Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ghostly Carolina Lore: Alice, the Ghost of The Hermitage

Last year while in school Darth Spoilboy was introduced to the ghostly lore of the Lowcountry. You might be surprised at the number of specters, phantoms, and agitated spirits that hang around the Georgetown area still making a peculiar racket after several centuries of rattling chains, acting as weathermen, and looking for jewelry in the case of Miss Alice.

My son, Darth Spoilboy, was rather surprised to learn that the burial place of one of South Carolina's most famous ghosts was only a few short miles from Uncle Paul's house. I promised him that we would mosey down to All Saints Cemetery and pay our respects to Miss Alice and the others in the cemetery the next time we were down there. Now don't misunderstand me I'm not a ghoul, I usually don't enjoy visiting such places but on a few occasions where history is involved I do enjoy learning about the people who lived before me. Many of the older cemeteries, 18th and 19th century types, placed a great deal of personal history on the tombstones of those who lay underneath. Plus, just by noticing the date in which a person was born and then died can teach you that life just a century ago was far tougher than many in this day and age could ever imagine. While touring Charleston the family and I more or less stumbled into another ancient cemetery and could not help but notice how many children never made it beyond the age of five.


The kids and I had just finished our day at the beach and were going to meet Uncle Paul and Lady Einstein, my aunt, at a local restaurant for an early dinner. Spoilboy then remembered my promise to show him the grave site and being ahead of schedule we made a detour for some education and adventure. All Saints Cemetery is nicely tucked away from the newer, more irritating, sections of the Pawleys Island community. The new subdivisions that have sprouted like unwelcome mushrooms are several miles south and the area around the cemetery has kept a great deal of the timeless sleepy quality the entire community once had. In fact I was somewhat surprised to see no one else visiting the cemetery since the local tourist board pushes the local ghost stories as hard as possible to draw more money in the area.







I have little to no idea about how or why graves are done but I noticed these types of tombs at the cemetery in Charleston a couple of years back. One of the tombs there, circa the 1750's, was cracked in the middle running all the way across the huge slab sitting on top with enough space between the cracks to almost see what might be inside. My best guess for these types of tombs is that in the Lowcountry the water table is so high that when it flooded in the real old days coffins had a nasty habit literally popping out of the ground. Such events are somewhat rarer but one officer I knew in the National Guard had the seriously messed up duty of locating and then retrieving coffins after a flood in North Carolina where he was living at that time. Making things very much worse was the fact that the cemetery where many of the coffins he was having to locate and retrieve came was new and still very much in business. So, trying not to be gross, many of the occupants in the misplaced coffins were "fresh", in a manner of speaking.

The picture below is of the grave site of Miss Alice. Several legends about her that I have heard say that if a engaged or newly married couple walk in a circle around her grave she will pull the engagement or wedding ring off the ladies finger. The path worn into the ground around her grave seem to confirm that at least some test the old legends. If you look closely at the picture you may see the pile of coins on top of her grave. Why people are doing this I have do idea but before we started to head back out to the car and make our way to the restaurant I did drop a couple coins myself. I was especially glad after the fact that once we were out of the cemetery Miss Wiggles, who I was carrying, yelled out: "Bye everybody!" For the full story of Miss Alice I invite y'all to visit CoastalGuide.com and read the most authentic version of her story.

19 comments:

Mike said...

I have never been one to get all bent out of shape about ghosts and cemeteries and the like, but I must I have scared myself a time or two. I live about a block away from a cemetery and on one or two occasions, I have walked past it late at night. I never gave it a second thought until about half way past the cemetery some kind of weird bird that I have never heard before started making this God-awful sound. I about messed myself right then and there.

Still, I am pretty sure it was just a bird.

Keshi said...

eeeeeeeeerieeeeeeeee! :(

BB I've seen one...and I even blogged abt it.

Personally I believe there's something more to this life than just this body. The energy within us remains even after our bodies die. Thats my personal belief tho.


Keshi.

Vigilante said...

I'll make no comment, except to say I can't wait until November 1st rolls around.

Sara Sue said...

Great pictures! I'm not a believer so the ghost thing doesn't scare me, but I love to cruise old graveyards. I used to live right next door to a really old one and I miss it.

Sara Sue said...

Hey Parrothead, here's how you link to pages in comments:

Display Text

Cut and paste that into your comment where you want the link to go. Then, cut and paste your URL in between the parentheses, (don't delete the parentheses or it won't work). Replace the display text with the word or words you want highlighted. Let me know if you have any problems.

Sara Sue said...

LOL sorry it didn't work let me try again, only this time delete the first set of parentheses.

"Display Text"

Sara Sue said...

Well shit! Email me and I'll send you the HTML string = sharashoe@yahoodotcom

Colonel Colonel said...

