and other weapons. The building has survived through a series of violent events, from violent battles fought during the Revolutionary War, to the French and Indian War. After the French and Indian War, the Powder Magazine began to be used as a general storage facility. One of the most notable uses for the Powder Magazine was when Gabriel Manigault, known to be one the wealthiest men in North America at the time, used it as a wine cellar. In 1902, the Powder Magazine was bought by the Colonial Dames of America and converted into a museum, eventually added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Many people have claimed to have experienced paranormal encounters at the Powder Magazine, and, in light of its violent history, it is not difficult to see why many people may think the area is haunted. Some visitors claim to see the ghosts of soldiers haunting the grounds. One of the most prominent ghosts that visitors claim to see is that of Anne Bonny, a famous female pirate. As a child, Anne Bonny and her family lived in Charleston. Eventually, Bonny was imprisoned but was allegedly released later. The details of how she died are unclear, but people believe she lived in Charleston until she died in 1782 at the age of 80. People have claimed to see Anne Bonny’s ghost all around Charleston, with the Powder Magazine being one of the most common places for sightings of Anne Bonny to occur. Another ghost that people claim to see is the ghost of Gabriel Manigault. Being a wine enthusiast, Manigault spent much of his time in the Powder Magazine, which he was using at that time as a wine cellar. Visitors say they have seen the ghost of Manigault walking in the direction of the wine cellar, dressed in period clothing.

#6: Crybaby Bridge (Anderson)

Crybaby Bridge, located in Anderson, is not the only bridge with that name. A “crybaby bridge” is a bridge where paranormal events, specifically relating to mother and their babies, are frequently said to happen. The legend behind the Crybaby Bridge in Anderson is that a mother, holding her baby, jumped off of the bridge. Many people claim to have heard the sounds of a baby crying or have seen the apparition of the mother roaming the bridge. Regardless of whether or not you believe in ghosts, the story (whether it is true or not) is undoubtedly a haunting one.

#5: Hell’s Gate (Spartanburg)

Hell’s Gate, also known as Oakwood Cemetery, is Spartanburg’s oldest cemetery, dating back to the 1800s. The cemetery appears well-kept upon first entering, however, the further into the cemetery you go, the more unsettling it gets. Potter’s Field is an area located at the back of the cemetery full of unmarked graves. These graves mark the resting place of orphaned children, people with no families, and people too poor to afford a proper burial. In 1914, over 100 graves and bodies were relocated to allow room for development. Many believe that Hell’s Gate has been the site of satanic rituals throughout the years. The location’s history had led to many people speculating that it is haunted. People have claimed that their cell phones have died upon entering the cemetery, while many others claim that they have felt unexplainable blasts of cold air, have seen unexplainable mist, and have felt ill upon leaving the cemetery. Some people even claim to have seen a strange apparition that they dubbed “The Lady in the White”.

#4: Old City Jail (21 Magazine Street)

Built in 1802, Old City Jail held some of the most dangerous criminals in the city of Charleston. The jail was separated into three floors based on the severity of the crime that the prisoners committed, with the worst criminals all residing on the third floor. Some prisoners were hanged at the jail, while many others died of natural causes within the prison. The jail was used for other purposes besides just housing criminals. Before it was a jail, the structure was used as a hospital, a home for runaway slaves, and a poor house. During the Civil War, Union soldiers used the jail as a camp. In 1888, the jail was damaged in an earthquake, leading to renovations. The tower and top floor of the building were severely damaged and had to be removed. The last execution that took place within the jail was in 1911. Eventually, in 1930, after having been Charleston’s jail for 136 years, the jail was closed. Throughout its years as a jail and the years prior, over 10,000 people died in the building, caused by sickness, homicide, executions, and injuries. Many times, the jail would be overcrowded, leading to terrible living conditions and in turn more disease and violence. Given the long, violent history of the location, it is no surprise that people believe it to be haunted. Many people claim to have seen the ghost of Lavinia Fisher, a woman who is known as America’s first female serial killer and was executed alongside her husband after having spent time in the Old City Jail. Tours of the jail are offered to those curious about the history of the jail, and many people take up this offer in order to get a better look at the fascinating and eerie building.

