What It's Like to Live in a Creepy Town

Locals share the perks and drawbacks of living in 5 spooky cities

Historic houses line the spooky streets of Charleston, S.C.


The oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is a place with many stories to tell. It has seen two major American wars and dozens of devastating natural disasters, which leads many to believe the city is haunted.

“Ghost experts believe Charleston is one of the most haunted places in America because of all the tragedy that’s occurred in our town,” says lifetime resident John LaVerne. “They say a lot of untimely deaths cause people to stay in this transient state. My 90-some-year-old grandmother jokes about it, saying Charleston is so great, we all want to do it at least twice.”

Creepy factor: One of Charleston's best-known haunted locations is the Battery Carriage House Inn. Several guests of the inn, particularly those who have stayed in room eight, have reported waking up in the middle of the night to find a headless torso floating above them, dressed in a Confederate uniform from the Civil War. One man tried to reach out and touch the ghost's clothing, and the apparition responded with a threatening moan. Other female guests have awoken to discover a "gentleman ghost" lying beside them, thought to be a college student whose family once owned the home.

Getting around: Getting from place to place in Charleston is no big task -- most residents walk or ride bikes to get around, LaVerne says. Because of the city’s many narrow one-way streets and limited parking spaces, driving is not the preferred method of transportation.

But aside from these obstacles, LaVerne points to another reason why walking is your best bet: “The city has its own personality that changes day and night, in every neighborhood. Around every corner there is a long-lost secret or something new you didn’t see last time. It’s always great to get out and explore Charleston,” he says.

Owning a home: With its small-town feel and bustling population of about 120,000, Charleston is a great place to call home. LaVerne, who owns two homes in Charleston, currently lives in a plantation-style home teeming with Southern charm.

An average home in Charleston will run you, on average, between $200,000 and $250,000, depending on location, LaVerne estimates. The closer you get to downtown, for instance, the higher the price will be. And there are plenty of options to choose from -- be it a home in the historic district, a home by the beach or perhaps a home near one of the area’s five colleges.

Finding fun: In Charleston, there is “an endless supply” of activities to enjoy, LaVerne says. Because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, there's a ton of outdoor fun to be had, including jet skiing, parasailing, kite flying and fishing. Known as the low country, Charleston doesn’t have many hills, but it does have a great bike path system and emphasis on sports, such as golfing and tennis, and various athletic leagues.

Locals enjoy listening to live music, eating at world-class restaurants and, what LaVerne insists is the best pastime, simply walking around, exploring Charleston. And if you’re really curious, you can even partake in an area ghost walk, perhaps with Bulldog Tours, which LaVerne owns and operates.

Tallying the cost of living: Compared to some other Southern cities, Charleston is “a bit expensive,” LaVerne says, “but totally worth it.” With so much history, architectural beauty and an endless supply of things to do, living in Charleston is “a complete joy.” There’s never a dull moment considering all the fun activities -- many of which are free -- and spooky appeal Charleston has to offer.

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