Famous phantoms

These ghouls, spirits and poltergeists are braided into Lowcountry folklore.

October is a great time for ghost stories, and the Lowcountry has plenty to tell. From friendly lighthouse sentinels to a mischievous, foul-mouthed French jester, we identify six locals who were laid to rest, but according to legend, have never truly rested.


Haig Point Lighthouse, Daufuskie Island

Some Haig Point residents and visitors have claimed to have felt the friendly presence of Maggie, a young maiden who once lived with her family at the lighthouse. Many versions of the story are out there, and none of them sit well with Maggie’s descendants. That’s because the real flesh-and-blood Maggie’s life had a very different trajectory. Read the true story of Maggie and the Haig Point Lighthouse on page 152.

Eliza and Edgar Fripp

Chapel of Ease, St. Helena Island

The ruins of this burnt-down church are on St. Helena Island. A vault sits to the right of the ruins, holding the remains of Edgar Fripp and his wife, Eliza, who both died in 1860. But are they at rest? Visitors have reported strange sensations when walking through the deserted church’s graveyard. Rumor has it that when workers attempted to seal the vault for Eliza and Edgar Fripp, its ghostly residents wouldn’t have it. The bricks used to seal the opening were stacked in a neat pile next to the mausoleum the following day. Today the vault remains empty with the door half-sealed by bricks.

The Blue Lady

Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island

Young Caroline Fripp was the daughter of lighthouse keeper Adam Fripp. During the hurricane of 1898, said to be one of the worst Hilton Head had ever seen, her father died. Caroline, wearing a beautiful blue dress, carried out his dying wish of keeping the light burning before the raging storm took her life as well. The legend of The Blue Lady was born. The ghost has been seen at the Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse in Palmetto Dunes and at the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage, now located in Sea Pines.

William Baynard

Stoney-Baynard Ruins, Hilton Head Island

William Baynard was a successful cotton planter who won Baynard Plantation in a late-night poker game in 1837 from an heir of Captain Jack Stoney, a Revolutionary War hero. After his death in 1849, the plantation was raided by Union forces and housed many soldiers during the Civil War. Shortly after the war ended, the home was burned to the ground. Over the years, some visitors to the home’s famous ruins claim to have seen the ghost of Baynard, and even his entire funeral procession, wandering the site after dark.

The Gauche

Joseph Johnson House, Beaufort

Also known as “The Castle,” this downtown 19th-century Beaufort mansion is said to be haunted by the ghost of the Gauche, a dwarf jester brought to the area by French explorer Jean Ribaut. Over the years, guests have reported furniture moving, doors opening and closing by themselves and the sound of bells. Others found red handprints on the windows. The wedding scene from the 1998 Ben Affleck/Sandra Bullock movie “Forces of Nature” was filmed there.

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