One of Beaufort’s oldest haunted houses is going true to form this Halloween night. The owners of ‘The Castle’ in downtown’s Point neighborhood will be inviting Beaufort area children to experience some family friendly, and very haunted trick or treating.
Owners Elizabeth Locke and John Staelin are turning The Castle, located at 411 Craven Street, into a haunted wonderland with the help of talented volunteer actors from the Beaufort High Drama Club, the creativity of Plum Productions and some very ghostly lighting and sound from the folks at Capital A Productions in Savannah.
“We want to continue to enjoy the tradition that was started several years ago by the house’s previous owners, Mr. & Mrs. Bill Rauch,” John said. ” “We weren’t thinking about Halloween when we bought The Castle but we now see that we took possession of more than a beautiful home; we’re excited to have the perfect spot for area kids to experience a special Halloween and form a lifetime memory.”
On Halloween night from 6 to 8pm, local children in costume with or without their parents and guardians are welcome to come by and trick or treat, and the event comes complete with stroller parking at the front gate for parents.
Check out the spooky fun from 2015…
Kids can enter the yard and enjoy some spookiness with trees full of spiders, ghouls and other ghostly creatures running the historic grounds; then walk in the home for some treats and more fun before exiting through the rear, passing what was once a morgue for soldiers killed in the Civil War. A man-made bone rattling thunder and lightning storm will be the scheduled forecast for the evening, adding to the creepiness.
Themes for the evening will be classic horror tales including Jekyll & Hyde, Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It won’t be very scary from 6 to 7pm for the littler ones, but the spooks really come out from 7 to 8pm.
Built by Dr. Joseph Johnson in the 1850’s with bricks from his own Lady’s Island plantation on Brickyard Point, the home took many years to complete. When 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.
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 lot, which is now The Castle. He’s been sighted walking on the grounds of the home and some even say they’ve seen him inside while touring the historic location.
Mrs. Lily Danner, descendant 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.
A creepy story indeed. And one that makes this spot opening for Halloween night even that much more spookier, and almost surreal.
“It’s family friendly and we don’t want to scare away any of the little children,” said Elizabeth, “so it will definitely be fun for all ages.”
So don’t expect anyone chasing you around with a chain saw or anything bordering the macabre. Just expect lots of spooky fun, in one of Beaufort’s most haunted spots.