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!