In Beaufort, South Carolina sits the serene and very still ruins of The Old Sheldon Church. Originally named Prince William’s Parish Church, the site holds gorgeous oak trees, randomly scattered headstones/graves and the remains of a twice destroyed Georgian style place of worship.
What better place to find supernatural happenings than a building that was destroyed twice?
Originally built in the 1740’s and 1750’s, the contributor who funded the church was that of William Bull whose grave is still on the grounds, allegedly. He was married to Ann Bull, and it was the stories of his wife, Ann, that led me to this visit.
There are stories online of a lady in a brown dress guarding the grave of her child. The gender of the child she’s protected is unknown by the headstone, but research states Mr. & Mrs. Bull had only one child. I mention this because of some of the research conducted on site later.
Once Loved, Twice Burned
According to www.scriptureproject.org, the history goes like this:
“Originally organized and funded in the 1740s and 1750s by William Bull, whose Newberry Plantation bordered church grounds, … The church was set on fire in 1779 by British troops led by General Augustine Prevost during the Revolutionary War.
Tradition states that on January 14, 1865, near the end of the Civil War, General Sherman’s troops burned the church a second time as part of his “March to the Sea” campaign… In a letter dated February 3, 1866, …, Milton Leverett wrote that “Sheldon Church not burn’t. Just torn up in the inside, but can be repaired.” “
So, there it is. Destroyed twice in two different wars: The Revolutionary War and then the Civil War. It is a possibility that the materials inside the church were stolen by locals to repair their own homes during the Civil War, but the church was destroyed nonetheless.
There is no doubt that between both of these vandalizing acts of war, that death occurred on the grounds of the church.
Our visit to this location was one of two locations that day. We visited the Old Sheldon Church in the early afternoon. There were others there also visiting the site, taking pictures and the site remains open to the public to visit the history of South Carolina without a cost or a tour guide.
As said earlier, the grounds are covered with plenty of mossy oaks, some with cement blocks in them to retain the strength of the trees. The air is quiet and very still in this place as it sits in the backwoods of a very old South Carolinian city. It is exactly as you would suspect.
Some new testing
For our day in Beaufort, I decided I wanted to test a spirit box app and an EMF detecting app from my phone.
A spirit box uses radio frequencies to allow spirits to communicate. The app I found is called “Ghost Detector”. And yes, I chose it for the clichéd name. I tested this app at home first, playing with the features and waiting for anything to come through. At random intervals, it spits out a word. It seemed pretty bogus at the time, but thought I would give this a try at an actual haunted location. After all, according to the technology, a spirit simply needs the right frequency to communicate. Who cared if the app I was using was a hoax? It still provided random frequencies and that’s what the spirits needed.
I also want to point out that when toying with this app at home, the words came across my screen about every 5-10 minutes. While at Old Sheldon Church, the words came much faster.
The EMF (electromagnetic field) detector was also tested at home. Electromagnetic Fields are said to determine whether there is spirit activity nearby.
I walked around my home placing my phone around electrical outlets and electronic items and it actually worked! I don’t know how my phone is able to do this through an app, but I went with the proof of little lights on my screen lighting up.
**(Note that while I used the EMF detecting app at Old Sheldon Church, there was no activity to be documented.)
I brought a third person with me to handle my phone with these new apps. April (my wife) was taking pictures as usual. Byron and I walked around reading as many headstones as we could find and the third person was gauging the apps letting me know which words were coming through the “Ghost Detector” app.
Shoes at the Church
As we were all exploring the grounds, the app was spitting out random words that made no sense. Like my investigations with Psychic, I thought these words might make more sense with research. Take a look at these screenshots:
Notice that there was a word coming through every 1-3 minutes. This is more activity than I had at home.
Now take a look at this screenshot. This is from the same location, you can tell by the timeframes.
See the word “SHOES”? Yeah, I thought the same thing; stupid. I originally began researching these words with “RANDY” in mind since it came up twice. I found nothing. Even on the gravesite listing on www.graveyard.com did I find anyone, even a middle name, of Randy.
What I did find was section from the book, “Wicked Beaufort” by Alexia Jones Helsey. Here’s the section:
“SHOES” doesn’t seem so stupid now does it?
This leaves me to wonder if these apps that are built to be hoaxes or just for fun can actually be useful. The “Ghost Detector” app seems like a hoax with the weird sound effects and the cheesey pixelated screen, but it gave me proof that someone was there. All the other clues listed like “MY SON”, “FIND HIM” and “RANDY” all seem relevant too, but I wasn’t able to find any research to justify any of these phrases.
I wanted to note that with all the 75 headstones in Old Sheldon Church, most of them seemed to be broken, cracked, sinking, or had some other type of vandalization. I can’t help but wonder if this was done by actual vandals or if the graves were moved from their original burials. The headstones were randomly placed as well. In other words, unless you are part of one of these families, the reasoning behind the arbitrary placement of these graves is uncertain.
With the end of our visit to Old Sheldon, I concluded that the grounds are indeed haunted. After the research and the common term of “SHOES” and the story from “Wicked Beaufort”, I have to say, I can see the connection.
Other words that came through the “Ghost Detector” app are inconclusive at this point, but may shine through with another visit to this location later. But for now, I’m convinced that there are those from beyond the grave trying to speak to us at Old Sheldon.
As always, let me know your thoughts below. Have you visited this site? Have you had an experience? Sometimes that experience doesn’t come to light until later.
This week’s book sponsor is “The Umbrella Tree” by Nicholas McGirr. Be sure to check out this title on Amazon or you can read about it here: The Umbrella Tree.
More than just a Blog
This is episode 8 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.