ghost tour

The Six Mile House – A Spooky Story For Halloween!

The story that I tell today is one of Charleston’s oldest and
most colorful legends, a story I heard at age 6 when my father told me the
story of  Charleston’s favorite serial
killers, John and Lavinia Fisher. But to properly tell the tale, I need to
reference Charleston’s most haunted structure. It sits on a notorious site. First,
it was the site a paupers graveyard, but in 1772 they built a gunpowder storage
facility, a powder magazine, on the site . Eight years later, in May of 1780, when
the Patriots surrendered to the British, terms of parole demanded that they
surrender their firearms and gunpowder at the Magazine, and someone dropped
their pipe! The magazine went up with a huge explosion that liquidated 29 men
and sent body parts flying across town. They claimed that the imprint of a body
was left in the steeple at the Unitarian church! The building I speak of was
built in 1803 on that very site. It stands today as a tall, gaunt, crumbling Gothic
castle. We know it as the old County Jail on Magazine St.
Without a doubt it is Charleston’s most haunted structure. Through
its years of service from 1803 to 1937 there were 35,000 registered deaths in
that building. No small wonder then that it is claimed as Charleston’s most
haunted structure. Fittingly, it also holds Charleston’s most terrifying
specter; a floating ghost in white that haunts the long vaulted hallways… But I
digress, back to John and Lavinia Fisher.

The Fishers were innkeepers, the name of their inn was the Six
Mile House, located some 6 miles up Meeting Street Road. The year was 1819, and
6 miles up Meeting Street was pretty far out of town. I guess you might say
that the Fishers were running a country Inn. Today, when we think of a country inn
we think of fresh flowers and mints on the pillows. But in the old days a
country inn was called a roadhouse, and a roadhouse typically had 2 rooms. The
ladies slept in one room, the gentleman in the other, and the beds—the beds slept
3 each! I guess they had different expectations of privacy back in 181
But John and Lavinia Fisher were ahead of their time. You
see, the Fishers had a private room with a single bed reserved for wealthy
guests traveling alone, and traveling alone was the operative term.  Those wealthy guests got the very best the
Fishers had to offer… the best food, the best drink. And at bedtime they got a
very special nightcap which put them to sleep…a sleep from which they never
awoke! A poison draft so to speak. And the bed, they claim that even the bed was special, that is, if you can believe the old tales, they claim that the bed was really a platform, and the platform had a latch. They would lift the latch and spin it. The bodies would drop to a lime pit beneath the house! No muss, no fuss, no evidence!
Over a period of 14 months, a dozen wealthy lonely travelers
disappeared from the neighborhood of the Six Mile House and, finally, stolen
goods belonging to two of those gentlemen were traced directly back to John and
Lavinia Fisher, who, at that point, found themselves with a new address, and
that address was the old County jail on Magazine St
The people of Charleston did not want to convict Lavinia
Fisher of murder. She was, after all, a married woman. In the social
expectations of the time it was assumed that a good wife would never commit
murder unless coerced by her husband. But Lavinia Fisher gave them no choice;
she showed no sorrow, she showed no remorse for her actions. Lavinia Fisher
boasted of her exploits from the witness stand! Indeed, Lavinia Fisher was
convicted of murder. Her sentence was to hang by the neck until dead.
To give you an idea just how difficult she made it on the
community, one of her requests for her execution date was the she be allowed to
wear her wedding dress. Because, to quote Lavinia Fisher,
“I shall be Satan’s favorite new bride in Hell!”
And so, Lavinia Fisher’s execution date arrives. The
community has an answer to the scandal of executing a married woman. You see, they
hang husband John first. That made Lavinia Fisher a widow! So now they can
proceed with Lavinia Fisher’s execution, without stain of scandal. The minister
leads her to the gallows, he leads her with prayer. As she mounts the platform
the minister turns to Lavinia, he pleads,
 “Sister Lavinia, wilt
thou repent!?!”
 Her answer to the
minister, and to the silenced witnesses?
“If you’ve got a message for the devil, give it to me now,
I’ll carry it.”
 At that, witnessed by
the horrified crowd, Lavinia Fisher , with the rope around her neck, pulls the
lever, the trap drops and Lavinia Fisher hangs herself. ..
But here in Charleston, we don’t believe that Lavinia Fisher
ever met the devil. You see Lavinia Fisher is Charleston’s most terrifying
specter. It is she who haunts the long vaulted hallways of the old County Jail where
she appears as a floating specter in a white dress. And for those unfortunates
who meet Lavinia , she rushes forward at them down the hallways, screeching and
pulling her hair. Why, Lavinia Fisher turns her neck sideways, to show the rope

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers themed tours od Historic Charleston including the Old Walled City Tour, the Home and Garden Tour, the Slavery and Freedom Tour, and the Charleston Ghost Walk. Go to www.walledcitytours.come to learn more!



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