10 Spooky Spots in the CSRA to Check Out This Halloween
It’s the end of October, and as the leaves turn further and further away from their lush green of late summer thoughts turn to the annual fright-fest that is Halloween. Preparation is well underway and as Pumpkins are carved and humble suburban dwellings transform into macabre manifestations of their former selves, a new generation will learn the spooky takes and urban legends that have been passed down through the years. Not surprisingly though, the CSRA has its fair share of spots for whom being haunted is a year-round thing, and whatever our personal feelings about the supernatural may be, it’s certain that Halloween wouldn’t be the same without a good ghost story. So, in the spirit of the season we’d like to present this list comprising ten of the CSRA’s most notorious locations for paranormal activity, as well as the tales that surround them. And finally, if you are going to pay them a visit, might we suggest a Rolls Royce Phantom or Silver Ghost as your conveyance?
10. The Haunted / Cursed Pillar – Corner of 5th St. & Broad St., Downtown Augusta, GA
Okay, we start off with something you can’t actually visit right now, as the concrete and brick of the pillar was hit by a car last December and demolished in the crash. Efforts are being made to resurrect the structural symbol though, and the legend behind it still remains strong in the minds and hearts of many Augustans. The tale tells of a preacher who, having been barred from handing out texts and bothering people as they went about their business at Augusta’s Lower Market, cursed the establishment – telling the locals “if this business finds itself torn apart and destroyed, you remember how you wouldn’t let a preacher talk to the people here”. A few weeks later a tornado blew through the town (a rare event for Augusta) and when the dust had settled, the only thing left standing of the lower market building was a single 10ft. pillar. The preacher’s words had come true, the curse was deemed real, and a legend was born. Though it does not stand currently and has been accidentally knocked down and rebuilt before, the foot of the pillar is believed to still be in its original spot, (which became the corner of 5th and Broad Street) and those who touch its menacing masonry are believed to invite anything from bad events in their future to ‘certain’ death.
9. Redcliffe Plantation – 181 Redcliffe Rd., Beech Island, SC
Redcliffe Plantation is said to be haunted by the spirit of its owner (and former U.S. senator) John H. Hammond. Little is known about why he might choose to haunt his own plantation, but it is said that one field in particular is a hotspot for strange, unexplained occurrences.
8. Annie’s Inn – 3083 Charleston Hwy., Aiken, SC
A greek revival home in the heart of Aiken is home to a charming bed & breakfast that has been a fixture in town for over 30 years now, but it seems that one guest has taken up residence of a more permanent nature. Both the owners and patrons alike have reported hearing the voice of a little girl calling out for her mother – yet when these cries are investigated, no child is ever found…
7. Graniteville Cemetery – off Gregg Hwy., Graniteville, SC
Graniteville Cemetery is said to be haunted by two benign ghosts, one of which stems from an event that took place a century and a half ago. In 1865 a train stopped at Graniteville upon which a young boy had stowed away. He got off there, but his trip had made him severely ill and he died shortly after in the care of the locals. Unable to remember anything about who he was or where he’d come from, and having nothing to identify him with about his person the people of Graniteville laid him to rest in their cemetery, beneath a headstone simply reading ‘The Little Boy, 1865’. From that day to this the town’s residents and other visitors have left toys on his grave, and legend has it that his spirit can sometimes be seen playing with his new gifts. Similarly, the ghost of a woman known as ‘the Witch’ meandering through the rows of headstones and placing flowers on the graves of young children has been reported, as well as strange goings-on involving cellphones – such as phones that are off receiving calls, and phantom calls that respond with the busy tone when answered.
6. Partridge Inn – 2110 Walton Way, Augusta, GA
The Partridge Inn is said to be inhabited by the spirit of a bride who tragically had her special day taken from her. The story goes that a woman named Emily was getting ready for her wedding at the Partridge Inn when she was informed that her husband had been shot and killed as he rode through town, having been mistaken for a soldier wanted for treason. Stricken with grief she apparently didn’t take her wedding dress off for weeks and was never married, eventually dying of a broken heart. It’s believed that her spirit returned to the hotel to forever await her groom’s arrival, and indeed guests do report seeing a young lady matching Emily’s description and wearing a wedding dress, wandering through the Inn’s hallways.
