A Stroll through Haunted Charleston

I recently spent a lazy Saturday wandering through Charleston, South Carolina, with my husband and son. We arrived late afternoon and took a self-guided walking tour through this city's historic streets which are filled with elegant buildings

architectural details

and ancient trees - many which were damaged in Hurricane Hugo, which devastated the city in 1989.

As we wandered through the streets 

we passed car bumper stickers

showing the humor of the locals

We ate at Hominy Grill, a culinary hotspot for all things southern

We ordered a spread of southern staples.....boiled peanuts

thin slices of Virginia ham with pickled okra, hard boiled eggs (see that hot pink color!) and the piece de resistance of all Southern hostesses: pimento cheese dip

While my husband and son feasted on a crab/fried green tomato club and Wagyu beef pot roast, I chowed down on a trio of vegetarian delights; tomato pudding (made with Brioche crumbs), fried eggplant and a heady mix of pinto beans and collard greens (say that 3 times after drinking a pint of Hominy's Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Brown Ale!)

After dessert (the restaurant's famous chocolate pudding), we made our way through the streets to meet our ghost tour group.

In Charleston, graveyards can be found interspersed between buildings.

In daylight they seem quaint, 

but at night, much spookier.

Many a ghost sighting has occurred at this graveyard...

members of our tour peeked through to see if they could catch a glimpse.

Our guide told us this church steeple shifted in a huge earthquake that occurred in the 19th century --

people fled the burning city in a scene eerily reminiscent of a day in recent history - this newspaper image was dated to September 11, 1886.

Philadelphia Alley was once known as Bloody Alley, where pistol duels - and one sword duel - were fought. People claim they can still detect the smell of gun smoke and hear the shots of pistols firing. Others claim they still hear the eerie whistling of Dr. Joseph Ladd as he made his way one fateful day to the alley to fight a gentleman's duel. Hoping to settle a score with local man Ralph Isaacs over a beautiful actress known as Perdita, Dr. Ladd fired into the air. Isaacs, intending only to shoot Ladd in the leg, misfired and hit the doctor in the stomach. Ladd later died.

I hung back from the group, hoping to detect an echo of the doctor's whistling, but none was heard.

I may not have caught a glimpse of a ghost or heard eerie sounds, but I did take a photo of this quote by the German writer Goethe. Prominently displayed outside Charleston's main graveyard, it is excellent advice for the living that pass by. 


  1. You make me want to take a Southern trip, revisit these haunts. We lived in Tallahassee, Fl for six years, and immersed ourselves in Southern lore. Next to Atlanta, Savannah is a stunning look into the past grandeur of the South.

  2. Enchanting. I have yet to experience the famous southern charm. I am not sure what to make of those graveyards next to the houses though. I am sure that the atmosphere can get very eerie at night. Next time we visit STL, I will let you know. We were there for just 3 full days though this time round.

  3. What a super beautiful post..enchanting images and dazzling visuals..stories whispering everywhere..amazing.....thanks for sharing such a fantastical adventure!
    Pure magic!!

  4. I love this post.... sadly, I have not yet visited the South....love the history, love the cemeteries...sigh....and..love the cuisine... oh those hard boiled eggs....wow! I want to try the Fried Green Tomato Crab Club and everything YOU had! My mouth is watering... this is a city I have longed to visit....Ghosts? You KNOW there are!

    Leaving tomorrow (9/10) to visit Chris and Bofie in Rhinebeck NY. (They just moved there in June..) Opera season just began...opening night *Mephistopheles* was FANTASTIC... and a link to Goethe! (He was one of the reasons I learned German!) I'll do an opera post when I return....

    Love to all and a big kiss to Mia,

    ♥ Your Twin ♥

    1. Have a fantastic trip Robin! Mia sends a big Airedale embrace to Bofie :))

  5. The Goethe quote is impeccable.

    I have always wanted to take a haunted tour and this post just intensifies the longing. What would you have done if you had heard Dr. Ladd whistle!?

    1. Suze, I'm not sure - probably would have run away squealing in terror haha!!!

  6. it's all fascinating - I've only been to that city once but would love to go again and do the tours, see the old houses and get a taste of good old fashioned southern cooking.

    but if I saw/heard/experienced a ghost - I'd run like mad!

  7. When I was in charleston, and savannah too, I thought if I ever had to run away from everything, I would go there to start over.

    My favorite part of this wonderful post is your meal! The architecture comes close :-)

    There is a ghost in Provincetown seen by many guests in the guesthouse that was once her home. The number of sightings of Esther includes sight and sound and mischief

    Glad to know you are still gallivanting through life, Amanda xo


    1. Cool! Wondering if you or JB have ever caught any glimpses of Esther?!

  8. Cool photos and tour. I especially like the food. :)

    We've made plans several times to visit Charleston over Christmas, but it has not materialized. I have Southern roots (father's side), SC in particular. But I think I take after my Northern mother much more.

    1. I bet Charleston is gorgeous during the holidays....and there is no end of fried okra, crabcakes and pimento cheese to nosh on. I hope you can make this trip sometime Ruth, and revisit your southern roots.

  9. I've never been to Charleston but it's a place I feel very drawn to, like Savannah. I must have been a Southern Belle in a past life :)

  10. What a lovely city! I've never been to Charleston - thanks for the tour. The hunter bumper sticker made me laugh - that could be Maine. You have a fine eye for detail.

  11. A beautiful place and an art photographer, you Amanda, what a great combination!!!


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