I love old cemeteries and ghost stories. 17th and 18th century cemeteries are very enlightening (as you said) when you see how many kids died, often very close together. The carved gravestones are not only interesting for their iconography but are the only examples of sculpture by American artisans of the period. When you reach the 1820s you start with the garden cemetery movement, and stones and monuments became grander and more fanciful. The history of cemetery reform is also interesting- before about 1800, especially in Europe, when graveyards filled up they simply dug up the old bodies, discarded them, and planted new ones.

Ghosts are interesting. I might have seen one at a summer house that has a long history of being haunted, and I know an otherwise completely logical and level-headed person who also saw a ghost there several times. There are vague rumors about ghosts in our house (which was built in 1880 and lived in by the same family into the 1980s), and an aunt says she saw something in her room one night. I dunno...

Preposterous Ponderings said...

That is some straight up freaky shit!

Tequila Mockingbird said...

the south is riddled with ghosts. especially anywhere there might have been a civil war battle fought. we used to have orange grove ghosts, who were black people who had been enslaved and then died for whatever reason. i never actually saw one.

Beach Bum said...

Mike: In a couple of places around Georgetown county there were a couple of villages, probably plantations actually, that for whatever reason died out and were abandoned. Now they have probably been plowed over and have nice subdivisions standing in their place. But one time I was with a bunch of buddies camping and we stumbled upon the remains of one of those villages and found the village cemetery. The tombstones were all askew and as night fell the sounds of the woods and the area lend to a very eerie atmosphere. While no monsters, insane killers, or demons joined us hardly anyone went to sleep that night.

Keshi: I agree with what you wrote. I have gotten in so much trouble with many members of my family who are evangelical Christians because I don't buy the party line about what happens when a person dies. But I do believe something of the person that lived survives the death of the physical body, go ahead and call it the soul. One day when I'm drunk enough I'll write a post about what I do believe, writing about will help me figure it out.

Vigil: The coming holiday season feels me with such dread that I can't wait till January 1st.

Sara Sue: The cemetery in Charleston my family and I toured a few years ago was full of unbelievable information of those buried there. I really dug the history aspect of it. And thanks for the info on the links.

Colonel: I've had one strange and unexplained experience with what might be called the other side of reality. It happened several years ago and it so shook me up I'm still unable to say much about without losing all coherence. I hope one day to write about it but I seriously don't know what happened so until I figure it out I the recounting of the event will wait.

Preposterous Ponderings: Spoilboy said the same thing as we walked around.

T-Bird: My favorite is the Grey Man who warns people on Pawleys Island of an approaching storm such as a hurricane. After Hurricane Hugo, the last very bad storm to strike Pawleys I've talked with several people who say the were warned to get off the island before the storm hit. All said that the "ghost" looked normal but popped out of no where and disappeared quickly after issuing the warning. given the old stories I've heard that predate Hugo I believe them.

MadMike said...

I have never been one to get too excited about the supernatural, but something "strange" happened to me the other evening.

There is an old civil war cemetery just a short distance from my house, and I decided to walk my dogs through it. It was dark but I had a good flashlight and the moon was full. About two minutes into our walk the dogs started acted strangely. They began circling one of the graves, sniffing and scratching furiously, with hackles up. Now my first thought was a coyote had probably visited the deceased and left a mark or two. As I got closer I felt a chill. The dogs started snarling and leaping about, frantically looking at me and back at the grave. When I got near enough to read the weather worn stone, I made out the name of the long dead soul. I gasped and almost fainted "dead" away. It was my name etched in that old marker; my full name, complete with the middle initial. I rocked back on my knees, falling on my butt with shock and surprise. The wind picked up, blowing cold on this warm October night. The dogs started howling and howling and then the most frightening thing of all happened.........

Keshi said...

yep...thats exactly what I think too. cos think abt it this way...who/what is our mind?

Keshi.

joan said...

I've been to that cemetery but didn't know anything about the story. I do love these old places.

Sara Sue said...

Where are you? Doing yard work?

Beach Bum said...

MadMike: Cool, I'd like to read the rest of this.

Keshi:Some of best times has been a cool bunch of people can sit back,discuss what a soul is, and get totally blitzed.

Joan: What I want to do is get back to Charleston and see some more of it. In the process of organizing a trip to the Holy City and wiould like to see Magnolia Gardens.

Sara Sue: HOOTERS!!! I love em. Great post today.

Vigilante said...

Beach, you got email.

The Zombieslayer said...

So I'm reading this out loud to Mrs. Z and she says "the winter would take them" as the response to why kids often didn't make it to 5.

I don't believe in ghosts, but I do have a ghost story. One of these days, I'll post it.

Melvin said...

Great pictures....
thanks for sharing....

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Melvin
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