After the sunset sail I made my way to Buxton’s Books for my next tour. At 9:30 PM we departed the book store on a ghost tour, led by Mr. Neale. He recounted hauntings from the book The Ghosts of Charleston. One of the locations we stopped at was the restaurant Poogan’s Porch, a restaurant with a Norman Rockwell vibe.
The Victorian home that was turned into Poogan’s Porch, named after a dog, was built in the late 19th Century. It served as a home until the late 20th Century. We heard the story of Elizabeth and Zoe St. Amand, occupants of the home.
In the 1940’s Elizabeth passed away and Zoe became even more isolated. Zoe’s mental health declined to the point that she was institutionalized for yelling out her sister’s name one night while walking down the street. The guide told us that Zoe has been seen in her home, now Poogan’s Porch, waiting for her sister to return. (Sightings reportedly intensified with the conversion.) Staff have reported seeing Zoe. Occupants of the hotel across the street have reported seeing her as well. Some hotel occupants have even called the police about a woman in a black dress standing in front of the top floor’s window—locked in the restaurant. Additionally, members of other tours have seen green orbs shaped like a woman, or actually seen Zoe, and some of them have sent visual proof to Mr. Neale.
Another place we heard about was the Battery Carriage Inn. Patrons have reported seeing a malevolent, headless torso ghost in room 8. Other patrons have reported seeing a kind, gentlemanly ghost, in room 10.
The final location I will mention is the Unitarian Church’s graveyard. This is the only tour company that is allowed to enter the graveyard after hours. (In order to deter people from sneaking in, the graveyard has a sign that says the only Spirit you will encounter here is the Holy Spirit.) The graveyard was built in 1772; and in keeping with Unitarian beliefs, the graveyard isn’t disturbed by gardeners. It was here that Mr. Neale told us about the “Lady in White”—a ghost that appears in a wedding-like dress. There are a few different people that this ghost could be.
The first is Mary Whitridge. Her husband was often ill—so he was taken to Johns Hopkins. He died on the voyage to Baltimore. Baltimore’s coroner wrote Mary to ask what to do with Edward but never received a response; consequently, Edward was buried in a pauper’s grave in Baltimore. It was later determined that Mary had passed away, on the same day Edward died. She was buried in Edward’s family’s plot, with a space next to her for where Edward was supposed to be buried. Some speculate that the “Lady in White” is Mary. Others suspect that the “Lady in White” is Lavinia Fisher. Unitarians will accept anyone, even supposed mass murderers, in their graveyards. So Lavinia Fisher, said to be one of the first convicted female serial killers in American history, is buried there. She and her husband owned an inn and they would prey on male occupants. The occupants would drink drugged tea, have their throats slit, and belongings taken. The Fishers stood trial in Charleston and were convicted of eight murders, suspected of others. Lavinia’s husband begged to be forgiven and for God’s mercy at the hanging, while Lavinia reportedly said she had nothing to say to God because she would be dancing with the devil. Mr. Neale doesn’t believe it is her and likes to think that the apparition is Anna Ravenel.
Anna Ravenel reportedly met a young soldier, named Edward Allen, stationed at Fort Moultrie, pre-Civil War. The two fell deeply in love despite Anna’s father’s disapproval. He forbid Anna from ever seeing Edward ever again. Anna would sneak out to see Edward, so Mr. Ravenel had Edward transferred up to near DC. Anna was heartbroken and took ill. Edward rushed back but arrived too late to see Anna one last time. Edward tried to attend the funeral but was thrown out by the family because Mr. Ravenel blamed Edward for Anna’s death. Because of Mr. Ravenel’s bitterness, six different graves were dug and no headstone was ever placed for Anna—so as to keep Edward from finding her grave. Edward went to West Point, where he was eventually kicked out, later dying at a young age himself. After Edward’s death he became famous under the name Edgar Allen Poe, reportedly his real name. According to Mr. Neale, Edward was supposedly his stepfather’s name and he used it when he lied his way into Army service. Poe’s last poem, published two days after his death, is titled Annabel Lee. Mr. Neale, a romantic, passionately recited the poem, supposedly written about Anna Ravenel, to us. He believes the poem is the story about what happened between Edgar and Anna. Mr. Neale thinks that this is why Poe couldn’t sleep, why he drank, and why he did drugs. Mr. Neale believes the “Lady in White” is Anna wandering the cemetery waiting for Edgar to join her.
The entire tour was very fascinating; though I personally didn’t hear, see, or feel any spirits. Supposed picture evidence was shown to us which would seem to demonstrate proof of the aforementioned spirits. No matter one’s beliefs, the tour is well worth it.