|Tour Guide and Owner|
of Charleston Ghost Tour Company
Okay, so I didn't travel far---just about 25 minutes away---but, my plans for Thursday evening included taking a haunted history walking tour of Charleston, WV! Yup, you read that right---Charleston, WV has finally gotten it's own ghost tour, which I think will soon become not only a fun, hip way for locals to spend the evening, but also serve as a great destination activity for those outside the Kanawha Valley.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the inaugural weekend of the Charleston Ghost Tour Company tours, but I was able to attend during its second week in operation. On the way there, the skies opened up and dumped a ton of rain on the Charleston area. I was terrified we'd have to reschedule, but the weather cleared up and it turned out to be a beautiful night.
My husband and I had signed up for the 8:30pm to 9:45pm tour, which the second and last time slot of the evening. The sun had already disappeared as we met our guide and fellow tour patrons at the United Bank Building's courtyard. Our guide, April Morgan, is a local history buff and paranormal enthusiast. She owns and operates the Charleston Ghost Tour Company along with her husband, who was there to assist. He did a great job, but you could tell that this is April's baby!
We started off with a quick overview of Charleston's history, including its pre-history as a Native American hunting ground. Back before the United States was...well, the United States, Thomas Bullit, on the direction of Lord Dunmore, met with the Shawnee leader, Chief Black Fish, to ask permission for Europeans to settle in the area now known as West Virginia. Black Fish denied the request, saying the land was not his to give. Rather, it belonged to a mysterious race of Moon Eyed People, known as the Azgen tribe, who had been wiped out by other tribes. He said the spirits of these people haunted the hills and terrified the Shawnee people more now than they did when they were alive. He also mentioned that if anyone tried to settle their lands, the Azgen would not kill them. Instead, they would turn brother against brother, and son against son.
Whether or not the darker side of Charleston's history and its hauntings are directly related to this Azgen curse, it was certainly a spooky way to start off the tour! And, the spookiness continued as we took a stroll around the city. We learned about the ghosts occupying the old Capitol Plaza Theater and the Mortar Man hiding on Capitol Street. We heard a terrifying tale of a shadow being in the Oddfellows Building, and of a ghost who liked to steal from a homeless man in Brawley Walkway. We made a stop at the site of West Virginia's former capitol building which burned down in 1921 and heard some amusing stories about the ghost of the man responsible for the fire. The Woolworth Building was another stop. This was the site of a horrific fire in 1949 that took the lives of 7 firemen. Many believe those firemen are still wandering the halls.
|Kanawha River, across from the Sunrise Carriage Trail|
Our evening concluded down by the river, across from the Sunrise Carriage Trail, as we listened to the stories of the two Confederate women who were executed and buried along the trail, along with the tragic story of Governor MacCorkle's daughter, who died in a car accident and had quite the spooky memorial set up along the trail in her honor.
I absolutely loved this glimpse into the spooky side of Charleston's history! I learned a couple of different ghost stories that I wasn't familiar with, and even the ones I already knew were told with such passion and skilled storytelling, that I was thoroughly enthralled all evening. April did a wonderful job, and she and her husband were a delight to talk to on the way back to our vehicles. It turns out that we have a lot more in common than just our love for haunted history! I know I'll definitely be a regular visitor, and I hope you'll come out for a tour as well! Even just a few weeks into their first tour season, Charleston Ghost Tour Company is already helping out the community by working with various groups and causes (such as Poca Middle School Cheerleading and the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society). With such commitment to charity and such a commitment to bringing a fun, educational, and SPOOKY activity to this area, I really see the Charleston Ghost Tour Company growing and thriving. And I can say I was here from the (almost) beginning, lol!
Know Before You Go
*Ghost Tours are held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7pm and again at 8:30pm.
*These are walking tours, but they are handicap accessible. It's an easy enough pace that my jacked-up back didn't have any problems. Tours last about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes and the trip length is around 12 blocks.
*September tours are currently meeting at the United Bank Building courtyard. We had no problem finding street parking on Thursday evening, but there are several options, including area parking garages. Please see the website's FAQ section for suggestions.
*Tickets can be reserved on the Charleston Ghost Tour Company website, through EventBrite. You can pay through PayPal, or pay in person when you arrive with cash/check/card. Again, see website's FAQ section for more info!
*Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 years old, and free for kids 5 and under
*Each month the tours will be different! October will bring some different locations and different stories!
*Private and corporate tours are available.
Call or text: (304) 610-4439
Website: Charleston Ghost Tour Company