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Charleston Graveyard at the Unitarian Church Haunted by Annabel Lee

Things to Do and See with Two Days in Charleston

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The Unitarian Church graveyard looks overgrown, but it was designed this way. The paths are clear, but flowers and grass are allowed to grow around the graves.
Charleston Graveyard at the Unitarian Church

Charleston Graveyard at the Unitarian Church

Charleston (c) Linda Garrison
The Unitarian Church graveyard in Charleston is famous for its natural look and its ghosts. Although she is a fictional character, the ghost of Annabel Lee is the most well-known, according to our tour guide.

Our guide's story was that she and Edgar Allan Poe became acquainted while Poe lived in Charleston and was serving in the Navy. Annabel Lee's father was vehemently opposed to the relationship and forbid their seeing each other.

However, as many young couples have done through the centuries, the two friends continued to meet. Annabel Lee's father locked her in her room. Soon after, Poe was transferred up north. They never saw each other again because she died of yellow fever just a few months later. Poe was grief-stricken and returned to Charleston to pay his respects to her grave. Even in death her father was determined to keep them apart. So, he had the entire family plot dug up and buried Annabel Lee in the bottom of the area in an unmarked grave. He then had all of the other family graves redone. When Poe reached the graveyard, he couldn't determine which one was Annabel Lee's, because the whole family plot had been dug up. He was distraught and later penned his famous poem. History shows that Poe did serve in the Navy in Charleston, but the source of his inspiration for Annabel Lee remains lost.

Even though the character may have been a figment of Pot's gloomy imagination, visitors sometimes say they see the ghost of Annabel Lee sitting on a bench in the graveyard or walking along its paths searching for her friend and lover Edgar Allan Poe. It may be fiction, but it's a great story, isn't it?

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