Around the Campfire: A Kiawah River Ghost Story and Halloween Happenings

In the spirit of Halloween, Kiawah River is sharing one of Charleston’s spookiest and little-known tales that hits close to home: the tale of America’s first female serial killer. Because for a town nicknamed the Holy City, quite a few sinister things tend to happen this time of year.

The Tale of Lavina Fisher, America’s first female serial killer

Though she’s been dead for nearly 200 years, the ghost of Lavina Fisher can still be found haunting the streets of Charleston. According to legend, Lavinia and her obedient husband John owned the Six Mile House, located on a lonely road six miles north of Charleston for weary travelers heading in and out of the Lowcountry. With an affinity for gold jewelry, Lavinia was particularly interested in the wealthy-looking tourists and would often bring these guests into her grand parlor for tea, where she would serve them up a lethal cocktail.

Drugged guests would then stumble into their beds, which doubled as trapdoors set to fling open and drop unsuspecting travelers to their death in the home’s cellar. Lavinia and her husband would then steal the men’s jewelry and dispose of their bodies.

On one particularly eerie night when the moon was directly overhead, a tired businessman named John Peoples stopped at the Six Mile House. Peoples never liked tea, so he quickly tossed the poisonous drink into a nearby plant when Lavinia turned her back. As the hours crawled by, he grew suspicious of her strange behavior and excused himself for the night. Unable to sleep, he sat in a small chair facing the bed. His suspicions were confirmed when the bed suddenly sprung open, revealing the cellar below where Lavinia’s husband was waiting, holding an axe. Peoples dashed out the window and hurried back to Charleston to tell the authorities about Lavinia’s house of horrors.

Locals say the serial killer bride has been sighted near the Old Jail on Magazine Street and in the Unitarian Cemetery, offering wealthy-looking tourists a cup of tea.

Halloween in the Lowcountry isn’t always so frightening. The arrival of fall brings along with it seasonal produce from Charleston’s local farms, harvest festivals and plenty of pumpkin patches and community gatherings. Below is a list of can’t-miss local fall events.

Local Events

Legare Farms Pumpkin Patch & More

October 6-28; Legare Farms

Established in 1725, Legare Farms is a 300-acre farm on Johns Island that provides residents with fresh local produce, locally raised meat and homemade goods. During the farm’s Pumpkin Patch & More event, visitors can pick pumpkins, craft scarecrows, participate in a nature quest and more.

Family Fright Nights

October 19-20, 26-27; Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

This is a family friendly event full of entertainment for all ages where everyone is encouraged to come in costume! Games, treats, tons of candy, face painting, balloon twisting, hay maze, photo booth, costume contests, pony rides, and a fun house will all be part of the excitement.

Animal Forest Fall Frolic

November 3; Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

It’s time to frolic in the forest- the Animal Forest that is! Watch the animals receive fall-themed enrichment that brings out their natural behaviors and even play a few games yourself.

Harvest Festival

November 3; Johns Island County Park

Come on down to Johns Island County Park for foot-stompin’ live music from five local bluegrass bands, hay rides, archery and pumpkin decorating.



Photo by Chris Isham