The whole of South Carolina has a rich, if somewhat bloody history. Thousands have died here in a number of wars, most notably the Civil War and as you might expect this has birthed all manner of legends and ghost stories.
Columbia in particular is said to be fairly haunted thanks to the presence of not just one, but two of the oldest buildings in the area.
Let’s get up close and personal with some of the most haunted places in Columbia, SC.
7 - The Gervais Street Bridge
The Gervais Street Bridge in Columbia, South Carolina is apparently haunted by the restless spirit of a young girl who stands by the side of the road trying to hitch a ride.
There have been many reports from drivers who claim to have stopped to offer her a ride.
They all have one thing in common with one another – she asks the driver to take her home, but about halfway there they realize that she has vanished without a trace from their care! Spooky!
6 - South Carolina State Museum
According to both visitors and employees alike, the South Carolina State Museum is one of the most haunted places in Columbia SC.
The building was originally a textile mill and was built back in 1894. It is now said to be haunted by the ghost of a former mill worker who goes by the name of Bubba.
According to staff, it is believed that poor Bubba died in some kind of industrial accident. His apparition is most often spotted up on the fourth floor of the museum, next to the Old Country Store.
He is described as wearing overalls and has been seen stepping into the elevator. Visitors have even ridden in the elevator with him, but upon exiting he walks down the hall and disappears into a solid wall!
At times Bubba is able to manifest as a full-body apparition that is quite ‘real’ looking making people think it is a live person, but on other occasions, he appears as little more than boots and partial legs.
When in this partial form Bubba seems to keep to the shadows.
5 - Mill Creek Elementary School
There have been a number of reports of paranormal activity linked to Mill Creek Elementary School in Columbia, SC. Some of the residents who live just behind the school have spotted some strange sights at night over at the school.
Sometimes people get a feeling of uneasiness like they are being watched and they will look up at the school only to see a shadowy figure at the doors of the school gym. This always happens at times when there would be no reason for students, or even staff to be in the building.
Some residents have even said that this shadowy figure has come towards, or even entered, their home as well. They are described as being dark and like a silhouette with no discernible features on their face.
These dark shadowy figures are almost always accompanied by a sense of fear and uneasiness!
4 - Fort Jackson
Fort Jackson is an active United States Army Installation that was named for former President and one time United States Army General, Andrew Jackson. It is also considered to be one of the most haunted locations in Columbia.
At the root of the hauntings, there is a story of a female soldier stationed here who took her own life.
Witnesses say that her apparition appears in the latrine where she did the deed and she always has a hole in her helmet, although some say that they were led to believe that the woman had hanged herself so there is no reason for her to have a bullet hole in her helmet.
On occasion, there have also been reports of disembodied female voices and humming. She is by no means the only spirit that is said to be haunting Fort Jackson.
Over in the B Company 369th AG Barracks, there are frequent reports of a shadowy male figure who walks from room to room in the barracks almost as if he is checking on the soldiers as they sleep.
3 - University of South Carolina
According to Columbia locals, the University of South Carolina is haunted by many different spirits, some of which have been formally identified over the years.
For example, the library area is allegedly haunted by the ghost of former University President James Rion McKissick. It is said that the former president wanders around the library at night and students believe that if the lights are on late at night, it is an indication that he is there, going through the books.
President McKissick is actually buried on campus just a few feet from the library building which could explain why he is said to be lingering here.
Other reports of strange activity in the building include unexplained cold spots, doors opening, and items moving around. In addition, the DeSaussure College Building is apparently haunted by a group of ghostly soldiers and also a female apparition with long dark hair.
There is a story that goes along with this particular haunting. The lady is believed to be the daughter of Dr. Black, a military man who was murdered by a group of soldiers. The good doctor’s daughter decided to seek out her revenge and avenged her father’s death by poisoning the soldiers responsible for his death with some poisoned wine.
However, she slipped up and also drank some of the tainted beverage herself. This is why her spirit is also tied to the property along with the soldiers that she poisoned!
There is also another fairly tragic tale relating to the ghost of a young woman who has been seen around campus.
Apparently, the girl was raped and killed by Union soldiers during the Civil War and she is now wandering the campus and targeting students that hail from the northern states since they are the closest thing to Union soldiers she can find to torment.
2 - Longstreet Theatre
Longstreet Theatre in Columbia, SC once served as a hospital in the Civil War Era. In fact, what is now the theatre’s green room actually used to be the morgue!
This probably goes a long way towards explaining why the theatre is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Columbia SC!
Among the reports of paranormal activity here the most common phenomena include unexplained cold spots, people saying that they feel uneasy for no apparent reason, odd noises, and even various apparitions.
It is also very common for people to hear doors slamming shut by themselves, for the floorboards to creak and for the elevator doors to open at random when nobody has pushed the call button.
1 - South Carolina Lunatic Asylum
South Carolina Lunatic Asylum is one of the most haunted in Columbia SC. It was originally built sometime between 1822 and 1827, so it has had plenty of time to accumulate plenty of ghost stories!
The old insane asylum is known to locals as ‘Bull Street’ and when it was built South Carolina became only the second state to have invested money into building a facility that was specifically intended to care for and treat those suffering from mental illness.
It started out as a single building, but over time it was expanded into a small village like compound made up of various different buildings.
There were separate buildings for male and female patients and the slaves/servants also had their own building.
In the Civil War era, the grounds of the hospital were used as a prison camp. Things seemed to have gone downhill at the hospital after the civil war largely due to a lack of funding and an increasing difficulty in obtaining the appropriate supplies.
It is thought that by the 1950s there were around 5,000 patients at Bull Street which meant pretty serious overcrowding. As with most asylums at the time, there were rumors of mistreatment and barbaric medical practices here and a lot of neglect due to understaffing.
The population began to decline towards the 1970s until it was decided that deinstitutionalization was required. Slowly, the patients were found in new homes, and the hospital was more or less abandoned.
However, it is believed that some of the patients who died here have stuck around and visitors have described seeing strange shadows, hearing residual hospital sounds, and hearing the disembodied cries and screams of former patients.