The Haunted History of Charleston

The historical backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the longest and most differing of any group in the United States, spreading over many years. It was founded in 1670 and, although the city has had its low points, it is still thriving today and is currently one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S. Charleston was the leading city in the South from the time it was founded up to the Civil War. The city has survived fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and war. There are several buildings that were important during these events, one of which is The Old Exchange Building, which has been standing since 1767. The Old Exchange is the home to a dungeon that was used to hold prisoners of war during the British siege in the Revolutionary War, and later housed pirates such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet. When you factor in the age of the city, and the number of people who died either from war or natural disaster, it’s no wonder that Charleston is considered one of the most haunted cities in the US. The best part about this haunted history is Bulldog Tours has got tours through these places.Dungeons Charleston South Carolina With such an eerie and dark past, it should not surprise you to know that almost every major building in Charleston has a ghost story. Some of the places are obvious. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, for example, is one of the most haunted locations. As previously stated the dungeon housed POWs and pirates and it is said that their spirits remain tethered to the building. Another famously haunted location is the Old City Jail on Magazine Street where it is said that over 13000 people lost their lives. The Old City Jail has been featured on every major ghost program on TV and is considered the most haunted building in Charleston. Another well-known establishment is Poogan’s Porch restaurant, which is named after Poogan – the dog that still haunts the restaurant. Poogan will, according to some sources, rub against diners legs while they eat.Jail Tour Charleston South Carolina

Some haunted locations will surprise you, though; Places that are seemingly harmless. A few examples that come to mind include the Dock Street Theatre on Church Street, City Hall, and The Library Society building on King Street. I know what you’re thinking, “what’s the worst that can happen at a library?!” Well, the library society is haunted by a man in a bulky period coat. Several staffers report seeing him, plain as day, before he disappears from sight, he also reportedly plays with the microfilm during the day.

The Dock Street Theatre on Church Street was, originally, the Planters Hotel and has nearly 350 years of history to it. There are several ghosts said to haunt the Dock Street, but Nettie is the most frequently spotted. Nettie lived in the 1800s and was a prostitute who frequented the Planters Hotel. She is usually seen floating on the second floor of the theater wearing a red dress.

Charleston City Hall, located at 80 Broad Street, is said to be haunted by General P.G.T. Beauregard. Beauregard was a native of Louisiana and a General in the confederate army charged with the city’s defense during the attacks on Fort Sumter. Multiple guides, employees, and councilmen have reported seeing the General’s ghost overlooking the city council chambers from a second-floor balcony.Dock Street Theater, Charleston South Carolina
If you want to see a ghost the best way to go about it is to take photographs. There are professionals out there and a lot of recommendations on how to take the perfect ghost photo, but realistically any camera at any time can pick up a ghost. You do not have to be an expert. Ghosts are said to leave behind their energy which is almost thermodynamic and allows them to show up in photos. One expert recommends that you not use a flash when you take pictures as that will tend to create strange light reflections and give a “flash bounce” that could easily be mistaken as a ghostly image. If you do not have a steady hand you can use a tripod to steady the camera. If you suspect that a ghost is present, take 3-5 photos of the same spot and check for differences, subtle as they may be. Ghosts will show up as anything from orbs, to streaks of light (usually their energy in motion) to full figures or shadows.

Here is an example of a ghost photo:

Haunted Jail Charleston South Carolina

The Best Videos of Charleston’s Old City Jail

Charleston’s Old City Jail, one of the most haunted historical buildings in our country, has certainly caught the eye of Hollywood’s travel and paranormal fanatics. The jail first graced the silver screen in the mini-series, “Glory,” highlighting its use as an insane asylum during the Civil War. In recent years the jail has been investigated by “Ghost Hunters,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Paranormal State,” The Travel Channel, and “Ghost Brothers.” All the shows agreed: the jail is haunted!

When “Ghost Hunters” investigated the jail, scratches appeared on all the investigators’ bodies during this episode. A black mass also passed by on camera. They concluded the building was definitely haunted, and guests needed to treat it with respect because evil people were held there in life and their spirits should be treated as evil afterlife as well.

When “Ghost Adventures” explored Charleston’s most haunted building, they were successful in finding some very creepy evidence of what they believe is the ghost of Lavinia Fisher on their sound monitors. Check out the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” show at the Old City Jail in 2011.

Paranormal State” claimed they were in contact with the spirits of enslaved African Americans that were imprisoned in the jail. They said they found ghosts that felt as though they were being tortured and held against their will.

Samantha Brown of The Travel Channel toured the jail, saying “If you’re gonna be scared to death in the South, Bulldog Tours leads the most frightening ghost tour in all of Charleston, the Old City Jail.”

Some other notable videos regarding the jail are:

Still in doubt? Come see for yourself. Book one of our Haunted Jail Tours today.

