If you missed the broadcast of Southern Haunts: Ghosts of the Low Country on ETV last October, fear not. DVD sales of the popular award-winning documentary series will be available at Gaillard Auditorium on Jan. 12-13 during the Lowcountry Civil War Show.
Made by Nashville-based company Skydive Films, the series highlights local haunts in Charleston and Savannah.
Among those in Chucktown: the Old City Jail, Battery Point, and the Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon. But the favorite of director Zac Adams is the ghost at the Dock Street Theatre.
“It’s the most interesting because of who the ghost was,” Adams says.
That is, a bonafide celebrity. Well, mostly. Sorta. Almost. Maybe. This ghoul-in-residence has evidently given people plenty-o-reason to believe he’s the father of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
Word is one day he got angry with his agent and savaged him. Like father, like son.
As Nancy Locke, the “authoritative” source of paranormal history, points out, that’s just the kind of thing that makes a good place for a ghost. The assault on the agent left behind a Stay Puft marshmallow man-sized load of bad juju.
Those days are behind him now, though. In post-being-alive retirement, the old guy likes to spend his evenings hanging out in the balcony of the Dock Street Theatre overlooking rehearsal, or unlatching and then re-latching the velvet ropes leading up the stairwell.
Then there’s the story of the “Gray Man.” He’s a friendly ghost. He takes a stroll along the beaches of Pawley’s Island right before hurricanes in case the gusting winds and driving rain that typically precede hurricanes aren’t enough to tell residents that there’s danger afoot and that they might want to leave the island.
Shoring up the case for the Gray Man’s helpfulness is “historian” Locke again. In soft dignified tones, she states that she’s heard (from unimpeachable authorities?) that he was a merchant or businessman who had reason to go overseas frequently.
On one long trip, he was eager to return to his fiancée, who was waiting for him. He went ahead of his ship’s crew (how, she does not say). He got caught in some quicksand or a marsh (use your imagination).
Anyway, he died. Now he haunts Pawley’s Island. Oh, the horror!
The DVDs of Southern Haunts are $20. For more information, go to www.skydivefilms.com. —John Stoehr