Are you afraid of what goes bump in the night? If so, there are some hotels in Charleston that might ruin your staycation. 200 year-old gentleman callers and headless guests sharing your room might sound like a nightmare to some, but if you take the Ghostbusters’ approach and say “I ain’t afraid of no ghost,” these hotels might be the place for you.
The Battery Carriage House Inn is one hotel that’s not ashamed to host a ghost. In fact, they welcome them and openly advertise that dozens of guests and employees have reported strange encounters there. According to the Inn’s Elizabeth Kilminster, ghosts stories at the Inn include a more than friendly gentleman in room 10 who will get into bed with women to spoon, especially if they’re single, a headless torso in room 8 which will wake people with his moans and heavy breathing, and a little girl who plays around the fountain and in rooms 3 and 1. “We have people ask specifically for those rooms every week,” says Kilminster who told me that she’s had strange instances at the hotel by herself. “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I can’t explain a lot of things that go on at the hotel — even my dog is terrified.”
The Mills House Hotel is not as open about being a supernatural hotspot, but still has a haunted history which guests and employees can attest to. Many guests have reported seeing Confederate soldiers running up and down the halls and one apparition was said to resemble the ghost of Robert E. Lee. History buffs might recall that the hotel was used as a Confederate base during the Civil War but was damaged in the fire of 1861. Now those soldiers are said to scan the halls looking for water in order to put out the fire — which was put out for good more than 150 years ago.
Just around the corner is the 1837 Bed and Breakfast, where guests and employees have reported seeing a little boy playing around the halls, to vanish shortly after. George, as the employees there have affectionately named him, was said to have been a slave boy of the house whose parents were sold to a family in Virginia. After stealing a rowboat, George attempted to chase after the slave ship his parents were on, but tragically flipped his boat and drowned in the Charleston Harbor. The bed and breakfast was supposedly the last place George was with his parents. In rooms 2-2 and 3-1, guests and employees have said they were shaken from their beds by George or were startled by the sight of the bathroom door repeatedly slamming shut. But staff assure us there’s no need to worry. Apparently even Casper can’t beat George for friendliness.
This one sounds a little odd, but the thoroughly modern Embassy Suites is actually a Civil War monument — it used to be the old Citadel. Since its renovation into a hotel, scores of guests and employees reported seeing apparitions of cadets or officers in the jacuzzi suites on the top floors, especially in the corner rooms. Embassy Suites concierge Evan Kellinger says that the top floor was originally the officer’s quarters. Most of the officers stationed there died during the Civil War. When asked about the most recent sightings, Kellinger said that there was a guest as of several weeks ago who reported seeing an apparition and a bright light floating around his room. However, the guest couldn’t see it very well and when he went for his glasses, the apparitions began moving from place to place and he never got a good look at them. Guess this ghost still had his sense of humor.
Just across the road, the Francis Marion Hotel is no stranger to ghosts. In 1929, a guest named Ned Cohen was staying in a room on the tenth floor when he fell to his death. It was a gruesome sight on the street and to this day, no one knows what compelled him to jump — perhaps a Southern belle he had recently met. Today, guests on the tenth floor report seeing Ned in his dinner jacket wandering the halls or have been startled when their window suddenly opens up and a cold breeze fills the room. “We have had guests say that they don’t believe in ghosts,” says the concierge, “but they’ll swear that they’ve seen or felt something in their rooms with them.” If you dare, stay in room 1010, and say hello to Ned while you’re there.
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