Find Out Why CofC’s Berry Hall is Very Scary

Find Out Why CofC’s Berry Hall is Very Scary

On a typical College of Charleston campus tour, Berry Residence Hall is usually described as a six-story building housing approximately 640 students in suites with a furnished living area. You learn that Berry Hall has common kitchens, laundry rooms, TV lounges and study rooms on every floor.

But what you don’t hear on the tour is that some of the residents of Berry Hall may be ghosts.

That’s right, ghosts.

“Every Berry resident I’ve spoken to has the same reaction: it’s a real thing, and if you don’t believe me, then you’re a fool,” says CofC alumnus Ed Macy ’91.

Berry Residence Hall was built on the site of the old Charleston Orphan House. According to the book Haunted Charleston: Stories from the College of Charleston, The Citadel and the Holy City by Macy and Geordie Buxton, the orphanage’s infirmary was overflowing with sick children during the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. The children who were not sick were sent outside to play in the yard.

There are two plaques commemorating the Charleston Orphan House on the outside of the Lightsey Center. The top plaque reads: “Charleston Orphan House. Oldest Municipal Orphan House in the United States. Founded October 15, 1790. Corner stone laid November 12, 1792 on site of Revolutionary Hornwork Fortification. Main building completed and occupied October 18, 1794. Among the hundreds of its graduates who have become useful citizens, many have achieved high honor in the state and some have been distinguished men of national importance. Placed by the City Of Charleston October 18, 1938.” The lower plaque reads: “On this site the original Charleston Orphan House. Completed 1794. It was replaced with a new home at Oak Grove in 1952. The above plaque was removed from the original house and placed here September 30, 1954.”

One day, a couple of children playing outside found some oily rags and started a fire on the orphanage grounds. The fire quickly spread, causing the evacuation of the building. Four orphans died of smoke inhalation as a result of the blaze.

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Fast-forward to 1991 when the College of Charleston opened the doors of Berry Residence Hall. Not long after students moved in, the hall was plagued by a rash of false fire alarms.

Students then reported hearing distant voices and the laughter of children late into the night. Some students also said that they were awakened by the sound of marbles rolling across the floor, only to find none.

Perhaps the strangest thing is that some students reported hearing the voices of children chanting the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” in the early morning hours.

Macy says he first heard about the phantom children when he was a senior at the College in 1991. While he was doing research for his book, he interviewed many people who heard the same strange occurrences at Berry Hall.

“I have spoken to at least 40 people, mostly female students, who have not only been awakened by the alarm and the singing, but have seen old fashioned cursive writing on their bathroom mirror,” says Macy.

Now that’s spooky.