The Ghost of Alice Flagg

The grave of Alice Flagg

The grave of Alice Flagg

The story and legend of the ghost of Alice Flagg is one of the most popular in the Grand Strand area of South Carolina.  Finding her gravesite seemed appropriate at the end of October and in the spirit of ghosts and Halloween.  In 1849, Alice and her widowed mother, were invited to live at The Hermitage in Murrells Inlet with Dr. Allard Flagg, Alice’s brother.  Once there, Alice met and fell in love with a lumberman in the area.  When her brother learned that she was interested in a lowly lumberman when he was trying to find her an appropriate suiter, he forbade her to see him ever again.  Alice and the lumberman continued to meet in secret, and he asked for her hand in marriage and gave her a gold band.  When Alice’s brother noticed the gold band on her finger he demanded that she return it and sent her to Charleston, SC to go to school.  She continued to wear the ring by putting it on a ribbon and wearing it around her neck in secrecy.  Alice did not like Charleston and never forgot about her love, the lumberman.  One night, Alice became quite sick and they determined it was malaria.  She was sent home to Murrells Inlet.  Her health grew worse and worse and she would clutch her chest where the ring was underneath her clothes.  Some say her mother found the ring strung around Alice’s neck and some say her brother found it.  Whoever did find it, they flung it out the window into the marsh of the Inlet.  She was buried in her favorite white dress, still clutching her chest.  It is said that she can be seen walking the marsh looking for her ring.

There are many stories about what will happen if you visit Alice’s grave.  Some say if you walk around her grave 13 times any rings you wear will fly off your hands as Alice is still trying to find her ring.  Some say you have to walk backwards 13 times at night for this to happen.  Other say if you walk around her grave clockwise 6 times, counter-clockwise 6 times, and then lay a token on the “A” of her grave, Alice will grant your wish.  Kelly was out-of-town during this adventure, but I invited our friend Cathy – who was quick to become a fellow adventurer – to join me!  We found the gravesite at All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, SC., tucked towards the back of the cemetery near old All Saints Parish.  The gravesite had a few tokens on it and a well-worn path around it with footprints where people had visited and walked around her grave.  I walked around Alice’s grave and left a token and walked around again but left with all my rings.

Karen and Cathy at All Saints Parish in Pawleys Island, SC

Karen and Cathy at All Saints Parish in Pawleys Island, SC

Cathy and I visited other areas of the graveyard before leaving, noticing that Alice’s brothers and family were buried around her but her grave was set apart from theirs.  The Flagg family gravestones had more elaborate detail about their lives on them and each had a headstone, unlike hers.  We wondered why Alice’s grave was so plain and her marker laid in the ground.  As we wandered away from the Flagg family plot, we noticed that many of the gravesites were slightly raised with large slabs placed on top of them, some cracked. I am told that these graves were constructed to keep hurricanes from washing the sand and bodies away in a storm.  Some had wrought-iron gates enclosing the graves, possibly signifying the wealth of the family.  Many of the graves that notated a child’s death were lined with stone pieces which made their gravesite look like a cradle.   The history behind each of the graves and the area created a stillness around us.  May you find peace, Alice Flagg.

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