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Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
August 22, 2006
For the tour, we explored the alleys, graveyard, churches, and cemeteries of the Historic District. As we walked along, we stopped by various sites while our tour guide told us stories of hauntings and ghost sightings. We even were shown photos of the ghosts in the shadows of the cemeteries. We also got to go to the dungeons where they kept the pirates and other criminals. It was an eerie place. Even Captain Jack Sparrow, a.k.a. Johnny Depp, would be scared...
From journal 3-Day Gastronomic Adventure in Charleston, SC
by The Breeze
May 13, 2005
Early in the day, you might just be lucky enough to find a parking space right where you need it. The only problem is, there will probably be a meter by it, which you will have to worry about feeding every hour or two (depending on how long you wish to be away from your car). There are many multi-level parking garages strategically located throughout the city, which I found to be the most sensible approach. They usually charge by the hour, or a flat fee of $5 to $6 for the entire day.
For those who enjoy walking, Charleston is a natural. Its buildings have been so compactly built and meticulously restored that, even if you stroll at a leisurely pace, you will most likely miss some details the first time around—or even the second, or the fifth!
Charleston is a delight to the senses. Breathe in the smell of the ocean; smell the scent of magnolia and jasmine. Notice the riot of color—in the flowers that pop out at you from the homes’ beautifully manicured gardens and courtyards, as well as in the buildings themselves. Listen for the clip-clop of horses’ hooves, for the splashing of city fountains, for the lilting songs of the many birds that frequent this place. Feel the silky softness of the very air here…for it will soothe and relax your stress away. While you walk, remember that this city has withstood many hardships, including two major wars, a massive hurricane, and devastating fires that resulted. Watch for iron plates and turnbuckles that were used to stabilize buildings damaged by earthquakes. Notice the exquisite ironwork, one artistic feature that could survive all the abovementioned devastation. There are maps and outlines of self-guided walking tours available at the Visitor’s Center.
But you don’t have to do all the work yourself! There are a number of outfits that offer tours led by trained guides who have a wealth of knowledge about the area and its history. A few companies offer walking tours, where you are encouraged to explore the many nooks and crannies of this intriguing city, focusing on a theme.
Finally, for those who prefer to take it easy, there are ways to see it all while giving your feet a rest: There are different types of boat tours, which will allow you a better glimpse of the many waterfront houses and historic Charleston harbor, and van, bus, and horse-drawn carriage tours, as well—Whatever your preferences, you can see this wonderful city with a minimum of hassle.
From journal Under the Spell of Charleston
May 7, 2005
The tours, which include a Civil War tour and a Historic Homes walk (among others), depart from the Broad Street entrance to Washington Park.
Purely out of curiosity, I decided to try out their Ghosts and Legends of Charleston tour. About a dozen of us met at 7:30 in the evening, and a pleasant lady led us on a 1.25-mile trek up and down streets and alleys I never would have known existed, all the while regaling us with fascinating tales of ghost sightings by people long since departed, but that took place right where we were standing. As darkness descended upon us, that prickly, eerie feeling began to softly go up and down our spines as we heard about graveyard hauntings and former residents of certain structures. You had to be there to experience it. Even if you don’t believe in such things, you should try a ghost walk just for the entertainment value!
Charlotte, North Carolina
March 22, 2005
When in a haunted place, I take in a ghost tour. This time out we went with the Original Charleston Walks. There were about 20 people in our group. Which was a great size, not to big and not to small. Our tour guide was Patrick a local college student studying history. Patrick was very good, knew his stories well, and injected plenty of laughs too. The tour is 90 minutes and covers about 1.5 miles. The pace is easy, and there are plenty of stops along the way. Patrick told us about the Whistling Doctor, the Grey Man, and about Isaac Hayne’s (not Hayes) ghost! You will also hear about haunted inns, a local restaurant (Poogan’s Porch), and about the nearby Gullah culture, which practices a religion very similar to voodoo. The tour was quite fun and entertaining. Only the smallest of youngsters might be scared. If you would like to read more about these scary stories try "Charleston Ghosts" by M.R. Martine. You can purchase the book at local bookstores or at the tour office.
In 2005, Trae Rhodes and his guides celebrated 10 years of offering visitors many ways to see Charleston. In addition to the very popular ghost tour, they also have Civil War, Historic Homes (which include the Edmonston-Alstond and Nathaniel Russell home tours), Patriots of Charleston, Slavery and Freedom, Pirates and Buccaneers, and their award-winning Charleston Walks tour, which over a fantastic overview of this gracious city. The tours have been featured here on the Travel Channel, CNN, Discovery, History Channel, just to name a few. Their tours have been featured in countless national publications and they are considered one of the best tours in Charleston.
At their office, you can find restrooms and beverages available for purchase. Pets are allowed on the tours as long as they are on a leash (Jasmine enjoyed her tour). They offer their tours in French and German. The company tries to keep their tours to fewer than 20 people, allowing everyone in the group a chance to hear these fascination stories. They do offer private group tours and can customize them for your group. You can order your tickets online and save $3. Just head on over to www.charlestonwalks.com for more information or to purchase your tickets.
From journal Touring the Low Country
April 13, 2004
So what was the first ghost story? It was about a ghost family that drives over the Cooper River Bridge. If you've ever been on this bridge, you know it doesn't need to be haunted to be scary. It's steep, narrow and feels unsteady. I could buy any number of tales about the supernatural here, but our guide seemed to overblow the story, pushed it over the "good yarn" level into the hokey. Instead of just ghosts driving eerily into mists, we got ghosts with crabs crawling out of their mouths and eyeballs popping out! (The ten-year-olds were impressed!) And so the tour continued.
What did I actually enjoy? Well, while our tour guide truthfully lacked the timing and energy of a good story teller, he did impart some interesting history. For instance he told us about the fiddlers in the old slave market who used to play music for the slaves so that they could dance before they were sold. This was not done for the slaves' entertainment but rather to limber up their muscles, which would have atrophied on the long shipride over from Africa. This did lead seamlessly into a ghost story about accounts of stomping feet in a particular alley.
How does this tour stack up? I recently went on a similar tour which I enjoyed more in New Orleans. Perhaps that city with its gaslights and Voodoo culture is better suited for eerie tales of ghosts and shadow. Charleston certainly has the rich history needed to create a past full of specters, but the aura was lacking. In fact I got the feeling this grand dame of the South prefers to keep her ghosts packed away with her skeletons: in the closet and out of sight. My parents, both native Charlestonians, actually laughed at me when I told them I was going on a ghost tour. My mother summed her feelings up. "Well, it's funny how all these ghosts from the 1800s started appearing after someone came up with an idea for a tour.... I've never heard those stories or seen those ghosts, and I was alive before most of those tour guides were born!"
Having said that, would I suggest you still go? Well, sure. Especially if you have boys with you. My son would not have enjoyed a history tour, but that's what the adults got with a few "tall tales" thrown in to keep the kids engaged.
From journal A Couple in Charleston