< More Posts

Haunted Charleston: Discover Charleston's Most Haunted Places, Facts, & More 

July 3, 2023

Welcome to haunted Charleston, South Carolina! This city is famous for its rich history and culture, but did you know it’s also home to some of the most haunted places in America? Charleston's coastal location and centuries-old history have contributed to the tales of ghosts, hauntings, and paranormal activity passed down for generations. 

So why is Charleston so haunted? Some believe it's due to the city's long and turbulent history, which includes war, slavery, and epidemics. Others point to the city's proximity to the ocean and the numerous tragedies at sea. Regardless of the cause, Charleston is the home of haunted legends.  Let's dive in and explore some of the most well-known haunted sites in Charleston.

Haunted Places In Charleston, SC & Their Ghost Stories

The Old City Jail

Old City Jail - Charleston

The infamous Old City Jail of Charleston, renowned for its chilling atmosphere and turbulent history, was a place of torment for over 13,000 inmates detained here between 1802 to 1939.  

From notorious pirates to Civil War prisoners, these inmates were exposed to atrocious living conditions or even execution. Some visitors have felt an eerie chill down their spine as they walk through the jail's creepy cells. Many have even reported spotting apparitions of the former inmates appearing and disappearing between the walls. With its otherworldly fame, it's no surprise that the Old City Jail is frequently featured on various paranormal TV programs, such as The Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.

Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon

Haunted Charleston - the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon
Photo courtesy of: Explore Charleston

Located in the heart of Charleston's historic district, the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon have become two of the city's most renowned haunted attractions. Dating back to the Revolutionary War, the Exchange was initially used as a customs house before a portion of it was converted into a prison, and its dungeon below was used for detaining and torturing both Patriots and British soldiers, pirates, and other local criminals. 

Horrifyingly, the prisoners were subject to extremely inhumane conditions, suffering from starvation, disease, and torture, and many did not survive. Some say such dismal conditions may have attracted spirits from beyond the grave. Dungeon visitors report sightings of ghostly apparitions and hear sounds like screaming and moaning, as though someone is in intense pain. Someone has even reported feeling pushed from behind. 

Book a Haunted Carriage Tour of Charleston to discover more ghostly tales. This 40-minute tour is popular with adult and child visitors alike!

 Circular Congregational Church Graveyard

The Circular Congressional Church and Graveyard

The Circular Congregational Church graveyard was built in 1681 and is the oldest in Charleston. (Pictured here is the church located next to the graveyard) Here, many city inhabitants, including Revolutionary War soldiers, yellow fever epidemic victims,  and formerly enslaved people, are buried in unmarked graves.  The oldest marked grave site is located in the graveyard dating back to the 1600s.  

Unexplained phenomena have been reported by those visiting the cemetery, such as apparitional footsteps, strange sightings that looked like a faded human form, and voices coming from the ground below the ancient oak trees. Some tourists claim to have felt a sudden drop in temperature or a feeling of being touched by an unseen presence. 

Apart from the otherworldly events, the Circular Congregational Church Graveyard is recognized for its distinct tombstones and markers. The cemetery, a historical treasure, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a valuable part of Charleston's rich history.

St. Michael's Episcopal Church 

St. Michael's Episcopal Church

The landmark at the corner of Meeting Street and Broad Street in downtown Charleston, St. Michael's Church, is a must-see haunted destination in South Carolina. This 250-year-old structure is associated with countless ghostly tales, including the beloved legend of Harriott Mackie, the bride who died on her wedding day in 1804.

Visitors to the church have reported hearing the sounds of the bride's wedding march playing from the church organ, even in the absence of a musician. Check out the eerie picture a customer snapped on the Old South Carriage Haunted Carriage Tour featured in our Facebook post!

Aiken Rhett House 

Aiken Rhett House - A museum and popular historic home in Charleston.
Photo courtesy of: Historic Charleston Foundation

Another one of the most haunted places in South Carolina, the Aiken Rhett House, is an elegant home on 48 Elizabeth Street, built in 1817. Its beautiful architecture and lavish interiors have been known to captivate visitors. However, behind its grand facade lies a darker history. The home is allegedly haunted by many spirits, including members of the family who once lived there. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and inexplicable noises that echo from its upper floors. Two architects working in the house in the late 80s saw a woman crying when they looked into a mirror in the ballroom, while other visitors have taken photographs of ghostly figures in the rooms of the house. While this place is a popular tourist destination and offers tours during the day, many believe that the true spirit of the house lives on after dark. Learn more about the Aiken Rhett House—both its nationally significant preservation as well as the insights it offers into urban life in Charleston before the Civil War.

The Haunted Hotels in Charleston

The Battery Carriage House Inn (also known as 20 South Battery)
20 South Battery Photo courtesy of: Historic Charleston Foundation

Are you looking for an eerie and thrilling overnight experience in Charleston? There are a few haunted hotels to choose from. These hotels are beautiful and said to be home to some restless spirits. One of Charleston's most famous haunted hotels is 20 South Battery (formerly The Battery Carriage House Inn). This charming bed-and-breakfast is in the Battery neighborhood, home to some of the grandest homes in the state. 

During the Civil War, confederate soldiers situated cannons in White Point Gardens (previously known as the Battery) nearby the Inn. Some soldiers were staying in the Inn's adjacent carriage houses near the weapons and ammunition when they exploded. Sadly, the blasts claimed the lives of soldiers and injured many others. Today, a figure of a headless torso, moaning and groaning, is believed to haunt the rooms of the Inn. Other guests claim to hear their cell phone ringing when it wasn't even powered on.

Charleston's haunted history is fascinating and eerie at the same time. With so many ghostly encounters and stories of the supernatural, it's hard not to be intrigued. Find out more about the history and stories of Charleston from our knowledgeable, certified guides, in blog posts such as 11 Secret Things to Do in Charleston. Better yet, hear all the best haunted stories from an Old South Carriage guide and see the locations in real life by booking a public or private Haunted Carriage Tour in Charleston. These night-time tours are a favorite! Who knows, you may even have your own ghostly encounter. Happy haunting!

Privacy Policy