First, let us introduce you to "Annie of the Lighthouse."
Before technology, when bad weather slammed the tiny isle of North Island, furious storms came up most often unexpectedly. Shrimpers and ship pilots feared these "Furies of the Bay" at North Island... with good reason!
In the early 1800's, a stone lighthouse was built on North Island, appointed with cozy living quarters and flaunting a great whale-oil lantern to guide ship pilots through the treacherous Bay. The innkeeper had a daughter named "Annie."
Annie took part in the day-to-day upkeep of the lighthouse; when supplies were low, she and her father rowed across the Bay to Georgetown to obtain supplies. Scheduling their trips to travel with the tides, they would arrive back just in time to light the glowing lantern...
Pawleys Island was an enormously wealthy island - due to the rice plantations. One of the planters traveled by horseback, hoping to propose marriage to his lover. He was thrown from his horse and landed in quicksand; the sand enveloped him... taking his life! Two days later, the woman he intended to propose to was walking along the shore; she saw a grey figure appear. Shaken by the vision, but curious - she moved closer. It was her lover. As she stretched out her arms, he slowly disappeared...
A nightmare plagued her dreams that night; a storm at sea would take her life. The very next day, her family fled from the island, just in time to escape an approaching hurricane. The man was not seen again until the turn of the century. The Storm of 1893 struck The Grand Strand with great force! The storm wiped out the settlement of Magnolia Beach, just north of Pawleys. Ever since, the visions only occur when hurricanes threatened the coast. The man would appear and warn people of the devastating storms. Those who listened would survive, those who didn't... would perish.
In 1989, the man was seen again... just before Hurricane Hugo pounded the coast of South Carolina. Just a coincidence? You decide.
Halfway through the trip, giant waves grew, and swamped the boat! He desperately tied Annie to his back, and attempted to brave the angry water to safety . . . Exhaustion and shock won the battle, and the light keeper awoke on shore not remembering how he got there.
Little Annie had drowned, while still tied to his back. Since that dreadful day, sailors have reported a sweet, blonde child appearing on the bow of their boats, usually on calm days, pointing to the Bay and begging them to "Go Back" ... Without fail these visions occur before a violent, unanticipated storm. Those who ignored her found themselves in a watery grave!
Still a nonbeliever? Let me take you back to the early 1820's. The location is Pawleys Island...
She was the younger sister of a wealthy rice planter that owned "The Hermitage," located in what is know today as Murrells Inlet.Alice was schooled in Charleston, SC. While attending the New Year's Saint Cecelia Ball, she got engaged. But, a marriage to this man would never be accepted by her brother.
He was not of the same stature and culture as the Flagg family, and her brother wouldn't hear of such a thing. She was forbidden to wear the ring. Instead, it hung on a ribbon around her neck, tucked deep in her blouse, not to be seen by her family.
Alice was stricken by a terrible fever! While in delirium, her brother sighted the ring and snatched it from its hiding place! He threw it in the creek near "The Hermitage"... Alice left this world while crying for that ring.
Her brother buried her in a temporary grave, but, later her remains were moved to the Cemetery at All Saints Church near Pawleys Island. A single stone slab marked her grave with one word as a reminder... "Alice."
Legend has it that her spirit will raise from the dead if you walk around her grave backwards - 13 times...
Care to take a stab at it?
These are a few of the many stories, legends and folklore surrounding South Carolina's rich heritage. Skeptics laugh at the possibility that these stories even exist... But locals tend not to laugh too hard - for they have seen it with their very own eyes. And in the dead of night, shadowed by the eerie oak trees, you too may be witnesses to something you can't explain. Hence, a new legend begins...