As he spoke about the places we’d be strolling during the tour, he mentioned cobblestone streets, alleyways, and cemeteries. But he made a point of emphasizing that at no time whatsoever would anyone JUMP OUT AT YOU! He said this last phrase just like I typed it – loudly, suddenly, and with a sudden lunge toward my family. We were sitting at the time, and still my wife must’ve jumped a foot and a half. But she came down in plenty of time to still catch my impressionable 12-year old, whose jump was of Olympic-record proportions.
The first ghost story we heard involves one of Charleston’s bed-and-breakfast inns. The tale is about an out-of-town couple staying in one of the inn’s third floor rooms. The husband is a highly rational and skeptical sort of fellow, but he “feels the presence” of someone watching him whenever he’s in the room. This eventually leads to him seeing a headless, armless, legless torso floating next to the bed in the middle of the night! Which he at first mistakes for his wife, who was, shall we say, no beauty, and who often made nightly trips to the potty. But then he realizes she’s in bed next to him, and she says she sees the hovering torso too! So they up and head for home in the dead of night, never to return!
The most haunting aspect of this story, which disturbs me to this day, is that they’d reserved the room for three nights, non-refundable, and they NEVER SAW THAT MONEY AGAIN!
This was pretty typical of the stories we heard throughout the evening, although the settings got creepier. In fact, the finale takes place in a Unitarian Church Graveyard, which the tour company describes as having a “non-manicured” appearance, but which my wife would describe as “overgrown with weeds and vines and if you don’t clean it up by next weekend I’m going to hire someone to do it!”
Ultimately, we never saw anything spectral on the tour. My kids were half-disappointed, half-relieved. But the next day, they endured a terrible fright – in broad daylight, no less – when they witnessed a horrifyingly pale apparition! It was me, without a shirt on, at the beach.