On Sunday, we visited the Old Sheldon Church ruins, a historic site located about 17 miles north of Beaufort, South Carolina.
As you can see from the photos, the site is quite beautiful, if not a little haunting. Built between 1745 – 1755, the church was originally a place of worship in Prince William’s Parish and was burned by two warring armies: the British army in 1799 and the federal army in 1865. The outer shell and a few brick pillars are all that remain of the once majestic structure.
Though the church ruins and surrounding cemetery seem perfect for ghosts, I could only find a handful of tales online. One story tells of two visitors who heard heavy footsteps in the grass even though no one else was around. A paranormal investigation team snapped “a photo of interest.” One woman reported bright lights flashing behind her car as she drove by the old church. The most well-known tale features a woman dressed in a simple brown dress standing over a baby’s grave. A feeling of sorrow reportedly comes over visitors who walk near the child’s tombstone.
Are the ruins haunted? Who knows. Has anyone out there had a paranormal experience at Old Sheldon Church?
A reader recently shared her experience at the Old Sheldon Church ruins:
“I Googled the Old Sheldon Church because I wanted to find out if anyone had ever seen anything and talked about it. What got me was that you have a photo of Ann Bull Heyward’s grave stone. I have been haunted with this for so long that I had to find out who she was. So, here is the story…
In October 2005, I was on my way from Charleston to Savannah and turned off Route 17 to go see the graveyard and ruins. This was 10 a.m. and I was wearing dark clothes. It was an Indian summer, and I felt a chill in the air, but it was still a gorgeous day.
Once there, I stood reading a head stone when I slowly looked up and saw a woman. Her right arm was resting on the top side of Anna Bull Heyward’s stone (above). She had on a pale blue Quaker bonnet which was resting slightly back because I could see her light brown hair which was parted in the middle. The rest of of the woman was behind the stone, so I don’t know what color her dress was.
I could not talk as I was sort of in shock. I was especially shocked that she allowed me to see her. I was with a guy friend who was off to the right at a distance, looking at other stones. I then heard her say ‘Go to him.’ She looked over at my friend and I turned my head away to follow her direction and saw him there. I looked back at her, and she was still there. I did as she asked and have not seen her since.
I was not afraid, and this experience answered a lot of questions about a woman who allegedly watches over the grave of her child, assuming the story is true and the woman I saw is Ann Bull Heyward. The stone says she was 31-32 when she died. This female I saw was about that age.”
“I am so glad that I found this article! I grew up close to the church and always heard of strange things happening but never saw anything myself until a few years ago. I was taking pictures, and I tried to take a picture of Ann Bull Heyward’s gravestone. However, all l I could see was a green light coming out of the top of her stone, and the photo was completely blurry. I have never before or since seen anything that has given me such pause. Now I see that I am not the only one who has experienced a weird happening with Ann Bull Heyward!”