From Yemassee to Fripp Island, Beaufort has an abundance of haunted history and spooky legends. Here is a collection of our favorite haunted tales. Keep reading… if you dare.
The Land’s End Light Traveling down Land’s End Road on St. Helena Island during the daytime has a majestic feel to it. Lined with old haunting Oaks draped in blankets of Spanish moss, the history engulfs your senses. Driving down the road at night however, gives one another sense; fear. Some might even say that the mind starts to play tricks on you…or does it?
There have been many reports of an eerie light floating over Land’s End Rd. What is that light exactly? Some claim it is the ghost of a murdered Confederate soldier who was on patrol along Land’s End Road in 1861, on watch for Union soldiers who were expected to invade St. Helena Island. A Yankee soldier (or soldiers) sneaked up behind him and cut off his head, and he now goes up and down the road in search of it, eternally, carrying his old iron lantern.
One of the tales is about violence that had erupted between the men of the 116th and local African-Americans over the purchase of illegal whiskey. There were several brawls and gunfights, and one fight resulted in the death of Private Frank Quigley.
Private Quigley is rumored to be the source of the ghostly Light, seen floating down the dark road leading to Fort Fremont. Others claim it`s the ghost of a slave, sold away from his family, who`s come back to hunt for them, though the tales predate the American Revolution. Yet another story says that the light is from the ghost of some runaway slaves that were caught and hung from one of the large oak trees that line this road. An even different account states that a bus wrecked on this road in the late 1940’s killing the driver and a couple passengers. Variations of the story also claim it was a bus full of young children.
Whichever story one chooses to believe there are many reports that several people see the light every year. The light is most usually reported between the Chapel of Ease and the “Hanging Tree”. If you find yourself here after dark, park beneath the branches, turn off you headlights and wait for the Land’s End light. It begins in the distance like a single headlight coming down the road towards you, but as it grows closer you realize it’s much larger and not nearly as bright.
Some say as it speeds by it leaves you charged with static electricity. One woman said that her hair grew stiff and made crackling noises as the Land’s End Light passed her car. She felt that the Light put out an electric charge. Others would suggest a supernatural influence. In fact, a large number of eyewitnesses agree that the Light is in fact a ghost. People have reported being overtaken by the light as they drove back towards Lady’s Island direction.
No one agrees on what the cause for the light might be, though it is pretty much agreed upon that the light is real, and even somewhat reliable. Some even claim the light appears every night, if you’re patient enough to wait for it.
The light has been the cause of at least one documented accident, Paranormal author Nancy Roberts captured a picture of the light and published it in one of her many books about the ghosts of South Carolina. At least two people have died in auto accidents chasing down the light. About thirty years ago, sheriff’s deputies could count as many as one hundred cars parked along the road on a single night. Whether it be to catch a glimpse of the infamous Land’s End Light or to debunk the tales told by so many, The Land’s End Light continues to draw folks from all over in hopes of an unforgettable hair-raising experience.
The Land’s End Light remains a mystery … and a local attraction for skeptics and believers alike. If you find yourself out that way in search of the Light, ask yourself, what is it that you are really seeing?
Sources: http://www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/htdocs-sirsi/ghosts.htm#TheLand’sEndLight http://www.gothichorrorstories.com/behind-urban-legends/the-ghosts-of-st-helenas-chapel-of-ease-and-lands-end-light-true-hauntings-from-south-carolinas-sea-islands/ Image Source: http://www.sciway.net/hist/lands-end-light-st-helena-island.html
The Chapel of Ease On St. Helena Island’s Martin Luther King, JR. Blvd, shortly before you reach the’ hanging tree’, off to the left you will find the ruins of an old church; what is known in the area as The Chapel of Ease. A chapel of ease was built to serve the plantation population of the area, being too far away from the parish church in Beaufort, to attend Sunday services.
Building of the chapel was commenced in about 1740, using tabby construction materials. The St. Helena Chapel of Ease was ideally situated for the planters of the island, by 1812, it had been granted the designation of parish church. Then on November 4th, 1861 Sunday services were interrupted by a messenger who brought news of the impending invasion of nearby Beaufort by Union troops to a Captain William Oliver Perry Fripp.
Fripp’s ancestors had been designated to maintain the building and upkeep the chapel, as John Fripp III had left 500 pounds for the purpose in 1780. A year earlier, Edgar Fripp and his wife Eliza had taken their place in a mausoleum built for them in the adjacent graveyard back in 1852. Built by Charleston stone-cutter W.T. White, it remains on the property today, and still shows to be in good condition.
According to a diary written by Thomas B. Chaplin on April 13, 1852, “Said vault was a fine affair and did not have to wait very long for it’s occupants, Edgar & wife. The Yankees broke it open during the war hoping for treasure. It is now somewhat out of order.” The chapel was destroyed in a horrendous forest fire that happened after the Civil War. Today, the ruins of the chapel and a graveyard remain. The vault still remains out of order to this very day.
