The Ghosts of Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand

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Long before Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, became known as an international vacation destination, it was an area steeped in distincitve culture and history. Today, visitors to the strand can still find places where the history shines through—historic former rice plantations with gorgeous columned homes, historic churches and marshy coastal inlets that have been prowled for hundreds of years by everyone from hungry fishermen to pirates. And  many say that for years, the area has also been prowled by ghosts.

How familiar are you with local ghost lore? Here are a few of the most pernicious ghost stories on the Grand Strand:

Alice Flagg
The stories vary slightly in their telling, but the basics are this: Alice Flagg was raised in one of the wealthiest families in the Lowcountry. In 1849, young Alice and her widowed mother moved in with Alice’s brother, Dr. Allard Flagg, in his Murrells Inlet estate, The Hermitage. Alice was an eligible bachelorette, but she made the mistake of falling in love with a common man, who gave her a ring that she wore on a ribbon around her neck. But Alice’s heart was broken when her family refused to let her marry the man.

In different tellings of the story, the ring is discovered either before or after she falls ill, but in each version Alice dies without marrying her love and her brother throws the ring into the inlet. Alice died in 1849, and her gravestone at All Saints Waccamaw Episcopal Church cemetery bears only one word: Alice. Her ghost is said to wander the inlet looking for her ring, and also to appear at the cemetery and The Hermitage.

The Gray Man
The history of the Gray Man dates back to 1822. As one popular version of the story goes, a young man returning from a trip to his home in Pawleys Island—purportedly he was hurrying home to see his beloved—decided to take a shortcut across some marsh. But both he and his horse were killed in the swamp. Later, the young girl was walking on the beach and a gray man whom she recognized as her lost love approached and told her to leave the island because she was in danger. She and her family fled just before a hurricane came ashore, destroying nearly every home on the island.

The Gray Man has reportedly appeared before residents of Pawleys Island to warn them of impending hurricanes ever since, including, reportedly, an 1893 storm that killed hundreds as well as Hurricane Hugo, the 1989 storm that killed 76 people and caused $10 billion in damage.

Have you ever visited the grave of Alice Flagg or spotted the Gray Man? Know any other Myrtle Beach ghost stories? Share with us!

Posted 8/17/13