The low country of South Carolina is one of those places where you walk through time. Different periods of American history are stacked one on another everywhere you turn. Paranormal activity is reported throughout this beautiful state, including hauntings at a fort and two sets of church ruins we visited.
OLD SHELDON CHURCH in YEMASSEE, South Carolina
The Old Sheldon Church Ruins is an historic site 17 miles north of Beaufort, South Carolina in Yemassee, SC.
The church was originally known was Prince William’s Parish Church and was built between 1745 and 1753. The church was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. The church was rebuilt in 1826. Amazingly, the church was burned once more in 1865 during the Civil War by General Sherman’s troops.
It is said that most of the Old Sheldon Church hauntings are connected to the headstone for Ann Bull Heyward, who died at age 38 in 1851. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions and being overcome with sorrow when near Ann Bull Heyward’s tombstone.
Even though we didn’t experience any visions or standing hairs on our necks, we think the grounds and ruins of Old Sheldon Church ARE hauntingly beautiful.
THE CHAPEL OF EASE ON ST. HELENA’S ISLAND
The Chapel of Ease ruins are found in Frogmore, South Carolina on St. Helena’s Island. During Colonial times, “chapels of ease” were built by rice and cotton planters as houses of worship. The Chapel of Ease was built in 1740 by planters who lived too far from Beaufort, South Carolina to attend worship services.
The chapel was abandoned in 1861 when sea island planters evacuated because of the approaching Union troops. It was then used by Union occupiers and as a sanctuary by Methodist freedman.
People have reported strange sensations when walking through the deserted church’s graveyard. Legend has it that each time parishioners tried to seal the vault of Eliza and Edgar Fripp, they would return the next day to find the crypt open and all of the crypt’s bricks stacked by the opening. Parishoners blamed ghosts.
Only the walls made of tabby still stand after a forest fire destroyed the chapel in 1886.
HAUNTED FORT FREEMONT
(the following is excerpted from South Carolina: Only in Your State)
Fort Fremont was built after the Civil War. It was established as a military installation on St. Helena Island in 1899. Fort Fremont served as one of six military installations in the U.S. that were built because of the U.S. war with Spain in 1898.
Fort Fremont was originally 170 acres right on the water, with barracks, stable, mess hall, administration building, commissary, bakery and post exchange. This fort was a huge investment for the U.S. government.
A mere ten years later, the government sent the entire garrison and all of the fort’s big guns to Fort Crockett in Galveston, Texas. Fort Fremont was abandoned and deactivated by the government in 1912. In 1921, the Fort was sold to the highest bidder.
THE FORT’S PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Fort Fremont is full of paranormal activity, according to paranormal investigators. Those investigators suggest that Fort Fremont was a site for hauntings even before the fort was built.
One legend* recounts a slave who was separated from his wife and sent away. He now walks the grounds and through the hollow remains here in search of her.
Another story involves Confederate soldiers who were on guard on the land here when they got into a fight with local African-Americans over the sale of moonshine. There were gun fights and fistfights, and an infantryman named Private Quigley was killed. His ghost hunts the grounds and the abandoned fort. He is said to be seen at times on Lands End Road which leads to the fort.
In fact, about 300 feet from the fort, on Lands End Road, there is a famous haunting that many have captured with their cameras and video recorders. It is commonly referred to as the “Land’s End Light.”
For those brave enough to turn off their car and wait for it, they see what appears to be a single car light slowly approaching them. As it passes, there is no car. People have reported feeling a small electrical current run through then as it goes by.
It is generally believed that this is the spirit of a Confederate soldier who was decapitated by a Yankee soldier who sneaked up behind him and cut off his head. The poor soldier is said to walk up and down the road every night looking for his head! Yikes!
We visited the fort in the late afternoon. We didn’t see any paranormal activity-just teens out climbing the ruins, having fun. This fort at the end of Land’s End Road DOES have an air about it though.
Take all this seriously. There have been multiple first-hand accounts of other-worldly things happening at these three sites and others in the low country! Some of the reported paranormal activities actually have matching historical documentation!
Address of Old Sheldon Church:
Old Sheldon Church Road, Yemassee, SC 29945
Find The Chapel of Ease at:
Lands End Road, Saint Helena Island, SC
How to find Fort Fremont:
The entrance to what is now Fort Fremont park and historic site is located at 1126 State Road S-7-45 off of Lands End Road on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina.