Episode 9: Lands End Road

Three legendary haunts along the eight mile stretch of Lands End Road on St Helena Island, South Carolina, have led to this road being named one of the most haunted in the South

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If you turn down Lands End Road and travel along it’s eight mile stretch during the day, you’ll find it to be a picturesque community on St Helena Island in South Carolina. As you drive down the road you take in gorgeous views and Spanish moss hanging low from giant oak trees. It’s beautiful and peaceful.

St Helena Island was established in 1670 and if you see it in person you can understand why the community is full of families who have been here for generations. Along with its beauty, Lands End Road does have it’s dark side. If you travel down the road after dark, you may discover first hand the three legendary haunts that have led to this road being named one of the most haunted in the South

The first of these legendary haunts along Lands End Road is the Chapel of Ease that is situated near the road.

According to the South Carolina Department of Archives:

The Chapel of Ease ruin is significant for its association with the St. Helena Parish, both as a secondary and primary place of worship for inhabitants of the parish. It was built around 1740 as a chapel of ease, to serve planters in St. Helena Parish who lived at great distances from the parish church in Beaufort, South Carolina and could not regularly attend services there. By 1812, the population of St. Helena Island had increased to the extent that the chapel of ease was designated a parish church. The church was virtually abandoned when the planters evacuated the island in the fall of 1861, during the Civil War. During the Federal occupation of St. Helena, the church was used frequently by several of the Northerners who had come to the island to educate and train the freedmen. It was burned by a forest fire in February 1886 and was never repaired.

Chapel of Ease

When you arrive at the Chapel of Ease ruins, you see what remains of a once quaint church on the island, walls and much of its plaster. There’s also a small cemetery adjacent to the church. Spanish moss hangs from the trees, and down and along the walls of the ruins. It’s dramatically beautiful in the light of day but full of haunts.

Visitors who have walked the grounds and entered the ruins of the church have reported hearing whispered prayers, hymns being sung and even disembodied voices. There are also several stories of a feeling of evil coming over visitors who visit toward dusk and at night.

The odd paranormal activity extends beyond the walls of the ruins into the church cemetery. Countless people have reported feeling cold spots in the heat of the summer. They also report suddenly feeling sick, hearing spooky voices in the woods surrounding the ruins and cemetery and seeing an occasional apparition of a woman wearing a white dress strolling around the cemetery carrying an infant.

Perhaps the most infamous haunting in this cemetery is associated with Fripp crypt. Edgar and Eliza Fripp were a wealthy couple who were laid to rest here. When they were brought to the cemetery for their eternal rest, undertakers reportedly honored their final request that the family’s most prized possessions be entombed inside their crypt.

When Federal forces were in control of St Helena Island during the Civil War, Union soldiers caught wind of the rumors of the Fripp Family treasure. They went crypt robbing, breaking in to the tomb and stealing what was inside. That was unsettling enough for caretakers at the Chapel of Ease cemetery. But what happened next downright frightened them.

When caretakers tried sealing up the old crypt behind the church, something happened that’s never been explained. The workers sealed up the crypt with bricks then went home. When they came back to work the next day they discovered that the bricks used to seal off the crypt had been neatly stacked in a pile near the front of the crypt. All of the work from the day before was undone. This didn’t happen once or twice. It happened a few times. Eventually, the caretakers tired of the futile attempt to seal the crypt and left it open. The crypt remains open today.

Once darkness falls over The Chapel of Ease on Lands End road, there are no street lights in the area. Nothing to light your way if you were to visit and walk the grounds. Just you, the darkness and whatever spirit didn’t want the Fripp Family Crypt closed up so it could come and go as it pleased.

Just up the road from Chapel of Ease, an old oak tree marks the spot that’s become the legend of the “Lands End Light”, sometimes called Frogmore Light.

According to the Sciway History of The Lands End Light:

“What first appears to be the headlights of an automobile approaching in the distance may materialize into an eerie orb of soft white light floating several feet above the highway – drifting slowly towards you. If you panic and crank your vehicle, the light will disappear.”

The Beaufort County Library reports that at least two motorists have died while chasing (or some believe fleeing) the Lands End Light.

Where does the light come from? What could explain the paranormal and haunting aspect of it? No one is absolutely certain but there are a few theories that have been a part of St. Helena Island folklore for generations.

The first theory is that in 1861, when Union forces invaded the island, they decapitated a Confederate soldier on patrol. Although depending on who tells the story, Confederate soldiers decapitated a Union soldier on patrol. The tale always ends with the headless man wandering Land’s End Road with an old iron lantern in his hand.

The second theory is that the light is that of the spirit of a soldier who was stationed at nearby Fort Fremont in 1910. His name was Frank Quigley and he was killed in a fight with island residents. The final theory that some say explains the Lands End Light involves the most innocent among us…children.

There was an accident in which a school bus full of children careened off the road and into an oak tree. Several people died in the collision, and some believe the Land’s End Light is a headlight from the doomed bus.

We can never know the exact ghost that’s associated with the orb but we do have an account of an encounter with the Lands End Light.

A Beaufort-area native Barry Gooch described his encounter with the Land’s End Light. Here’s what he shared:

When we saw the car approaching from the distance we were certain it really was just another car, probably coming to join us. As we watched in amazement, it came toward us much too fast, and then seemed to slow to an almost imperceptible pace. Transfixed by what we were witnessing, the car headlights transformed into a heavenly glow of a ball of soft white light that slowly drifted in our direction until it hovered over the right front fender of my Chevy. ‘Scared’ was not the appropriate way to describe my mental state as I prayed my old Chevy would crank. When the starter caught, that ghostly ball of light disappeared into nothingness faster than the tires on my old Chevy would spin.

Down the road from the old oak tree and the Lands End Light, is Fort Fremont. The Spanish American War fort was built right along the water in 1899. The Fort is known as one of the most expensive to construct of all the forts in this area of South Carolina. It’s also known as the most useless.

There was never a threat or a call to arms made at Fort Fremont. By 1906, the War Department was ready to close the fort due to budget problems. It remained in use but had a small group of soldiers assigned to the area. In 1921, Fort Fremont was deactivated as a military installation. The fort was abandoned and ever since there have been eerie sightings throughout the area including the spirit of an enslaved man who was killed on the property that would later become Fort Fremont. It’s said his heartbroken spirit lingers, having been separated from his wife. And he is constantly searching for his long lost love along Land End Road.

Another notable eerie sightings is that of Private Frank Quigley.

In June of 1910, violence erupted between soldiers assigned to Fort Fremont and local men who were selling the soldiers moonshine. With each brawl, the anger between the soldiers and the moonshiner great stronger. Following several fights, six soldiers were wounded and one killed.

The Beaufort Gazette reported that a moonshiner named Isaiah Potter was arrested for the fatal shooting of Quigley. Potter claimed the trouble began with “intimacy between his wife and a soldier” who was identified as Pvt. Frank Quigley.

Private Quigley has long been said to be the source of the eerie Lands End Light down Lands End Road, with his spirit seemingly trapped and doomed to linger along Lands End Road.

Episode Sources
Chapel of Ease History
Story behind haunted church in South Carolina
Beaufort’s Haunted History
Do Ghosts Walk the Ruins of St. Helena Island’s Chapel of Ease?
Fort Fremont Website and Info

Music Credits
Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.

Additional Music: by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

Categories: folklore, ghosts, history, legends, mysteries, podcasts, south carolina, urban legend

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