5. Sibley Mill – Goodrich St., Augusta, GA
Another tale of love turned tragic awaits at Sibley Mill in Augusta. In the early 1900’s two of the mill’s workers – Maude Williams and Arthur Glover – were engaged in an extra-marital affair that Williams broke off in 1906. Glover however was unable to come to terms with the end of the relationship, and later that year he barged his way onto the premises and fatally shot Maude. Since then, there have been reports of music being heard with no apparent source, sightings of Maude herself, and it’s even said that people unaware of the haunting have talked to Maude’s apparition, only to have her disappear before their very eyes.
4. Hotel Aiken – 235 Richland Ave. W, Aiken, SC
You get to pick your poltergeist at Hotel Aiken, as they have three haunted bedrooms. The spirit of a man who once committed suicide by jumping out of room 302’s window inhabits that room, an old lady is said to be present in room 320, and the ghosts of former servants are believed to remain in room 328, which used to be the servants’ quarters. Furthermore, the unusual activity isn’t limited to those rooms. Housekeeping staff in particular have heard toilets flushing in empty rooms, maid carts moving from one end of a corridor to the other, and it seems one of their spirits is fond of TV, as the TV in one room is often on even though again, the room is empty…
3. Old Post Office, Aiken – 203 Laurens St. SW, Aiken, SC
Rumors abound at the old Post Office in Aiken, and they start before you even enter the building. In rainy weather people have been known to report seeing a man on top of the office’s rotunda who disappears when they look back or try to show others. He is believed to be the ghost of a man who fell off the rotunda to his death – again in wet conditions – as he was raising or lowering the flag which was later moved to street level. In the old postmaster’s office there is a secret ladder that grants access to the space above the ceiling – it’s believed that the postmaster took advantage of this to spy on his workers from above through a number of louvers, and the moans and groans that appear to originate from up there could hint that his spirit still watches the building’s occupants today. Finally, the post office is also home to something of a murder mystery, as when the old coal boiler was removed human bones were found within. The authorities were unable to come to any conclusion beyond the bones being decades old and those of a man – but no report of a corresponding crime or disappearance was ever found, and both victim and culprit remain unknown to this day.
2. Ezekiel Harris House – 1822 Broad St., Augusta, GA
The Ezekiel Harris house is home to probably the darkest tale on the list thanks to a case of mistaken identity. For decades this building was believed to have been the Mackay House, the place where 13 American patriots were hanged by a British lieutenant-colonel during the war of independence, however, this was later proven to be a different and long-demolished building. That doesn’t mean that the Ezekiel Harris House is free from ghostly-goings on though – there have been reports of a female spirit present on the premises which is believed to be either Harrs’s wife, fretting over her husband’s legal problems and or her own health (reports of the day say she may have had breast cancer) or a Mrs. Glass – mother of two brothers hanged at the Mackay house – pleading for her sons’ lives, having taken up residence at the Ezekiel Harris House when the Mackay House itself was demolished.
1. Augusta University – Multiple sites on campus, Augusta, GA
Legend has it that Augusta University is home to at least three different haunted places and even more spirits. The most famous might be Bellevue Hall, where two sisters (Emily Galt and Claire Schofe) are often seen playing games together in the hall and supposedly haunting the site of Emily’s suicide. As the story goes, she had fallen in love with a soldier based at the nearby Augusta Arsenal who was killed during the Civil War, and overcome with grief, threw herself out of an upstairs window after inscribing her name on it with the diamond engagement ring the soldier bought her. That window and the inscription it bears are today on display in the University Museum. Another popular sighting is the ghost of a confederate soldier walking around campus, who is believed to be buried in the Walker Cemetery and related to former Senator Freeman Walker, on whose land that cemetery was established. Finally we have Benet house, which before becoming part of the University was home to a military officer and his wife, who had a rather expensive taste in clothes and spent a large part of her husband’s money as a result. One morning the maid entered her room to bring the lady her usual cup of tea only to find her dead – the victim of an apparent poisoning, as her body already had a teacup in its hand. Her husband said that he did make her tea early that morning but denied poisoning his wife, and despite widespread suspicion, was never charged with the crime. That is said to be the reason for the ghost’s presence, and that ‘The First Lady’ now haunts her former home plotting revenge against her spouse for murdering her, rattling coat hangers and admiring herself in the mirror for a split second whenever someone looks into it.
Those aren’t the only spooky secrets that Augusta University or the CSRA hold, either, so be sure to keep a look out for supernatural spectres and abominable apparitions this weekend, and from all of us at Bob Richards, Happy Halloween!