Friday, October 27, 2017

Scary October: Lavinia Fisher

It's October, which means every Friday, I bring you a new spooky story!



In the history of serial killers, the vast majority have been white and male. A very, very, very small number of them have been female. Lavinia Fisher is often recognized as the world's first female serial killer. But was she?




Lavinia and her husband lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where they owned the Six Mile Wayfarer House, which was reportedly near the Marsh and Cooper River.




The Six Mile Wayfarer House was an inn that was open to travelers. Occasionally, the local police would receive reports of people disappearing after staying there, but the Fishers were popular locally. Nobody ever suspected that there might be something going on at the inn. But legend says there was...


Locals say that Lavinia would poison guests, then drop them through a trap door under their beds after they'd fallen asleep. However, despite what you'll find online, there's no actual proof that Lavinia ever killed anyone. She was arrested in 1819 and the official account of her arrest states that she and four others beat a man "in a most inhuman manner." He got away and the next morning, that same group beat a traveler, cut his head in several places, and robbed him. Lavinia, her husband, and three others were arrested and held in this jail:


Despite appeals, Lavinia Fisher and her husband were hanged for the "highway robbery" of David Ross, a charge that had been downgraded from attempted murder. Until the very last minute, Lavinia was sure she would be pardoned.


Lavinia Fisher's ghost is one of Charleston's most famous. People have reported many sightings at the jail where her cell was. On tours, women are advised to cover or remove their jewelry, since Lavinia reportedly likes things that sparkle.


Her ghostly presence is often seen from the outside, standing in this window:


Check out last week's post on the University of Montevallo. And if you have suggestions for next year's Scary October, leave them in comments!

16 comments:

  1. Hi Stephanie - what was the truth ... we'll never know - as with so many crimes committed or occurred in the early days. I guess some people will be scared by her ghost ... I'd like to visit Charleston one day! Cheers Hilary

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    1. What annoys me most about this story is that despite the fact that the legend has been debunked, people still tell it as though there were a trap door in those rooms and they killed a bunch of people. Basic internet research says otherwise, but they go with the most interesting version.

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  2. Now there's someone who should be a ghost after beating two people. Next time we're in Charleston, we'll check out the jail.

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    1. I want to go back to Charleston! The jail tour is one of the most popular ghost tours there.

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  3. This is new to me. Your Scary October posts are very informative.

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  4. I never heard of her and now I am intrigued and want to learn more. I wish you could keep this Friday going as it is very fun to read

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    1. That's why I came up with Mystery Monday. Not 100% the same, but I can work in some spooky historical mysteries along with the missing persons cases.

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  5. Years ago I stayed at the Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio. It supposedly is haunted, but I saw no one in any window.

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    1. I stayed in a haunted hotel in Lexington once. I saw nothing! But it wasn't all that scary because the rooms weren't rumored to be haunted. I wonder if I'd be able to sleep if I stayed in an actual room that has had ghost sightings...

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  6. I lived there and never knew that. I would imagine that any type of justice back then would be difficult. Happy Friday! Hugs...RO

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  7. Harper's Ferry always gave me goosebumps. That place has to be haunted.

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  8. My oldest son lives in Charleston and I've been there many times, but never to the jail. Will have to visit it next time I go. Sounds spooky.

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  9. Interesting. Another reason for me to head to Charleston

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  11. I would love to go visit that jail! This was quite spooky and creepy!

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