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The Haunted Old Charleston Jail – the ghost of Lavinia Fisher

Lavinia was born in 1793 in Charleston and it was here she met her husband, John Fisher.

Lavinia and John operated the Six Mile Wayfare house just outside of Charleston where the old Navy Hospital is now. It didn’t take long for Lavinia to realize the guests often carried bags of cash they received from their business trips. And Lavinia wanted it, so Lavinia and John developed a plan.

Step 1 - Lavinia would use her good looks and beauty lure in guests.

Step 2 - Once she gained their trust she would offer them food and tea laced with oleander, a toxic drink that put the guest to sleep.

Step 3 - John would then rob the guests

Step 4 - If the tea didn’t kill them Lavinia would stab them until they never woke again.

Legend has it they even had a trap door bed that dropped to the cellar.

The killing spree went on without a hitch until John Peeples visited. Peeples didn’t drink tea, and when Lavinia turned her back, he dumped it. He also had an odd feeling about the Lavinia, so to be safe he slept in the chair. During the night he was awaken by a loud bang. On further inspection he discovered the bed had opened into a trap door that fell to the cellar. Peeples had the good sense to jump out of the window and ride straight to the authorities.

Lavinia and her husband were quickly arrested and taken to the Old City Jail where they were held for one year before their trail in 1820.

Legend has it that they may have killed as many as 100 people and were found guilty of and sentenced to death.

Before Lavinia hung on the gallows her last words were “If any of you have a message for the devil tell me now, for I shall be seeing him shortly

Today her ghost is said to haunt the Old City Jail wandering its grounds. She has been seen by locals and visitors alike.


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