How to Tell a Good Ghost Story

How to Tell a Good Ghost Story

Posted on May 21 by Terry Boyle
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

My interest in the paranormal began in 1975, when I was researching historical sketches of places on the Waccamaw Neck of South Carolina, United States. I became acquainted with a home called the Hermitage.

The Hermitage at the time, was a good example of an appealing combination of the historic and the mysterious. It is still a house with a benign ghost.

Dr. Allard Belin Flagg built the Hermitage in 1849, on a point of land surrounded on three sides by tidal marshes, in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

I visited the Hermitage and met Clarke A. Wilcox, the owner of the home. He believed the Hermitage was haunted by Alice Belin Flagg, the 16-year-old sister of Dr. Flagg. Engaged to a man in the turpentine industry and aware of her brothers’ disapproval, she wore her ring on a ribbon around her neck and concealed it inside her blouse when she was at home on vacation from finishing school in Charleston. Following her happy debut at the spring ball in Charleston, Alice was suddenly stricken with malaria. Upon receiving word of his sister’s illness Dr. Flagg left Murrells Inlet for Charleston.

Mr. Wilcox related to me what happened next. “Upon examining his delirious sister when they arrived home, he found the ring. In great anger he removed it and threw it into the creek. Thinking she had lost it, Alice begged everyone who came into her sickroom to find the ring.”

Alice died shortly thereafter. According to Wilcox, Alice is still searching for her ring in her old room at the Hermitage.

The Hermitage story became my template for writing a good ghost story. You need to locate a haunting, visit the site to interview the people experiencing something paranormal and then  research the history of the location. It may be the original family you focus your attention on or what happened on the property before a building was constructed. Once you compare your research notes with your interviews you usually find the reason for the haunting.     

In my next blog I will highlight the ten most haunted sites in Ontario.

Terry Boyle

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Terry Boyle

Terry Boyle was a Canadian author, lecturer, and teacher who has shared his passion for history and folklore in many books since 1976, including four Haunted Ontario titles. He hosted television's Creepy Canada and radio's Discover Ontario. He lived near Burk's Falls, Ontario.