Charleston is one of the most haunted cities in North America.
The College of Charleston alumnus has been telling Lowcountry ghost stories for many years. From conducting downtown walking tours to writing the best selling book “Haunted Charleston,” Macy knows a thing or two about ghost stories.
Halloween seems like the perfect time to pick his brain.
Q: What got you interested in researching ghost stories?
A: I like history, and I love grisly and morbid history. Also, I wanted to research some of the lesser-known stories around Charleston, the ones that weren’t legends, folktales or family embellishments.
Q: What traits do you look for in a good ghost story?
A: Several things are needed.
- Multiple witnesses over the course of history with common identifiers…These witnesses should have more to lose than to gain by sharing their story.
- A connection to something everyone knows or has felt. It does not have to be something or someone iconic. Unfortunately, people love to claim the famous ghost because it has a certain chamber of commerce impact. Most of the best ghost stories were once average joes.
- A creepy appeal to one of the senses. It cannot be easily written off as gravity or old floorboards. It must have specificity.
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost?
A: No…probably never will because I really want to. I think not everyone has the ability or the privilege to encounter an apparition.
A: When telling a really good ghost story, there are three things to remember:
- The truth is stranger than fiction.
- There are 2 equally important parts to a ghost story:
- How the ghost was “created.”
- What the ghost does.
Whichever has the most macabre attitude becomes the climax in the second act. If the death is wicked, but the ghost manifestation is weak, the death goes last in the story sequence.
3. Cut to the chase. If the detail is not essential, send it to hell.