It has been home to Charleston’s most infamous criminals, pirates, and Civil War prisoners.
Old City Jail
This super creepy old jail was home to Lavinia Fisher, America’s first female serial killer. The jail is located on Magazine Street downtown and was in operation from 1802 until 1939.
Lavinia and John Fisher were married and lived near Charleston. In the 1800’s the couple operated a hotel, the Six Mile Wayfarer House. If you’re wondering why it was named Six Mile Wayfarer, it’s because the hotel was said to only be six miles outside of Charleston. Reports to authorities started to come in that men last seen visiting Charleston and staying at the hotel were coming up missing. It is believed that the couple robbed and killed many male travelers.
The couple was arrested and housed in this very creepy jail. In 1820 they were both publicly hanged on the gallows behind the building.
The end…or was it?
Legend has it that John Fisher went quietly and even prayed with a minister as well as wrote a letter that insisted he was innocent. He also asked for mercy and forgiveness.
It is said that Lavinia went out with quite the performance. She wore her wedding dress and had to be carried to the gallows to be hanged. Executioner’s didn’t even get the chance to tighten the noose around her neck before she jumped to her death. Before jumping, legend has it that Lavinia said, “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me – I’ll carry it.”
Serial killers weren’t the only people to take residence at this jail. This Old City Jail is known to have been the home of Charleston’s most infamous criminals, pirates, and Civil War prisoners.
These days, you can take a tour of this scary place. It’s been said that visitors have seen objects move, disappear, even hear voices and slamming of doors, or the chains being dragged against the floor of the jail.