Dueler’s Alley

Categories
Haunted Places

Date of Establishment

Francis Kinloch created this passage is 1776 known as Kinloch’s court, in 1796 and 1810 fire claimed most of the neighborhood leading to a rebuild of the area. In 1811 the court was reopened to the public and still stands today.

Name & Location

Originally known as Cow’s Alley and later renamed to Kinloch’s Court, then later changed to Philadelphia Alley after fires tore through the city. It is now known by locals of Downtown Charleston, SC as Dueler’s Alley.

Physical Description

This beautiful alley strip is canopy covered and a cobblestone walkway lined with beautiful planets and doorways. The buildings have high walls adorned with windows and flower boxes. There was even a path to a local church’s graveyard at one end.

Origin

This passageway gained the name Dueler’s Alley because gentleman settled their disputes with the traditional 21 paced pistols duels in this perfectly spaced alleyway. One of the most famous duels was between Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd and Ralph Isaacs in 1786, leading to the tale of the Whistling Doctor who died proving his love and devotion. Many other young men lost their lives here in the alley trying to prove their honor, take out a rival, or in a drunken rage. This has led to a wide range of haunting stories, though none more famous than the Whistling Doctor himself.

Mythology and Lore

In 1783 a young doctor, Joseph Ladd, and his beloved, Amanda, came to Charleston hoping to establish themselves and escape poisonous gossip surrounding their relationship. He quickly established himself in the town as the prominent new doctor that had an undying love for whistling, poetry, and his dear Amanda. As his career grew, he had less time for friends and social calls, a resentment grew between him and Ralph Isaacs, one of his first friends in Charleston. Isaac became over-whelmed with jealously toward the doctor, in 1786 things reached their boiling point after a show. Isaac accused Ladd of begin infatuated with an actress from the production and threatened to tear him from his love Amanda. In Charleston at this time dueling was the only way Ladd could reclaim his honor, integrity, and prove his undying love for Amanda; so he challenged Isaac. As the duel began the two men took their paces, Ladd missed Isaac and was shot. After ten days of suffering, Ladd finally succumbed to his injuries and pasted at the age of 22 years old. Today he is reported to come to the alley and have a stroll down while whistling his beloved’s favorite tune. It’s reported before you see his spirit an unexplained mist rolls through the alley, and sounds of gunshots ring out as he pulls you to safety. Other spirits of fallen dueler’s have been said to haunt the alley as well, some seeking harm on the travelers within its high walls. It is unknown how many ghosts roam the alley to this day, but many locals enjoy the search for any of them.

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The Old Charleston Jail

Categories
Haunted Places

Date of Establishment

The Old Jail was originally built in 1802 in Charleston, SC and stands to this day in the Downtown area. It reined until 1939 as a prison, poor house, hospital, and workhouse for slaves at its full capacity to serve the town.

Name & Location

The jail has many names through-out history the two that stuck for the hundreds of years it has stood are the Old Charleston Jail and Old Jail for short. Located in the French Quarter part of Downtown Charleston the jail stands tall as a reminder to locals to the history Charleston has endured and recovered from.

Physical Description

The Old City of Charleston, South Carolina is located in the Downtown area. It’s dark and gothic in appearance, standing four stories tall with an octagonal tower. Its moss-covered stone walls tower over the grounds, it has large windows covered with rode iron bars. It has undergone a few remodeling’s in its days, the largest being after the great earthquake of 1886

Origin

The true “first” report to come of ghostly figures haunting the halls is unknown, but since 1886 they have become more recorded. Since the jail’s start, it has been associated with hauntings for spirits and strange occurrences.

