For a city so steeped in history, it’s no surprise Charleston, SC is known as one of the most haunted cities in America. Founded in 1670, Charleston has survived fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and two wars. With such a complex and often dark past, ghost stories and haunted places abound! Here are our top five most haunted, terrifying, creepy, and eerie Charleston locations.
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 the more than 13,000 prisoners who were executed on site. Denmark Vesey, a carpenter, community leader, and enslaved African was accused and convicted of being the leader of "the rising,” a major potential slave revolt planned for the city of Charleston. Local history indicates Vesey spent his final days locked in one of the jail's towers before his execution in 1822.
Considered the most haunted building in Charleston, The Old City Jail has been featured on nearly every major ghost program on TV.
2. Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon – East Bay Street at Broad Street
Now a National Historic Landmark, the Exchange and Provost served as a British prison during the Revolutionary War. Built in 1767, the underground dungeon housed Revolutionary War POWs, war criminals, and pirates, including Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet. The dungeon’s abominable conditions were well documented, and stories of prisoners suffering terrible deaths while locked in chains have made the building infamous. Local lore says the spirits of the departed remain tethered to the building.
3. Poogan’s Porch – 72 Queen Street
The legend goes, Zoe St. Amand, a schoolteacher who called the building home until her death in 1954, haunts Poogan’s Porch. Witnesses have seen her ethereal, ghostly form floating across the restaurant’s porch and sneaking up behind guests in the ladies bathroom, revealing herself in the mirror!
4. Circular Graveyard – 150 Meeting Street
Located next to the Circular Congregation Church, the graveyard was built in 1681 and is the permanent home of many Revolutionary War soldiers. Visitors report sightings of ghostly figures walking through the graveyard before disappearing in the shadows.
5. Unitarian Graveyard – 8 Archdale Street
The Unitarian Church dates back to 1772, making it the oldest Unitarian church in the South. It’s one of those places that looks terrifying, even in the daylight. Many claim the ghost of Annabel Lee, the Charleston woman thought to be the subject of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “Annabel Lee,” haunts the historic, terrifying space.
More Haunted Legends Await
Join us for one of our upcoming ghostly adventures in the city's spookiest spaces.