The Grand Strand is a hot spot for tourism and history, but what some might not realize is that the area has a notoriously active paranormal record as well. From ghost sightings in old cemeteries to haunted church ruins this strip of coastline is a one stop shop for any spiritual thrill seeker. If you’re looking to get out and explore this rich landscape and catch a glimpse of some lingering soul then you’ve found the right place.
· Alice Flagg
o Alice Flagg is by far the most popular ghost story on the Grand Strand. The legend, dating back to the mid-1800s, lays out a tale of forbidden love, a controlling family, and of course ghostly encounters. In 1849 Alice Flagg lived in The Hermitage, a seashore home of the Wachesaw Plantation estate, with her brother, Dr. Allard Flagg, and her mother. The Flaggs were an upper-class family in South Carolina society so when Alice becomes enthralled by a lumberman in a social class below her it was heavily contented. Alice, going behind her family’s back, accepted an engagement ring from her true love and hid it on a ribbon around her neck for months. When Dr. Allard Flagg found out he sent his sister to school in Charleston, SC where she subsequently fell ill. Back in Murrells Inlet Alice died within days of her homecoming and her brother who was so frustrated over the death of his sister throws the engagement ring into the marsh. Today you can visit Alice’s grave at All Saint’s Church near Pawleys Island where many enthusiastic ghost hunters have spotted Alice wandering around looking for her ring and clutching her chest.
· “The Grey Man”
o During the start of every hurricane season natives of the South Carolina coast keep a sharp eye out for “The Grey Man”. Many have said that an apparition walks the coastline the day before a big storm warning people of impending danger and those that head his advice live and their homes remain untouched. The “Grey Man” story says that a man was on his way to meet his intended when he was thrown from his horse and died. The fiancé, distraught with grief, went to the coast where she recognized her love all in grey and followed his advice to leave and go inland for that night a terrible storm wreaked havoc on the Grand Strand. If you’re into ghost stories and want to catch a glimpse of “The Grey Man” head on down to Pawleys Island on the Grand Strand the evening before a storm and look for his figure wandering the shoreline.
· Old Gunn Church
o Prince Fredrick’s Chapel built in the 1800s gets its nickname, Old Gunn Church, from the many paranormal sightings of the original contractor of the building, Mr. Gunn. The legend goes that in the 1860s Mr. Gunn was working on the roof of the church when he suddenly fell to his death. Since then he has been sighted up in the bell tower and his screams from the fall can be heard echoing through the now ruins of the Old Gunn Church. Today there is a chain-link fence with barbed wire surrounding the chapel for your safety and the preservation of the ruins. Trespassing is not allowed but viewing the hauntingly beautiful structure from outside the fence is fair game.
· Walking Shadows Ghost Tours and Ghosts of Georgetown Lantern Tours
o With Georgetown being the third oldest city in South Carolina it is packed full of old folklore and mysterious sightings. If you don’t want to miss a beat and catch all of the spooky histories of Georgetown the Walking Shadows Ghost Tours is by far the most authentic route to take. Georgetown native, Ginger Haithcock, does these tours Thursday-Saturday and even has paranormal investigations using K-2 meters and a “ghost box” (just like on TV!). To make reservations call 843.543.5321.
o Another option for a spooky tour is the Ghosts of Georgetown Lantern Tours directed by husband and wife, Elizabeth and Lee Huntsinger, taking place by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays. The duo will often dress the part in pirate costumes or Civil War-era garb while taking their guests through the streets stopping at haunted spots like an old wartime hospital and many others. To make reservations call 843.543.5777