The Unitarian Church, 2nd oldest in Charleston, is home to the United Universalist congregation, the oldest Unitarian church in the south. It was not built by Unitarians, it was built by the Society of Dissenters (sinister sounding but they aren’t scary at all) who needed more space to worship – they are known as the Circular Church. Walking down King Street in Charleston you will eventually stumble upon the old graveyard. It is overgrown except for the paths. Wildflowers adorn the graves and trees grow into the tombstones. It’s a beautiful cemetery and it’s said to be haunted.
Charlestonians say that the last complete poem written by Edgar Allen Poe “Annabell Lee” was written for the ghost of Anna Ravenel that haunts the cemetery. Ravenel’s haunted love story is hidden by the mysteries that come with time. I recently read about Anna. May her soul find peace and her love.
The graveyard was one of their secret meeting places.
In 1827, Anna was 14, from a wealthy family and promised to a aristocratic man. She fell in love with a solider Edgar Perry who was stationed at Fort Moultrie right across the harbor.
When Anna’s father found out, he tried everything to keep them apart.
December 1828, Edgar was transferred away. It’s rumored that Anna’s father had some influence.
Anna fell sick with fever, possibly dengue, it was working it’s way through the southeast. Her sister got word to Edgar about Anna being ill. Poor Anna died before he could see her.
Edgar wasn’t allowed to go to Anna’s funeral. He didn’t know which plot was hers. Her father bought 6 plots and had them all dug so Edgar would never know which grave was hers.
If you dig into service records you will find an Edgar Perry around those dates. But he enlisted under pseudonym and his real name was Edgar Allen Poe.
It’s been said her ghost can be seen by her unmarked grave.
Anna and Edgar, if this story is true, I hope your souls find each other. May you find the peace you didn’t have in life together.
Annabell Lee by Edgar Allen Poe. I never read it until a few days ago. It’s quite lovely.
Charleston churches and graveyards are very different for us. We aren’t use to churches being right next to each other and cemeteries almost seemed shared because they were right next to each other. You can walk into one cemetery and there is a gate dividing it from another. They are known as being the Holy City for all the numerous houses of worship they have.
We decided to be naughty and mess with our friends who freak out that we like to go take pictures in cemeteries. We try and explain that to us there’s a weathered beauty about them and the architecture is way nicer than the giant modern glass buildings we see all the time. So we are starting a thing – graveyard selfies. One of the things we hear is that we will bring ghosts home. No we won’t. They also tell us that they are really haunted and full of the departed. Thing is one friend works in a hospital. Vic and I think that a hospital would be way more haunted and full of angry ghosts especially in America. Since our healthcare system is so inhumane at times, it’s more about money than really getting you care, health insurance being expensive, some decide to go without it – there’s so much stress and aggravation dealing with our healthcare system. It would make anyone die and wanna come back and haunt the shit outta people. My parents have been having health and insurance issues recently. It’s been a nightmare. If I spent my last days in a hospital and knew my family was being denied claims or given a headache, etc, I’d send my ghost after anyone with a vengeance who made my last days not peaceful. We feel a nice pretty graveyard probably has less angry spirits and way more people die in a hospital. So where would a ghost haunt? Where they last spent their waking hours or a place where they are meant to rest in peace? Also cemeteries have a lot more green space than where I grew up in Manhattan so they are real nice and park like to me. Things like being followed (it’s happened twice) and almost getting robbed, those things really scare me. Besides I’m plenty weird enough to have a chat with a ghost if I encountered one (be a little spooked too). I’d be like, “Hi, I’d like to know your story. Can you help me verify these historic facts? Let’s be friends.” If Vic saw a ghost he’d be like ,”So you guys are real?”
For our friends who can’t stop flipping out: