The Ghosts of the Battery Carriage House Inn

Battery Carriage House Inn (JEB Images, 2011)

When visiting Charleston, it is possible to get a little closer to the ghosts.  In fact, if you stay at the Battery Carriage House Inn, you may awake to find one sleeping next to you.

The Battery Carriage House Inn is said to be the most haunted hotel in Charleston.  It’s been featured on various “Most Haunted” lists with numerous first-hand accounts of paranormal activity.

Gun on the Point Battery during the Civil War (coastalguide.com., 2011)

Samuel N. Stevens, a prosperous lender and a broker of crops, purchased the property at 20 South Battery in 1843.  In 1859, John Blacklock bought it, but soon found cannons stationed steps—literally—from his door, placed there to defend Charleston against Union intruders during the Civil war.  Not surprisingly, he fled Charleston.  But he didn’t sell it until 1870, when Col. Richard Lathers bought it.  The Irish-born Lathers made his first American home in South Carolina in 1821, but he had moved to New York in the 1840s, and soon made a fortune as a broker, banker, and railroad director.  He even served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  None of these things made him particularly popular in postbellum Charleston.

The property had been badly damaged in the Civil War, and Lathers did an extensive remodel in the French-inspired Second Empire style designed by John Henry Devereaux.   New modifications included a mansard roof and a ballroom, though it’s said that Lathers used the ballroom primarily as a conference room for meetings with powerful Northerners, since he was so disliked amongst the locals.  It’s also been said that Lathers tried repeatedly to “restore good will,” inviting leaders from the North and South to break bread, share wine, and put behind them all of the ill sentiments generated by the War Between the States.  Ultimately, though, the grudge held by the people of Charleston proved too much for Lathers.  He took his “Yankee blood money,” and moved back to New York.

Andrew Simonds, a phosphate mining businessman and the founder of the First National Bank of South Carolina, bought the house in 1874.  Today, Simonds’ great-great-grandson, Drayton Hastie, owns the property.

Now, let me just say that if you’re expecting to stay in a dark, creepy, rickety, old mansion with cobwebs hanging from dusty chandeliers, you’re going to be disappointed.  The Battery Carriage House Inn is absolutely stunning.  With wonderfully appointed rooms and a kind, down-to-Earth staff, this place would be a hot-spot even without the front-row view of White Point Gardens and the Charleston Harbor.

A variety of spirits supposedly congregate at the Inn, but there are two distinct entities worth specifically mentioning.

Room 8 of the Battery Carriage House Inn (grandpere, Sep 2011)

First, in Room 8, a particularly harrowing ghost frequently visits guests—and the visits tend to be on the less-friendly side.  This ghost has been described as a “headless torso.”  In 1993, a self-described skeptic saw the apparition—and even touched it.  He said that he awoke in the middle of the night, and found the headless torso beside his bed.  He said the raspy breathing of the specter was menacing enough, but when he reached out to touch it, it growled at him.  He said the spirit’s overcoat seemed to be made of a coarse material, perhaps burlap.  “It scared the heck out of me,” he said.

Room 10 of the Battery Carriage House (Tailofthedragon.com, 2007)

A gentler spirit seems to frequent Room 10.  The Gentleman Ghost is so-named because it tends to crawl into bed with the women who stay in the room.  If the woman awakes and protests (or screams), the Gentleman Ghost will make a prompt exit through a built-in entertainment unit that used to be the original door to the room.  What happens if the woman doesn’t object to sharing her bed?  Who knows?  To my knowledge, it’s never happened.

Current staff speculates that the headless torso may have been a Civil War soldier—the unfortunate victim of a munitions accident.  The Gentleman Ghost, on the other hand, is said to be the spirit of a sensitive, but suicidal college student, who leaped to his death from the Inn’s roof.

Contact the Battery Carriage House Inn for reservations.  You can even request a specific room, and the staff will try their best to accommodate you.

Carriage House:
JEB Images. (2011, April). Stevens-lathers house aka battery carriage house – charleston, south carolina. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bulebushphotography/5664039091/

Gun on the Point Battery:
coastalguide.com. (2011). Charleston, n.d. Retrieved from http://www.charleston-sc.com/phototours/charleston-civil-war15.shtml

Room 10:
(Tailofthedragon.com, 2007)
Tailofthedragon.com. (2007). Sumter sc to charleston sc ghost tour. Retrieved from http://tailofthedragon.com/CHARLESTON/day2.html

Room 8:
(grandpere, Sep 2011)
grandpere. (2011, September). 1843 battery carriage house inn bed and breakfast. Retrieved from http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g54171-d97029-Reviews-1843_Battery_Carriage_House_Inn_Bed_and_Breakfast-Charleston_South_Carolina.html

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~ by scareschs on May 7, 2012.

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