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Modern Living in the Old South

Modern Living in the Old South

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Haunted Summerville

Tales of the Mysterious & Unexplained…

The Mysterious Man of Little Main

“My father’s ghostly account was so real, he recorded it in his diary,” says Mr. Robert Anderson as he sits behind the desk where his father sat on the night of his encounter. “He was a number cruncher, so he was all about the facts. He saw what he saw,” says Anderson.
It was around 10 p.m. on the night of May 11, 1965, and the late Mr. B.E. Anderson, a C.P.A., was working in his office on the second floor of a Main Street business. As always, he sat at his desk, his back to the window, as he worked on tax returns.
“He was still looking down when he had an overwhelmingly eerie feeling,” says Anderson. He later said he felt “a presence—a personality” near him. The feeling was so powerful that he looked up and over his shoulder. There behind him stood a man in a brown suit, his facial features—even his mustache—so distinct, that in the seconds Mr. Anderson tried to comprehend what was happening, he also tried to contemplate whether he knew him. Then he realized he could see through him.
“My grandfather was a deeply religious man,” says Jimmy Anderson, his grandson. While the apparition was visible for only seconds and then disappeared, Mr. Anderson reported he felt such cold chills, he took it as a warning and left immediately.
Although, he recorded it in his diary, Mr. Anderson rarely spoke of the incident. He did, however, tell his son of the strange encounter.
Approximately seven years later, C.P.A. Pete Chellis, was working in the same building. Reading a computer printout, he started down the long hallway in the office, when he was overwhelmed by what he described as an “eerie” feeling. The hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he was overcome with chills. He looked up to see a man standing in the middle of the hall, his features and clothing very distinct. Chellis asked loudly, “What are you doing here?” as it was after business hours, and he was alone. The man looked at him momentarily and disappeared through a locked door in the hallway.
The next day Chellis asked Anderson about his father’s account. They pulled the late Mr. Anderson’s diary from the desk drawer and read. The man described in the diary was undoubtedly the same man Chellis encountered—he wore a dark brown suit and his facial features were distinct, right down to his mustache.
“He doesn’t appear often,” says Robert Anderson. “I actually have never seen him. Not sure if I’d want to.”

The Lady of This Whole House

The rambling white house at the corner of East Doty Avenue & South Magnolia Street, built in 1875, holds a ghostly mystery. Once a private residence turned brothel in the 1930s, the structure is now host to the Day Drink Brunch Lounge and before that, the structure was host to the charming This Whole House (tea room and antiques shop) owned by Judy Thomas and her husband, Mychael.
“The house was an anniversary gift from my husband, Mychael,” owner Judy Thomas says of the dwelling purchased in 2004.
Right after opening, the Thomas’s niece, regarded by the family as “spiritually sensitive,” and who believes that spirits can remain attached to old objects, urged them to pray over the house. “She wrote a prayer and mailed it to us,” said Thomas. “I remember the day we read it. There was a bad thunderstorm, and the door had been sticking.”
The Thomas’s daughter, Mecia, read through the entire prayer. The last lines read, “We call on the help of the angels from the north, south, east and west. If there are any evil spirits attached to this house, in the name of Jesus Christ, leave!” With that, a gust of wind swept through the room, and the front door opened and slammed closed. “We were stunned,” says Thomas.
In the days that followed, other strange and unexplained events occurred. “Objects are often moved or sometimes hidden completely from us,” says Thomas. “It happens all the time—a stack of receipts here, a tea pot or a bowl there; and we hear noises a lot. And then there’s the incident with the clock.”
One night in the tea room, a family friend said jokingly, “You can let yourself be known!” The clock on the wall immediately struck. It had never struck before and has never struck again.
On another occasion, a waitress was setting the tables in the tea room when she saw a figure pass by the doorway out of the corner of her eye. Thinking it was the first customer of the day, the waitress called to Mychael, who was working at the time. “I just caught a glimpse of a customer going upstairs,” she told him. “I just barely saw her shoe and the bottom of her dress.” Mychael climbed the stairs to greet their guest only to find a completely empty second floor…and third floor. Only later did they discover more about their resident spirit from more “sensitive” customers.
“A couple people say they’ve seen her,” says Thomas. “A lady from Beaufort walked right up to me one day and asked pointedly, ‘Can you tell me about the lady upstairs?’” Customers who have seen the woman often describe her as “distinguished.” While some have speculated she may be the madam of the brothel that existed long ago, Thomas does not agree. “I think she’s more refined than that.”
When asked about the full history of the house and its possible connection to the ghost, Thomas has limited knowledge. She spent hours poring through records in Columbia after her family purchased the home, but she never found anything conclusive. “I’ve always thought there was a connection with the Ice House. They owned it at one time,” she says.
This Whole House continues to operate business as usual. They even use their resident apparition as a marketing tool. On their website, Thomas writes: “Peeking through a large Magnolia tree sits a charming cottage built in 1875. Many business establishments have called this little treasure ‘home,’ but ultimately the most famous was the downtown brothel! Come in and share the stories of our gunshot hole, our friendly ghost, & our way into the tearoom business….” Come in sometime. Your experience may be more than you bargained for.

Legend of Light Road

Long before hoards of shoppers and movie-goers flocked to Azalea Square, there was a narrow, inconspicuous road that transitions from asphalt to dirt about a mile off Main Street. Sheep Island Road is its official name, but to locals it will forever be known as Light Road. Ask anyone who has been in this area long and one is sure to get a chilling account of their night of terror at the end of this lonely dirt thoroughfare.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, numerous news reports and television clips about the light aired on local television, and accounts from airmen stationed at the Charleston Air Force Base in 1969 recall a mysterious meeting with paranormal investigators from the University of South Carolina on the road in the middle of the night.
As the story goes, there was a set of train tracks that once ran parallel to the road. One night a railroad worker was struck by the train, his head completely severed and never recovered. His wife, longing to lay to rest the entire remains of her husband, wandered the scene of the accident every night, railroad lantern in hand, in search of his head. Long after her own death, it is believed she still wanders the tracks with the lantern in search of what she was never able to find in life.
Descriptions of the many experiences at Light Road are eerily similar. As a test of bravery, families or groups of friends piled into a car and make their way to the end of the road. A small light, often blue or green, (although there are accounts documenting both a white light and a red light) appeared in the distance. The light, hovering on the horizon sometimes for several minutes, suddenly raced forward and encircled, or in rare cases, actually entered the vehicle. Once the light reached the vehicle, the sequence of events varied. Some said their car engines stopped altogether. Some reported that their cars violently shook. Others were terrified to see frost forming on the windows. Many recalled hearing whispers or voices and finding strange fingerprints on their cars.
“I can remember when we were kids, my dad took us to Light Road,” says Anne Jascomb, a Summerville native. “This was back in the 1960s. My father pulled a pistol from under his seat just before we sped off. We thought this act of theatrics really added to our experience. Years later I asked if he remembered the night he pulled out the gun to frighten us. He turned to me with a surprised expression and asked, ‘You don’t remember the whispers?’”
Today, the unpaved portion of Sheep Island Road is blocked to the public by a mound of dirt that spans the width of the road. It is now monitored closely by local law enforcement. The strange occurrences at the end of Light Road remain an unsolved mystery.

Stories collected by Katie DePoppe (2011), Updated 2023 all rights reserved by AZALEA Magazine

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