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Real ghost stories and the places that inspired them

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  2. The Legend of Gretchen's Lock | Carnegie Public Library
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The ancient muse has been luring river people into her depths for generations. The Buccaneer's Noose. Memories of a Medieval Witch. Two modern women, Eleanor Jordan and Margery Cobham, born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, have lived their entire lives with an eye toward the dying embers of medieval England.

It seems to be fate's design that they repeat the mistakes of a murdered prince, an exiled duchess, and a burned witch.

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Yet, it appears, the fate has woken and decided that justice and love can live again, years after it died. Murdering Ghos ts. Amidst the trailing moss and blooming azaleas, a serial killer stalks Charleston, South Carolina. Instead, or perhaps, because this is a historical city, the killer leaves behind one clue with each victim, a small artifact.

These objects are touchstones of the dead — haunted by their owners. It's the time for ghost stories. From America's first female serial killer to a Pawleys Island hurricane sentinel, here are some of the most famous spooky spirits of the haunted Holy City.

Perhaps Charleston's most notorious ghost tale involves America's first female serial killer, who was also the first white woman to be hanged in South Carolina. Lavinia Fisher, born in , and her husband, John Fisher, were convicted of highway robbery, not murder, though still a capital offense at the time.

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The Legend of Gretchen's Lock | Carnegie Public Library

Yet legend has it that she killed many travelers who stayed at The Six Mile Wayfarer House, the Fisher's residence and a hotel in Charleston. Local sheriff reports include the disappearances of guests at that very residence. Though her formal crime was not as a serial killer, her alleged crimes offer quite the tale. Legend has it she would invite lone travelers staying at the hotel to dinners downstairs and ask them about their occupations to gauge if they were well off.

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If they were, she would send them upstairs with a cup of poisoned tea. After they went to bed, her husband would check on them and make sure the deed was done. If not, he would stab them in their sleep and steal their money. Another more elaborate tale says that there was a lever that the Fishers would flip, sending the sleeping men into a pit of spikes. Much of what actually occurred in the alleged Fisher murders has become wildly exaggerated through time, however the couple's ties to a large local gang of highwaymen was indeed verified.

Specifically, an opposing vigilante gang staked out the area in to stop the purported criminal activity, but a man who was keeping watch by the name of David Ross was attacked and dragged before gang members. Among those members was Lavinia Fisher, who he looked to for compassion. However, rather than help him, she reportedly choked him and then smashed his head through a window.

Somehow, Ross escaped and retold the event to the authorities. Following that particular incident, a traveler named John Peeples visited the Six Mile House, looking for a place to stay. He was offered tea, but did not care for it, so he dumped it when Lavinia wasn't looking so as not to seem rude. During his talk with Lavinia, he felt like he was being interrogated, so as a precaution, he placed a chair in front of his door when he went to bed.

  1. Ghost Hunting at the Old Charleston Jail.
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  6. After he fell asleep, he awoke to hear the Fishers trying to break into his room and jumped out the window to escape. Based on those two reports, the Fishers were finally identified and arrested. They were held in the Old Charleston Jail. On Feb. According to legend, Lavinia used her last breath to yell, "If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me, and I'll carry it! A lot of pirates came through Charleston, but they were relatively speaking for the time and their profession, pretty well behaved.

    And why not? The bootsteps of pirates are still heard all throughout Charleston, from the Pink House to the Provost Dungeon beneath the Old Exchange building, where many were held just prior to hanging. Populated by everyone from murderers to slaves, to pirates to Civil War prisoners, the yard also saw a slew of hangings. The place is stained.

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    The night I went we were also treated to a thunderstorm which lit up the dark interior. Arranging a thunderstorm requires however, advanced planning or in my case, dumb luck. Charleston is a living city. So you get all of Charleston architecture in a single walk — the civic buildings, the market, the shopping districts and the neighborhoods. Rainbow Row is an archetypal photographic image waiting to happen.

    Colonial era architecture lives comfortably with antebellum and other 19th century styles in the same block. Rooms 8 and 10 have both reported apparitions.

    Aliens, Ghosts, and Cults: Legends We Live

    Chocked full of artifacts and replicas, as well as great steaks and seafood. And if piracy is really your thing, then check out The Brass Pirate , conveniently located downtown across from the office for Bulldog Tours. Speaking of shopping, try the Old Charleston Ghost Shop , which stocks everything from books to canes to clocks, all relating to the supernatural.