Lavinia Fisher Night at Bulldog Tours

For the third year, we’ll be offering a special paranormal investigation of the Old City Jail on the anniversary of Lavina Fisher’s death, Feb. 18. This year, that day happens to fall on a Saturday, so we are offering the investigation on both Friday and Saturday nights (Feb. 17 and Feb. 18). The investigations will begin at 11 p.m. and last until 2 a.m. Cost is $35 per person. Space is limited and reservations are going fast. We highly recommend calling as soon as possible to grab your spot.

In 1820, Lavina was hanged for her crimes as the first female serial killer in the United States. Reportedly a beautiful woman, Lavina was married to John Fisher. Together, they operated a hotel, the Six Mile House. During their time managing the hotel, the police received many reports about disappearing hotel guests. There are many versions of the story as to how Lavinia and John murdered the unlucky guests, but two of the more popular accounts were that she poisoned their tea and that once they fell asleep her husband would stab them or that they would pull a lever so their bed dropped them into a pit with spikes.

6 Mile House

Redention of the Six Mile House by Juliee Boatright

There are stories of a few who managed to escape the Fishers, which is how the murdering couple was ultimately captured and held in the Old City Jail until they were both publically hanged.

We look forward to sharing these stories and more during our special paranormal investigation on the anniversary of Lavina Fisher’s death. Please call 843-722-8687 for reservations and more information.

5 Charleston Graveyards Worth a Wander


Here in the Holy City, churches are simply part of Charleston’s makeup — and the city’s breathtaking skyline! And with that often comes the graveyards. Many of our downtown places of worship also have stunning, historical, and intriguing graveyards that visitors are always welcomed to have a meander through. We’ve narrowed down our favorite graveyards here, all of which are within walking distance to one another, with the exception of the churchless graveyard of Magnolia Cemetery.

Unitarian Church and Huguenot Church
Both of these places of worship are on Archdale Street, so we’ll combine them as one bullet point since their graveyards are adjacent. You’re actually able to meander through one and to the next as they’re also connected. We recommend accessing it from the somewhat secret walkway on King Street to get the full effect — the feeling that you’ve encountered a wondrous secret garden and a peaceful retreat from the bustle of King. This one’s particularly gorgeous as it’s overgrown with flowers, making it seem ever more seeped in mystery. If you’ve heard that in Charleston we refer to graveyards as “gardens,” well, once you step foot into these gardens, you’ll understand exactly why that is.

St Michael’s Episcopal Church
St. Michael’s, the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, sits at the four corners of law at the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad Street. Dating back to the 1750s, you can imagine the old graves that await in its graveyard, including that of John Rutledge.

gravestones at the Circular Congregational Church

gravestones at the Circular Congregational Church

Circular Congregational Church
Some of the most ancient gravestones in town are here at the beautiful Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street. Plan to stroll for a few minutes here, since there are over 500 gravestones to observe. In fact, the oldest one in the city is here and dates back to 1675. While you’re wandering, note the incredible gravestone art at work throughout these grounds, a common practice in the 1800s of using slate to create images and medallion portraits. From the skulls, a symbol dating back to the 1600s, to portraiture, a characteristic that hasn’t been located in any SC or Georgia graveyard.


graveyard at St. Phillips Episcopal Church

St Philip’s Church
Only a block from King Street, St Philip’s Church is home to many important historical figures in Charleston, like John C. Calhoun, Edward Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Christopher Gadsden, and Dubose Heyward, the latter of which immortalized Charleston forever with his Porgy and Bess.

Magnolia Cemetery
Off the beaten track and relatively far from the above walkable downtown cemeteries, Magnolia Cemetery is only a short car drive away on Morrison Drive (East Bay St. turns into Morrison as you drive farther north to the cusp of North Charleston) and it is certainly worth finding. Once there, enjoy a slow wander through the beautiful final resting place of people such as Langdon Cheves, Robert Barnwell Rhett, Horace L. Hunley, and Thomas Bennett and the many unique, grand graves of a very long list of notable figures.. Spanish moss-covered oaks make this spot especially stunning and so, so very Charleston.

To delve much deeper into the fascinating history of Charleston’s graveyards, go on one of Bulldog’s Ghost and Graveyard Tours.

The Wild Blue Ropes and Ghost Adventure Package



We are excited to announce our partnership with Wild Blue Ropes. Tickets are now on sale for guests to sign up for one of our night tours and a Wild Blue Ropes course.

Wild Blue Ropes is a premier high climbing ropes and outdoor adventure park, featuring 72 suspended obstacles, up to 35 feet in the air. There are four difficulty levels ranging from beginner to expert. Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park is located just off Folly Road, less than 10 minutes from downtown Charleston. Wild Blue Ropes is a perfect outing with family, friends or coworkers. There are night climbs and other celebrations.

This package includes tickets to Wild Blue Ropes and tickets to one of our night tours. That means that guests could go on the Ghost and Dungeon, the Ghost and Graveyard, the Dark Side of Charleston or the Haunted Jail Tour. The total for the package is $58. That’s a savings of $9 total.

If you are interested in adventure and our ghost tours, sign up for this package. You’ll get to enjoy a relaxing night tour and a physical challenge during the day – the best of both worlds. Call 843-722-8687 for more information or visit