What if the Navy Yard was the site of bizarre human testing and a mysterious outbreak? 

Got A Fever

A rarely seen public worship ceremony of Poseidon takes place at the North Charleston Navy Yard in 1918

Photo illustration by Scott Suchy

A rarely seen public worship ceremony of Poseidon takes place at the North Charleston Navy Yard in 1918

Scientists in the Annex conduct experiments to turn an admiral's wife into a photosynthesizing plant. A girls' boarding school that meets in the admiral's house uses isolation and torture to create the "perfect woman." Down the street in the Eternal Father of the Sea chapel, a cult that worships the sea god Poseidon is decimated first by religious persecution, then by an epidemic.

This is the history of North Charleston's Navy Yard, as told by the Scribes*.

The Scribes' account is peppered with opaque references to "The Event," a wrathful god named Old Tom Longlegs, and an outbreak of a disease called the Frei Fever. Here's a quick explanation of the fever, as written by the Scribes:

"Outbreaks of the Frei Fever infected many of the inhabitants in the region sometime during the early- to mid-1900s. The disease started within the rural community before spreading to the city. The yellowing of eyes was the most obvious sign of the disease. The sight of anyone with yellowed eyes led to violent forms of defense including stone-throwing, verbal abuse, and public shunning."

At the Infirmary, a red-roofed medical facility now riddled with broken windows, a 1998 excavation turned up the journal of a sailor named Lee Thompson. The journal entries predate the Event, and they shed some light on nefarious experiments being carried out by the Infirmary's staff. The Scribes write:

"According to Thompson, many patients in his wing of the infirmary began to mysteriously disappear. Eventually, Thompson was told that he was being moved to the opposite wing for undefined reasons. For weeks he was awoken to screams and sounds of struggle coming from other rooms down the hall. But one night he was woken up, not by the screams, but by his doctor. He was told that they had a procedure they needed to give him right away. A needle was taken out and filled with a mysterious blue liquid. When Thompson tried to resist, he was held down. However, the nurse told to administer the procedure stopped the procedure that night because of a complication, and Lee Thompson made it to the next day, which was the date of his final entry."

In medical records discovered by the Scribes, doctors write that Thompson suffered from split personality disorder and was prescribed Risperidone, an antipsychotic drug. Officially, according to a toe tag found at the sight, Thompson died of a Risperidone overdose. Unofficially, he may have survived the treatment and outlived the Event.

What exactly was the Event? Who is responsible for the Frei Fever outbreak? Is anybody alive to tell the true tale of the Navy Yard? Mysteries remain.

*The Scribes are students of Academic Magnet High School creative writing teacher Junius Wright. For three years, Wright has been leading students on field trips to the Navy Yard to work on the Three Dimensional Story Project in which students look for artifacts and build an alternate history, complete with historic markers that they have placed on buildings. Vandals have removed most of the markers, but you can still find a map of the historic sites and their corresponding stories at 3dsp.wikispaces.com. The project is ongoing, and the students plan to put up new signs soon.


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