CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - When searching for destinations packed with eerie history and ghostly encounters, some of the best ghost hunting can be done right here in the Holy City.
Charleston, South Carolina is no stranger to accolades. The historic city is forever lauded by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler, not only naming Charleston one of the friendliest cities in America, but also the No. 1 city in the United States four years running.
Riding high on these recent honors, it easy to overlook that Charleston also has the ominous distinction of being named one of the most haunted cities in America by
5 Around Town sat down with Janice Plisco, a ghost walk guide for Bulldog Tours in downtown Charleston, to pick her brain about Charleston's most haunted locations. Plisco has been exposing thrill-seekers to some of Charleston's creepiest, spine-tingling sites since joining Bulldog in 2008, and has even witnessed some ghastly encounters of her own.
Below are five spooky spots in Charleston that even Plisco says she wouldn't be caught alone in at night:
1) Old City Jail - 21 Magazine Street
Home of Charleston's most notorious criminals during the 1800s and early 1900s, the Old Jail is now said to be haunted by prisoners who were executed on site. "The absolute creepiest place here in Charleston is the Old City Jail. Out of over 30 guides that work here, there are only about six that will do that tour," said Plisco. "Every time I am in there, I feel that sense of someone watching me." Plisco says that while she has not witnessed a ghost sighting, she can't enter the jail without feeling something is in her personal space. "It is a beautiful building, but it is not the kind of place where you want to hang out for an extended length of time."
Built in 1767, the Old Exchange once served as a customs house, commerce center, and post office. Underground, the dungeon kept pirates, slaves, and war criminals shackled in abominable conditions. Many prisoners are said to have suffered terrible deaths while locked in the their chains, making this building a prime spot for eerie activity. Plisco says patrons have captured orbs - spheres of light that are often associated with ghosts - in photographs taken while in the dungeon. "I love that building, everything about it. It is my favorite in the city," she said. "But I would not walk into that dungeon alone."
3) Poogan's Porch - 72 Queen Street
Poogan's Porch has been serving up delicious entrees with a side of ghostly activity since opening its doors in 1976. The legend goes, Poogan's is haunted by Zoe St. Amand, a school teacher who called the building home until her death in 1954. Plisco says in addition to being seen creeping along the restaurant's porch, Zoe is also known to creep up behind guests in the ladies bathroom, revealing herself in the mirror. "I eat dinner there all the time, I just won't use the bathroom," Plisco says of the restaurant.
4) Circular Graveyard - 150 Meeting Street
Plisco lists the Circular Graveyard among her creepiest Charleston locations not just because of what she has heard, but what she has seen. The veteran ghost guide says she was in her first year with Bulldog when she spotted a pale, ghostly figure walking through her tour group at the graveyard before disappearing in the shadows. "I could see it taking long strides, swinging its hands fast, a figure of a man. It made me lose my train of thought," she recalls. Plisco says she went on to see the same figure, which she describes as possibly a Revolutionary War soldier, on four other occasions. She says other tour-goers have experienced similar encounters while in the graveyard, adding to its creep factor. Located next to the Circular Congregation Church, the graveyard was built in 1681, giving it plenty of time to house future ghosts and ghouls.
5) Unitarian Graveyard - 8 Archdale Street
The graveyard at the Unitarian Church is just one of those places that
terrifying even in the daylight. Plisco says she was in the graveyard being trained by another guide when the guide and four other women in the tour literally ran away, claiming to have seen something levitating. "I would say, even walking in there alone in the day, you never feel quite alone," Plisco says. Many claim the Unitarian Graveyard is haunted by the ghost of Annabel Lee, a Charleston woman who is said to be the subject of Edgar Allen Poe's poem of the same name.
Of course, these aren't the only haunted locations in Charleston. Leave us a comment to let us know about your favorite spot to go ghost hunting.