The Ghost Cow of Charleston


“I was living at 123 Bull Street when I was terribly frightened by something that nearly took all of my nerves away. The people with whom I lived told me not to go out and stay out late at night, but I thought they were selfish and jealous, and I did not pay any attention to what they said. Night after night, I went out and stayed until 12 o’clock. Then one night came when my going out was stopped without having to be told.

The house in which I lived was next to Avery Institute with a yard of beautiful shrubbery which makes it very haunted looking at night. Very seldom are people seen passing in that somewhat secluded section of Charleston at night. Night after night, I would be the only one walking along. Then, on an eventful night just as I turned to go into the side entrance to my room in the rear, under the tree which I had to walk I saw a cat which did not frighten me until it turned into a calf of about two years old.

My hair stood straight up on my head, and I became so weak that my voice was just above a whisper. Drops of perspiration fell from me. When I had recovered from the shock, I ran and the animal must have followed me. I could hear it galloping behind me as I ran home a few rods from the scene. Looking back as I almost burst down the door, the peculiar thing was no longer visible.”

Told by Mrs. S.C. Ladson, age 36, maid, 180 Queen St. Charleston, SC 
Federal Writers’ Project. 1936. WPA Federal Writers’ Project Papers. USC South Caroliniana Lib., Columbia, SC.


Where You Least Expect It: 5 Haunted Parking Lots

haunted parking lot

Though ghost hunters flock to graveyards and crumbling old mansions, not all spirits haunt these traditional locales. In fact, many stories emerge from some of the least interesting places on Earth: parking lots. The Web is full of tales of haunted car parks and ghostly garages, including a few that made international headlines. Here are five of them.

Puckett’s Wrecker Services, Oklahoma City, OK
In 2002, Oklahoma City resident Tracy Martin died from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. Eighteen days after her death, a staff member at Puckett’s Wrecker Services saw a transparent white figure floating on the business’s security monitor. The folks at Puckett’s say the figure was Tracy searching for her red truck, which the business had recently moved. The story made international headlines and was featured in an episode of My Ghost Story.

Meeting Street Parking Garage, Charleston, SC
Construction projects in downtown Charleston often turn up bones and old graves. However, when the city built a parking garage atop a Quaker graveyard, they also found a few spirits. Weird happenings at the garage include random cold spots, shadowy figures, and an odd amount of dead batteries. The garage is a common stop for Charleston ghost tour companies who claim spirits of the deceased enjoy following tourists to their car. Note: I used this garage several times when I lived in Charleston, and the only trouble I had was an oblivious motorist who backed into my car and drove off. Maybe a ghost made her do it?

Yahoo Voices, Trip Advisor

Nationwide Arena Parking Garage, Columbus, OH
The Ohio State Penitentiary stood for 160 years before authorities tore it down to build a parking garage for the Nationwide Arena. Hundreds of people died at the old jail, including 322 inmates who perished in a 1930 fire. Now, weird events plague the modern garage, including strange orbs, the smell of smoke, unexplained screams, and the sound of phantom flames.

Prairie Ghosts, Paranormal Love to Know

Greenwood Mall, Bowling Green, KY
According to local legend, a man parked his van at the Greenwood Mall parking lot and then died inside the vehicle. No one knew who the man was or where he came from. When police removed the van, it left behind a large grease stain that has yet to fade and is apparently impossible to remove. Now, shoppers who park their vehicle in the mystery man’s spot and leave it overnight will return to a man sprawled motionless in the passenger seat. If the startled vehicle owner phones the police, “the Sleeper” will be gone before authorities arrive. Folks also whisper about a murder that allegedly occurred in the lot, but like many ghost legends, the story is difficult to prove.

Forgotten USA, Ghosts Wikia

Unknown Parking Garage, Japan
This ghost video is popular among paranormal enthusiasts, but I don’t know much about it other than it came from Japan. Here’s a quote GhostStudy.com posted:

“I got this movie clip from my friend who works as a chief security guard at a Japanese company. He brought the tape over to show me something unusual. Afterwards, he converted it onto avi format with his computer. I don’t know if it’s a camera distortion or a real ghost, but it’s very interesting!”

Fake or not, I think the video is super creepy. Of course, Japan has the freakiest ghosts.

Don’t assume ghosts only haunt old buildings or dilapidated graveyards. After all, who knows what secrets lie buried beneath the concrete layers of your local parking lot.

Know of a haunted parking lot? Share your tip or story here or email ghostsghoul@gmail.com.


Haunted Charleston: The Old City Jail Building

charleston's old city jail at 21 magazine st.

Built in 1802, the Old City Jail housed some of Charleston County’s most infamous criminals, including 19th-century pirates, errant slaves, and Lavinia Fisher, America’s first female serial killer. Thousands of inmates died within the structure’s imposing walls and it’s these tormented spirits that reportedly haunt the 210-year-old building today.

Now owned by Charleston’s School of the Building Arts (SoBA), the jail is generally off-limits to the public, though tourists can take the Haunted Jail Tour offered by Bulldog Tours. Spooked visitors describe objects that disappear, an alarm that goes off for no apparent reason, cell phone batteries that mysteriously die and recharge, heavy doors that open and close on their own, and the sound of heavy breathing in empty cells, among other eerie events. Visitors have also seen a black specter wandering about the halls. A former warden, perhaps?

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