3. Salem Black River Church

Salem Black River Church was built around 1846. The historic church was one of the first brick churches built in South Carolina, and due to its old age and its history, many people believe it, as well as its two graveyards, to be haunted. People have claimed to have a feeling of fear rush over them while on the property, experienced sudden drops in temperature, loss of battery life in their phones and cameras, seeing strange lights and orbs, experiencing the feeling of being watched, and hearing whispers coming from the section of the graveyard where priests were buried. Sightings of a woman, allegedly looking to be from the Civil War era, have occurred within the graveyard. Another spirit that people believe to haunt the church and its graveyards is the ghost of a priest whose entire family was killed by a plague. Legend has it that the priest abandoned his faith and began to practice satanic rituals on the church grounds. Behind the church stands an old shack that is believed to have belonged to the priest, and many people have claimed to see a dark figure standing inside the structure. Another spirit that people claim to see if the spirit of a little boy, between the ages 6 to 8, who, according to those who have seen him, seems to be in a constant state of sadness. Additionally, it is said that crying sounds can sometimes be heard coming from the gate. This site is haunting but is also appealing to those who have an interest in history.

#2: Greenville Tuberculosis Hospital

Hertdklots Park has played a role in many people’s childhood - myself included. I remember going to Hertdklotz every week to play with my friends. At the time, I had no idea of the creepy history of the park. A tuberculosis hospital used to be located on the site, in which many ill individuals died. In 2002, the building was destroyed by a fire. Before the remains were sealed, people exploring the ruins claimed to hear unexplainable sobs, screams, and footsteps. The only part of the hospital left is part of the basement, closed off by a sealed door that can be seen when walking the path around the park. Many locals believe that the former patients of the tuberculosis hospital still reside in the area. People have claimed to hear strange banging, screaming, and the sound of bells on the playground. Additionally, others say that shadow figures roam the park after dark. Many believe that in one area of the park, right in front of the door that leads to the remains of the basement, puddles that form after a rain turn red with blood. Whether or not you believe the park is haunted, the sight of the sealed-off door to the basement is pretty unsettling.

#1: South Carolina Lunatic Asylum

South Carolina Lunatic Asylum has a long history. Built in 1822, the asylum was, of course, initially used to house mentally ill individuals. Being one of the first asylum complexes in the country, the hospital had over 1,000 patients by the year 1900. By the time the 1950s hit, the asylum was severely overcrowded, having over 5,000 patients. The hospital was briefly used during the Civil War as a prison camp for Union soldiers. The end of the Civil War saw a decline in funding for the hospital, making it more difficult to get supplies. Throughout history, mental hospitals have been known for their inhumane treatment of the patients, and unfortunately, this hospital did not seem to be the exception according to rumors. In the 1970s the asylum was deinstitutionalized and was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1981. There are many who believe the now-abandoned asylum to be haunted, and it is not hard to see why. The sight of the abandoned structure along with the various equipment left scattered throughout the building is certainly enough to make anyone feel uneasy. Visitors have claimed to hear unexplainable hospital sounds and disembodied voices and screams, and others claim to have seen random strange shadows throughout the structure. Given the terrible treatment that the patients of the hospital were likely subject to, it is no wonder that some believe their spirits still remain in the asylum.

Hopefully, this list of creepy locations has set you in a Halloween-ready mood!

(If you are considering visiting these locations for yourself, keep in mind the safety of yourselves and others, especially at night. Always be aware of your surroundings, and it would probably be best to have somebody with you if you are exploring some of these places.)

Source for the Stoney-Baynard Ruins

Source for the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Source for Poogan's Porch

Sources for the Powder Magazine

Source for Crybaby Bridge

Sources for Hell's Gate

Source for Old City Jail

Source for Salem Black River Church

Source for Greenville Tuberculosis Hospital

Source for South Carolina Lunatic Asylum