The planters left St. Helena with the arrival of Union forces in 1861, the church never regained its stature. Some stories relate that union soldiers used it for services during the war, as well as northerners (carpetbaggers) who came to the area after the war to educate and train the former slave population.
The door of The Fripp’s vault was ruined by the soldiers, and at some point it was decided to brick up the entrance. According to the story, workmen did a very good job of sealing the vault, only to return the following day to find the bricks removed and neatly stacked beside the mausoleum. This had occurred many times. Convinced that the supernatural was at work, the job remained unfinished. Local authorities had assured that no one had been in the area the previous night long enough to complete such a task. Today the vault remains empty, the door is half-sealed by bricks.
One might find the experience of looking into the vacant vault more than a bit unsettling, if not downright eerie.
People have witnessed a number of ghostly occurrences on the grounds. Some folks have reported strange sensations when walking through the church`s graveyard. Visitors have seen apparitions of people dressed in 18th century clothing. Others have seen the ghost of a lady in white that carries a child through the graveyard. Many also report hearing whispered prayers and singing coming from the interior of the chapel. Still yet others claim to have heard names being shouted in the silent burial ground, of the surrounding woods.
With such a mingled heritage and bloodline, coupled with about five centuries of history to feed it, it’s surprising that the ghosts don’t outnumber the living in the thick air of the sea islands….or perhaps they do.
Sources: http://www.gothichorrorstories.com/behind-urban-legends/the-ghosts-of-st-helenas-chapel-of-ease-and-lands-end-light-true-hauntings-from-south-carolinas-sea-islands/ http://www.hauntspot.com/haunt/usa/south-carolina/chapel-of-ease.shtml
The Castle Built by Dr. Joseph Johnson in the 1850’s in an Italian Renaissance style, The Castle sits proudly at 411 Craven Street. Located on the water in The Point neighborhood of downtown Beaufort, the home is rumored to be legendarily haunted. Built with bricks from his own Lady’s Island plantation on Brickyard Point, the home took many years to complete.
When the Federal troops occupied Beaufort in 1861, the home remained unfinished and was used as a military hospital. The outbuilding served as a morgue while the grounds surrounding the house very well may have served as a graveyard.
Shortly after the home was complete, the gardeners reported many strange happenings.
Dr. Johnson himself was said to have seen a dwarf walking outside the home. Here’s the story… When the French explorer Jean Ribaut and his Huguenots came to the area in 1562, he brought with him a jester; a dwarf named Gauche. Although there is no evidence that Gauche even sailed with Ribaut, his death remains a mystery to this day, with many speculated accounts of the dwarf’s demise. Some say he may have succumbed to disease, other accounts say he may had been hanged or perhaps killed in a brawl.
Whatever the case, his spirit seems to remain and his ghost is said to still inhabit The Castle.
He`s been sighted walking on the grounds of the home. Some even say they’ve seen him inside while touring the historic home. Mrs. Lily Danner, daughter of Dr. Johnson, was reported to have said that she had seen the ghost of Gauche many times when she was a child. The wrinkled old elf-of-a-ghost would join Lily at the tea parties that she held for her dolls in the basement, dressed in his colorful jester’s garb, stockings, pointed shoes, and hat with bells. The ghost is said to have tapped out coded messages in 16th-Century French and, according to Mrs. Danner, ” … always swears and uses words the same way. He has no opinion of anyone. He called one of the family members a hellion one night.” She never listened in after that. Mrs. Danner’s brother called Gauche “a rough little customer” who “always swears” and “has no opinion of anyone.”
House guests have reported that Gauche is somewhat of a poltergeist. They have stated that he moves furniture and opens and closes doors in the night, all to the sound of bells. It is also legend that Gauche leaves his red hand prints on the windows of the home.
The Danners had difficulty understanding Gauche at first. Only by writing down the tapping code and finding someone who could translate Gauche’s archaic French could they eventually communicate with the ghost.
In Tales of Beaufort, Nell S. Graydon told of how Gauche spoke out (in English) to a Castle houseguest one stormy evening.
Here is a “transcript” of that conversation:
GAUCHE: This is Gauche.
GUEST: What are you doing here?
GAUCHE: I live here — in the cellar.
GAUCHE: It reminds me of my English home that I will never enter again.
GUEST: Will you let me see you?
GAUCHE: No, I do not show myself to fools.
Other houseguests, however, reported to have seen a wisp of fog or mist rise out of the tidal creek beside the house just after a chilly breeze would blow past. The wisp of wind would move slowly toward The Castle, take human form, and then disappear into the night. The home stayed with the Johnson lineage until 1981.