21 Days Until Halloween

With 21 days to go in our Haunted Halloween Countdown we present for your petrifying pleasure:

“Alice”
from Ghosts of Georgetown
by Elizabeth Huntsinger Wolf

Ghosts_Georgetown

Of all the ghosts in Georgetown County, perhaps the best known is Alice.

Many tales have immortalized the young girl whose spirit roams an old plantation house, searching for her lost ring.

Alice Belin Flagg, the only daughter of the family that owned the great Wachesaw Plantation, was groomed from birth to marry into another wealthy plantation family.

When Alice’s father died, her older brother, Dr. Allard Flagg, took over the responsibility of preparing his young sister for her future. The fact that Alice would marry one of her peers was never questioned. Georgetown County plantation princesses married plantation princes, period.

When the vivacious Alice fell in love, at the tender age of fifteen, with a handsome and successful young lumberman, her livid brother and acquiescent mother packed her off to a Charleston boarding school.

However, Alice’s love had already given her an engagement ring. In order not to anger her family, she wore it on a ribbon around her neck and kept it hidden close to her
heart.

Torn between respect for her family’s wishes and her love for the lumberman, Alice dutifully accepted boarding-school life. She also participated in the social events, such as the annual St. Cecelia Ball, expected of a young lady of her class.

Alice knew that her mother and brother counted on the wealthy planters’ progeny to lure her affections away from her beloved, but her love was true. She remained faithful to her beau, depending on thoughts of him to sustain her until boarding school was finished. Then she could go home and marry her true love.

The love in Alice’s heart was not enough to keep her body strong for such a length of time. Weakened by despair and longing, she contracted a deadly fever.

Her brother, Allard, was summoned. He traveled to Charleston, and upon his arrival made immediate plans to take his sister back to the Hermitage, the Flaggs’ creekside
home at Murrells Inlet.

The journey was too long and arduous for the seriously ill Alice. She was comatose by the time Allard had her placed in her own bed at the Hermitage.

Alice was not aware that her physician brother, while examining her, discovered the ring she always wore around her neck.

She did not feel him petulantly snatch the ribbon and remove her ring. Neither did she know that he furiously threw the ring into the nearby creek.

Awakening briefly from her coma, feverish Alice automatically made the familiar gesture of placing her hand on the ring that rested over her heart.

The ring was not there to console her.

The last conscious moments of Alice’s life were filled with bewilderment and distress, as she deliriously asked in vain for her ring.

After her death, Alice was temporarily laid to rest near the Hermitage.

When her mother, who had been visiting out of state, arrived home, a funeral was held for Alice at All Saints’ Waccamaw Episcopal Church near Pawleys Island. Alice was permanently laid to rest in the churchyard there. Her grave was covered with a stone slab which says only “ALICE.”

According to local tradition, Allard insisted that no other inscription than her first name commemorate his sister’s grave. He felt that she disgraced the family unforgivably and did not deserve further acknowledgment.

Alice knew a life with her beloved would be difficult and hard-won, but she was fiercely determined to be with him always. Many believe that, even in death, Alice did not give up her hope of being united with her true love. In death, she continues to search for her ring, the symbol of her chosen man’s affection.

Alice has been seen many times near her final resting place behind the wrought-iron gates of All Saint’s Churchyard. Through the years, numerous guests at the Hermitage have also seen a vivid, life-like Alice standing in her old bedroom.

She is always wearing a long white dress, as if dressed for a wedding or burial. And always, always, she seems to be searching for her lost ring.

***

Check back for more terrifying tales in out Haunted Halloween Countdown or pick up one of the spooky books they come from.

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