My Tour of Charleston's Old City Jail

Charleston, aka the Holy City should really be called the Haunted City since you can't go five feet without seeing a creepy graveyard or an old spooky building. The architecture of the churches downtown are beautiful and the designs on the graves are so unique. Some of the churches are historic and with all that history comes ghost stories and spooky sightings. I can tell you from experience that Charleston is a creepy city, maybe not during the day but at night you definitely don't want to be near certain places. My freshman year I took a class called Beyond the Grave where we discussed the architecture and history of graveyards in Charleston. We also got the opportunity to take a tour of the Old City Jail, an experience I will mention later. 

If you Google "haunted Charleston," you'll find blog posts of locals' ghost experiences and tour websites. You could say that I, without a doubt, believe in ghosts (I lived in a haunted house for a year when I was four-years-old). I've heard bits and pieces of stories from friends who swear that Berry Residence Hall is haunted or that they heard from a friend of a friend that a man in a top hat at the Battery vanished into thin air. I told my mom that story and she said "that's true, ghosts look like Abraham Lincoln when they come back". Whatever that means...

Something I want to do before I graduate from CofC is to take a ghost tour of Charleston. There a lot of companies that offer ghost tours of Charleston and they all have different places they'll take you. As I mentioned earlier, I got to tour the Old City Jail with my FYE class. The jail which was built in 1802 has held some notable inmates. Among them include John an Lavinia Fisher who were convicted of robbery and murder. Interestingly, Lavinia Fisher is regarded as the first female serial killer in the United States. During their public execution, Lavinia's famous last words were "if any of you have a message for the devil, tell me now because I am going to see him". Her ghost is the most reported ghost seen among tourists and children who live across the street from the jail have also seen in her the windows.

Photo courtesy of Allie Stern. 

Continuing with my tour of the Old City Jail, the tour guide took our class inside a room which was used for torture. Pictured below is a form of torture called "The Jerker". The tour guide told us a story of a woman who was possessed a few years back. He explained how he was giving a tour one day and they stopped in this room. A woman started coughing and backing up towards the wall. She started speaking in tongues and formed a crucifix position. Later on, the woman had no memory of what happened to her. Imagine being possessed and not remembering a thing! That would for sure send chills up my spine.

Photo courtesy of Allie Stern. 

The last room we visited was on the top floor and called "Mt. Rascal". Two of the creepiest things I've ever heard were told in this room. The tour guide told us a story of a woman who found a giant bite mark on her shoulder and another story of a teenage boy whose "back was on fire". He kept complaining to his mom that it felt like his back was burning and eventually the tour guide lifted up his shirt to find three huge scratch marks down his back!

To read more about my experience touring the Old City Jail, check out my blog. Remember: don't got out touring alone and happy pre-Halloween!.