Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hanging Around (literally) in Chucktown

The most macabre story on our downtown Charleston (SC) ghost & dungeon tour concerned a tall and wide building that on the bottom floor now runs a popular eatery and bar called Charleston Brewing Company....or something like that. The above floors are not used, but on a slow night you can get someone to take you up to the third and most feared floor, and I intend to.

You see, in the 1800's Charleston was a huge shipping port for everything, including humans of course. A merchant had recently sailed in to pick up a fortune's worth of merchandise from the man who owned and ran the aforementioned large building, I believe it dealt in cloth and silk and those types of goods.

The merchant was staying behind for a reason I have forgotten, while his ship of goods sailed to it's destination. I remember he was very down on his luck, a recent widow, down to his last ship, and poured his last monies into this cargo intended to revitalize his business back home.

The owner of the building told the man he was welcome to go to the top floor and watch his ship sail safely out of the harbor, but to let someone know before he went up there so he wouldn't end up forgotten and locked in.

The man said that wasn't necessary, but in a short time changed his mind. He went up to the top floor without alerting anyone. He stood at one of the large windows and could see his ship passing out of the harbor. His last ship, his last hope. Suddenly, the ship burst into flames, ruining his inventory and his transport.

Hysterical and grief-stricken, the man grabbed the nearest things in the sparse area where he stood. An old chair, and some bailing wire. He wrapped the wire around a chandelier and around his neck, stood on the chair, and kicked that chair away.

Well, bailing wire for a hanging is a bad choice. The wire didn't strangle him so much as it cut into his neck and caused profuse bleeding. The man struggled and kicked, not wishing for this slow death, and kicked out the window in front of him. It was already night fall in the busy city. No one heard the crash. He struggled in vain as he bled to death.

Eager birds found the broken window inviting and flew right in for a feast. They picked at his bloody clothes, his face and hands. They behaved as scavengers would.

Next morning. 6 a.m. Paperboy sleepily starts his shift walking up and down the street. Being a youngster, he spots a marble and picks it up. The marble is an eyeball. He shows it to adults nearby and the suspect it was pulled off a corpse and dropped by a bird. They look around. They find him, and alert the man who owns the building.

The man hurries over, goes to the top floor, and finds a horrendous sight. A bloody, bird-picked corpse so disfigured the man only recognizes him by his jacket.

No one has been eager to visit that floor or room. But when the tourist season dies down I am going to call them and see if they will let me poke around up there.

Oh! Pictures? I took them at night on the tour and they are not very good. I need to try getting more in the daytime. Here's what I have......


Yes, they do suck. I am going to work with them in photoshop, maybe lighten a bit. The focus is the top far left window.

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