Mythology and Lore

It has housed some of the most crazed criminals over the many years including 19th-century pirates, Civil War Prisoners of Wars, and notable inmates through-out Charleston history. It’s believed to be haunted by all types of inmates who died during their incarceration, including many holding the death penalty. Some of the occurrences reported through-out time have ranged from objects simply moving on their own, strange or disembodied voices, ghostly whispers passing through the air, slamming doors, footprints in the dust, the dumbwaiter moving between floors and more. A ghost to appear is a guard on patrol with his rifle in hand, he seems to charge toward guests or workers in the jail hall before vanishing. Many reports their photographs from tours of the jail are haunted by ghostly faces or figures. Lavinia Fisher is one of the more infamous criminals to spend time behind the Old Jail’s walls, credited to be the first female serial killer. She and her husband John were owners of a Charleston inn named the Six Mile Wayfarer House. This hotel had large reports of guests disappearing, being poisoned, stabbed, and the more time went on the ghastly tales got worse. Leading the police to arrest the gang of murderous lovers, the pair waited out their final days at the Old Jail before begin hung in the courtyard and buried in the on-site cemetery. Locals and tourist report seeing Lavinia’s spirit roaming the grounds to this very day, appearing in photographs taken on the second floor of the building.

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There is not a shortage of tales and reported encounters coming from the Old Jail, though the spirits credited for them are hard to identify. The Old Charleston Jail held vast numbers of inmates and has countless dead reports to go with it. Many locals enjoy the thrill of roaming its floors and seeking out encounters, as the jail maintains its tours and viewing; just beware you may be touched or grabbed.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

Abode of Misery: An Illustrated Compilation of Facts, Secrets, and Myths of the Old Charleston District Jail (2010)

Hidden History of Old Charleston (2010)

TV Shows

Ghost Adventures: Old Charleston Jail (season 5 episode 10

011)

Is there anything we missed about the Old Charleston Jail? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thomas Nelson House

Categories
Haunted Places

Date of Establishment

Thomas Nelson was well-known though out the 1700s, the house, York Hall, was built in 1730. It now sits on the corners of Main Street and Nelson Street in the historical Yorktown, Virginia.

Name & Location

York Hall became the home of Thomas Nelson, who was an influential merchant before becoming a general in the Revolutionary War, as well as the 3rd governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was also known for signing the Declaration of Independence.

Physical Description

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York Hall sits on a large property that has been greatly changed from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The grand home was built in Georgian style, simple and balanced in appearance. Made of red bricks with decorative molding under eaves, the home stands three stories tall. It’s trimmed with small white windows all around the up to two stories.

Origin

In 1766 Nelson inherited the house from his father, he raised his family within the home for many years. During the siege of Yorktown Nelson found that Cornwallis and his British troops were taking refuge in Nelson’s family home. He became so enraged he had the house bombed leading to many lost lives. In addition to the Revolutionary War sieges, the house later went on to experience the horror of the Civil War where it was a hospital to care for soldiers. Having so many badly injured the floors and attic were rumored to be stained with a repugnant odor for many years following. In later years a site was found of a second house on the Nelson property, it appeared destroyed by cannon fire as well as holding more British graves.  

Mythology and Lore

The Nelson House has no shortage of supernatural experiences from having such a bloody past. To this day caretakers of the home and grounds experience ranges of supernatural contact with the spirits roaming the grounds. There is a stairway off-limits to visitors because of a soldier’s spirit violently claiming the space. In the twentieth century, reports came of doors to the stairway slamming or being whipped opened violently. Rooms seem to shake, something crashes into the sideboards frequently, and dishes are sent flying to the floor.

There is also the spirit of a British soldier who fell in love with his nurse but died from his wounds before they could be together. Witness have reported seeing his ghost in the attic window covered in blood and waiting for his love to come back. He is also rumored to be the maker of haunting footsteps, cold spots, lights flickering, and objects being moved. There is also a woman’s spirit reported to be sobbing on the 3rd floor and attic of the home; many believe it could be the soldier’s lover and others a family member that cared for the spirits and home after the war.

All across the Nelson grounds, witnesses have reported seeing figures of men dressed in red dashing and ducking behind trees. Some report just seeing the figures of soldiers walking the grounds as if on patrol. Along with the soldier like figures, there is a healthy dose of other spirits roaming the grounds. Visitors and caretakers report various styles of clothing, ages, and genders to these spirits; as well as supernatural experiences. Some seem to be friendly and visiting the house, some like to play tricks, others are darker, but the Nelson House remains one of the oldest haunted places in America today.

Is there anything we missed about the Nelson House? Let us know in the comments section below!